Rare poems turn up in Jimbocho bookstore

Mainichi Shimbun, Tuesday 4 May 1999

A seller of secondhand books in Tokyo's Jimbocho district has obtained a book containing two poetry collections copied by the noted poet and critic Fujiwara no Sadaie (1162-1241), the Mainichi has learned.

As the text in the book was handwritten by the poet, who is also known as Fujiwara no Teika, it has significant value equal to a government-designated Important Cultural Property, said Koichi Nakano, a professor at Waseda University.

According to experts, the volume is one of the oldest extant copies of the two poetry collections.

Sources say Takao Saito, president of the Gyokueido bookstore, bought the copy of the two collections in late March from a Tokyo art antiquities dealer because he understood its significance. He later put the volume on display at the bookstore with a price tag of 75 million yen.

Fujiwara no Sadaie, a leading scholar of his day, helped compile a famous anthology of classical poetry known as Shin Kokinshu.