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date: 19 August 2019

Tachibana no Hayanarilocked

(b Japan, ?ad 778; d 842).
  • Cecil H. Uyehara


(b Japan, ?ad 778; d 842).

Japanese government official and calligrapher. Together with Emperor Saga and the Buddhist monk Kūkai, he is regarded as one of the Sanpitsu (Three Brushes) calligraphy masters of the early Heian period (794–1185) who played an important role in the introduction, diffusion and revered status of Chinese culture and calligraphy styles. He was born into an aristocratic family of government ministers, the son of either Tachibana no Irusue or Tachibana no Kiyotomo, and cousin of the emperor. He went to China in 804 and, to judge from a historical record, he was acquainted with Kūkai, who was in China at the same time. They both returned to Japan in 806. Hayanari rose only slowly in the imperial government, and in 842 he was banished to Izu Province (now part of Shizuoka Prefect.) for his alleged involvement in a dispute over imperial succession but died en route. A decade after his death he was posthumously upgraded in court rank, and after another decade his spirit was ‘returned’ to Kyoto. He was deified 370 years later. The Sanpitsu are said to have been accorded their cognomen for creating the calligraphies for plaques over the doors in the Daidairi (the palace complex), Kyoto. Several calligraphies have been attributed to Hayanari, but none has been authenticated. The best-known work attributed to him is the scroll ...

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Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan, 9 vols (Tokyo and New York, 1983), suppl. (Tokyo and New York, 1986)