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Ki no Tsurayuki

(872-945 / Japan)

Biography of Ki no Tsurayuki

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 provincial governor of Suo province, since it was recorded that he held a waka party (Utaai) at his home in Suo.

He is well-known for his waka and is counted as one of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals selected by Fujiwara no Kinto. He was also known as one of the editors of the Kokin Wakashū. Tsurayuki wrote one of two prefaces to Kokin Wakashū; the other is in Chinese. His preface was the first critical essay on waka. He wrote of its history from its mythological origin to his contemporary waka, which he grouped into genres, referred to some major poets and gave a bit of harsh criticism to his predecessors like Ariwara no Narihira.

His waka is included in one of the important Japanese poetry anthologies, the Hyakunin Isshu, which was compiled in the 13th century by Fujiwara no Teika, long after Tsurayuki's death.

Ki no Tsurayuki's Works:

-Tosa nikki

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A dewdrop

A dewdrop
It is not, my heart, on a flower
Fallen; yet
With a breath of wind
My concern grows deeper.

[Hata Bildir]