Jakuren (寂蓮)

Jakuren (ca. 1139-August 9, 1202) was a poet and a monk who lived from the end of the Heian period to the beginning of the Kamakura period. His secular name was FUJIWARA no Sadanaga.

He was born to the priest Shunkai, and around 1150 he was adopted by his uncle FUJIWARA no Toshinari, growing up to have Jugoi (Junior Fifth Rank) and work at the Ministry of Central Affairs. However, when Toshinari had his own son, FUJIWARA no Teika, he became a priest in his thirties, devoting himself to the art of waka poetry. He played an important role as a leading poet in the Mikohidari family, and a controversy with Kensho in the 'Roppyakuban utaawase' (The Poetry Match in 600 Rounds), which is called 'controversy between Tokko (an implement pointed at both ends) and Kamakubi (gooseneck)' is famous. He became wakadokoro yoryudo (a key member of waka house) and then a selector of "Shin Kokin Wakashu" (New Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry), but he passed away in 1202 before the anthology was completed.

His 117 poems were selected for "Senzai Wakashu" (Collection of Japanese Poetry of a Thousand Years) and other successive Chokusen Wakashu (anthology of Japanese poetry compiled by Imperial command). His personal collection on poetry is "Jakuren Hoshi shu."


No. eighty-seven: The passing showers left the raindrops on the cedar-tree needles which are not dried yet, and the mists rise up to the autumn skies. ("Shin Kokin Wakashu")

As a calligrapher

He was also well known as a calligrapher, and his existing works are as follows.

Ippon kyo waka kaishi (Making waka poem on kaishi paper when copying Ippon sutra)
Kumano Kaishi Poems
Among the many legendary writers of the ancient Japanese writings which were made from the Heian to the early Kamakura period ---most of them are not reliable, though---, these two calligraphies have signs, so they are reliable drafts for poems.

[Original Japanese]