Compare and Contrast of Two Poems from The Manyoshu

Comparing Kakinomoto no Hitomaro’s leaving Iwami and Lady Otomo of Sakanoue’s the wife of Isonokami.

In the poem leaving Iwami, Hitomaro describes the journey he has to make from his homeland of Iwami to the land beyond the mountains. The author gives a descriptive image of the countryside in which is left behind and the view of the mountainous landscape that is on the journey. In the wife of Isonokami, the author is left wondering about the status of the exiled prince.

The themes of the two poems are totally different. In the first poem, leaving Iwami, the author is talking about departing from home. The poem describes a journey that has to be made while leaving behind loved ones. In the poem, the wife of Isonokami, the author describes the exile status of the prince of Furu. The theme here is more political and describes the leadership and social status of the individuals in the poem.

The characters represented in the poems are also different in the poem the wife of Isonokami, the main character is a prince who has been exiled from the homeland. Leaving Iwami presents the author as the main character that has to leave the homeland to some destination that is less familiar to him. The clan is also mentioned and this is just to support the setting of the poem.
The settings of the poems have a slight difference. The wife of Isonokami is set in the province side of the country that has a prince as a leader. The author states, “… Accepting our sovereign order, to the province of Tosa…” this gives the preview of the location of the author at the time of writing the poem. In the poem leaving Iwami, the author vividly describes the location for instance; the writer states that “… On Takatsuno Mountain, In Iwami…” this gives the reader a preview of the location of the poet at the time of writing.

Both poems have applied a great use of imagery in the language that the writers have used. A clear descriptive image is presented by the author to illustrate the point that the author is describing. For instance, in the wife of Isonokami, the writer states that “… of feeble arms, TIED With a rope-like a horse, surrounded with a bow and arrow like a deer…” this description gives the image prince that has to be exiled from the community. In leaving Iwami, the author describes clearly the location of Iwami giving the audience the panoramic picture of the location.
The two poems have used a simple and descriptive language which gives the poems a lot more beautiful. When performed in an audience, understanding the idea of the poets would not be an issue. This is because the writers have chosen a simple and easy to understand narrative style for the poems. The narration makes the theme of the poems easy to grasp and understand.


Cited works
The Norton Anthology of World Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2009. Print.