Yu Xin (Chinese: 庾信; pinyin: Yǔ Xìn; Wade–Giles: Yü Hsin) (513-581) was a Chinese poet, politician, and writer of the Liang and Northern Zhou dynasties of medieval China. Yu Xin was one of the founders of the Xu-Yu literary style, and the author of a famous fu. His courtesy name was Zǐshān (子山), and he was known as Yu Shin in Japan.[1]

Cover of collected work by Yu Xin (here called by his courtesy name Yu Zishan) as appearing in Sibu Congkan


Yu Xin was born and raised in Jiangling, which was once the capital of Chu. His family was wealthy and aristocratic, and Yu became an important official of the Liang dynasty. As such, he served as the lover and patron of aspiring statesman Wang Shao.[2]

In 554, Yu Xin was sent as an ambassador to the Western Wei in Chang'an, a mission that did not meet with success. On the way to his mission, he visited Wang Shao, now an official censor, who rejected further advances.[2] After the fall of the Liang dynasty in 557, Yu was held in Chang'an for the rest of his life, and three of his children were executed.[3]


Along with the poet and official Xu Ling and the fathers of both men, Yu is known for the Xu-Yu Style (徐庾体), which was known as "fancy and alluring".[4] Perhaps his most famous poem is The Lament for the South (哀江南賦), which James Hightower has described as the highest development of the fu form of poetry.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kanjigen entry "Yu Xin" (Yu Shin in Japanese). Gakken 2006.
  2. ^ a b Hinsch, Bret. (1990). Passions of the Cut Sleeve. University of California. pp. 69-70
  3. ^ a b Murck, Alfreda (2000). Poetry and Painting in Song China: The Subtle Art of Dissent. Harvard University Asia Center. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-0-674-00782-6.
  4. ^ Cutter, Robert Joe (1989). The Brush and the Spur: Chinese Culture and the Cockfight (Illustrated ed.). Chinese University Press. pp. 45–49. ISBN 978-962-201-417-6.