Kokinshu and History

The Kokinshu consists of:
20 volumes and more than a thousand poems; was the first anthology of Japanese poetry to be published at the command of the imperial dynasty

The Kokinshu focuses on:
major Japanese poets of the middle of the ninth century, including the celebrated Ariwara no Narihira and Ono no Komachi

The Kokinshu tried to:
Restore Japanese national culture to greatness

What two major themes were the focus of the Kokinshu:
Love and the seasons

Tanka
a distant ancestor the Haiku; 5 lines; 5-7-5-7-7 syllables

Choka
long poem consisting of five-and seven syllable-lines in alternation

The principle editor of the new anthology and the author of its Japanese preface:
Ki no Tsurayuki (826-946); the Kokinshu contains 102 of his poems

The six poetic principles:
persuasion, description, comparison, evocative imagery, elegance, and celebration

Which books cover Spring?
Books I and II

Which book covers the summer?
Book III

Which books cover Autumn?
Book IV and V

Which book covers the Winter?
Book VI

Which books cover occasional subjects and themes? What are they?
Books VII-X; ceremonial greetings, themes of parting, themes of travel, and loosely collected “wordplays” in which the clever use of language takes precedence over the content.

Which books cover love?
XI-XV

Which book deals with grief?
XVI

Which book deals with non-tanka poems and miscellaneous poems?
-Misc.: XVII and XVIII
-XIX: non-tanka form
-XX: poems used at court for rituals and religious ceremonies

During what period was the Kokinshu written?
Heian; c. 905