Ki no Tsurayuki

(872-945 / Japan)

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Tsurayuki was a son of Ki no Mochiyuki. He became a waka poet in the 890s. In 905, under the order of Emperor Daigo, he was one of four poets selected to compile the Kokin Wakashū, an anthology of poetry.

After holding a few offices in Kyoto, he was appointed the provincial governor of Tosa province and stayed there from 930 until 935. Later he was presumably appointed the ... more »

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (6/25/2016 3:40:00 PM)

    In his preface to the Kokinshu [the abbreviated term for the Imperial anthology Kokin Wakashū - conceived of by Emperor Uda (r.887–897) it was published by order of his son, Emperor Daigo (r.897–930) , in about 905. Its finished form dates to c.920], Ki no Tsurayuki listed the ''Six Best Waka Poets'' in history: Kisen Hōshi, Ono no Komachi, Sōjō Henjō, Ariwara no Narihira, Fun'ya no Yasuhide and Ōtomo no Kuronushi.

    Strangely, he then ridicules them in the same preface* (maybe for Japanese modesty?) .

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (6/25/2016 3:39:00 PM)

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    * Ki no Tsurayuki (872–945) , in the preface, had a unique critique for each of the 6 poets:

    - Kisen Hōshi (death 909?) : The priest of Mt. Uji, Kisen, is obscure, and his beginnings and endings do not chime; he is like an autumnal moon, bright in the evening, dim at dawn.

    - Ono no Komachi (c.825—c.900) : As to Ono no Komachi, she has pathos but lacks power, like a fair but feeble woman.

    - Sōjō Henjō or Archbishop Henjo (816–890; born Yoshi-mine Munesada) : Sojo Henjo, whose manner is successful, but his work is deficient in truth, like the picture of a beautiful woman that excites emotion, but to no avail.

    - Ariwara no Narihira (825–880) : Arihara Narihira, very full of feeling but poor in diction; his poetry reminds one of a faded flower that yet preserves some of its perfume.

    - Fun'ya no Yasuhide (death 885?) : Funya no Yasuhide, on the other hand, is an artist in words; with him form is better than substance. He is like a peddler dressed up in fine silks.

    - Ōtomo no Kuronushi (born between 824-835, died 923?) : Ōtomo no Kuronushi, lastly, has a pretty turn for verse, but his form is poor; he is like a faggot-bearing boor resting under a blossom-filled cherry-tree.

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