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The Tale of the Heike

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The Tale of the Heike (平家物語, Heike Monogatari) is an epic account compiled prior to 1330 of the struggle between the Taira clan and Minamoto clan for control of Japan at the end of the 12th century in the Genpei War (1180–1185). Heike (平家) refers to the Taira (平), hei being an alternate reading of the first kanji. Note that in the title of the Genpei War, "hei" is in this combination read as "pei" and the "gen" (源) is the first kanji used in the Minamoto (also known as "Genji") clan's name. The Tale of the Heike is often likened to a Japanese Iliad. It has been translated into English at least five times, the first by Arthur Lindsay Sadler in 1918–1921. A complete translation in nearly 800 pages by Hiroshi Kitagawa & Bruce T. Tsuchida was published in 1975. Also translated by Helen McCullough in 1988. An abridged translation by Burton Watson was published in 2006. In 2012, Royall Tyler completed his translation, which seeks to be mindful of the performance style for which the work was originally intended. It was famously retold in Japanese prose by historical novelist Eiji Yoshikawa, published in Asahi Weekly in 1950 with the title New Tale of the Heike (Shin Heike Monogatari).
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