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Tomo No Yakamochi

(718?-785). The last major poet in and reputed compiler of the Man’yōshū, the earliest extant anthology of Japanese verse. His 479 poems comprise some 10 percent of the entire collection, and its last four books consist of his poetic diary. Yakamochi used traditional—at times even old-fashioned—styles, forms, and language. His vast-ranging work also had new qualities that became characteristic of Japanese poetry in later centuries—sophisticated wit, sensitivity to delicate nuances of feeling, and a narrowed focus on man as the center of a restricted world. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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