Fujiwara no Toshiyuki

Hear this tale on Episode 76 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.

Fujiwara no Toshiyuki
Fujiwara no Toshiyuki in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu.

Fujiwara no Toshiyuki

Fujiwara no Toshiyuki (藤原 敏行) was a member of the Fujiwara Clan who died in 9011/907AD2.

During his lifetime, serving under four Emperors, and was known for his poetic talents as well as being a celebrated caligrapher. In regards to his poetry, we can find 29 of them in the Imperial Anthologies (including the Kokinshū2) and a private collection. He was also listed as one of the Thirty Six Poetic Geniuses.1

In 897AD he was given the position of Captain of the Imperial Guard of the Right.1

One of his poems is included in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (No.18) and goes as follows:

Fujiwara no Toshiyuki
Toshiyuki from the Thirty Six Poetic Geniuses.

Japanese text3
Romanized Japanese1
English translation1
Suminoe no
kishi ni yoru nami
yoru sae ya
yume no kayoiji
hitome yokuran
Unlike the waves that approach
the shores of Sumiyoshi Bay,
why do you avoid the eyes of others,
refusing to approach me-
even on the path of dreams?


1. MacMillan, P. (2018) ”One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse”. St. Ives: Penguin Classics.
2. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
3. Suzuki, H. et al. (1997) ”Genshoku: Ogura Hyakunin Isshu”. Tokyo: Bun’eidō.

Thirty Six Poetic Geniuses
Lady Ise * Yamabe no Akahito * Ariwara no Narihira * Ki no Tomonori * Sarumaru Taifu * Ono no Komachi * Fujiwara no Kanesuke * Fujiwara no Atsutada * Fujiwara no Toshiyuki * Minamoto no Muneyuki * Minamoto no Shitagō * Kiyohara no Motosuke * Sakanoue no Korenori * Ōnakatomi no Yoshinobu * Fujiwara no Okikaze * Fujiwara no Asatada

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