Compiled in the eighth century during the Nara Period, the “Man’yoshu” (“Collection of 10,000 Leaves”) is the oldest anthology of domestic poetry. It includes the works of hundreds of poets — from emperors and military chiefs to farmers and beggars — who tackle such subjects as imperial demise, erotic longing, urban sophistication and a yearning for travel. Underpinning each piece are reflections on experiences of the natural world: “I loathe the two seas / of life and death,” reads one poem, “and so I long for the mountains / where tides never rise.” This book offers new translations and Hakudo Inoue’s photographs of seasonal landscape help add a dynamic touch of chemistry to the poetry.

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