Kakinomoto no Asomi Hitomaro

(662 - 710 / Japan)

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Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (c. 662 - 710) was a Japanese poet and aristocrat of the late Asuka period. He was the most prominent of the poets included in the Man'yōshū, and was particularly represented in volumes 1 and 2. In Japan, he is considered one of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals. After the Heian period he was often called "Hito-maru"

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (8/14/2016 9:28:00 AM)

    ' When she was still alive '

    When she was still alive
    We would go out, arm in arm,
    And look at the elm trees
    Growing on the embankment
    In front of our house.
    Their branches were interlaced.
    Their crowns were dense with spring leaves.
    They were like our love.
    Love and trust were not enough to turn back
    The wheels of life and death.
    She faded like a mirage over the desert.
    One morning like a bird she was gone
    In the white scarves of death.
    Now when the child
    Whom she left in her memory
    Cries and begs for her,
    All I can do is pick him up
    And hug him clumsily.
    I have nothing to give him.
    In our bedroom our pillows
    Still lie side by side,
    As we lay once.
    I sit there by myself
    And let the days grow dark.
    I lie awake at night, sighing till daylight.
    No matter how much I mourn
    I shall never see her again.
    They tell me her spirit
    May haunt Mount Hagai
    Under the eagles’ wings.
    I struggle over the ridges
    And climb to the summit.
    I know all the time
    That I shall never see her,
    Not even so much as a faint quiver in the air.
    All my longing, all my love
    Will never make any difference.

    [ Kakinomoto no Hitomaro ]

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (6/25/2016 3:17:00 PM)

    Kakinomoto no Hitomaro is one of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals (Immortals of Poetry) - 三十六歌仙 Sanjūrokkasen - They are 36 Japanese poets of the Nara, Asuka and Heian periods selected by Fujiwara no Kintō as exemplars of Japanese poetic ability.

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (6/25/2016 3:15:00 PM)

    Fujiwara no Kintō established the grouping of the Thirty-Six Poetic Geniuses or Thirty-six Poetry Immortals (Sanjūrokkasen) in the ''Anthology of Poems by the Thirty-Six Poets'':

    Kakinomoto no Hitomaro
    Ki no Tsurayuki
    Ōshikōchi Mitsune
    Lady Ise
    Ōtomo no Yakamochi
    Yamabe no Akahito
    Ariwara no Narihira
    Ki no Tomonori
    Sarumaru no Taifu
    Ono no Komachi
    Fujiwara no Kanesuke
    Fujiwara no Asatada
    Fujiwara no Atsutada
    Fujiwara no Takamitsu
    Minamoto no Kintada
    Mibu no Tadamine
    Saigū no Nyōgo / Kishi Joō
    Ōnakatomi no Yoritomo
    Fujiwara no Toshiyuki
    Minamoto no Shigeyuki
    Minamoto no Muneyuki
    Minamoto no Saneakira
    Fujiwara no Kiyotada
    Minamoto no Shitagō
    Fujiwara no Okikaze
    Kiyohara no Motosuke
    Sakanoue no Korenori
    Fujiwara no Motozane
    Ōnakatomi no Yoshinobu
    Fujiwara no Nakafumi
    Taira no Kanemori
    Mibu no Tadami
    Kodai no Kimi

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (5/20/2016 6:02:00 AM)

    kuni wasuretaru / ie matamaku ni

    Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (Man’yōshū: 426)

  • Sue Powell (5/20/2014 4:06:00 AM)

    His best poem, in my opinion, is 'When She Was Still Alive', which is not listed on this website.

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Best Poem of Kakinomoto no Asomi Hitomaro

On The Death Of His Wife (I)

By the Karu road,

under the mallard’s flyway,

my love, my sister,

lived in her small town,

and deep desire

to see her filled my soul.

But people all around with curious eyes

prevented constant visits,

and few private meetings

were granted us.

Yet I always trusted

the way would be clear,

though endless as the wild vine,

at last to meet my dear,

like a hopeful sailor

trusting on his tall ship.


while our ways of love we still kept secret,

secret as pool ...

Read the full of On The Death Of His Wife (I)
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