Manyoshu” is thought to be the oldest surviving anthology of Japanese poetry. It consists over 4,500 poems in 20 volumes(books).”Man” means “ten-thousand”, “yo” means “leaves( of words)”, and “shu” means “compilation”.
20 books were not compiled at the same time. It is thought that few books of “Manyoshu” were compiled at first and all books were finally compiled in Nara period(710-794) by “Otomo no Yakamochi”. He was the governor and famous for his poems which are appeared in Manyoshu.
It has wide variety of poems, not only poems related to the imperial court but peasants’ poems, soldiers’ poems, and other anonymous people’s poems. Flowers, animals, people and nature in ancient Japan appear in Manyoshu poetries. And we can see a lot of ancient Japanese people’s life.