Sugawara no Michizane
(845 - 903)
Having served in various governmental capacities and as a professor of Chinese literature, Sugawara no Michizane reached the pinnacle of his career in 899, becoming the minister of the Right. Two years later, in response to slanderous attacks, he was demoted to a governor-general posting on the island of Kyūshū. Summarizing the effect of the exile, Michizane wrote, “But now a thousand words are of no use to me;/I can do no more than sigh and weep.” Some Japanese chronicles list his cause of death, in 903, as a broken heart.