Why were those poems composed in Dazaifu?
There are about 4500 poems in the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry “Man'yoshu”. Among them there are about 320 poems composed in Dazaifu and Tsukushi! Why were those poems composed in Dazaifu?
Dazaifu had an important role of welcoming foreign delegates so many high ranking officials were transferred there. Well educated people were gathered there to be able to exchange Chinese poems and calligraphies with foreign delegates. Moreover, Dazaifu was also a hub for people coming and going to the main land so intellectuals such as Ganjin, Saicho and Kukai also stayed there. Thus, Dazaifu was a most flourishing place for exchanging cultures.
A new cultural tradition, composing a poem while observing a plum tree that had been brought from the Tang Dynasty, was also born here. Along with a story of Sugawara-no-Michizane, even now plum tree blossoms are admired by people in Dazaifu.
From poems recorded in Man'yoshu,
We can get to know people who were there in Dazaifu at that time.
- ◎Public servants who enjoyed seasonal sceneries and sake.
- ◎Soldiers who had responsibility to protect Dazaifu but missed their home and family far away.
- ◎Officials who missed the Imperial court and envoys who were going to the Silla dynasty.
- ◎People who were grieving at parting with their precious ones to go back to the capital in Nara.