Tag Archives: Ōtomo no Tabito

MYS V: 793

A poem composed by Lord Ōtomo, Governor General of Dazai, on hearing some ill news.


yo no naka pa
munasiki mono to
siru toki si
yoyo masumasu
This world of ours
Is a fragile thing, indeed –
When I realise this
Ever ever greater
Is my sorrow!

Ōtomo no Tabito

MYS VI: 957

A poem composed when the officials of the government headquarters in Dazai had visited the palace at Kashii, and halted their mounts on the shore at Kashii on the way home, in the winter, Eleventh Month, Jinki 5 [729].


iza kodomo
kasipi no kata ni
sirotape no
sode sape nurete
asana tumitemu
Hey, fellows all!
On the tidelands of Kashii
Even white mulberry
Sleeves are soaked, so
Let’s gather greens for breakfast!

Ōtomo no Tabito

MYS V: 811

So, I composed in reply to her.


koto topanu
ki ni pa aritomo
kimi ga tanare no
koto ni siarubesi
No speech
Has a tree, yet
A glorious
Lord’s favourite
Zither will you certainly be!

The zither maid replied, ‘I thank you for your kind words. I am truly and humbly grateful.’ I swiftly awoke and moved by the words of the maiden in my dream, I could not remain silent, so I entrusted this zither to an official bound your way, that he might deliver it to you.

Sent by messenger on the 7th day of the Tenth Month Tenpyō 1 [645], to his Most Glorious Excellency of the Inner Palace Guards.

MYS V: 810

Poems respectfully presented by Ōtomo no Tabito, to accompany a Japanese zither made from wood taken from the top of a parasol tree growing on Yuishi in Tsushima:

I dreamed this zither transformed into a maiden who said to me, ‘I placed my roots in the care of the sacrd heights of a distant island; my trunk was dried by the peaceful light of the ninefold sun. Ever was I enveloped by the smoky haze drifting from the mountain streams, and beheld from afar the winds and the waves, finding myself between a tree and a goose. Yet, after a hundred years, I was afraid I would simply be left to rot away in a moat or a ditch somewhere, but by good fortune I met a talented craftsman, who shaped my wood into this meagre zither. My form may be coarse, and my sound grating, but I hope that I may rest, as my Lord’s zither, at his left hand.’ Then, she composed.


ika ni aramu
pi no toki ni kamo
kowe siramu
pito no piza no pe
wa ga makurakamu
When will
The day come that
I shall sing
With his lap
For my pillow?

SKKS X: 901

On coming up from Tsukushi, after finishing his posting as Governor General.


koko ni arite
tsukushi ya izuko
shira kumo no
tanabiku yama no
nishi ni arurashi
Here I am, yet
Where might Tsukushi be?
Clouds of white
Flutter ’cross the mountains
In the west-’tis where it lies, I’d say.

Major Councillor [Ōtomo no] Tabito