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(662 - 710 / Japan)

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.

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As Autumn Mountains

As autumn mountains
Tinged with scarlet were you, maiden,
A pliable bamboo,
Supply bending, lady,
Of what
Were you thinking?
A rope of hemp
Should stretch your life long;
The dew

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