The Poet Hitomaro Artist: Konoe Nobutada (Japanese, 1565–1614)


Asian Art

Not on view

Kakinomoto no Hitomaro is considered to be a saint of Japanese poetry. Little is known about him beyond stories from poems attributed to him and about him in the Man’yōshū, the oldest Japanese poetry anthology, compiled around 760 C.E. No contemporary portrait of Hitomaro survives, and visual renderings of him require an artist’s imagination. This portrait and the calligraphy are by Konoe Nobutada, a high-ranking court official who lived nearly nine hundred years after Hitomaro. The blunt, scant brushstrokes that make up Hitomaro’s body also form the kanji characters for his name, though they are not easy to discern. The face is depicted in the delicate lines characteristic of traditional portraiture. Hitomaro’s poem at the top reads, “Do I have to sleep alone through the long nights, nights long like the dragging tail of a mountain pheasant?”


Hanging scroll: ink on paper


with mounting: 63 3/4 × 19 7/8 in. (162 × 50.5 cm)
without mounting: 30 13/16 × 14 15/16 in. (78.2 × 38 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Rosemarie and Leighton R. Longhi, B.A. 1967

Accession Number



Momoyama period (1573–1615)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Yabumoto Soshiro Collection, Tokyo until 1973; Leighton R. Longhi, and Rosemarie Longhi, New York; gift in 2012 to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
Object copyright
Additional information


Keichō 12 2 8 (慶長)

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