The Heike Story

By Eiji Yoshikawa, Kenkichi Sugimoto (illustrator), Fuki Wooyenaka Uramatsu (translator)

Book cover of The Heike Story

Book description

Kyoto in the twelfth century was a magnificent city, but crime, disorder, and lust were rampant. The people were abused by the nobility, while the armed Buddhist monks terrorized court and commoner alike. In despair, the Emperor called upon the Heike and Genji clans to quell civil disturbances. Although the…

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Why read it?

1 author picked The Heike Story as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Japan is full of figures from its own history that loves to villainize, and few of them stand out, like Taira no Kiyomori. This prose retelling of the original epic covers the rise and fall of the Taira Clan is full of politics, scheming, ruthlessness, and more than a few bloody battles. Kiyomori is someone I can understand the motivations of, even as I condemn him for his tactics and monstrous actions. The Heike Story is the bloodstained and muddy underbelly that emerges as the samurai warrior class rises to prominence and the power of the old aristocracy wanes.

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