Ki no Tsurayuki
Ki no Tsurayuki (紀 貫之, 872 – June 30, 945) was a Japanese author, poet and courtier of the Heian period. He is best known as the principal compiler of the Kokin Wakashū and as the author of the Tosa Diary (although the latter was published anonymously).
Tsurayuki was a son of Ki no Mochiyuki. In the 890s he became a poet of waka, short poems composed in Japanese. In 905, under the order of Emperor Daigo, he was one of four poets selected to compile the Kokin Wakashū, the first imperially-sponsored anthology (chokusen-shū) of waka poetry.
After holding a few offices in Kyoto, he was appointed the provincial governor of Tosa province and stayed there from 930 until 935. Later he was presumably appointed the provincial governor of Suo province, since it was recorded that he held a waka party (Utaai) at his home in Suo.
He is well known for his waka and is counted as one of the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals selected by Fujiwara no Kintō. He was also known as one of the editors of the Kokin Wakashū. Tsurayuki wrote one of two prefaces to Kokin Wakashū; the other is in Chinese. His preface was the first critical essay on waka. He wrote of its history from its mythological origin to his contemporary waka, which he grouped into genres, referred to some major poets and gave a bit of harsh criticism to his predecessors like Ariwara no Narihira.
Besides the Kokin Wakashū and its preface, Tsurayuki's major literary work was the Tosa Nikki (土佐日記) (Tosa Diary), which was written using kana. The text details a trip in 935 returning to Kyoto from Tosa province, where Tsurayuki had been the provincial governor.
Tale of Genji
Media related to Ki no Tsurayuki at Wikimedia Commons
- e-texts of Tsurayuki's works at Aozora bunko
- A Note on the English Translation: an example of his poem from the Hyakunin Isshu with seven different translations,
- Also see Primitive and Mediaeval Japanese Texts translated into English by F. V. Dickins. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1906. pp 379-391.