Otomo no Yakamochi

Creator Name: Otomo no Yakamochi
Creator Type: Literature / Science / Philosophy
Dates: c. 718 - 785
Language: Japanese

tomo no Yakamochi ( , c. 718 October 5, 785) was a Japanese statesman and waka poet in the Nara period. He is a member of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals (, sanjrokkasen). He was born into the prestigious tomo clan; his grandfather was tomo no Yasumaro and his father was tomo no Tabito. tomo no Sakanoue no Iratsume was his aunt.

Political life

The tomo clan were warriors and bureaucrats in the Yamato Court, and Yakamochi served as a provincial governor (, kokushi) in several provinces. Like his grandfather and father before him, Yakamochi was a well-known politician, and by Enryaku rose to the position of chnagon (), his highest bureaucratic position.

In 738, he met Udoneri, and in 740 at the behest of Emperor Shmu went to Dazaifu (Kysh) to suppress the rebellion of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu. In 745 he became a jgoika (). In July of the following year, he became governor of Etch Province, a post he lasted in until 751. By this time he was already the author of 220 waka. In 751 he was promoted to shnagon () and returned to the capital.

In 754 he was appointed military commander (, heibu shsuke), and the following year concerned himself with the garrison (, sakimori) at Nanba, a time that is described in the Sakimori Songs Collection in the Man'ysh. Yakamochi did not take part in the Tachibana no Naramaro rebellion (, tachibana no naramaro no ran). Instead, he conspired with Fujiwara no Yoshitsugu, Isonokami Yakatsugu and Saeki no Imaemishi to plot the assassination of Fujiwara no Nakamaro. Afterwards Yoshitsugu took sole responsibility for the affair, but due to suspicions about Yakamochi's involvement he was transferred to the governorship of Satsuma Province.

In 777 he rose to the governorship of Ise Province. According to the records of the Ise Shrine (, ise jing), he served in this post for about five years. In 780 he was promoted to councillor (, sangi). Fearing suspicion and banishment from the capital for aiding in Hikami no Kawatsugu's rebellion (, hikami no kawatsugu no ran), he remained quiet and was promoted to chnagon () in 783.

He died by drowning in Mutsu Province while attending to his concurrent post as shgun. Soon after his death, Fujiwara no Tanetsugu was assassinated; suspecting that Yakamochi was involved in the affair, his burial was denied and he was posthumously disgraced and excommunicated. His son was stripped of rank and forced into exile, and it was only in 806 that he regained his rank.

Poetic works

Yakamochi was one of the compilers of the Man'ysh, the first poetry anthology created in Japanese history, for which he not only wrote several poems but also transcribed, rewrote, and refashioned an unknown number of ancient poems and folklore. He was the most prolific and prominent writer of his time, and had a great influence on the Shika Wakash as well. The famous Gunka song Umi Yukaba used one of his most famous and outstanding poem as lyrics, and was considered Japan's second anthem during wartime.

He wrote a eulogy (banka) for Prince Asaka ( Asaka-no-miko).

See also

  • 8th century in poetry
  • Japanese poetry


  • This article is based on material from the equivalent article in the Japanese Wikipedia.

External links

  • Media related to tomo no Yakamochi at Wikimedia Commons
  • " (Collected works of Otomo Yakamochi; in Japanese)". Retrieved 2006-07-10.

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Asuka and Nara Literture

Asuka and Nara Literture

c. 542 - c. 784

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