Japanese poetry, Mythology

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Japanese poetry is poetry of or typical of Japan, or written, spoken, or chanted in the Japanese language, which includes Old Japanese, Early Middle Japanese, Late Middle Japanese, and Modern Japanese, and some poetry in Japan which was written in the Chinese language or the ryūka written in Ryukyuan: it is possible to make a more accurate distinction between Japanese poetry written in Japan or by Japanese people in other languages versus that written in the Japanese language by speaking of Japanese-language poetry. Much of the literary record of Japanese poetry begins when Japanese poets encountered Chinese poetry during the Tang Dynasty (although the Chinese classic anthology of poetry,


According to Japanese mythology, poetry began, not with people, but with the celestial deities, the goddess Izanami and the god Izanagi. They were said to have walked around the world pillar, and encountered each other. The goddess spoke first, saying the following verse:

What joy beyond compare
To see a man so fair!

The male god, angry that the female had spoken first told her to go away and return later. When they again met, the male god spoke first, saying the following verse:

To see a woman so fair—
What joy beyond compare!

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