Saigyo(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.
(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.
WORKSIn Russian translation:
Iaponskaiapoeziia. Moscow, 1956.