Kiyohara no Motosuke

Kiyohara no Motosuke
Kiyohara no Motosuke in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu.

Kiyohara no Motosuke

Kiyohara no Motosuke (清原 元輔) was a Heian Period poet living between 908 and 990AD. He was the grandson of Kiyohara no Fukayabu,1 and was the father of Sei Shonagon.13

During his life he served in various provinces, and later was given the role of Nashitsubo no Gonin and holding that postion he helped compile the Gosenshū13 and write literary critiques on the Man’yōshū.1

We can find over 100 of his poems inside the Imperial Waka Anthologies, as well as in a large private collection.

He is listed as one of the Thirty Six Poetic Geniuses and one of his poems (No.42) can be found in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu and goes as follows:1

Japanese text2
Romanized Japanese1
English translation1
katami ni sode o
nami kosaji to wa
Wringing tears from our sleeves,
did we not pledge never to part,
not even if the waves engulfed
the Mount of Forever-Green Pines -
what caused such a change of heart?


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.
3. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.

Nashitsubo no Gonin
Ki no Tokibumi * Kiyohara no Motosuke * Minamoto no Shitagō * Ōnakatomi no Yoshinobu * Sakanoue no Mochiki

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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