Waka poet and Buddhist priest of the Shingon sect. His lay name was Satō Norikiyo, and his official Buddhist name was En'i, but he was commonly known as Saigyō. The Japanese prototype of the poet-monk, Saigyō is famous for his semi-reclusive life, which combined Buddhist asceticism and a deep love of beauty. Saigyō's place in Japanese literary history is unique -- perhaps comparable only to that of the great haikai poet Bashō, whom he profoundly influenced. The rich evocativeness and deep feeling, yet breathtaking simplicity, of his best poems are unmatched and were appreciated in his own time as by later generations. Saigyō's personal collection is entitled Sankashū (The Mountain Hermitage) and contains over 1,500 poems of the more than 2,000 attributed to him. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia
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