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In discussions of early Japanese literature the term usually refers to the five "old gazetteers", which are the only substantial survivors of dozens of stable works compiled in response to a central government order in 713. This chapter focuses on the five relatively intact "old fudoki", but it is important to remember that the surviving fragments are essential to understanding the scope and content of the genre; they contain some of the most interesting and oft-cited stories from the fudoki corpus. The fudoki contain much material of local origin, but it is filtered through the outlook of the central elite, either directly because provincial officials from the capital worked as compilers, or indirectly because editors with peripheral origins catered to metropolitan concerns. Only one gazetteer survives in a complete manuscript. The remaining four old fudoki include one that is missing its introduction and at least one district and three abridgements: Hitachi province and two from Kyushu, Bungo and Hizen.
The term imayo denotes a wide rubric of popular song, which could even include regular waka, and a specific type of song, only ten of which are extant in Ryojin hisho. In the narrow sense, imayo proper knows a limited set of prosodic possibilities, often in the form of a quatrain, that follow an alternation of eight and four syllables. The three main genres that survive in Ryojin hisho are Buddhist song, deity song quatrains, and deity song couplets. In fact, within the two extant categories of "deity songs", many lyrics deal with the topic of love and yearning. Whatever the theme of an imayo, the majority of songs take their cues from the lives of the Heian lower classes. The second half of the twelfth century saw the rise of a new type of female performer, the shirabyoshi. The term at first denoted only a type of song; later it came to refer also to its singers.