A Translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu
The Ogura Hyakunin Isshu is one of Japan's most quoted and illustrated works, as influential to the development of Japanese literary traditions as The Tale of Genji and The Tales of Ise. The text is an anthology of one hundred waka poems, each written by a different poet from the seventh to the middle of the thirteenth century, which is when Fujiwara no Teika, a renowned poet and scholar, assembled the collection. The book features poems by high-ranking court officials and members of the imperial family, and despite their similarity in composition, they involve a wide range of emotions, imagery, and themes, from frost settling on a bridge of magpie wings to the continuity of the imperial line.
Peter McMillan's poetic translation captures the original emotions of these poems. They are accompanied by calligraphic versions in Japanese and line drawings depicting the individual poets, while explanatory notes place the poems in context. An appendix includes both the poems' Japanese and romanized versions, making this edition of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu both a superior introduction to Japan and its special lyric tradition and an excellent textbook for the study of Japanese language and literature.
"A new translation of one of Japan's most famous poetry collections." — Donald Richie, Japan Times
""[This] excellent new translation... reveals the vivid emotions that have kept the heart of the collection beating all this time." — Andrew Monahan, TIME Magazine, Asia Edition
"A beautiful book." — Sue Standford, Japanese Studies
"These translations are themselves poems, born from the originals. And that is precisely why they are so valuable. To read the originals in tandem with the translations makes one feel in the presence of a treasure. For contemporary Japanese readers this translation provides a joy hitherto unknown." — Masayo Koike, Weekly Asahi
"An attractive volume of the Hyakunin Isshu containing all the essentials: an appealing translation, plus the originals." — Complete Review
"Peter McMillan's translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu has restored the importance and beauty of a collection of poetry too often dismissed as merely 'pretty.' This is by far the best translation to date." — Donald Keene, Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and University Professor Emeritus at Columbia University
Foreword by Donald Keene
Appendix: The Colors of the Flower: Poem 9 as an Example of Code Language and Multiplicity of Meanings in Waka
Afterword by Eileen Kato
Notes on the Poems
Notes on the Poets
Waka and Romanized Transliteration of Waka
Winner of the Donald Keene Center Special Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature and Special Cultural Translation Prize from the Japan Society of Translators in Japan