Ki no Tsurayuki's ‘Japanese Preface’ introduced the Kokin waka shū ‘Collected Japanese Verse, Ancient and Modern’ (ca. 905) with an account of the tradition of ‘verse in Japan’ (大和歌 Yamato uta) as ancient, venerable, expressively rich and nuanced.  Its defense of Japanese poetry, like that of its partner ‘Chinese Preface’ (真名序 Mana jo), nevertheless echoes Chinese precedent.  Our selection is the Kana jo's opening.

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