Synopses & Reviews
A masterpiece of world literature; the samurai saga of pride, romance, and warfare of medieval Japan
With a reflection on the fleeting nature of power and glory begins The Tale of the Heike, an epic from twelfth-century Japan. Comparable in stature to The Tale of Genji, The Tale of the Heike narrates with wit, energy, and compassion the stories of such unforgettable characters as the ruthless warlord Kiyomori, who dies still burning with such rage that water poured on him boils; Hotoke, the beautiful young dancer who renounces wealth and fame to follow her conscience; Shigemori, the tyrantandrsquo;s righteous son, who struggles against all odds to uphold fairness and justice; and Yoshitsune, the daring commander who defeats the enemy in battle after battle, only to be condemned by his jealous, powerful brother.
The Tale of the Heike is a foundation stone of Japanese culture and a major masterpiece of world literature. Lavishly illustrated and accompanied by maps, character guides, and genealogies, this book is a volume to treasure.
"This modern translation of the Japanese medieval classic tracing the rise and fall of the Taira (Heike) clan reads like the Iliad filtered through Akira Kurosawa, with battlefield panoramas and personal tragedies captured in an exquisitely cinematic narrative. Eight centuries of oral tradition have transformed historical figures into legends, none more so than Taira no Kiyomori, the 12th-century warlord who, by suppressing rebellions and putting relatives into key positions, rises so quickly through the imperial hierarchy that he forgets fundamental principles of Japanese epics: earthly possessions are transient; fear the angry dead. Kiyomori dismisses his faithful mistress, destroys two temples, cuts off numerous heads, and moves the capital on a whim. While arrogance proves Kiyomori's downfall, success beguiles the Minamoto (Genji) brothers, who defeat the Heike, then turn against one another. Memorable passages include descriptions of the dancer Gio, the old warhorse Yoshihisa, and the brave soldier Kumagai. Stories-within-stories highlight customs as varied as achieving redemption through renunciation and dressing the fashion-forward hero. Despite its antique style, readers will find themselves drawn into the book's alternately delicate and brutal world, where there are degrees of emperor (emperor, retired emperor, cloistered emperor) and monks (esoteric monks, fighting monks, retired nobility who become monks). Following his noteworthy translation of The Tale of Genji, Tyler offers accessible language while observing literary tradition in names and format. To help both old hands and newcomers navigate the vibrant yet sometimes arduous masterpiece, he provides an introduction, character list, maps, genealogies, chronologies, footnotes, and glorious 19th-century illustrations." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Written in the eleventh century, this exquisite portrait of courtly life in medieval Japan is widely celebrated as the worldandrsquo;s first novelandmdash;and is certainly one of its finest. Genji, the Shining Prince, son of an emperor, is a passionate character whose tempestuous nature, family circumstances, love affairs, alliances, and shifting political fortunes form the core of this magnificent epic. Royall Tylerandrsquo;s superb translation is detailed, poetic, and true to the Japanese original while allowing the English reader to appreciate its timeless beauty. In this deftly abridged edition, Tyler focuses on the early chapters, which vividly evoke Genji as a young man and leave him at his first moment of triumph.
- The first abridged edition of Tyler's masterful translation
- Includes detailed notes, glossaries, character lists, and chronologies
From the acclaimed translator of The Tale of Genji, a groundbreaking rendering of Japans great martial epic
The fourteenth-century Tale of the Heike is Japans Iliada moving depiction of the late twelfth-century wars between the Heike and Genji clans. No work has had a greater impact on later Japanese literature, theater, music, film, and mangaindeed on the Japanese peoples sense of their own past. It has also been a major source for medieval-Japan-based fantasy in English. With woodcuts by nineteenth-century artist Teisai Hokuba, a major student of the great Hokusai, Royall Tylers stunning presentation of this touchstone of Japanese culture recreates the oral epic as it was actually performed and conveys the rich and vigorous language of the original.
From the acclaimed translator of The Tale of Genji, a groundbreaking rendering of Japanand#8217;s great martial epic
The fourteenth-century Tale of the Heike is Japanand#8217;s Iliadand#151;a moving depiction of the late twelfth-century wars between the Heike and Genji clans. No work has had a greater impact on later Japanese literature, theater, music, film, and mangaand#151;indeed on the Japanese peopleand#8217;s sense of their own past. It has also been a major source for medieval-Japan-based fantasy in English. With woodcuts by nineteenth-century artist Teisai Hokuba, a major student of the great Hokusai, Royall Tylerand#8217;s stunning presentation of this touchstone of Japanese culture recreates the oral epic as it was actually performed and conveys the rich and vigorous language of the original.
About the Author
Murasaki Shikibu, born in 978, was a member of Japan's Fujiwara clan, which ruled behind the scenes during the Heian Period by providing the brides and courtesans of all the emperors. Lady Murasaki's rare literary talent, particularly her skill as a poet, secured her a place in the court of Empress Akiko. After the death of her husband, she cloistered herself to study Buddhism, raise her daughter, and write the world's first novel Genji Monogatari, the tale of the shining Prince Genji.
Royall Tyler was born in London, England, and grew up in Massachusetts, England, Washington D.C., and Paris. He has a B.A. in Far Eastern Languages from Harvard, and an M.A. in Japanese History and Ph. D. in Japanese literature from Columbia University. He has taught Japanese language and culture at, among other places, Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Oslo, in Norway. Beginning in 1990, he taught at the Australian National University, in Canberra, from which he retired at the end of 2000. He will spend the American academic year 2001-02 as a Visiting Professor at Harvard.
Royall Tyler and his wife Susan live in a rammed earth house on 100 acres in the bush about seventy miles from Canberra, where they breed alpacas as a hobby.
Royall Tylerandrsquo;s previous works include Japanese Noh Dramas, a selection and translation of Noh plays published by Penguin; Japanese Tales and French Folktales, anthologies published by Pantheon; and The Miracles of the Kasuga Deity, a study of a medieval Japanese cult published by Columbia University Press.
Table of Contents
Translated by Royall Tyler
List of Maps and Diagrams
1. The Paulownia Pavilion (Kiritsubo)
2. The Broom Tree (Hahakigi)
3. The Cicada Shell (Utsusemi)
4. The Twilight Beauty (Yugao)
5. Young Murasaki (Wakamurasaki)
6. The Safflower (Suetsumuhana)
7. Beneath the Autumn Leaves (Momiji no Ga)
8. Under the Cherry Blossoms (Hana no En)
9. Heart-to-Heart (Aoi)
10. The Green Branch (Sakaki)
11. Falling Flowers (Hanachirusato)
12. Suma (Suma)
13. Akashi (Akashi)
14. The Pilgrimage to Sumiyoshi (Miotsukushi)
15. A Waste of Weeds (Yomogiu)
16. At the Pass (Sekiya)
17. The Picture Contest (Eawase)
18. Wind in the Pines (Matsukaze)
19. Wisps of Cloud (Usugumo)
20. The Bluebell (Asagao)
21. The Maidens (Otome)
22. The Tendril Wreath (Tamakazura)
23. The Warbler's First Song (Hatsune)
24. Butterflies (Kocho)
25. The Fireflies (Hotaru)
26. The Pink (Tokonatsu)
27. The Cressets (Kagaribi)
28. The Typhoon (Nowaki)
29. The Imperial Progress (Miyuki)
30. Thoroughwort Flowers (Fujibakama)
31. The Handsome Pillar (Makibashira)
32. The Plum Tree Branch (Umegae)
33. New Wisteria Leaves (Fuji no Uraba)
34. Spring Shoots I (Wakana 1)
35. Spring Shoots II (Wakana 2)
36. The Oak Tree (Kashiwagi)
37. The Flute (Yokobue)
38. The Bell Cricket (Suzumushi)
39. Evening Mist (Yugiri)
40. The Law (Minori)
41. The Seer (Maboroshi)
Vanished into the Clouds (Kumogakure)
42. The Perfumed Prince (Niou Miya)
43. Red Plum Blossoms (Kobai)
44. Bamboo River (Takekawa)
45. The Maiden of the Bridge (Hashihime)
46. Beneath the Oak (Shiigamoto)
47. Trefoil Knots (Agemaki)
48. Bracken Shoots (Sawarabi)
49. The Ivy (Yadorigi)
50. The Eastern Cottage (Azumaya)
51. A Drifting Boat (Ukifune)
52. The Mayfly (Kagero)
53. Writing Practice (Tenarai)
54. The Floating Bridge of Dreams (Yume no Ukihashi)
Clothing and Color
Offices and Titles
Summary of Poetic Allusions Identified in the Notes
Characters in The Tale of Genji