Kakinomoto no Asomi Hitomaro
Biography of Kakinomoto no Asomi Hitomaro
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"
Hitomaro is famed for his long poems, such as "In the sea of ivy clothed Iwami", "The Bay of Tsunu", and "I loved her like the leaves." 19 of his chōka (or nagauta, "long poems") were included in the Man'yōshū and 75 or so tanka (or mijikauta, "short poems") were likewise selected. Many of his poems were written on the topics of public occasions; such as his "Lament for Prince Takechi", written as part of the mourning ceremonies for Takechi. Other poems were written on occasions in his life when he was particularly moved: parting from his wife, mourning for his wife, or on seeing a corpse.
Kakinomoto no Asomi Hitomaro Poems
On Seeing a Corpse on the Shore
On the sands of Sanuki's shore folk gather fine seaweed, and the eye never wearies of this fair land,
On the sea at Omi
On the sea at Ômi, Plovers fly the waves at dusk And with their cries My mind is turned
From uncountable Otsu.
From uncountable Ôtsu, she came and, On the day I met her, Glanced at her but briefly,
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. ...
On this autumn mountain
On this autumn mountain Tumbling yellowed leaves For just a moment Cease your scattering
Coarse woven cloth
Coarse woven cloth The beach at Fujie: Catching sea bass, A fisherman, is that what I'll seem?
A twist of folded grass
A twist of folded grass, your pillow, The only lodging on your journey; Whose husband, I wonder? Though in your land, forgotten
Jewelled seaweed, Province of Sanuki: Is it your nature that The sight of you will never sate?
On Leaving His Wife in Ihami (II)
By Kara's cape (what sea-babble Kara hears)
The sea at Kehi
The sea at Kehi Appears most tranquil, for As harvested wild rice
From the heights of Tsuno Mountain
In Iwami, From the heights of Tsuno Mountain, Even through the trees, My waving sleeves,
Eighty warriors, On Uji river, To the fish nets Drifting waves:
Distant as the heavens
Distant as the heavens, 'long lengthy country roads Filled with feeling have I come
By the sea in Iwami
By the sea in Iwami, On the shore at Tsuno, There is no beach, For folk to see;
As a mat of creepers
As a mat of creepers,
Is the sea at Iwami;
Amongst the mangled words of
Upon the reefs
Grows the algae thickly;
On the rocky shoreline,
Grows the jeweled seaweed;
Soft as jeweled seaweed