Akitada Investigates a Historical Murder: "The Kamo Horse."

I get some of my plot ideas from Japanese history and literature. In this case, one of the old chronicles supplied a tale that ended up as a short story.

The TALES OF THE HEIKE is a prose epic that commemorates the bloody battles between Taira Kiyomori and Minamoto Yoritomo which ended the imperial rule and brought in feudal Japan under the rule of a shogun and warlords. The epic contains a number of memorable anecdotal stories, among them that of the murder of the beautiful Lady Kesa. How much of it is fact we do not know. The TALES OF THE HEIKE was passed down as oral literature through many generations and performed in much the same way as the ILIAD and ODYSSEY by professional bards who recited parts as audience requests. No doubt, the tale of Lady Kesa assumed some melodramatic features in the process, but equally certainly it is based on a real occurrence.

I have posted my version of the murder on my web site, having taken a few liberties myself with the date and the investigation. Go see for yourself how history becomes fiction at . . .


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