(säī`gyō), 1118–90, Japanese poet-priest of the late Heian, early medieval period. Born into a warrior clan, Saigyo studied with the most renowned poets of his day, producing relatively conventional poetry until taking the tonsure in 1140, when the priesthood seems to have afforded him the physical and spiritual freedom reflected in his mature work. Saigyo's extensive travels inspired verse on the pull of the secular world, old age and death, and the beauty of nature. The Sankashu [collection of a mountain hut], his major work, contains poems on love, as well as seasonal and miscellaneous topics.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(monastic name of Sato Narikiyo). Born 1118; died 1190. Japanese poet.

At the age of 23, Saigyo left military service and his family and took monastic vows. He spent the rest of his life wandering around the country as a poor traveling monk. The author of deeply pessimistic works, Saigyo is the most famous 12th-century Japanese poet. His verses of the form tanka are characterized by philosophical depth, emotional sincerity, and simple, vivid imagery. Saigyo had an enormous influence on the literature of his time. Works that have been preserved include the verse anthology Sankashu and works on poetics, recorded by a student of his and collected under the title Conversations About Saigyo. Another work attributed to Saigyo is A Selected Anthology, a collection of tales, mainly Buddhist.


In Russian translation:
Iaponskaiapoeziia. Moscow, 1956.


Literatura Vostoka v srednie veka, vol. 1. Moscow, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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It reflected an essential placement in coordinates of the world, much as a Saigyo poem does: Setting the referents and the outriggers--bird, moon, firecracker ...
His own figures seem in turn to have been borrowed from specific figures occurring in earlier Yamato-e scrolls; Sotatsu's Narihira used in The he Stories images is from the Legend of Sugawara Michizane, his mountain ascetic also in The Ise Story images is from Saigyo in Tales of Saigyo, and the horse and Narihira's companion is from Tale of the Hogen War (Yamane, Sotatsu School 40).
(11) Winter is represented by Teika; Spring by Narihira; summer by Hitomaro; and autumn by Saigyo. (12)
Instead to referencing Saigyo as Basho had done, Takamure builds a different kind of persona but in the same way, saying her journey makes her like Edgar Allen Poe.
Collecting works by a wide variety of great authors, including Lao Tzu, Han Shan, Li Po, Dogen Kigen, Saigyo, and many more, The Poetry of Zen offers a cross-section of historical classics that all have in common a resonating theme conducive to meditation, reflection, and self-transformation.
In fact, the volume almost divides itself equally with poems in each voice with a midsection devoted to translations of poems by the Buddhist poet Saigyo Hosho (1118-90).
The scholar, who learned English and Japanese from reading poetry, usually takes foreigners who come to Japan to study Japanese to Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture, where Saigyo, a 12th century Buddhist priest and poet, reputedly composed a poem describing the holiness of the shrine.
How different are Bo Juyi from Du Fu, Fujiwara Teika from Monk Saigyo, Shelley from Keats, Goethe from Schiller!
It is for this reason that in Oku no hosomichi we have references not only to historical figures such as Saigyo and Yoshitsune, but also to a host of locals, from Buddha Gozaemon, a forthright innkeeper, to the "stalwart young guide" who helps Basho and Sora over the mountains of Dewa to Obanazawa--to such characters, earlier and more courtly travel records generally would not assign so substantial a role in their narratives.
(25.) In addition to famous historical and literary sites, Basho is also careful to mention numerous historical figures of both China and Japan, including Lady Tamamo, Nasu no Yoichi, Yuan Miao, Taira no Kanemori, Kiyosuke, Fujiwara Sanekata, Noin, Ono no Azumbito, Emperor Shomu, Bo Juyi, Izumi no Saburo, Makabe Heishiro, the northern Fujiwara, Yoshitsune, Kanefusa, Jikaku, Nojo, Gan Jiang, Moye, Saigyo, Empress Jingu, Sanemori, Kiso Yoshinaka, Higuchi no Jiro, Retired Emperor Kazan, Teitoku, Dogen, Emperor Chuai.
Saigyo (1118-1190) spent twenty-three years in and around court life in Heian-kyo, Peace-and-Tranquility Capital, becoming a captain in the elite guard of the imperial family before taking Buddhist vows and removing himself to a hermitage.