Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ki no Tsurayuki
He was a son of Ki no Mochiyuki. His name as a waka poet appeared first around 890s. In 905 under the imperial order by Emperor Daigo, he was one of the four poets selected to compile the Kokin-wakashu. As a courtier he didn't have a fortune. Even when high courtiers requested him for his new waka, he didn't receive their political favor well. After some offices in Kyoto, he was appointed the provincial governer of Tosa province and stayed there from 930 till 935. Later he was presumably appointed the privincial governer of Suo province. It was recoreded he held a waka party (Utaai) at home in Suo.
He is well-known for his waka, and is counted as one of the 36 Kasen (三十六歌仙 lit. poet masters) selected by Fujiwara no Kinto . He was also known one of editors of Kokin-wakashu. He was presumably a sort of editor-in-chief, specially after the death of another editor, Ki no Tomonori, his cousin. Kokin-wakashu has two prefaces written in Japanese and Chinese. Tsurayuki wrote the Japanese one. His preface was the first critical essay on waka. He wrote its history from its mythological origin to his contemporary, grouped waka into six by genre, referred some major poets and give a bit harsh criticism to his precedances like Ariwara no Narihira .
Besides the Kokin-Wakashu and its preface, his major literally work was the Tosa nikki (Tosa diary) written in hiragana anonymously. At the beginning of this diary he disguised a woman but his writing suggested its real author was male. It details a trip in 935 returning to Kyoto from Tosa province to which he was appointed the provincial governer.
Tosa nikki was written using hiragana, written during a time when a man usually did not use 'uneducated' and 'feminine' hiragana and preferred Kanji. But he needed this way of expression because the centray theme of this diary was not his trip but his sorrow on a death of his daughter who died in Tosa. First her death was not mentioned and scenes of trip was described in a comical but decent way. On the course of writing the dead girl and sorrow of her absence was narated. Tosa nikki is the oldest remaining diary written in kana. It is an exceptionally well written work and has had a heavy influence on later diary-style works.
There is an anthology of his waka, Tsurayuki-shu. Presumably he compiled them by self. Some of his waka were compiled in the waka anthologies like Kokin-shu and other imperial ordered anthologies. In the three oldest imperial waka anthologies, he was the most favorite waka poets.
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