Man’yōshū 万葉集

The Man’yōshū or the ‘Collection of a Myriad Leaves’ is the first, and longest, of Japan’s poetry anthologies. Modern editions contain a total of 4,536 waka, 4 Chinese poems and 22 passages of Chinese prose, organised into 20 ‘books’. The exact circumstances of its compilation remain shrouded in early Japanese history, but it seems clear that it was arranged into something approaching its modern form by Ōtomo no Yakamochi.

The collection displays a wider range of types of waka than is the case for later collections. There are 265 nagauta, 4,207 tanka and a handful of poems in other formats. After the Man’yōshū, the tanka was to dominate Japanese poetry until the development of the renga ‘linked verse’ form in the twelfth century.

Furthermore, unlike later collections, poems on a single topic do not dominate a single ‘book’, providing for greater variety, but less of a sense of organisation. Nevertheless, the Man’yōshū is probably the collection held in the highest esteem and regarded with the greatest affection in Japan today. Its poetry is felt to be fresh, direct and free of the complex word-play, allusions and restrictive rules which came to dominate later waka. Many of the poems cover topics and use imagery and language which were considered to be unacceptable by the court poets of later periods. Moreover, the social range of poets is much wider, ranging from members of the imperial family and higher nobility to conscript soldiers, although their poems may well have been re-worked by more sophisticated poets prior to inclusion.

Another unique feature of the Man’yōshū is the ‘public’ nature of many of its poems, many of which were clearly composed with an eye to performance at official court functions in commemoration of recent memorable events. Thus, we get mention of warfare, elegies to departed royalty and other topics recorded in verse. In later periods, while poetry was composed for public performance, such ‘official’ topics came to be regarded as unworthy of recording in waka.

While there are numerous named poets in the anthology, only one, Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, is today reckoned as being among Japan’s greatest. Other significant Man’yō poets are: Yamabe no Akahito, Yamanoe no Okura and Ōtomo no Yakamochi.

The following poems from Man’yōshū are on WakaPoetry.net:

Book I:

MYS I: 8
MYS I: 9
MYS I: 10
MYS I: 15
MYS I: 16
MYS I:18
MYS I: 29
MYS I: 30
MYS I: 34
MYS I: 31
MYS I: 51
MYS I: 54
MYS I: 63
MYS I: 65
MYS I: 74
MYS I: 78

Book II:

MYS II: 88
MYS II: 89
MYS II: 94
MYS II: 112
MYS II: 126
MYS II: 127
MYS II: 128
MYS II: 131
MYS II: 132
MYS II: 133
MYS II: 134
MYS II: 135
MYS II: 136
MYS II: 137
MYS II: 141
MYS II: 142
MYS II: 143
MYS II: 144
MYS II: 145
MYS II: 146
MYS II: 152
MYS II:153
MYS II: 158
MYS II: 171
MYS II: 172
MYS II: 173
MYS II: 174
MYS II: 175
MYS II: 176
MYS II: 177
MYS II: 178
MYS II: 179
MYS II: 180
MYS II: 181
MYS II: 182
MYS II: 183
MYS II: 184
MYS II: 185
MYS II: 186
MYS II: 187
MYS II: 188
MYS II: 189
MYS II: 190
MYS II: 191
MYS II: 192
MYS II: 193
MYS II: 199
MYS II: 200
MYS II: 201
MYS II: 202
MYS II: 217
MYS II: 218
MYS II: 219
MYS II: 220
MYS II: 221
MYS II: 222
MYS II: 223
MYS II: 224
MYS II: 225

Book III:

MYS III: 250
MYS III: 251
MYS III: 252
MYS III: 253
MYS III: 254
MYS III: 255
MYS III: 256
MYS III: 264
MYS III: 265
MYS III: 266
MYS III: 274
MYS III: 284
MYS III: 292
MYS III: 296
MYS III: 299
MYS III: 315
MYS III: 316
MYS III: 317
MYS III: 318
MYS III: 319
MYS III: 320
MYS III: 321
MYS III: 322
MYS III: 324
MYS III: 325
MYS III: 338
MYS III: 339
MYS III: 340
MYS III: 341
MYS III: 342
MYS III: 343
MYS III: 344
MYS III: 345
MYS III: 346
MYS III: 347
MYS III: 348
MYS III: 349
MYS III: 350
MYS III: 357
MYS III: 358
MYS III: 359
MYS III: 360
MYS III: 361
MYS III: 362
MYS III: 366
MYS III: 367
MYS III: 378
MYS III: 379
MYS III: 380
MYS III: 382
MYS III: 384
MYS III: 426
MYS III: 428
MYS III: 433
MYS III: 462
MYS III: 463
MYS III: 464
MYS III: 465
MYS III: 466
MYS III: 467
MYS III: 468
MYS III: 469

Book IV:

MYS IV: 492
MYS IV: 493
MYS IV: 494
MYS IV: 495
MYS IV: 496
MYS IV: 497
MYS IV: 498
MYS IV: 499
MYS IV: 501
MYS IV: 502
MYS IV: 503
MYS IV: 524
MYS IV: 531
MYS IV: 587
MYS IV: 588
MYS IV: 644
MYS IV: 651
MYS IV: 652
MYS IV: 675
MYS IV: 679
MYS IV: 680
MYS IV: 681
MYS IV: 682
MYS IV: 683
MYS IV: 684
MYS IV: 685
MYS IV: 686
MYS IV: 687
MYS IV: 688
MYS IV: 689
MYS IV: 700
MYS IV: 727
MYS IV: 741
MYS IV: 742
MYS IV: 743
MYS IV: 744
MYS IV: 745
MYS IV: 746
MYS IV: 747
MYS IV: 748
MYS IV: 749
MYS IV: 750
MYS IV: 751
MYS IV: 752
MYS IV: 753
MYS IV: 754
MYS IV: 755
MYS IV: 760
MYS IV: 776

Book V:

MYS V: 793
MYS V: 801
MYS V: 802
MYS V: 810
MYS V: 811
MYS V: 813
MYS V: 814
MYS V: 818
MYS V: 824
MYS V: 838
MYS V: 841
MYS V: 855
MYS V: 856
MYS V: 857
MYS V: 860
MYS V: 865
MYS V: 871
MYS V: 875
MYS V: 883
MYS V: 884
MYS V: 892
MYS V: 893
MYS V: 905

Book VI:

MYS VI: 907
MYS VI: 908
MYS VI: 909
MYS VI: 917
MYS VI: 918
MYS VI: 919
MYS VI: 920
MYS VI: 921
MYS VI: 922
MYS VI: 923
MYS VI: 924
MYS VI: 925
MYS VI: 926
MYS VI: 927
MYS VI: 928
MYS VI: 929
MYS VI: 930
MYS VI: 935
MYS VI: 936
MYS VI: 937
MYS VI: 957
MYS VI: 960
MYS VI: 971
MYS VI: 981
MYS VI: 982
MYS VI: 983
MYS VI: 1001
MYS VI: 1009
MYS VI: 1044
MYS VI: 1045
MYS VI: 1046
MYS VI: 1054
MYS VI: 1057
MYS VI: 1058

Book VII:

MYS VII: 1068
MYS VII: 1069
MYS VII: 1071
MYS VII: 1076
MYS VII: 1090
MYS VII: 1092
MYS VII: 1095
MYS VII: 1106
MYS VII: 1107
MYS VII: 1108
MYS VII: 1111
MYS VII: 1120
MYS VII: 1131
MYS VII: 1134
MYS VII: 1141
MYS VII: 1153
MYS VII: 1168
MYS VII: 1176
MYS VII: 1181
MYS VII: 1184
MYS VII: 1186
MYS VII: 1244
MYS VII: 1253
MYS VII: 1265
MYS VII: 1276
MYS VII: 1316
MYS VII: 1317
MYS VII: 1318
MYS VII: 1342
MYS VII: 1348
MYS VII: 1351
MYS VII: 1369
MYS VII: 1375
MYS VII: 1380
MYS VII: 1394
MYS VII: 1404
MYS VII: 1405
MYS VII: 1412

Book VIII:

MYS VIII: 1423
MYS VIII: 1424
MYS VIII: 1425
MYS VIII: 1426
MYS VIII: 1427
MYS VIII: 1431
MYS VIII: 1435
MYS VIII: 1446
MYS VIII: 1450
MYS VIII: 1460
MYS VIII: 1467
MYS VIII: 1473
MYS VIII: 1484
MYS VIII: 1498
MYS VIII: 1500
MYS VIII: 1538
MYS VIII: 1541
MYS VIII: 1556

Book IX:

MYS IX: 1666
MYS IX: 1682
MYS IX: 1695
MYS IX: 1714
MYS IX: 1730
MYS IX: 1738
MYS IX: 1739
MYS IX: 1740
MYS IX: 1741
MYS IX: 1747
MYS IX: 1748
MYS IX: 1759
MYS IX: 1764
MYS IX: 1765
MYS IX: 1777
MYS IX: 1800

Book X:

MYS X: 1814
MYS X: 1839
MYS X: 1869
MYS X: 1883
MYS X: 1889
MYS X: 1890
MYS X: 1891
MYS X: 1892
MYS X: 1895
MYS X: 1897
MYS X: 1908
MYS X: 1915
MYS X: 1916
MYS X: 1917
MYS X: 1918
MYS X: 1925
MYS X: 1940
MYS X: 1953
MYS X: 1973
MYS X: 1982
MYS X:1984
MYS X: 1994
MYS X: 2104
MYS X: 2161
MYS X: 2162
MYS X: 2163
MYS X: 2164
MYS X: 2165
MYS X: 2174
MYS X: 2177
MYS X: 2181
MYS X: 2194
MYS X: 2196
MYS X: 2219
MYS X: 2222
MYS X: 2233
MYS X: 2239
MYS X:2261
MYS X: 2262
MYS X: 2263
MYS X: 2265
MYS X: 2267
MYS X: 2268
MYS X: 2274
MYS X: 2275
MYS X: 2283
MYS X: 2294
MYS X: 2301
MYS X: 2327
MYS X: 2336
MYS X: 2337
MYS X: 2338
MYS X: 2350

Book XI:

MYS XI: 2353
MYS XI: 2355
MYS XI: 2357
MYS XI: 2401
MYS XI: 2417
MYS XI: 2468
MYS XI: 2472
MYS XI: 2480
MYS XI: 2488
MYS XI: 2504
MYS XI: 2505
MYS XI: 2538
MYS XI: 2540
MYS XI: 2578
MYS XI: 2592
MYS XI: 2615
MYS XI: 2642
MYS XI: 2643
MYS XI: 2649
MYS XI: 2692
MYS XI: 2729
MYS XI: 2753
MYS XI: 2707
MYS XI: 2750
MYS XI: 2766
MYS XI: 2816
MYS XI: 2817
MYS XI: 2824

MYS XI: 2825

MYS XI: 2832
MYS XI: 2833
MYS XI: 2836
MYS XI: 2839

Book XII:

MYS XII: 2907
MYS XII: 2996
MYS XII: 2997
MYS XII: 3009
MYS XII: 3059
MYS XII: 3072
MYS XII: 3093
MYS XII: 3182
MYS XII: 3191

Book XIII:

MYS XIII: 3295
MYS XIII: 3296
MYS XIII: 3315

Book XIV:

MYS XIV: 3352
MYS XIV: 3354
MYS XIV: 3361
MYS XIV: 3371
MYS XIV: 3373
MYS XIV: 3376
MSY XIV: 3387
MYS XIV: 3388
MYS XIV: 3404
MYS XIV: 3417
MYS XIV: 3424
MYS XIV: 3432
MYS XIV: 3435
MYS XIV: 3439
MYS XIV: 3440
MYS XIV: 3452
MYS XIV: 3459
MYS XIV: 3468
MYS XIV: 3472
MYS XIV: 3475
MYS XIV: 3480
MYS XIV: 3493
MYS XIV: 3498
MYS XIV: 3563
MYS XIV: 3570
MYS XIV: 3576

Book XV:

MYS XV: 3578
MYS XV: 3609
MYS XV: 3617
MYS XV: 3714
MYS XV: 3722
MYS XV: 3762
MYS XV: 3784

Book XVI:

MYS XVI: 3786
MYS XVI: 3787
MYS XVI: 3791
MYS XVI: 3792
MYS XVI: 3793
MYS XVI: 3794
MYS XVI: 3795
MYS XVI: 3796
MYS XVI: 3797
MYS XVI: 3798
MYS XVI: 3799
MYS XVI: 3800
MYS XVI: 3801
MYS XVI: 3802
MYS XVI: 3806
MYS XVI: 3814
MYS XVI: 3815
MYS XVI: 3816
MYS XVI: 3818
MYS XVI: 3825
MYS XVI: 3826
MYS XVI: 3835
MYS XVI: 3836
MYS XVI: 3840
MYS XVI: 3841
MYS XVI: 3852
MYS XVI: 3853
MYS XVI: 3854
MYS XVI: 3855
MYS XVI: 3860
MYS XVI: 3861
MYS XVI: 3862
MYS XVI: 3863
MYS XVI: 3864
MYS XVI: 3865
MYS XVI: 3866
MYS XVI: 3867
MYS XVI: 3868
MYS XVI: 3869
MYS XVI: 3872
MYS XVI: 3876
MYS XVI: 3883
MYS XVI: 3885

Book XVII:

MYS XVII: 3890
MYS XVII: 3891
MYS XVII: 3892
MYS XVII: 3893
MYS XVII: 3894
MYS XVII: 3895
MYS XVII: 3896
MYS XVII: 3897
MYS XVII: 3898
MYS XVII: 3899
MYS XVII: 3989
MYS XVII: 4007
MYS XVII: 4011
MYS XVII: 4012
MYS XVII: 4016
MYS XVII: 4017
MYS XVII: 4018
MYS XVII: 4021

Book XVIII:

MYS XVIII: 4079
MYS XVIII: 4101
MYS XVIII: 4102
MYS XVIII: 4103
MYS XVIII: 4104
MYS XVIII: 4105
MYS XVIII: 4106
MYS XVIII: 4107
MYS XVIII: 4108
MYS XVIII: 4109
MYS XVIII: 4111
MYS XVIII: 4137

Book XIX:

MYS XIX: 4139
MYS XIX: 4140
MYS XIX: 4141
MYS XIX: 4143
MYS XIX: 4148
MYS XIX: 4158
MYS XIX: 4171
MYS XIX: 4172
MYS XIX: 4175
MYS XIX: 4176
MYS XIX: 4188
MYS XIX: 4214
MYS XIX: 4215
MYS XIX: 4216
MYS XIX: 4221
MYS XIX: 4262
MYS XIX: 4290
MYS XIX: 4291
MYS XIX: 4292

Book XX:

MYS XX: 4322
MYS XX: 4326
MYS XX: 4327
MYS XX: 4337
MYS XX: 4339
MYS XX: 4341
MYS XX: 4342
MYS XX: 4343
MYS XX: 4352
MYS XX: 4360
MYS XX: 4361
MYS XX: 4362
MYS XX: 4372
MYS XX: 4387
MYS XX: 4395
MYS XX: 4398
MYS XX: 4399
MYS XX: 4400
MYS XX: 4408
MYS XX: 4409
MYS XX: 4410
MYS XX: 4411
MYS XX: 4412
MYS XX: 4425
MYS XX: 4426
MYS XX: 4427
MYS XX: 4428
MYS XX: 4429
MYS XX: 4430
MYS XX: 4431
MYS XX: 4433
MYS XX: 4448
MYS XX: 4456
MYS XX: 4468
MYS XX: 4469
MYS XX: 4476
MYS XX: 4491

'Simply moving and elegant'