By Dover Publications. This Dover edition, first published in , is a slightly abridged republication of the work originally published as The Manyoshu: One Thousand Poems Selected and Translated from the Japanese by the Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, in The Text in Romaji section has been omitted from the Dover edition, and references to the Romaji section have been removed from the Notes. Japanese Classics Translation Committee. IV Title. The importance of rendering Japanese classics into foreign languages as a means of acquainting the world with the cultural and spiritual background of Japan cannot be over-emphasized.

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By Dover Publications. This Dover edition, first published in , is a slightly abridged republication of the work originally published as The Manyoshu: One Thousand Poems Selected and Translated from the Japanese by the Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo, in The Text in Romaji section has been omitted from the Dover edition, and references to the Romaji section have been removed from the Notes. Japanese Classics Translation Committee. IV Title. The importance of rendering Japanese classics into foreign languages as a means of acquainting the world with the cultural and spiritual background of Japan cannot be over-emphasized.

Few Japanese, however, have ventured into this field, the work so far having been largely undertaken by foreigners. But the work is unwieldy material to deal with, abounding as it does in obscure and difficult passages, and the collaboration of a number of scholars and specialists is required in order to produce an adequate and authoritative translation.

For this reason a Special Committee, consisting of eminent authorities on the subject, was formed. The selected poems were first paraphrased by the Special Committee into plain Japanese, and the paraphrases drafted by each member were submitted to joint sessions of the two Committees for criticism and correction.

It was with the help of these paraphrases that tentative translations were made. These were then revised by an eminent English poet, and submitted to the Committees in full session for examination and final revision. Altogether it has taken four years since the work of paraphrasing was begun until the English version of the last poem was approved. It may be added that the preparation of the Romaji text entailed no small labour on the part of the Committees when investigating and deciding upon the various disputed readings.

The Committee desire to acknowledge the important contributions of Messrs. Haxon Ishii and Shigeyoshi Obata, who made the tentative translations, Mr.

Ralph Hodgson who revised them, and Dr. Sanki Ichikawa who supervised all matters relating to the English. The present translation is based largely upon the popular printed edition of the 20th year of Kan-ei , while older editions and ancient manuscripts have also been consulted. Of the total number of poems, 4, in all according to the Kokka Taikan Conspectus of National Poetry , 1, have been selected.

These have been re-arranged according to periods, and are further classified into those of individual poets, those forming special groups, and those whose authorship is unknown. Poets whose years extend over two periods are placed under one or other of the two for the sake of convenience.

The original numbering in the Kokka Taikan for each individual poem is given on the right side in square brackets, Roman numerals indicating the number of the book, Arabic the number of the poem. Titles and Prefatory Notes have often been abbreviated ; and Original Notes have been abridged or transferred to foot-notes, where also the more important alternative readings and interpretations are to be found.

In writing personal names, the conjunctive particle, no , so frequently introduced in Japanese between the surname and the given name, is omitted; thus, Kakinomoto Hitomaro instead of Kakinomoto no Hitomaro.

In the case of animals, plants, clothes, etc. In all cases dates, unless otherwise mentioned, refer to the Christian era, but A. The names of months are sometimes translated. The Biographical Notes are given according to the order in which the poets are arranged in the translation.

Only the more important offices which they held are mentioned, their court ranks being omitted. The Anthology reflects Japanese life and civilization of the 7th and 8th centuries, and not only does it record the indigenous thoughts and beliefs, but also touches, even if only casually, upon Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism imported from the continent.

It embraces and harmonizes both patrician and plebeian elements, and reveals the brilliance of city life side by side with the charm of the country-side. It forms a happy contrast that many sovereigns and members of the imperial family are represented in the Anthology, together with a great number of excellent works by humble and nameless poets. That no less than poems in the rude dialect of eastern Japan should be grouped together at two different places, is an unparalleled phenomenon in- the ancient anthologies of the Orient.

These provincial poems consist not only of occasional and extempore pieces, but of what appear to be the then current folk-songs, altered or recast in the course of transmission from place to place ; and there may also well be a few by city poets who composed them in imitation of the rustic style. It is to be noted that the strain of folk-song is also frequently encountered in the works, especially in the amatory verse, of some urban singers.

The prevailing atmosphere is happy, bright and peaceful. Frontier-guards departing for distant shores pledge their loyalty to the Throne and frankly record their personal loves and the sorrows of separation, but never a murmur of grudge or resentment. A sanguinary and martial spirit is conspicuous by its absence : not a single war-song is to be found in the whole collection, there being only one poem which contains a passage describing a battle.

No matter what may be the alleged allegorical virtue of the Chinese poem, no one will fail to discover in the Japanese piece an artistic masterpiece, combining sincerity with dignity, and elegance with pastoral simplicity—a charming revelation of the close intimacy and friendliness that characterized the relationship between sovereign and subject in ancient Japan.

In quality it stands inferior to none of the numerous Chinese collections of verse. It may, however, be safely said that the collection came into being some time during the late Nara Period—the latter half of the 8th century. Of course the entire 20 books were not compiled systematically, nor at the same time. Most likely a few of them were compiled early in the century, which served as a nucleus to which were added later—at least on two different occasions—the remaining books, while the entire collection was subjected to revision at frequent intervals before the Anthology assumed its present form.

There existed no definite principle of compilation. The standard of selection varied according to individual compilers ; nor was the manner of classification and arrangement uniform. Yakamochi, who was involved in various political incidents after reaching middle age, died in in adverse circumstances, and his clan itself declined steadily down to the end of the 9th century.

In the meantime, the vogue for Chinese prose and poetry took possession of court circles for over years from the late Nara Period to the early Heian Period, during which Japanese poetry was more or less neglected.

In addition, collections of the works of individual poets, miscellaneous papers, memoirs and diaries were drawn upon, as well as poems preserved only through oral transmission. Evidence is scattered throughout the Anthology of the efforts of the compilers to gather material from books and fragmentary documents, and other available sources, both public and private, old and new.

In some cases the compiler gives, together with a poem, its original source, reference matter, or even his personal opinion of the poem itself. Because the task of compilation was not completed, the Anthology contains here and there indications of the process of selection and the traces of the conscientious labours of the compilers, which constitute a unique and interesting feature not found in the later anthologies.

This book having long since been lost, nothing is known as to its form or the number of books into which it was divided, but from its title we may suppose the poems to have had some sort of classification. In these prefaces and notes are given the occasion, the date and place of composition, the source book or the manner of transmission, or anecdotes or legends concerning the authors or the poems.

All the prefaces and notes and dates are written in Chinese. In some of the books the letters and introductions in Chinese prose, sometimes quite lengthy, which were sent together with the poems, are included.

Even Chinese poems, though this is rare, find their way into these pages. The texts of the poems are transcribed in Chinese characters. The syllabaries called kana which came into being a century or so later, were still at an incipient stage in their development. Accordingly, in writing Japanese poems, Chinese characters were borrowed for their phonetic values, or they were used ideographically in their original sense.

Sometimes the first method was employed exclusively in copying a poem, but more often the two methods were used simultaneously. Besides the above two methods, Chinese characters were frequently used in playful and fantastic combinations like puzzles, to denote syllables or words. The problems arising from the difficulty of deciphering them in the last-mentioned instances, and more often from uncertainty as to the exact reading of the characters used ideographically, have been gradually solved in subsequent ages, but there remain certain words and passages of which the reading is still disputed among specialists.

The Shi King of Confucian canon, already mentioned, and the famous Chu Tsu , a collection of metrical compositions, compiled toward the end of the first century B. Later works, especially anthologies made in the 6th century, were widely read by Japanese.

Japanese verse is generally based on the combination of syllables in fives and sevens. It takes no account of the question of stress, pitch, or length of syllable ; nor is rhyme employed for poetic effect. This is an inevitable consequence of the phonetic system of the Japanese language, in which, as far as concerns its standard form, known since the beginning of history as the Yamato language, all syllables end in vowels, and there is no clear distinction between accented and unaccented, or long and short syllables, thus rendering impossible a metrical system based upon rhyme or accent.

Thus, the number of syllables, which serves usually as only one of the bases of metrical structure in other languages, has become the sole principle of Japanese prosody. Of the three, the kake kotoba is the simplest, being a form of word-play which, however, occupies in Japanese poetry a legitimate and important place. There are pillow-words which may be construed in more than one way, and there are some which invoke images extraneous and incongruous, confusing to the uninitiated reader.

But where they are used properly, and in a proper place, the effect is extremely felicitous. But the pillow-word is far more free, daring and imaginative. It is not necessarily an adjective, but may be an attributive form of a verb, a noun in the possessive or objective case, and so on, and considerable freedom and ingenuity is shown in its application.

These are just a few examples. While many of these pillow-words had been, as has already been stated, partly conventionalized by the 8th century and handed down to poets as stock phrases, their vitality had by no means been exhausted. More than 5 syllables in length, the introductory verse modifies the contents of the succeeding verse, usually by way of metaphor.

For instance, in Poem No. Here between the introductory verse and the main part of the poem there is no- connection whatever, either actual or logical, and their juxtaposition may appear unnatural and perplexing ; but such abrupt transition from one image to another, without destroying the latent association, is one of the characteristics of Japanese poetry, in which lies also the secret of the technique of modern haiku.

Without investigation of such points it is perhaps not possible to elucidate the psychological foundation and historical development of Japanese poetry. After having carried him aloft into an unsuspected realm, it suddenly but gently sets him down in another world Nos. The very absence of actual connection or co-relation between the modifier and the word modified is what makes this form of oblique comparison so effective. Upload Sign In Join.

Create a List. Download to App. Length: pages 5 hours. Description Dating from the 8th century and earlier, the Manyoshu is the oldest Japanese poetry anthology; it is also widely considered to be the best.

The 1, poems out of a total of more than 4, in this famous selection were chosen by a distinguished scholarly committee based on their poetic excellence, their role in revealing the Japanese national spirit and character, and their cultural and historical significance. The acclaimed translations artfully preserve the simplicity and direct quality of the originals, and encompass an enormous range of human emotions and experiences.

Text is in English only. Book Preview Poems from the Manyoshu. Includes bibliographical references.

A3 Start your free 30 days. Page 1 of 1. Interesting as being the first major collection of Japanese poetry. The quality of the individual poems varies from trite to powerful, but some are very effective.


1000 Poems from the Manyoshu: The Complete Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkokai Translation

This banner text can have markup. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. His versions, for all the singular devotion to scholarship they demonstrated, unfortunately were soon superseded by the work of the great generation of English Japanologists, notably that of Basil Hall Chamberlain Other discoveries have a broader applica- tion; the most important, probably, being that the Japanese language in the Manyoshu period had eight vowels instead of the present five, a fact of enormous linguistic significance though it does not affect the translations of the poems.


1000 Poems from the Manyōshū

The anthology is one of the most revered of Japan's poetic compilations. The precise significance of the title is not known with certainty. The collection is divided into twenty parts or books; this number was followed in most later collections. This does not mean that the poems and passages of the collection differed starkly from the scholarly standard in Yakamochi's time of Chinese literature and poetics. In other words, the collection contains the appeal of an art at its pristine source with a romantic sense of venerable age and therefore of an ideal order since lost. Of these, supporters of i can be further divided into a those who interpret the middle character as "words" koto no ha , lit.


1000 Poems from the Manyoshu : The Complete Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkokai Translation [Paperback]


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