Written on Water: Five Hundred Poems from the Manʼyōshū
Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1995 - Poetry - 183 pages
Despair and hope are two emotions commonly voiced by poets in the Man'yoshu, the oldest and most important collection of Japanese poetry. Although written over thirteen hundred years ago, the poems retain a rare freshness, an originality that delights and fascinates even today.
Part of the collection's originality is due to its variety of authors, from members of the aristocracy to commoners from the lowest ranks. The poems cover a wide range of content and expression, from court poets' highly polished verses to anonymous poems that read like folk songs. Poems about love are common but the treatment of love varies from anguished pining to wondrous celebration to bitter denunciation. What the various Man'yo poems do have in common is emotional fire, amazing candor, and eloquent expression of feeling not found in later Japanese poetry. It is these characteristics that have earned the Man'yoshu a constant and devoted readership over the centuries.
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Members of the Imperial Family
Ten Poets 35
Minor Poets 88
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anonymous poems ardent love arms autumn beauty beloved wife bitter tears bloom blossoms clouds composed this poem consort court Crown Prince Oama darling wife daughter dawn Dazaifu dear love dear wife East Japan Emperor Nintoku Emperor Shomu Emperor Temmu Emperor Tenji Empress Jito envoys fair following poem following two poems frontier guards Fujiwara Fujiwara family Fujiwara-no-Kamatari girl grass grief heart hills Hitomaro husband imperial family inner sash Japanese language Japanese poetry Jinshin Kakinomoto-no-Hitomaro Kyushu Lady Kasa Lady Otomo-no-Sakanoue Lake Biwa later leave long poem love poems lover Man'yo days Man'yoshu married moon morn mother mountain Mushimaro Nara Nara period never night O'er official Otomo Otomo-no-Tabito Otomo-no-Yakamochi Paekche pine poem expressing Praying Prince Kusakabe Prince Otsu Princess Kagami Princess Nukata Princess Oku Province reply poem robe Silla sleep songs sweet love tints trees tryst vernal fields wave wish woman Yakamochi young