Sankashu is a collection of poems by Saigyo, a poet-priest in the late Heian Period. The year of completion is unknown but probably during or immediately after the era of the Genpei War. Sankashu is one of Rokkashu, the six great collections of poetry by FUJIWARA no Toshinari, Yoshitsune KUJO, Jien, FUJIWARA no Teika, and FUJIWARA no Ietaka (Junii (Junior Second Rank); and it is also called Sanka Wakashu and Saigyo Hoshi Kashu. It seems that Sankashu is based on a collection of poetry selected by Saigyo himself in his lifetime and enhanced by someone in later years, so its relation with "Sankashinchushu" and "Saigyo Shonin shu" compiled by Saigyo himself is worth noting.
Sankashu is a collection of poetry about the nature and life, questioning how to live in the world with absence of absolutes. Volume one includes poems about the four seasons, volume two about love and miscellany, and volume three contains 110 poems of love, 100 poems on ten subjects including Setsugekka (Snow, the Moon and Flowers), and miscellaneous poems about separation, traveling, mourning, Buddhism, and worshipping. Sankashu contains about 1560 poems, and the enlarged edition has additional some 300 poems. Saigyo was a hermit roaming around the country, so he made many lyric poems about the nature and scenery, as well as reminiscences based on his generous view of life. Some of his poetry of love are excellent, but they were composed on given themes without obvious background.
Examples of poetry in Sankashu that are well-known on everybody's lips are as follows.
Negawakuwa hana no shita nite haru shinan sono kisaragi no mochizuki no koro (Would that I could die Under the cherry blossoms In spring in the second month, At the time of the full moon!)'
Kokoronaki mi ni mo aware wa shirarekeri shigi tatsu sawa no aki no yugure (Even one who claims to no longer have a heart feels this sad beauty: snipes flying up from a marsh on an evening in autumn).'
Nageke to te tsuki ya wa mono o omowasuru kakochigao naru waga namida kana (As if to tell me, Grieve on!" the moonlight shines down - but that cannot be. Yet still that is where my tears seem to want to look for blame).'