Priest Kisen

Priest Kisen
Priest Kisen in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu.

Priest Kisen

Priest Kisen (喜撰) was a Buddhist monk and Japanese poet living around the mid 9th century. Sadly not much is known about him other than he lived in the area of Uji and according to the Kokinshū his dictation was vague and that his poems lacked structure.

The only othe thing we know is that he is said to have written the Kisen shiki, although this is very dubious.

He is listed as on the 6 Poetic Geniuses, and one of his poems (No. 8) can be found in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu and goes as follows:1

Japanese text2
Romanized Japanese1
English translation1
わが庵は
都のたつみ
しかぞすむ
世をうぢ山と
人はいふなり
Waga io wa
miyako no tatsumi
shika zo sumu
yo o Ujiyama to
hito wa iu nari

I live alone in a simple hut
South-east of the capital,
But people speak of me as one
Who fled the sorrows of the world
Only to end up on the Hill of Sorrow.

 

Footnotes

1. MacMillan, P. (2018) ”One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse”. St. Ives: Penguin Classics.
2. Suzuki, H. et al. (1997) ”Genshoku: Ogura Hyakunin Isshu”. Tokyo: Bun’eidō.

The Six Poetic Geniuses

Otomo Kuronushi * Priest Kisen * Ono no Komachi * Archbishop Henjo * Ariwara no Narihira * Fun'ya no Yasuhide.


Check out Japan Archives, our Japanese History Podcast

Follow us on social media.
Twitter: @japanarchives Instagram: @nexus_travels


Supernatural Creatures