This is the first of four monumental volumes that will follow the story of waka, the classical tradition of Japanese poetry, from its beginnings in ancient song to the sixteenth century. The present volume, which contains almost 1,600 songs and poems, covers the period from the earliest times to 784, and includes many of the finest works in the literature of early Japanese civilization, as well as providing evocative glimpses of their spirit and traditions. An extensive commentary provides introductions to the poems as well as historical, biographical, and literary information that allows for their full appreciation. All poems are presented in facing romanization and translation. The book contains a glossary, notes, bibliography, index of poems by author, first-line index, and general index.