Emperor Yōzei

Emperor Yōzei
Emperor Yōzei in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu.

Emperor Yōzei

Emperor Yōzei (陽成天皇) was the 57th Emperor of Japan living from 868-949AD and reigning from 876-884AD.1


He was the eldest son of the previous Emperor Seiwa and was nephew to Fujiwara no Mototsune. He had a son known as Prince Motoyoshi who was a famous poet and lover.1


He is known to have been an extravagant ruler and lived in excess. He is also known to have murdered a courtier with his own hands. He was later forced to abdicate in 884 by his uncle Mototsune in favor of Emperor Kōkō.1


After his ‘retirement’ he was host to many poetry competitions and took a very keen interest in waka.1

In total we only find one of his poems in the Imperial Anthologies as well as a poem (No.13) in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu which goes as follows1:

Japanese text2
Romanized Japanese1
English translation1
Tsukubane no
mine yori otsuru
koi zo tsumorite
fuchi to narinuru
Just as the Minano River
surges from the peak
of Mount Tsukuba
so my love cascades
to make deep pools.


1. MacMillan, P. (2018) ”One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse”. St. Ives: Penguin Classics.
2. Suzuki, H. et al. (1997) ”Genshoku: Ogura Hyakunin Isshu”. Tokyo: Bun’eidō.

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