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Biography

Ariwara no Narihira ( 825 - 880) was a Japanese waka poet and aristocrat. He was one of six waka poets referred in the preface in kana to Kokin Wakashū by Ki no Tsurayuki, and has been named as the hero of The Tales of Ise, whose hero was an anonym in itself but most of whose love affairs could be attributed to Narihira.

He was the fifth son of Prince Abo, a son of Emperor Heizei. His mother Princess Ito was a daughter of Emperor Kammu, so he was therefore linked to Emperor Kammu by both maternal and paternal lineage. Along with his other brothers, he was relegated to civilian life, receiving a new clan name, Ariwara.

Although he belonged to the noblest lineage, his political life was not prominent, especially under the reign of Emperor Montoku. During the thirteen years of the Emperor's reign, Narihira was not raised to a higher rank within the court. This setback was supposedly caused by a scandal involving him and Fujiwara no Takaiko , an imperial consort or another loyal lady. Both love affairs were referred to in The Tales of Ise.

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