Summary: Samurai Adventure
Comment: The Taiheiki covers a period of Japanese history when there was a struggle between the emperor and the shogun for power. In this tale, the emperor notices that the shogun has amassed more power than he should have, and the emperor laments the days gone by when emperors held power. To remedy this, the emperor starts a rebellion to destroy the shogun's power. However, the shogun controls most of the military, so the emperor's struggles to gain control take on a rebellion or guerilla nature. It's a really fascinating read for those who are interested in samurai, but be warned--there are enough names to make your head spin. If you try to keep up with all of the people in this novel, it could be more of a chore than a pleasure to read. If you just focus on a few of the main characters, then it will be an interesting window into the world of the samurai.
Summary: Imagawa Ryoshun( Born n/a - Died 1429)
Comment: Written in 1329,by a Japanese bonze named Kojima,lot of the events are written by first hand experience. Lot of the details in the book are debated by Imagawa Sadayo (also named Ryoshun), related by blood to the Seiitai-Shogun Ashikage Takauji(Born 1305 - Died 1358).Imagawa was given two provinces of Suruga,and Totomi in fief (Mount Fuji located in Suruga). Imagawa states lot of the dates,and numbers of armies are grossly over exaggerated. In some battles Kojima says there were two million, but Japan has never had an army bigger than 200,000 in any period of Japanese history. It's a great book,but it cuts off when Ashikaga Takauji takes Kyoto (Yamashiro Province) the Imperial Capital city of Japan in 1333. Doesn't talk about battles with Hojo clan rememnants like Hojo Tokiyuki,the rift between Nitta Yoshisada,and later the enstrangement between him and his brother Ashikaga Tadayoshi and his son Ashikaga Tadafuyu. Doesn't also talk about Ko Moronao (Ashikaga steward)how he uses his power as 'steward' to steal Enya Takasada's wife named Nishi no dai,how Enya is killed for treason,and how later Nishi no dai kills herself to escape the grip of Ko Moronao. Maybe Kojima might have died after 1333?
Summary: A fun read in classical Japanese literature
Comment: The Taiheiki (Tale of the Grand Pacification) is one of the Japanese war epics. Not to be confused with The Tale of the Heike, the most famous of all the military romances, The Taiheiki has a charm of its own. There are several heroes, of which the samurai warrior Kusunoki is the most sympathetic. Kusunoki is motivated by loyalty and duty rather than ambition, and he uses his wits as well as his brawn to defeat his enemies as he fights in the service of the Emperor.
The Taiheiki is not great literature, but it is a rollicking good tale that is fun to read. It should appeal especially to young men who may run out of patience for the poetry and refined sensibilities of the loftier works of Japanese literature. The Taiheiki has battles and seiges, acts of derring do and even a certain amount of humor, which makes it a relatively painless way to impart historical information.