Sesson Yūbai

Sesson Yūbai (雪村 友梅, 1290 - 14th day of the 1st month, 1347) was a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk of the Rinzai sect. This priest and poet who is considered "the first important poet of the Five Mountains.[1]

Sesson Yūbai
Died14th day of the 1st month, 1347
ReligionZen Buddhism

In ChinaEdit

Yūbai started studying Linji Ch'an under Chinese master Issan Ichinei in Japan and later moved to China where he studied with many other teachers. He lived in China for over twenty years (1307–1329). He was imprisoned in Chang'an during the period in which Zen Buddhists were persecuted. Many of the poems were created during or about this period survive; and they form the basis of his reputation.[2] In Bingatshū, the collection of 242 poems includes this one:

I do not like praises and honours
Nor did I fear disdain
I just stayed away.
My mind, clear water,
My body bound and tied
For three years in Chang'an.
I sing what I feel in songs
In straight words, undecorated.[2]

In JapanEdit

With the patronage of the Akamatsu clan, Yūbai was able to become the founder of a number of provincial Buddhist temple-monasteries in Japan, including Hōun-ji and Hōrin-ji in Harima, Hyōgo.[3] Some of these temples were ranked among the provincial jissatsu by Muromachi shogunate,[3] which encouraged its vasssls shugo to found monetaries in the provinces.[4]

Prominent among Yūbai's followers were Akamatsu Norimura (1277–1350) and his son Akamatsu Norisuke (1314–1371).[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Keene, Donald. (1999). Seeds in the heart, p. 1064.
  2. ^ a b Katō, Shūichi. (1997). A History of Japanese Literature: From the Man'yōshū to Modern Times, p. 105.
  3. ^ a b c Hall, John Whitney. (1999). The Cambridge History of Japan, pp. 600-603.
  4. ^ Hall, p. 602.


  • Hall, John Whitney (1999). The Cambridge History of Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-22354-6.; OCLC 165440083
  • Katō, Shūichi (1997). A History of Japanese Literature: From the Man'yōshū to Modern Times. London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 978-1-873410-48-6.
  • Keene, Donald (1999). Seeds in the heart : Japanese literature from earliest times to the late sixteenth century. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-11441-7.; OCLC 246429887
  • Fischer-Schreiber, Ingrid; Franz-Karl Ehrhard; Michael H. Kohn; Michael S. Diener (1991). The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen. Shambhala Publications. ISBN 0-87773-520-4.
  • Winther-Tamaki, Bert (2001). Art in the Encounter of Nations. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2077-0.