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Early Women Writers

Ono no Komachi



Ono no Komachi


Heian-kyo (modern day Kyoto)


9th c


Ono no Komachi is famous in Japanese literature for both her work as poetess and as a literary subject. She is anthologized in the first imperial anthology, the Kokin Wakashu, where she is included in the Rokkasen, or 'six poetic geniuses, and is remembered today by her inclusion in the Hyakunin Isshu. Legends of Ono no Komachi have eclipsed her historical biography. Though it is known she served at court, her birthplace remains a subject of debate; the most prominent theory suggests she was born in Dewa -- modern Yamagata and Akita prefectures. [Source:Mulhern, Chieko Irie. Japanese Women Writers: a Bio-critical Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994.]





Editions and Translations

McCullough, Helen Craig, tr. Kokin Wakashu: The First Imperial Anthology of Japanese Poetry. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1985. ; Fischer, Felice. The Collected Poems of Ono no Komachi. Master's thesis, Columbia University, 1967. ; Sato, Hiroaki. Japanese Women Poets: An Anthology. New York: Routledge, 2015.

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