Written at the end of the 11th century, The Tales of Ise is a collection of ‘poem tales’ – short stories with poetic verses – about the hero Narahira (only ever referred to as ‘the man’). He is considered to be a fictionalised version of the real-life poet Ariwara no Narahira. The poems depict Narahira as he finds himself a series of comical and romantic situations.
The book also contains a commentary and analysis of each of the 125 tales, explaining particulars of the translation as well as providing historical context for some of the stories.
The Tales of Ise is often considered one of the greatest works of Japanese literature.