Sarumaru Taifu

Hear about Sarumaru Taifu on Episode 16 of our Podcast, the Japan Archives.

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Sarumaru Taifu
Sarumaru Taifu.

Sarumaru Taifu

Sarumaru Taifu, also called Sarumaru Dayu (猿丸大夫) lived during the mid 8th century, or so we believe.  This poet may in fact have never existed in the first place as there are no records to prove he ever lived.1

However another source says the name was perhaps a pseudonym of Prince Yamashiro no Ōe.4

Some believe he was active from 708 to 715 and that he lived in the mountains near to Kyoto.3

He was listed by Kinto as one of the Thirty-Six Poetic Geniuses and there is a later collection of poetry known as the Sarumaru Dayū, but due to the fact this man may not have existed it is highly unlikely this poetry collection was penned by him.

One of his poems was included in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (No.5) and goes as follows:1

Japanese text2
Romanized Japanese1
English translation1
奥山に
紅葉踏みわけ
鳴く鹿の
声きく時ぞ
秋はかなしき
Okuyama ni
momoji mireba
naku shika no
koe kiku toki zo
aki wa kanashiki
In the deep mountains
making a path
through the fallen leaves,
the plaintive belling of the stag-
how forlorn the autumn feels.

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.
3. Morse, P. (1989) “Hokusai: One Hundred poets.” New York: George Braziller Inc.
4. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.

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