Monogatari

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Monogatari

 

(tale), the second component in the titles of many Japanese works of prose fiction (predominantly long narratives) or collections of classical short stories, often with verses included in the text, as in Yamato monogatari (The Tale of Yamato; tenth century).

In the broad sense, the monogatari is a novella or a novel; in the strict sense, it is a work of the ninth through 16th centuries. Such works include Taketori monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo-cutter; ninth century), a fairy tale; Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji; end of the tenth and beginning of the llth century), a novel about Prince Genji; and Konjaku monogatari (Tales of Long Ago; beginning of the 12th century).

Monogatari are divided into heroic epics—for example, Heike monogatari (The Tale of Heike), about the power struggle between the Taira and Minamoto families in the 13th century—and realistic and lyrical tales. In modern Japanese literature, the monogatari most often stresses the epic aspect.