The traveling poet and Buddhist monk Saigyô (1118–90) was considered the representative voice of Japanese poetry of his time shortly after his death. For Matsuo Bashô (1644–94) he was the master of the waka - the 31-syllable form of the Japanese short poem, the classic since the eighth century - still five hundred years later the measure of all things.
›Sankashû‹ (›Poems from the Bergklause‹) is the title of a collection of around 1550 Waka Saigyôs that he put together about ten years before his death. The verses translate what has been seen and experienced into poetic images of simple beauty and connect them in a haunting way with existential insights. The renowned Japanese scientist Ekkehard May has selected, translated and commented a hundred waka from the ›Sankashû‹ and is making Saigyô's poems accessible for the first time in a larger single anthology for German-speaking readers.