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Ono no Komachi
Portrait of Ono no Komachi

Ono no Komachi (834–880) is the legendary beauty of Japan, comparable to the Chinese Yang Kuei-fei. She was the daughter of Yoshisada, Lord of Dewa. She is supposed to have died old, ugly and a beggar, but this is a legend, perpetuated by two of the finest Noh plays. She is certainly one of Japan’s “six greatest poets.” Her poems, with their complex meanings, are perfect examples of Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity. Komachi’s work is featured in Jane Hirshfield’s The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Onono Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan. (updated 6/2010)

AGNI has published the following work:

“Following the roads”
by Ono no Komachi
Translated from the Japanese by Kenneth Rexroth
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