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The collection of ten thousand leaves

The Manyoshu or 'Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves' is an anthology of ancient Japanese poems compiled during the Nara imperial era in Japan. The Manyoshu is often referred to as the oldest anthology of Japanese poetry and the era is regarded as a high point of Japanese poetry.

In this blog by a Japanese language teacher, Emi Sakude, she introduces this topic because the new Japanese imperial era name 'Reiwa' which starts on May 1st 2019, has been inspired by this anthology.

Read this blog and learn some Japanese for free at JOI online language school. Watch the video to listen to Japanese pronunciation and learn new vocabulary and Kanji from the text.








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In April the new Gengo (or Imperial era name) was announced. There are a lot of people excited about the start of the new Imperial era. On May 1st the era will change from Heisei to Reiwa. And this name 'Reiwa' was selected from the Man'yōshū (8th century anthology of Japanese poetry).

The Man'yōshū was completed during the latter part of the Heian Era and is the oldest anthology of poetry in Japan. Over 4500 poems and songs were collected and organized into 20 scrolls in all. And since many of the songs were recited at banquets, many references to food appear within it. It is also known as the oldest Japanese recipe book as well. It includes ways to prepare food of course, as well as scenes where someone imagines someone while eating food or reciting a poem about the catching of fish or gathering of herbs while thinking of someone.

The sentiment of preparing food while thinking of someone has not changed from long ago until even today. The Manyoshu from which the word Reiwa has come from feels closer than ever. Thanks to the new imperial era name, publications related to the Manyoshu have become very popular. I think I would like to read some as well.

万葉集(まんようしゅう)  Man'yōshū; 8th century anthology of Japanese poetry

選定(せんてい)  choice; selection

日本最古(にほんさいこ)  the oldest in Japan.

文化施設(ぶんかしせつ) cultural facilities (art galleries, tea rooms, etc.)

宴(うたげ)の席(せき)  a banquet party

身近(みじか)に  near one, close to one

おかげで thanks to;owing to


Hajimemashite! I am Sakude Emi. I live in Osaka, Japan's second largest city, with my daughters, son and my Brazilian husband. My hobby is cooking, especially dishes from around the world.

My husband and I often talk about how much misunderstanding there is in the world between individuals and between nations. We feel it is these misunderstandings that block smooth human relations. I would like to do what I can to unravel these knots of misunderstanding.

If there is anything you'd like to ask me, even if it's not connected to learning Japanese, please feel free. Let's do our best together. Ganbarou

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