Manyoshu , the oldest anthology 2018/06/03

Manyoushu was said to be compiled by Otomo Yakamochi who was one of the greatest poets at that time.

Manyoshu held over 4500 poems during early 7th century to mid 8th century. The last poem in Manyoshu was made by Yakamochi in January 759.

Otomo famijy had been supporting Royal family from the beginning of the regime with strong military power, however gradually losing power at the court.

Yakamochi was the last influential person from the family who tried hard to reestablish the disappearing family but in vain.

Then, it is a great mystery why falling Yakamochi could be in the position of compiling Manyoshu, the biggest national project at that time.


Kokinshu was the first anthology compiled by the order from the Emperor at early 10th century, and New Kokinshu was another famous anthology made by the order from the Emperor at early 13th century. Both anthology were compiled mainly by Kino Tsurayuki and Fujiwara Teika respectively. Both poets were great and powerful but, again, the last influential men of the falling family.


Japanese culture has been always paying utmost grief and respect to the losers and falling families.

For example, after Japan-Russia war, most Japanese were warm and friendly with

more than 72000 Russian captives in 29 different places in Japan.

The winner, Japanese general Nogi paid utmost tribute against the loser, Russian general Stoessel at the meeting after the battle.


Such traditional Japanese culture might have played influential role in deciding a main compiler for Manyoshu.