About the Yakamochi Medal
The Manyoshu, the earliest anthology of Japanese poetry, has been read and reread for around 1300 years. It contains over 4500 poems written by the imperial household and nobility as well as nameless, ordinary people, and each poem still deeply moves us readers in the modern era.
Otomo no Yakamochi, who was very involved in the compiling of the Manyoshu, was appointed governor of Etchu Province (now Toyama Prefecture) in 746, and spent the next 5 years writing many splendid poems. The grandiose and beautiful yet sometimes harsh environment and the changes of the scenery following the seasons imparted Yakamochi with new emotions, diｆｆerring from what he knew in the capital.
The poems composed in Etchu Province by Yakamochi and his entourage as well as local folk songs from Etchu Province are collectively called “Etchu Manyo,” and they are the point of origin for “hometown literature” born in Toyama.
To promote this “hometown literature,” Toyama Prefecture established the Koshinokuni Museum of Literature in 2012 and in 2017, to celebrate the 1300th anniversary of Otomo no Yakamochi’s birth by honoring a poet with outstanding literary achievements from around the world, Toyama Prefecture created the Yakamochi Medal. The creation of this literary prize is hoped to help promote the beauty of Otomo no Yakamochi’s poems and Etchu Manyo to the world, and to contribute to the creation of a spiritually rich life to people in Japan and abroad.