Ki no Tsurayuki

Ki no Tsurayuki
Ki no Tsurayuki by Kikuchi Yōsai.

Ki no Tsurayuki

Ki no Tsurayuki (紀 貫之) was a high ranking court nobleman of the Heian Period. Best known for his poetry and prose.

Between the years of 905 and 922AD he helped in the compilation of the Kokinshū, where he wrote the preface.1 He is also known to have devised the list known as the Six Poetic Geniuses, a list of six poets who were seen as the best poets of the Heian Period.2

In 930AD he was appointed the Governor of Tosa Province, in Shikoku.

However, his most notable achievement was the creation of his Diary known as the Tosa Nikki, which he wrote in 935AD. His Diary recounts his 55 day day journey home the the capital of Kyoto. The writing style is interesting as he writes under the persona of a woman, and so only writes phonetically (ie. in Kana) as this was known as the ‘women’s language.’ Due to this he refers to himself in the 3rd person through the text.

He died in 946AD,1 and was the father of Ki no Tokibumi.3

Poems of his were included in the Wakan rōeishū.4

Footnotes

1. Porter, W.N. (1981) ”The Tosa Diary by Ki no Tsurayuki”. Singapore: Tuttle Publishing.
2. MacMillan, P. (2018) ”One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse”. St. Ives: Penguin Classics.
3. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
4. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.

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