Japanese Didactic Gunsho Commentaries in the Edo Period: A Study of a 17th c. Commentary on the Heike Monogatari
The Heike monogatari hyōban hidenshō is an anonymous 17th c. commentary on the medieval Heike monogatari. As a military studies text (gunsho) written for Edo-period warriors, the commentary differs substantially from the Heike monogatari in content and purpose. It consists of didactic essays that critically evaluate passages from the Heike monogatari and also includes fictional stories that expand and reinterpret the content of the Heike monogatari. The commentary’s content focuses on topics of governance, strategy, and ethics. In the 17th c., such gunsho commentaries functioned as educational texts with advice and admonition addressed to daimyo lords and warriors in general. As a didactic military studies text, the Heike monogatari hyōban hidenshō reveals a new facet of reception of the Heike monogatari in the Edo period.