Heike Monogatari

BACKGROUND: Heike Monogatari (平家物語) is a military journal. It is a multi-part series of the events that transpired between the Taira family and Minamoto family during the 12th century in the form of a war story. It covers from the Taira’s successful term in political matters, all the way to their defeat in the hands of the Minamoto clan.

Records state that the original form of the Heike Monogatari was first passed down in the form of songs created by a “biwa hōshi” (琵琶法師, buddhist priest skilled at playing the biwa). In this form, today is nicknamed as “Heikyoku” (平曲) , meaning “Songs of Heike”. Many years later, these songs inspired others to compile and rewrite them into a story-like format.

While there are rumors of who first wrote the Heike’s story into a book-like form, the original author has yet to be determined. Instead, various individuals are recognized for compiling a version of the Heike Monogatari, although this being at different tmes.

Due to the nature of its production, Heike Monogatari is considered a fictional writing.

The version used is called “Heike Monogatari Jōmaki Gemaki ” (平家物語上巻き・下巻き), which is the 1st edition part of the Nihon Kokyoku Bungaku Zenshū (日本古典文学全集) accredited to Masamune Atsuo (正宗 敦夫) (11/15/1881~11/12/1958).

Each link below is indicated by which number volume, chapter number, and title of the chapter.

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