As mentioned in the previous post new ways of writing Japanese were invented around 800CE.This in turn led to the growth of forms of literature such as diaries, travel writing and poems. Elegant refined poetry called waka was very popular at the Emperors court. From about 1600, haiku which is a form of poetry consisting of on 17 syllables became a favorite form. Haiku was written by people from the samurai class, as well as by courtiers.
Female prose writers were especially important in early Japan. The courtier, Sei Shonagon who was born around 965CE won praise for her Pillow Book - a kind of diary. Female writers were so famous that at least one man pretended to be a woman. The male poet Ki no Tsurayuki wrote the The Tosa Diary under a womans name.
The poet Matsuo Basho 1644-1694 is one of the most famous haiku poets in and outside of Japan. Here is a typical example of a haiku by Matsuo Basho.
Furu ike ya
mizu no oto
Translation by Lafcadio Hearn:
Old pond — frogs jumped in — sound of water.