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Learn Japanese From Kokin Wakashu

Kokin Wakashu, also called Kokinshu, is one of the 21collections of Japanese poems that were compiled by imperial request. This collection consists of about 1111 Japanese poems written by many authors.

“Kokin Wakashu” has different meanings, for example: “Collection of Old and New Japanese Poems” and “Ancient and Modern Japanese Poems”. This collection was divided into 20 books and edited by four court poets, who are:

  • Ki no Tsurayuki
  • Ki no Tomonori
  • Mibu no Tadamine
  • Mitsune Oshikochi

Each poem has its own title that refers to different themes of classical poetry, such as: love, season, nature and mourning.

The poems of Kokinshu can be roughly divided into three periods, which are:

  • Poems from the 9th century, most of them are anonymous.

  • Poems of the age of the "Six Poetic Geniuses", which where:

  • Otomo no Kuronoshi

  • Ono no Komachi

  • Ariwara no Narihira

  • Kisen Hoshi

  • Sojo Henjo and Bunya no Yasuhide

  • Poems by the editors and their contemporaries.

Poem Number 658

This poem was written by Ono no Komachi.

夢 ぢ に は

yumeji ni wa

ashi mo yasumezu


utsutsu ni hitome

mishigoto wa arazu

Though I go to you

ceaselessly along dream paths,

the sum of those trysts

is less than a single glimpse granted

in the waking world.

Tatsuta river (Anonymous)



momiji midarete


wataraba nishiki

naka ya taenam

Tatsuta river

red leaves are floating

in chaotic pattern;

crossing here would be

cutting their brocade...

Author: Ichika
Learn Japanese here.

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