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Origin[]

416px-YoshiOldwoman

Ono no Komachi as an old woman, a woodcut by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

Ono no Komachi was a Japanese waka poet, one of the Rokkasen—the Six best Waka poets of the early Heian period. She was renowned for her unusual beauty, and Komachi is today a synonym for feminine beauty in Japan. She also counts among the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals. The place of Komachi's birth and death is uncertain. According to one tradition, she was born in what is now Akita Prefecture, daughter of Yoshisada, Lord of Dewa. Her social status is also uncertain. She may have been a low-ranking consort or a lady-in-waiting of an emperor, possibly Emperor Ninmyō. As a poet, Komachi specialized in erotic love themes, expressed in complex poems. Most of her waka are about anxiety, solitude or passionate love. She is the only female poet referred to in the preface of the Kokin Wakashū, which describes her style as "containing naivety in old style but also delicacy".

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