Learn Japanese From Heike Monogatari

Written byIchika Yamamoto

Heike monogatari is also known as The tale of the Heike; it is one of the most important books in Japanese literature. This book was written in the early tenth century. Heike Monogatari tells a history of power struggle between Heike (Taira) clan and Genji (Minamoto); it also tells about Minamoto Yoshitsune , who was the most popular hero of Japanese legend. One can find a large number of characters, such as: warriors, ambitious courtiers, princesses, princes and even emperors. The tale concludes with the annihilation of the Heike clan.

Historians believe that Yukinaga was the author of this book, Yukinaga reportedly taught the blind monk Shobutsu to recite the tale, and Shobutsu helped write the portions that dealt with war.

This is a small excerpt from the book










Gion shouja no kane no koe

shogyou mujou no hibiki ari.

Shara souju no hana no iro

jousha hissui no kotowari o arawasu.

Ogoreru hito mo hisashikarazu,

Tada haru no yo no yume no gotoshi.

Takeki mono mo tsui ni horobinu.

Hitoe ni kaze no mae no chiri ni ona

The knell of the bells at the Gion temple

Echoes the impermanence of all things.

The color of the flowers on its double-trunked tree

Reveals the truth that to flourish is to fall.

He who is proud is not so for long,

Like a passing dream on a night in spring.

He who is brave is finally destroyed,

To be no more than dust before the wind.

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Author: Ichika Yamamoto
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