Man’yoshu Symposium in Tokyo

Originally written for the Vol.5-No.5 edition (July 1, 2011) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

On Sunday, July 10th, the Man’yoshu symposium “Yamato to Koshi: Exploring the Poetic Sentiment of Otomono Yakamochi” will be held in Le Theatre Ginza in Tokyo. This event is the result of a cooperative effort between Nara Prefecture and Toyama Prefecture, both of which have a relationship with Man’yoshu poetry.

Man’yoshu is the oldest anthology of Japanese poetry, and contains 4,516 poems over 20 volumes. The area where the most poems take place is Nara. However, Toyama Prefecture can claim the poet Otomono Yakamochi, who wrote 223 poems while governing Etchu Province (present-day Toyama Prefecture) from the year 746 to 751. Yakamochi went on to compose a total of 473 poems, but with about half of them having been composed in Etchu Province, the period of time he spent there is considered to have been influential on his unique style.

At the Tokyo symposium, there will be lectures, readings, and performances of traditional Japanese court music. The panel discussion (“A tribute to the homeland”) will feature the Governors of Nara and Toyama Prefectures, Shogo Arai and Takakazu Ishii, respectively. There will also be displays promoting tourism in Nara and Toyama, and local products will be for sale.

In Toyama, the Man’yoshu symposium serves as an event to anticipate the opening of a Toyama Prefectural literature center, scheduled to open next year. It will be a resource for literature inspired by Toyama’s nature and geography, and will also feature film, manga, and anime. Of course, there will be many displays and exhibits related to Man’yoshu poetry, and the hope is that visitors will be able to feel Man’yoshu’s connection to the present day.

Source (article and photo): Toyama Just Now

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