Keikoku bidan (経国美談)

Keikoku bidan (Commendable anecdotes creating a nation: young politicians of Thebes) is a political novel written by Ryukei YANO. It has two volumes: the first part was published in March 1883, and the second part in February 1884.

The novel was based on ancient Greek history, and it describes the story of the sudden rise of Thebes with Pelopidas and Epaminondas as the central figures. The first part portrays the process of warriors restoring the rule of the people in Thebes. The second part describes the process of Thebes' repelling against Sparta's invasion and then becoming the leader of Greece. It is a work somewhere between translation and fiction, and it was written in the gazoku-setchu style (the mixture of elegant and common language). In the 'explanately notes' of the book, the author listed the titles of Greek history books that he used for reference to express his approach valuing historical facts. However, this novel also adopted the yomihon style (books for reading, particularly Bakin KYOKUTEI's "Nanso satomi hakkenden" [The Chronicles of the Eight Dog Heroes of the Satomi Clan of Nanso]) in the way it applies the concepts of 'wisdom', 'benevolence' and 'courage' to the characters in the story. This novel was adapted to kodan stories and plays, and became widely known.

The ideals of the Constitutional Progressive Party where the author himself belonged to, were incorporated into the story as well.

[Original Japanese]