Master Shiro Saigo was born in 1866 in Japan in a family of samurai. His name at birth was Shida Shiro, but he changed it eventually when he was adopted by Tanomo Chikamasa Saigo. He was initiated very young in the practice of the different martial arts within the curriculum of the Aizu clan.
He later became one of the first students of Master Jigoro Kano in his new school of Kodokan Judo.The most famous episode of his career was his participation in the 1886 tournament organized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police to determine which was the best school of ju-jutsu to teach members of the police in the capital. Master Jigoro Kano presented fifteen students in this tournament including Shiro Saigo. The Kodokan School dominated the majority of matches, but it is the fight between Shiro Saigo and Hikosuke Totsuma of the school of ju-jutsu Totsuka-ha Yoshin-ryu that stands out and, which would contribute to the legend of the young Saigo as a great fighter. Master Shiro Saigo won the match with one of his favorite techniques called yama arashi combined with his extremely combative spirit and great agility.
For various reasons, he later left the Kodokan Judo school of Master Jigoro Kano to devote himself to the art of archery or Kyudo. He will remain an idol in Japan, where many books and films were made about his eventful life and his prowess as a fighter. He died in 1922.