Gosen Wakashū

Gosen Wakashū
Gosen Wakashū. Fragment of the “Tenpuku 2” manuscript written by Fujiwara no Teika.

Gosen Wakashū

The Gosen Wakashū (後撰和歌集, Later Collection of Japanese Poems), often abbreviated to the Gosenshū, was a Japanese compendium of poetry and the second of the official Imperial Anthologies.


The anthology was created under the orders of Emperor Murakami (r.946-967) and though the completion date is unsure it is thought to perhaps have been around 955. The compilation was undertaken by the five members of the Nashitsubo no Gonin. These being Ōnakatomi no Yoshinobu, Kiyohara no Motosuke, Minamoto no Shitagō. Ki no Tokibumi and Sakanoue no Mochiki.

At the age of 26, Fujiwara no Koretada was chosen as a superintendant of the editorial commitee for the Gosenshū.3


In total there are 1426 poems inside 20 books and the collection was to serve as a supplimentary to the earlier Kokinshū.

None of the poems are by the compilers of the work, with all 219 poets included being from the late 9th and early 10th centuries.1

Many poems inside answer each other as a form of poetic dialogue and many include prose notes detailing the circumstances in which they were composed.2

Poets Included

PoetAmount of Poems
Ariwara no Narihira-
Ariwara no Yukihira-
Fujiwara no Kanesuke-
Fujiwara no Tadahira7
Harumichi no Tsuraki2
Ki no Tsurayuki-
Lady Ise-
Minamoto no Hitoshi4
Minamoto no Tōru2
Ono no Komachi-
Oshikōchi no Mitsune2-


1. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.
2. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
3. MacMillan, P. (2018) ”One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse”. St. Ives: Penguin Classics.

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