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Kayo first appeared as a literary category in the early twentieth century and was used to describe the songs of the Kojiki and the Nihon shoki to emphasize the view that they were oral songs dating from a period prior to the use of Chinese writing. The common poetic theme in both the Kojiki and the Nihon shoki is that of the ruler's marriage, which accounts for half of the songs in the Kojiki and one-third of the songs in the Nihon shoki. The Kojiki in fact has no songs at all after the sixth century and 88 songs out of its total of 112 appear in only six reigns, those of Jinmu, Yamato Takeru's father Keiko, Ojin, Nintoku, Ingyo, and Yuryaku. The Kojiki and the Nihon shoki are mytho-historical narratives of the formation of the imperial realm of Yamato, told from an impersonal perspective that is located outside the world of the text.
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