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  • Japanese: 軍記物 (gunkimono) or 軍記物語 (gunki monogatari)

Gunkimono or gunki monogatari are war tales which relate the exploits of great warriors or commanders, and of great wars or battles, often in a hagiographic way, lionizing heroes, the greatness of their skill, and the honorable way in which they behaved. Some gunkimono, such as the Tale of the Heike, are counted among the most famous and treasured examples of Japanese traditional literature, and have served as the basis for countless paintings, poems, stage plays, and so forth; others, such as the Shinchôkoki, are less thoroughly prominent in traditional and popular culture, but have served as among the chief sources of traditional and modern histories of the periods and people they describe.

Some of the most famous gunkimono, such as the Tale of the Heike and the Taiheiki, are by multiple anonymous authors; the Tale of the Heike in particular is known to have developed first in an oral storytelling tradition, only first being written down after many variant versions had emerged. Other gunkimono, however, particularly many from the Sengoku and Edo periods, are by known authors, with known motives, intentions, and biases in compiling such texts. The Kôyô gunkan, for example, is a history of the Takeda clan which gives a particularly positive representation of Takeda Shingen, a less favorable representation of Takeda Katsuyori, and represents enemies of the Takeda, such as Oda Nobunaga, differently from how another text, such as the Shinchôkô-ki ("Account of Lord Nobunaga") would.

Selected List of Gunkimono