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小野小町(Ono no Komachi)

Ono no Komachi was born in the year of Daidoh 4 (809 AC) in Kirino Kida of Dewa (present Akita and Yamagata regions).
She was born with talent and beauty, and is considered to be one of the Rokkasen (Six Poetic Geniuses), and Sanju Rokkasen (36 Immortals of Poetry) of the Heian Era. She is also said to be one of the three beauties of the world, along with Cleopatra of Egypt and Yang Guifei of China.
Komachi moved to Kyoto when she was 13 and started to serve the emperor when she was 16. Although the emperor himself loved to have such a talented and beautiful woman working for him, Komachi left Kyoto to go back to her hometown because she missed the place so much. In her final years, she started living in a cave called Iwayado, to escape the crowds in town. She spent those years writing poems and carving a wooden statue of herself  while lighting incense. She continued to live in the cave till the day she died when she was 92 years old.
Here in the Ono area, stories of Komachi have been passed down from generation to generation. The Komachi Festival is held in Ono every year on the second Sunday of June, when we can smell her favorite peonies in the air.


小野小町は、今から千二百年ほど前、大同四年(西暦八○九)に出羽国福富の荘桐の木田で生まれました。
小さい頃より容姿や才覚に優れ、当時の六歌仙、三十六歌仙にも名を残し、世界三大美人の一人といわれています。
小町は、十三歳の頃に京にのぼり、十六歳で宮中に仕え、帝の寵愛を受けたともいわれていますが、故郷恋しさに三十六歳の頃ふる里に帰りました。晩年は世を避け、一人で岩屋堂に住み、歌を詠み、香をたきながら自像を刻み、九十二歳でその生涯を閉じました。
ここ湯沢市小野地区には連綿と受け継がれた小町のやさしくも哀愁に満ちた物語が根付いており、毎年芍薬の花香る六月第二日曜日には、「小町祭」が盛大に行われています。