13th-Century Manuscript of Fujiwara no Teika's Kenchu Mikkan Discovered in Kyoto

Rare 13th-century manuscript by renowned poet Fujiwara no Teika discovered, shedding new light on the influential Kokin Wakashu poetry anthology.

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13th-Century Manuscript of Fujiwara no Teika's Kenchu Mikkan Discovered in Kyoto

13th-Century Manuscript of Fujiwara no Teika's Kenchu Mikkan Discovered in Kyoto

In a noteworthy discovery, the original manuscript of Kenchu Mikkan, a 13th-century commentary on the Kokin Wakashu poetry anthology written by the esteemed poet Fujiwara no Teika, was found in April 2024 at the Reizei family's residence in Kyoto, where it had been preserved for approximately 800 years. The Kenchu Mikkan manuscript is considered an invaluable document for Kokin Wakashu studies, as it contains Teika's own interpretations, revisions, and expressions as a poet.

The manuscript was discovered in a wooden box labeled 'Kokindenju' (Transmission of teaching regarding the Kokin Wakashu). Experts confirmed that the manuscript was written by Teika himself, based on the characteristic calligraphy style and the presence of Teika's pen name and signature. The Reizei family, who are descendants of Teika, had been preserving the manuscript for generations.

Why this matters: The discovery of the Kenchu Mikkan manuscript is a momentous event in the field of Japanese literature and history. As an original work by Fujiwara no Teika, one of the most influential poets of the Kamakura period, this manuscript provides invaluable insights into the interpretation and study of the Kokin Wakashu, a seminal collection of Japanese poetry.

Scholars and experts in Japanese literature have praised the discovery as a national treasure-level find. "The Kenchu Mikkan manuscript is a priceless addition to our understanding of Fujiwara no Teika's work and the Kokin Wakashu," said Professor Hiroshi Yamada, a specialist in classical Japanese literature at Kyoto University. "It is a testament to the Reizei family's dedication in preserving this important piece of Japan's cultural heritage for centuries."

Key Takeaways

  • 13th-century Kenchu Mikkan manuscript by Fujiwara no Teika found in Kyoto.
  • Manuscript provides insights into Teika's interpretation of the Kokin Wakashu poetry.
  • Manuscript discovered in a box labeled 'Kokindenju' and verified by Teika's calligraphy.
  • Manuscript is a national treasure-level find, enhancing understanding of Teika's work.
  • Reizei family preserved the manuscript for around 800 years before its discovery.