Ōtomo no Tabito

Ōtomo no Tabito (大伴 旅人, 665 - August 31, 731) was a Japanese military leader and poet, best known as the father of Ōtomo no Yakamochi, who contributed to the compilation the Man'yōshū alongside his father.

In the year 720, the Hayato Rebellion erupted in Kyushu. Otomo was ordered to lead Japanese forces to suppress the rebellion. The imperial forces were successful after little more than a year of fighting, and returned to the capital with prisoners of war. As a result, southern Kyushu was firmly brought under the control of the Imperial court under Empress Genmei.

Tabito was a contemporary of Hitomaro, but lacked his success in the Imperial Court. While serving as Governor-General of Dazaifu, the military procuracy in northern Kyūshū from 728-730, Tabito hosted a plum-blossom party, encouraging the composition of poetry among his subordinates in imitation of Chinese style elegance. He also showed his Chinese education in his set of thirteen tanka in praise of sake.

Otomo Tabito
Ōtomo no Tabito

Year 665 (DCLXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 665 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 731 (DCCXXXI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 731 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Asada no Yasu

Asada no Yasu (麻田陽春) was a poet in Japan's Nara period who composed both waka (poetry in Japanese) and kanshi (poetry in Chinese).

August 31

August 31 is the 243rd day of the year (244th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 122 days remaining until the end of the year.

Hayato people

The Hayato (隼人), which is Japanese for "falcon-people", were possibly an Austronesian people of ancient Japan who lived in the Satsuma and Ōsumi regions of southern Kyushu until at least the Nara period. Due to the distinct nature of their manners and customs, they frequently resisted Yamato rule. After their subjugation they became subjects of the government under Ritsuryō, and the Ministry of the Military had an office known as the Hayato-shi (隼人司) in charge of their governance. The name also came into use by samurai as a title, hayato no suke (隼人助). In modern times, Hayato is a Japanese male given name.

Hayato rebellion

The Hayato rebellion (隼人の反乱, Hayato no hanran) (720–721) was a rebellion of the Hayato people of southern Kyushu against the state of Japan. After a year and a half of fighting, the Hayato were defeated, and the Japanese court established its rule over southern Kyushu.

Japanese poetry

Japanese poetry is poetry of or typical of Japan, or written, spoken, or chanted in the Japanese language, which includes Old Japanese, Early Middle Japanese, Late Middle Japanese, and Modern Japanese, and some poetry in Japan which was written in the Chinese language or ryūka from the Okinawa Islands: it is possible to make a more accurate distinction between Japanese poetry written in Japan or by Japanese people in other languages versus that written in the Japanese language by speaking of Japanese-language poetry. Much of the literary record of Japanese poetry begins when Japanese poets encountered Chinese poetry during the Tang dynasty (although the Chinese classic anthology of poetry, Shijing, was well known by the literati of Japan by the 6th century). Under the influence of the Chinese poets of this era Japanese began to compose poetry in Chinese kanshi); and, as part of this tradition, poetry in Japan tended to be intimately associated with pictorial painting, partly because of the influence of Chinese arts, and the tradition of the use of ink and brush for both writing and drawing. It took several hundred years to digest the foreign impact and make it an integral part of Japanese culture and to merge this kanshi poetry into a Japanese language literary tradition, and then later to develop the diversity of unique poetic forms of native poetry, such as waka, haikai, and other more Japanese poetic specialties. For example, in the Tale of Genji both kanshi and waka are frequently mentioned. The history of Japanese poetry goes from an early semi-historical/mythological phase, through the early Old Japanese literature inclusions, just before the Nara period, the Nara period itself (710 to 794), the Heian period (794 to 1185), the Kamakura period (1185 to 1333), and so on, up through the poetically important Edo period (1603 and 1867, also known as "Tokugawa") and modern times; however, the history of poetry often is different than socio-political history.

List of Japanese-language poets



Poets are listed alphabetically by surname (or by widely known name, such as a pen name, with multiple names for the same poet listed separately if both are notable). Small groups of poets and articles on families of poets are listed separately, below, as are haiku masters (also in the main list). Years link to the corresponding "[year] in poetry" article.

List of Man'yōshū poets

The Man'yōshū is an anthology of Japanese waka poetry. It was compiled in the eighth century (during Japan's Nara period), likely in a number of stages by several people, with the final touches likely being made by Ōtomo no Yakamochi, the poet whose work is most prominently featured in the anthology. The Man'yōshū is the oldest anthology of poetry in classical Japanese, as well as the largest, with over 4,500 poems included, and is widely regarded as the finest. The collection is distinguished from later anthologies of classical Japanese poetry not only by its size but by its variety of poetic forms, as it includes not only the 5-7-5-7-7 tanka form, which by the time of the Kokin Wakashū had become ubiquitous, but also the longer chōka form (which included an indefinite number of 5-7 verses and ended with 5-7-7), the 5-7-7-5-7-7 sedōka and the 5-7-5-7-7-7 bussokusekika. The poets also came from a wide variety of social classes, from members of the imperial family and courtiers to frontier guards and commoners in the eastern provinces (ja), while later anthologies would be limited to works composed by those of the upper classes.The vast majority of the poems of the Man'yōshū were composed over a period of roughly a century, with scholars dividing them into four "periods". Princess Nukata's poetry is included in that of the first period (645–672), while the second period (673–701) is represented by the poetry of Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, generally regarded as the greatest of Man'yōshū poets and one of the most important poets in Japanese history. The third period (702–729) includes the poems of Takechi no Kurohito, whom Donald Keene called "[t]he only new poet of importance" of the early part of this period, when Fujiwara no Fuhito promoted the composition of kanshi (poetry in classical Chinese). Other "third period" poets include Yamabe no Akahito, a poet who was once paired with Hitomaro but whose reputation has suffered in modern times; Takahashi no Mushimaro, one of the last great chōka poets, who recorded a number of Japanese legends such as that of Ura no Shimako; Kasa no Kanamura, a high-ranking courtier who also composed chōka but not as well as Hitomaro or Mushimaro; but the most prominent and important were Ōtomo no Tabito, Yakamochi's father and the head of a poetic circle in the Dazaifu, and Tabito's friend Yamanoue no Okura, possibly an immigrant from the Korean kingdom of Paekche, whose poetry is highly idiosyncratic in both its language and subject matter and has been highly praised in modern times. Yakamochi himself was a poet of the fourth period (730–759), and according to Keene he "dominated" this period. He composed the last dated poem of the anthology in 759.Numbers given in the following list are those used in the Kokka Taikan (KKTK). The Japanese text follows Susumu Nakanishi's Man'yōshū Jiten and includes the poets' kabane where applicable, with italic romanizations included where the Japanese text differs from the proper names at the start of each entry. Italicized numbers indicate traditional attribution given as such in the Man'yōshū itself. (Man'yōshū poems that were attributed to these poets by later works are not listed.) "Poet" names in parentheses indicate that the name is not that of a human poet but that of an earlier collection from which the Man'yōshū took the poems; such works are listed separately, immediately below the entry on the poet with whom they are associated, following Nakanishi. Square brackets indicate poems' numbers according to the Kan'ei-bon text of the Man'yōshū, rather than the KKTK. "Anonymous" poems such as those attributed to "a man" or "a girl" are included when Nakanishi lists them under those "names".


The Man'yōshū (万葉集, literally "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves", but see § Name below) is the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry, compiled sometime after AD 759 during the Nara period. The anthology is one of the most revered of Japan's poetic compilations. The compiler, or the last in a series of compilers, is today widely believed to be Ōtomo no Yakamochi, although numerous other theories have been proposed. The last datable poem in the collection is from AD 759 (No. 4516). It contains many poems from much earlier, many of them anonymous or misattributed (usually to well-known poets), but the bulk of the collection represents the period between AD 600 and 759. The precise significance of the title is not known with certainty.

The collection is divided into twenty parts or books; this number was followed in most later collections. The collection contains 265 chōka (long poems), 4,207 tanka (short poems), one tan-renga (short connecting poem), one bussokusekika (a poem in the form 5-7-5-7-7-7; named for the poems inscribed on the Buddha's footprints at Yakushi-ji in Nara), four kanshi (Chinese poems), and 22 Chinese prose passages. Unlike later collections, such as the Kokin Wakashū, there is no preface.

The Man'yōshū is widely regarded as being a particularly unique Japanese work. This does not mean that the poems and passages of the collection differed starkly from the scholarly standard (in Yakamochi's time) of Chinese literature and poetics. Certainly many entries of the Man'yōshū have a continental tone, earlier poems having Confucian or Taoist themes and later poems reflecting on Buddhist teachings. Yet, the Man'yōshū is singular, even in comparison with later works, in choosing primarily Ancient Japanese themes, extolling Shintō virtues of forthrightness (真, makoto) and virility (masuraoburi). In addition, the language of many entries of the Man'yōshū exerts a powerful sentimental appeal to readers:

[T]his early collection has something of the freshness of dawn. [...] There are irregularities not tolerated later, such as hypometric lines; there are evocative place names and makurakotoba; and there are evocative exclamations such as kamo, whose appeal is genuine even if incommunicable. In other words, the collection contains the appeal of an art at its pristine source with a romantic sense of venerable age and therefore of an ideal order since lost.

Ono no Oyu

Ono no Oyu (?-737) was a Japanese bureaucrat and a poet. He served under Ōtomo no Tabito during the Dazaifu administration. He rose to the rank of Assistant Governor-General (daini). Three of his tanka poems have been preserved in the Man'yōshū.

Shinsen Shōjiroku

Shinsen Shōjiroku (新撰姓氏録, "New Selection and Record of Hereditary Titles and Family Names") is an imperially commissioned Japanese genealogical record. Thirty volumes in length, it was compiled under the order of Emperor Saga by his brother, the Imperial Prince Manta (万多親王, 788–830). Also by Fujiwara no Otsugu and Fujiwara no Sonohito et al. It was initially completed in 814, but underwent a revision to be recompleted in 815.

Takahashi no Mushimaro

Takahashi no Mushimaro (高橋虫麻呂, fl. ca 730) was a Japanese poet of the early 8th century.

He was a contemporary of Yamabe no Akahito, Yamanoue no Okura and Ōtomo no Tabito, and was known for his poems on travel and a collection of local myths and legends. Little is known about his life. He was a low-ranking court official serving in Nara and in some northeastern provinces.

His poetry is well represented in Man'yōshū: the poems numbered 321, 971, 972, 1497, 1738 through 1760, 1780, 1781, and 1807 through 1811 are attributed to him. It is indicated that most of these were drawn from the "Takahashi no Mushimaro Collection" (高橋虫麻呂集, Takahashi no Mushimaro Shū).

Waka (poetry)

Waka (和歌, "Japanese poem") is a type of poetry in classical Japanese literature. Waka are composed in Japanese, and are contrasted with poetry composed by Japanese poets in Classical Chinese, which are known as kanshi. Although waka in modern Japanese is written as 和歌, in the past it was also written as 倭歌 (see Wa (Japan)), and a variant name is yamato-uta (大和歌).

Ōtomo no Sakanoue no Iratsume

Ōtomo no Sakanoue no Iratsume (大伴坂上郎女, c. 700–750), also known as Lady Ōtomo of Sakanoue, was an important Japanese poet with 84 poems in the Man'yōshū.

Ōtomo no Yakamochi

Ōtomo no Yakamochi (大伴 家持, c. 718 – October 5, 785) was a Japanese statesman and waka poet in the Nara period. He is a member of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals (三十六歌仙, sanjūrokkasen). He was born into the prestigious Ōtomo clan; his grandfather was Ōtomo no Yasumaro and his father was Ōtomo no Tabito. Ōtomo no Sakanoue no Iratsume was his aunt.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.