This week, we cover the little-known "Chichibu Incident," an uprising against the Meiji government in 1884 that saw several thousand people take up arms against the state. Where did it come from? How did the rebellion fare? And what is its connection to the broader trends of Japanese history?. . .
Today, we cover one of the most unusual stories of WWII: the policy of saving and protecting Jews pursued by some among Japan's military leadership. How did anti-semitic ideas about a global conspiracy convince some in Japan that the Jews could be their allies? How many were saved? And what does it all mean?. . .
This week, we cover poet and political activist Yosano Akiko in her drift from icon of the political left to polemicist for the ultranationalist right. What kind of life trajectory drives a person that way? Why did she follow that path? And why did she write so many poems about breasts?. . .
This week, we take a look at the bizarre history of a single text -- Senkyou Ibun, or Strange Tidings from Another World -- and the two people responsible for creating it: the famous scholar Hirata Atsutane, and a boy named Torakichi who claimed to have lived in Japan's spirit world.. . .
This week, we cover the life of real estate mogul and international gambling sensation Kashiwagi Akio. Who was he? How did he become an internationally famous gambler? Why was he mysteriously murdered? And how the hell does none other than Donald Trump fit into this?. . .
This week, we cover the story and legacy of the great warrior Kusunoki Masashige. Why does he have the unique distinction of a statue on the grounds of the emperor's palace in Tokyo? What do we actually know about him?. . .
This week, we tackled the origin of one of Japan's new religious movements: Oomoto, or The Great Origin. Where did it come from, and how did the unique combination of two very different people with the right set of circumstances lead it to prominence?. . .
This week, we cover postwar Tokyo as it recovers from the devastation of war in remarkable time, and take some time to think about what we've learned from the history of Japan's most central city.. . .
This week, Japan's attempt to assimilate Taiwan finds some success, and one big stumbling block: the Musha Incident, the last and largest rebellion against Japanese rule on the island. Plus, the beginnings of Taiwan's mobilization for war.. . .
This week, we take a look at the history of gay and lesbian relationships in Japan. How has the social position of homosexuality changed over time in Japanese history? What evidence can we use to "read out" the history of a non-mainstream culture?. . .
This week, we take on the legend of Miyamoto Musashi. How is it that a person we know very little about came to be a legend? Could it be, perhaps, that the very fact that we know so little about him for sure is part of the allure of his legend?. . .
This week, we delve into the life, legacy, and style of Matsuo Basho, Japan's most famous poet. Who was he? How did he develop his unique style? How did Japan's most famous haiku poet end up writing before the invention of the word "haiku"? All that and more!. . .
This week we take on the history of the von Siebold family -- father Philip Franz, son Alexander, and daughter Kusumoto Ine. How does the story of this unusual family fit in to the story of 19th century Japan?. . .
This week, we're very lucky to have a chance to speak with Mr. Isaac Shapiro. Mr. Shapiro grew up in wartime Japan, and shares his experiences here with us today. You can check out his book, Edokko: Growing Up a Foreigner in Wartime Japan on Amazon!. . .
This week, we cover the story of Engelbert Kaempfer, who wrote one of the most thorough and best known accounts of Japan for Western consumption before the Meiji era. How did this random German dude end up in Japan? What did he write about it? What did he think of it? And why do we care?. . .
This week, we look at the contentious summer of 1960, in which the disputes of postwar Japan boiled over into some of the most intense protests in the country's history. How do these conflicts shape modern Japanese society?. . .
This week, we cover the sengolu era history of the Shimazu clan, and their meteoric ascent from minor lords to major ones in the span of a few decades. Plus, the Tokugawa and the Shimazu, the role of sugar in the Shimazu clan's fortunes, and the invasion of the Ryukyu islands. It's a packed episode!. . .
This week, we start a short series on the history of one of the most influential fiefdoms in Japanese history (Satsuma) and the family who ruled it (the Shimazu). How did this little chunk of land on the edge of Japan grow to national importance?. . .
This week, we discuss the career of Japan's most legendary director, Kurosawa Akira. From humble, middle class beginnings, our story will take us through some of his most notable films, and include detours into the lives of Mifune Toshiro, George Lucas, and even Francis Ford Coppola!. . .
This week: the story of a relatively unimportant man who appears briefly and dies spectacularly, and the long chain of events that led to those moments. Politics, betrayal, war, and a dog -- what's not to love?. . .
Note: Since this week we're talking about the sex trade, I've taken the precaution of giving this episode an explicit tag. However, it does not include any more language than usual; it's just a precaution because iTunes can get pretty finicky about this stuff. So with that in mind, let's get down and dirty into the world of prostitution!. . .
This week, we tackle the history of the Burakumin. Where did this outcast group come from? Why does discrimination against them remain an issue? What steps has the government taken to protect them, and what steps have they taken to get organized and push back? AMA link here.. . .
This week, we spend an entire history podcast talking about someone who may not even have actually existed -- the legendary thief Ishikawa Goemon. The live link for the AMA is: https://whatpods.com/ama/history-of-japan/.. . .
This week, we spend an entire history podcast talking about someone who may not even have actually existed -- the legendary thief Ishikawa Goemon. The live link for the AMA is: https://whatpods.com/ama/history-of-japan/.. . .
This week: Hirohito goes to war. What did he know, how much did he direct things himself, and ultimately, how much responsibility does he bear for the greatest cataclysm in the history of East Asia?. . .
Young Hirohito goes on trips, serves his first turns in politics, and gets married! Join us as we look at the future emperor's first steps into the life that he never really had a chance to choose for himself.. . .
Today, we dive into the boyhood of Emperor Hirohito. What's it like growing up always knowing that your life is a political tool? How do you process your middle school principal killing himself in a show of loyalty to your grandfather?. . .
This week: how has Japan been policed? Was there really such a thing as a samurai cop? Was their hair as good as the samurai cop from the iconic 1991 film? And how did policework in Japan change after the Meiji Restoration? We will answer all but one of these questions; I leave it to you to guess which one.. . .
How did Japan fit into the broader framework of the Allied intervention? What were the Japanese trying to accomplish in Siberia? And who was even in charge of this damned thing? All that and more, this week.. . .
This week, we cover exciting topics like meteorology and internal Mongol family politics! But wait, there's also a bit of Zen theology dashed in to spice things up! It's an eclectic week on the podcast for sure!. . .
This week: where did the Mongol Empire come from, and who was in charge when they decided to come after Japan? Also, why is the Kamakura shogunate the most convoluted form of government in a history of convoluted governments?. . .
All you could ever want to know about podcast recording, UW's graduate program, and why the Japanese definitely are not part of the 10 lost tribes of Israel! That and more! Thank you all for 200 great episodes!. . .
In which we bring things to a close by considering the fall of the Butokukai, the spread of budo beyond Japan, the role of martial arts in the African-American community, the question of Olympic sport status, and the challenge of the UFC. It's gonna be a busy week.. . .
This week, we talk about what it took to make a peace on paper a peace in fact. With millions of Japanese civilians and soldiers scattered across Asia, what would it take to get them all home again?. . .
This week, we discuss the course of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials and their legacy in Japan. How did they go from a vision of international optimism to despised by people on both sides of the political spectrum?. . .
This week, we round out our look at the hard left in Japan. Militant communist uprisings (if less than 100 people counts as an uprising), electoral maneuvering, recycling policy -- this episode has it all.. . .
Today, a specter is haunting Japan. But that specter is not communism; it's the ghost of the communist party, dead before it truly lived. This week on the podcast: how to kill a communist party in a few easy steps.. . .
Today, we'll turn our attention to a set of ideas that will ultimately fall flat on their face in Japan (and most other places): Marxism. How did the hard left come to Japan? And before that, what even is Marxism?. . .
This week, we explore the history of one of Japan's most popular art forms: kabuki theater. Major themes include prostitution, Tokugawa era morality laws, stagecraft, prostitution, and the superiority of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine over The Next Generation.. . .
In the last major land battle of the Russo-Japanese War, two great powers enter and...two great powers leave? Wait, I'm confused. How are the Japanese winning every battle and still not winning the war?. . .
Today, we're starting a war! The battle for Manchuria begins as Japan and Russia confront each other on land and at sea for the first time. But will the daring Japanese plan to win the war quickly pay off? Well....kind of.. . .
This week -- negotiations between the two sides begin in St. Petersburg, but neither Japan nor Russia is really committed to peacefully working things out. In Imperial Japanese Army HQ, the first steps towards an actual plan for war are formulated: but how to neutralize the many advantages Russia holds?. . .
This week, we're going to cover the incompatible goals that led Japan and Russia towards war. Why did each side see the other as a threat? Why was war even on the table in the first place? Can't we all just get along?. . .
This week, we discuss Japan's relationship with the modern day Hermit Kingdom, and to explain North Korean policy and how those policies effect Japan. It's gonna be a long ride into the web of madness that is the world's only communist monarchy, so grab your Kim Il-sung pins and strap in!. . .
This week, it's time to join the resistance. We'll trace the birth of the Korean resistance from protests in 1919 to its bifurcation into two rival movements. The first, the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, will be based in Shanghai and dominated by the charismatic American-educated Syngman Rhee. The second will be an armed anti-Japanese insurrection in Manchuria led by a man whose life is more myth than fact: Kim Il-sung.. . .
This week -- what was colonial Korea like? We'll do a quick overview of 35 years of colonial economic, political, and social policy to give you a feel for what Japan's goals in Korea were and how those goals effected the lives of ordinary Koreans.. . .
This week, the Korean Kingdom's final years see the desperate bid of King Gojong to salvage Korea's independence. Ultimately, however, Korea's royal family will be unable to save itself, and in 1910 Korea's independence will be snuffed out completely for the first time since the era of Kublai Khan.. . .
This week, a three way competition for control of Korea between Japan, China, and Russia heats up! Factional fighting in the Korean court will drag Japan and China into conflict; in the end, the Koreans themselves are sidelined when it comes to controlling their own fate.. . .
This week, Korea encounters the West. We'll introduce the early Western forays into Korea, explain how Japan came to sign the first unequal treaty with its neighbor, and look into the factionalization of the Korean royal court.. . .
This week, we let slip the dogs of war as Japan plunges into a new phase of conflict. Though Prince Mochihito will not make it out of 1180, the rebellion he starts will catch on in eastern Japan. Young Minamoto no Yoritomo, with some prodding from his new father-in-law/captor, will rise up to assume his birthright as leader of the Minamoto (but not without some controversy).. . .
This week: the Taira family continue their rise to prominence, the Minamoto get stuck spinning their wheels for a few decades, and warrior violence makes its way to Kyoto. All that, plus the hottest court gossip of the 1120s, this week.. . .
This week, we'll be starting a short series about the advent of the samurai class. First, what came before the samurai, and why did Japan's emperors decide to devolve more and more power to provincial warriors?. . .
Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this episode as a gift on my podcast's release day. Pull off your shirt to reveal your gang tattoos, it's time for the yakuza!. . .
Today we're going to talk about Japan's relationship with nuclear power and the catastrophic events of March, 2011. Why did Japan become so reliant on nuclear energy? Why did all the safeguards in place fail so badly in 2011? And where on earth do we go from here?. . .
This week, we'll talk about the birth of the Japanese space program. From its origins as the brainchild of a former weapons designer and a borderline pyromaniac, the programs now incorporated into JAXA (the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) have accomplished some of the most amazing technical feats of the 20th and 21st century. How did they do it, and why? And what's changing now with the rise of China?. . .
Aaand we're done. This week, some final thoughts on the period and its key players before we put the Meiji Restoration to bed for good! Be sure to get in touch and tell me what you thought of the series.. . .
This week, we turn to the final drama of our series -- the samurai rebellions that will break out in final defense of 1000 years of samurai tradition. As the group of leaders who had overthrown the Tokugawa becomes ever smaller, the final course of Japan will be set. From this point on, what the new Japan will look like will be clear.. . .
This week, Saigo Takamori is going to sidetrack the whole government by pulling the idea of invading Korea off the shelf, sparking a political crisis. Once the dust from this debate has settled, the political landscape will have changed once again, and the battle lines for a final showdown over the fate of Japan will be drawn.. . .
This week, we take a look at the new balance of power now that the Tokugawa are gone. Who's calling the shots? What do they want? And most importantly of all, now that the war is over, will we all be resolving our differences with calm discussion like a bunch of grownups? Spoilers: no.. . .
This week: the "short-lived" part of "the short-lived Ezo Republic" comes to fruition, and what is now Meiji Japan begins dealing with a new issue. Now that the Tokugawa are finally gone, what comes next?. . .
This week, we'll cover the military campaigns of 1868. Edo will (surprisingly anticlimactically) fall, the north will rebel, and Matsudaira Katamori's domain of Aizu will be overrun after a brutal two month siege. In the end, only the small splinter territory of the Ezo Republic will be left standing.. . .
In early 1868, the armies of the loyalists and the Tokugawa bakufu will clash outside Kyoto. We'll discuss the factors that led to the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, and why what was supposed to be a walk in the park for the Tokugawa turned into a complete disaster.. . .
This week, we cover 1867: the final year of the Tokugawa shogunate (sort of). Caught between a loyalist rock and an imperial hard place, Tokugawa Yoshinobu will consider the unthinkable: resignation, and an end to 260 years of bakufu tradition.. . .
Choshu vs the Tokugawa, round 2! Only two years after being defeated by the Tokugawa, Choshu is back at war with Japan's leading family. This time, they've got far more cards to play, though. Can Choshu defeat the Tokugawa and put them into a slow death spiral from which they will never recover? Hint: yes!. . .
Not even a dead motherboard can stop me; 1865 is just too important for us to talk about! This week: Civil Wars, gunrunning, and important financial tips (hint: become an arms dealer) as we continue the march to the fall of the Tokugawa!. . .
1864 is probably the most important year in the Meiji Restoration that nobody really has heard of; the Tokugawa will come as close to winning their fight for control of Japan as they ever will, and the shishi movement will end up on the ropes. So, how did the Tokugawa stage such an effective comeback, and why did Tokugawa victories end up laying the groundwork for Tokugawa defeats down the line? All that and more, this week!. . .
This week, we'll move into the tumultuous events of 1863. Challenges foreign and domestic are going to upset the balance of power that has existed since the death of Ii Naosuke, and drive Japan ever closer to civil war.. . .
This week, we'll move into the messy early/mid 1860s and look at the doomed attempt to bridge the gap between the Tokugawa and the Imperial Court. We'll also look at the situation in Kyoto, which was growing more violent by the day.. . .
This week, the turbulent politics following the death of Ii Naosuke will result in the rise of one of the most famous symbols of the late Tokugawa era: the shishi, or men of spirit. These shishi groups, radicalized by the political trials of recent years, will introduce a degree of violence to Japanese politics not seen in generations, and pave the way for a fundamental change in Japanese politics.. . .
This week, Ii Naosuke will try to right the ship of state by any means necessary. However, his reassertion of Tokugawa authority will run into serious problems as the violence surrounding politics begins to ramp up.. . .
This week, we explore the beginnings of opposition against the bakufu. The Harris Treaty will prove deeply divisive, and before long two factions of daimyo will develop opposing and supporting it. Locked in a stalemate, the two sides turn to a place that had been isolated from politics for nearly 1000 years: the imperial court and its young emperor Komei in Kyoto.. . .
This week, we're going to stop the forward progress of the narrative and focus on two men who are going to have a large impact on the massive political realignment that's coming down the tubes, though they themselves will not live to see it: Sakuma Shozan and Yoshida Shoin. We'll use them to try to answer the question of just how radical the most radical elements in 1850s Japan really were.. . .
This week, we'll explore Japanese reactions to Perry and his successor, the new US Consul in Japan Townsend Harris. As the foreign powers begin to muscle their way more and more into Japan, battle lines between two opposing camps with different visions of Japan's future will be drawn. Things haven't come apart yet, but we're now officially on the road to Tokugawa collapse.. . .
So why did President Millard Filmore decide to send an expedition to Japan? Who exactly was Commodore Perry? And why did he have such a thing for giving people model trains? All that and more, this week.. . .
In this ecclectic episode, we'll finish up our quick review of the Tokugawa period with a look at three things: the various issues which plagued the samurai class by the 19th century, three of the regions that will play a key role in the fall of the shogunate, and finally the foreign crisis.. . .
This week, we're starting our new longest ever series on the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate and the birth of modern Japan. This week, we're taking a look at the political situation in the Tokugawa period -- how was the country carved up by Tokugawa Ieyasu? Who ruled what, and what kind of implications did that have in terms of establishing a secure and stable nation?. . .
Yoshida Shigeru was the postwar Prime Minister who helped salvage Japan's economy after WWII and set the country on the course to recovery. Today we'll discuss his background, time in office, and his influence on the course of Japan's political history.. . .
This week, we cover the first Japanese expeditions to Europe. How was it decided that a group of samurai should be dispatched to Rome? Were there really samurai who were also technically knights? How scandalized were the European upper classes by the idea of chopsticks? All that and more, this week!. . .
This week, we cover the rise to global fame of one of Japan's greatest cultural ambassadors: Godzilla. How did a monster designed as a metaphor about the bomb become emblematic of postwar Japan? Find out this week!. . .
In the final episode of our series on the atomic bomb, we'll talk a bit about some other theories related to the bomb before closing with some general thoughts about the bomb and what it says about how we approach and write history.. . .
This week, we'll be covering the Orthodox position on the atomic bomb: the defense of the bomb as necessary in the face of Japanese unwillingness to surrender. We'll look at the original impetus for putting forth a systemic defense of the bomb as well as the basic arguments often used to defend its use.. . .
For our longest (non-Q&A) episode ever, we'll discuss the development of the Manhattan Project as the odd couple of Leslie Groves and Robert Oppenheimer work to complete the greatest feat of scientific engineering in history.. . .
In our first of six episodes on the atomic bombs, we start to answer an important question; where did the idea for the bomb come from? Where did people get the idea that a sufficiently large bomb would enable them to win wars from the air?. . .
How does a nation ruled by warriors descend into over 100 years of civil war? Find out this week as we discuss the causes of the Onin War and the collapse of the authority of the Ashikaga shoguns.. . .
Kato Shizue was one of Japan's earliest feminist icons. This week we'll trace her unusual rise from daughter of wealth and privilege to firebrand politician fighting for the rights of Japanese women and women everywhere.. . .
This week, we cover Japan's doomed attempt to build an undefeatable battleship in a time when battleships were no longer really the key to naval victory. That's right, it's time for the IJN Yamato!. . .
This week: did the postwar period destroy the soul of Japanese culture? Mishima Yukio certainly thought so. We'll explore his life, his career, and the unusual manner of his untimely death this week!. . .
What do you get when you cross radical Confucianism with armed samurai? Japan's first samurai rebellion since the 1630s, and a recipe for one fascinating episode. Cannons, torture, and philosophy: this episode has it all!. . .
This week: your questions! What places are fun to visit Japanese? How do you learn Japanese outside of school? And does the Emperor obey traffic laws when he drives himself? All that and more today!. . .
Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose from the lower ranks of society in just a bit over 30 years; how did he rise so far so fast, and why did the regime he built crumble almost immediately after this death? All that and more this week.. . .
This week: what does it take to be part of Japan's most infamous warlord duo? We explore the lives of Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin, their relationship with each other, and the ways in which their rivalry has been romanticized over the course of Japanese history.. . .
This week, we're going to discuss one of the most reprehensible aspects of a war littered with horrible acts; the system of mass sexual slavery of women euphemistically dubbed "comfort women". We'll talk about the origins and nature of the system, and the reason why it has come back to haunt Japanese politics today.. . .
This week, we're turn to the modern Sino-Japanese relationship. After 1978, the communist party assumed a different form under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. How did those changes affect diplomacy between China and Japan? And what on earth happened to lead to the modern fraught relationship between East Asia's two most powerful states?. . .
This week we explore the rise of the man who would come to symbolize, for good or ill, modern China: Mao Zedong. Who was he, how did he come out on top, and what was his relationship with his neighbors to the east?. . .
This week we look at the Second Sino-Japanese War from the opposite angle: not those who fought, but those who collaborated. We'll discuss the titular leader of Manchukuo and the head of the "reformed" Chinese regime with an eye towards shedding some light on who collaborated and why.. . .
This week we introduce the man who led China's war against Japan: Chiang Kai-shek. The reluctant military leader wanted no part of a war against the nation where he had trained, but the trends of the time forced him into a conflict that would eventually destroy not only Japan, but his own regime as well.. . .
This week, we turn to the life of the father of modern China: Dr. Sun Yat-sen. How did he help turn China from an empire into a modern nation-state, and how did his paths cross with Japanese allies and enemies along the way?. . .
This week, we're going to start our exploration of the Sino-Japanese relationship with a quick recap of the history of China's last imperial dynasty. How did China find itself in such desperate straits by the turn of the twentieth century that they were being surpassed by a chain of islands that had been irrelevant for centuries? Tune in to find out!. . .
In the late 17th century, the popular writer Ihara Saikaku produced literature for mass entertainment and consumption. He became immensely popular, and remains widely read even centuries after his heyday. We'll explore his life, career, and legacy as we ask, "just how did a man making entertainment to pay his bills become one of Japan's most celebrated authors?". . .
This week we'll be going through the basics of daily life for children, women, and men during the Meiji Period. How did the tremendous changes of the Meiji Era change the way people lived and worked? This week, we'll try to sketch an outline of an answer for that question, as we cover themes as varied as compulsory educations and fistfights over the rights of prostitutes!. . .
This week; a mad emperor on a quest to live forever, and the sorcerer who led an expedition to make it happen and may just have founded Japanese civilization in the process (but probably not). It's the likely untrue but still fun and interesting story of Xu Fu!. . .
For our final episode on Shinto and the Japanese state, we'll focus on the postwar controversies of Shinto: what was the role of the emperor going to be? How would Shinto fit in the new political order? And what on earth are we going to do with Yasukuni? The answers to these questions are what give shape to much of the controversy surrounding Shinto in modern Japan.. . .
This week we move into Japan's imperial period; what was the relationship between Shinto and a government which claimed its legitimacy in part from an emperor descended from one of the kami? What was the reality of "State Shinto", and who really led the charge to integrate church and state in Japan? All that and more, this week!. . .
This podcast, assembled by a former PhD student in History at the University of Washington, covers the entire span of Japanese history. Each week we'll tackle a new topic, ranging from prehistoric Japan to the modern day.. . .
This week, we go back to address a glaring flaw from episode 10: my total lack of discussion of the countryside. Rural life in the Edo Period involved a lot more than simply farming from dawn to sunset, and this week we'll get into exactly what it meant to be a peasant in the golden age of the samurai.. . .
Koizumi Junichiro was quite possibly the most successful Prime Minister Japan has had for decades (and certainly the best dressed). This week, we'll trace the rise of his career, his goals while in power, and the impact of his reforms on a Japanese state sometimes thought to be irreformable.. . .
After the fall of Tanaka Kakuei, one man has become known as the heir to his tradition. One man has attempted to manipulate the flow of politics in order to either serve as a populist champion for Japan or embody the worst of the Japanese political process (depending on who you ask). His name is Ozawa Ichiro, and he is our topic for this week.. . .
In 1910, an anarchist plot to assassinate the Meiji Emperor was uncovered. Seizing the opportunity, conservatives in the government pounced in to arrest 26 anarchists. The background of this confrontation between the government and the radical left, the trials themselves, and their modern legacy are our topics this week.. . .
This week -- and if you're getting this on release day, 72 years and 364 days later -- we're going to discuss the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as well as its architect, the iconoclastic Japanese admiral Yamamoto Isoroku. Who was this man who came up with a bold plan to disable the entire US Navy in one shot? What was he thinking when he put this plan together? And why, in the end, did he have no prospect of victory?. . .
Our topic this week is the life and legacy of one of Japan's greatest political leaders: Ito Hirobumi, author of Japan's first modern constitution. Born into a low-rank samurai family in Choshu, Ito would wear many hats in his life: radical, terrorist, student, diplomat, leader, and finally -- and fatally -- as the face of Japanese dominance in Korea. His life and his legacy are central to the story of modern Japan.. . .
Our topic this week is the Meiji intellectual Fukuzawa Yukichi. From the second son of a poor samurai family he rose to be one of Japan's most prominent intellectuals, and helped define what it meant for Japan to be a modern country. His influence was tremendous, but it also had a darker side; in his works lie the kernel of what would later become Japanese imperialism and ultra-nationalism.. . .
We're turning our attention this week to Japan's first classic of poetry: the Man'yoshu, or the Collection of Ten-Thousand Leaves. We'll trace the origins of the work as well as its cultural impact through the ages, and talk about why it is we should care about a bunch of poems some of which date back to times contemporary with the Roman Empire.. . .
This week, we're going to take a look at the collection of supernatural stories published by American author and journalist Lafcadio Hearn, called Kwaidan. We'll look at Hearn's life and how he came to Japan, and also discuss the nature of one of the creatures he describes: the yuki onna, or snow woman. We'll close with a reading of Hearn's story on the yuki onna.. . .
We'll be taking things back to the Heian Period this week for the story of the great rebel Taira no Masakado. His rebellion, however, is only half the story -- after he dies, things get very interesting indeed.... . .
After his defeat at the hands of Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu will lie low for a decade or so, biding his time. However, when the opportunity presents itself with Hideyoshi's death and the succession of his young heir, Ieyasu will strike at last, and gamble everything for one more shot at power.. . .
This week, join us for part one of the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu. A brilliant and ambitious man, Ieyasu began his life as a hostage for the good behavior of his middling-rank family. By 1584, however, he would be in position to make his first bid for power.. . .
This week, we're going to to talk about the life of Yamaguchi Yoshiko, the Chinese-born actress turned politician who went from propaganda actress to one of the most moving voices for Sino-Japanese reconciliation.. . .
As a supplemental to this week's episode, here's an entire episode of Zero Hour, courtesy of the Internet Archive. This episode is from September 14, 1944. If you're looking to hear some genuine old fashioned World War II propaganda, now's your chance!. . .
Note: This is a revised version to fix a technical issue with the original release
This week, we're going to talk about the life of Iva Toguri, the woman most associated with the infamous (and legendary) role of the Tokyo Rose. Labelled as a traitor for her actions during the war, Toguri fought hard for her citizenship and her reputation, and was rewarded for her tenacity decades after the fact.. . .
In our final episode on the US-Japan relationship, we'll bring things up to the modern day and discuss the revival of the US-Japan alliance in the 2000s. After decades of tension, today the US-Japan relationship seems closer and more natural than it has ever been. Still, where will things go from here? Only time will tell.. . .
This week, we're jumping ahead to cover the 1950s through the 1980s; Japan and the United States, former foes, are now allies in the Cold War. The relationship, however, is not as smooth as it seems on the surface.. . .
This week, we take the final plunge to Pearl Harbor. Backed into a corner by foolish decision-making and serious misreadings of their situation, the leaders of Japan will scramble at the last minute to avoid war, but refuse to make any serious concessions to do so. In the end, war will happen not because anyone really wants it but because no one wants to avoid it badly enough.. . .
This week, we'll discuss the Second Konoe Cabinet, which was torn by indecision and plagued by bad leadership. The Japanese leadership will alienate the US by signing the Tripartite Pact, and their attempts to bridge the gap with the US will be plagued by bad management and failure.. . .
This week, we'll delve into the origins of Japan's war with China and the strain that conflict placed on Japan's relationship with the US. In the course of the 9 years from the invasion of Manchuria to the second appointment of Konoe Fumimaro as Prime Minister, Japan will become bogged down in an unwinnable war and find itself facing a far more assertive United States.. . .
This week, we'll discuss America and Japan's new roles as Great Powers in the 20th century. We'll discuss the reasons Japan and America came together to support the Allies in World War I, the rationale behind Japanese support for an American-dominated world order after 1918, and the early arms control and peace initiatives supported by Japan and the US.. . .
This week, we're beginning a multiparter on the modern relationship between America and Japan. We'll cover the background of both countries and their relationship leading up to the 1905 Russo-Japanese War.. . .
This week, Sam Timinsky will be joining us for another guest podcast, covering changes in masculine identity in the wake of Japan's economic bubble and bust in the 1980s and 1990s. As a reminder, there will be no new episode next week; the week after that we will resume normal service.. . .
This week, a special guest reader will be coming on to read a script on Akutagawa Ryunosuke, one of modern Japan's foremost authors. As the script is still mine, any errors are my own; join us for a distinctly non-expert look at one of the great minds of Japanese literature!. . .
For our first ever guest episode, an old colleague and dear friend of mine named Sam Timinsky will be coming in to discuss the history of women's activist movements in Japan. Sam does an excellent job with a very difficult topic, and this episode gives you a chance to get a different perspective from my own on modern history!
Sam is a PhD student (like myself) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.. . .
This week, we're covering two women whose work in the Occupation helped reshape Japan into a modern state. Beate Sirota was the Austrian-born Jewish-American woman who pushed for Japan's equal rights clauses in its Constitution, and Eleanor Hadley was a Seattle native who fought to disestablish Japan's powerful zaibatsu. We'll discuss the lives and contributions of these two incredible women.. . .
This week, we'll be discussing the most important premodern Japanese philosopher that no one has ever heard of: Motoori Norinaga, the leading light of Kokugaku (National Studies) in Edo-period Japan. We'll be covering his life, a barebones overview of his philosophy, and his impact on Japan.. . .
This week, we're discussing one of Japan's most famous tales: 47 warriors without a master who, during the height of Japanese feudalism, took it upon themselves to avenge their former lord's death. In doing so, they catapulted what was a fairly obscure feud into the pages of history and legend, and remain figures of incredible popularity in Japan (and to a certain degree, the West) to this day.. . .
This week, we're going to be talking about Japan's legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu. We'll discuss his cultural background, the reasons for his rise, his sudden fall, and his massive impact on Japanese culture.. . .
This week, we'll be discussing the history and possible future of Article 9, the peace clause of Japan's constitution. Where did it come from? How has it been interpreted? What does its future look like? All that, this week!. . .
This week, we'll be talking about Japan's first great political reform: the Taika, or Great Change. We'll discuss its causes, effects, its parallels with the Meiji Restoration some 1200 years later, and its legacy -- which reaches a lot farther than you might think.. . .
This week, we're going to take a look at the first figure in recorded Japanese history: Himiko, queen of Yamatai. Despite the fact that the records on her are extremely brief, she's assumed a position of tremendous importance in our thinking about the early history of Japan. We'll look at our records of her life, and her legacy in Japanese history and self-identity.. . .
This week, we're going to be talking about one of Japan's most famous religious movements: Nichiren Buddhism, devoted to the veneration of the text know as the Lotus Sutra. We'll discuss the life and education of Nichiren, as well as the legacy his teachings have for Japan and the world.. . .
This week, we're taking a look at the darkest incarnation of Japan's new religions: the cult known as Aum Shinrikyo. We'll discuss their background, philosophy, and the chain of events which led them to commit the deadliest terror attack in Japan's history.. . .
This week, join us for a very special podcast where we talk about the rise and not-quite-fall of Japan's video game industry. We'll cover the histories of the major Japanese gaming companies, and even discuss my own very tangential involvement in Japan's video game sector.. . .
In this final segment on the rise of the imperial military to power, we'll discuss the process by which the military hijacked Japan's foreign policy and shut down the democratic process. After this was done, the army briefly turned on itself before taking the final plunge into a war with China.. . .
This week, we'll continue with our story of the rise of Japan's military to power; after the crushing of Russia in 1905, the army and navy will lose power and influence to the civilian government as political parties rise to prominence. However, storm clouds gather on the horizon as World War I convinces some military leaders of the necessity of a military state and antagonism between the armed forces and the civilian leadership grows.. . .
Join us this week for a tale of Japan's rise to military greatness, as Yamagata Aritomo situates the army and navy during the 1880s for their rise to power and prominence. Under his leadership, Japan will defeat China, the unchallenged master of Asia for millennia. However, a new threat is looming on the horizon: the colossal Russian Empire.. . .
This week, we'll be beginning our first four-part series as we look at the rise to power of the Imperial Japanese Military. We'll be tracing the military from its origins in the fall of the Tokugawa to the start of war with China in 1937.
This week, we'll be covering the inception of the Imperial military, its early form, and its early trials abroad and at home as the new Meiji government struggles to solidify its hold over Japan.. . .
This week, we'll be doing our second Shogunal biography. We're going to discuss the life and legacy of the man who destroyed the Hojo family, established the Ashikaga bakufu, and who was until very recently reviled as the worst traitor in Japanese history: Ashikaga Takauji.. . .
This week, we're going to discuss the Russo-Japanese War from a different angle; we're going to talk about the effect it had in generating nationalist movements around Asia and in breaking the spell of European invincibility. From Sun Yat-sen to Mohandas Gandhi, the Japanese victory resonated around the world, and helped shape the 20th century as we know it.. . .
This week, we're going to discuss the ninja, or at least what we can discern about them from the limited information that's out there. We'll discuss their origins, historic exploits, and the mythologization that turned them into the pop culture warriors we know and love today.. . .
This week, we'll discuss the arrival of William Adams, the reversal of fortune for Spain and Catholicism in Asia, and the suppression of Christianity by the Tokugawa. We're also going to discuss the legacy of Japan's Christian century, and how it relates to our conception of history.. . .
This week, we'll continue our discussion of Japan's Christian century with the high-point of Christian missionizing in Japan, starting with the arrival of St. Francis Xavier. Xavier's mission will mark the start of Christianity's spread through the islands, but within half a century the progress of the missionary movement will have halted and Japan's Christians and the powers that support them will be facing serious threats to their power and position.. . .
This is part one of an eventual three part series on the rise and fall of Christianity in medieval Japan. This week, we'll cover the background of events in Europe and Japan, as well as the arrival of the first Portuguese traders in the country.. . .
This week, we'll be tackling an oft-requested topic; women warriors in the samurai class. Contrary to what you might think, women were actually very active in the roughly 800 years that make up the dominant time of the samurai class. Today, we'll be discussing just a few of them and learning about their accomplishments during Japan's war-torn past.. . .
We're back for the start of 2014, and to kick the year off right we're looking at this year's most significant anniversary: 1914. We'll be talking about the effects of World War I in Japan, and the ways in which it marked a turning point for Japanese policies in Asia.. . .
For our last podcast of 2013, I thought it'd be fun to do something light-hearted; so let's talk about traditions surrounding Christmas and New Years in Japan. We'll cover how these holidays came to be celebrated in Japan and talk a bit about the forms they take today.. . .
This week we'll finish up our two-parter on Japanese-Okinawan relations with a look at Okinawa during the Imperial Period. We'll be focusing heavily on the bloody Battle of Okinawa, and then wrap things up by looking at the relationship between the islands and the Japanese mainland today. This week's episode is rather more graphic and violent than usual -- I could not in good conscience whitewash the battle, but I do feel I should warn those of you who might be offended by such things to pass on this one.. . .
This week, we'll begin a two-part series on the relationship between Japan and what is now her southernmost province: Okinawa. We'll cover the founding of the Kingdom of the Ryukyus, its relationship with Japan, and finally its incorporation into the burgeoning Japanese Empire.. . .
This week, we're going to discuss the topic of swordsmanship and kendo in modern Japan. We'll talk about where modern traditions of swordsmanship came from, and why kendo retains such a popular grip on modern Japan.. . .
This week, we're going to take a look at the man credited with one of the greatest epochal changes in Japanese history: the shift from imperial to samurai government in the late 12th century. It's time for the life and legacy of Minamoto no Yoritomo!. . .
This week we'll be tackling our first media review and discussing by far the most influential piece of historical fiction ever written about Japan: Shogun, by James Clavell.
Listen to the episode here, and be sure to give me feedback on this one so I can improve the style for future review episodes!. . .
This week we have the second and final part of our series on Saigo Takamori, covering his rebellion against the government, his death, and his legacy. Tune in for one of the most famous stories in Japanese history!. . .
This week, we'll begin another two-parter dealing with the life and death of Saigo Takamori, one of the great leaders of the Meiji Restoration. This week, we'll discuss his rise to public prominence and subsequent fall from grace. Next week, we'll turn to the rebellion that would end his life and his legacy in modern Japan.. . .
This week, we're discussing Onmyodo, the mystical study of divination based off of the theories of yin and yang (in-yo or on-myo in Japanese). We'll be covering the entire history of the practice, including its most famous practitioner: Abe no Seimei. We'll also be discussing the modern fate of Onmyodo and its practitioners the onmyoji.. . .
This week, we're going to talk about the evolution of manga. We'll discuss the roots of the comic form in Japan, both Eastern and Western, and its rapid explosion in popularity after World War II.. . .
This week we will be discussing the great political wheeler and dealer of modern Japanese politics: Tanaka Kakuei. We will trace the rise of this man of the people, the heights of his power, and his eventual fall from grace, as well as discussing his political legacy. Also, there will be bizarre assassination plots involving yakuza and revenge-minded porno actors. Should be a good time.. . .
We'll be wrapping up our discussion of the Ikko Ikki this week, as the unstoppable force of the militant wing of Jodo Shinshu meets the immovable objects of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga. What follows is a tale of treachery, war, and revenge worthy of an HBO miniseries.. . .
For our first two-part episode, we're going to discuss the Ikko Ikki, a militant insurrection of believers in the faith of Jodo Shinshu, or True Pure Land Buddhism. We'll discuss the rise of the movement to political and military prominence during the Sengoku Era in this week's episode; next week, we'll discuss its decline and fall.. . .
For our first listener-submitted topic, we're tackling Bushido: the warrior code of the samurai class. We'll discuss the evolution of the bushido ideology, the role it played during the ages of warfare in Japan as well as during the Tokugawa, and its modern legacy in a post-samurai world.. . .
For our final outline episode, we'll be tackling the origins and effects of the real-estate bubble which devastated the Japanese economy in 1991, and which so brutally halted the story of Japanese growth. In particular, we'll be focusing on the ways in which the various problems outlined last week were brought to the fore by the economic chaos of the 1990s.. . .
This week, we'll be talking about the height of postwar Japan during the 1970s and 1980s. On the surface, it's a time of great accomplishment when the dream of catching up to the West had finally been realizing. Looking deeper, however, we find the roots of many of the problems which would bubble to the surface during the economic troubles of the 1990s.. . .
This week, we're going to discuss the postwar strategy that enabled Japan to revive itself after World War II. In 1952, most observers believed Japan would become a mid-rank regional power on the same order as Sweden; by 1970 it was clear that would not be the case. We're going to discuss how Japan was able to rebound from defeat so quickly, and what forces propelled the massive growth of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.. . .
This week's episode is an overview of the Allied Occupation of Japan. In just seven years (1945-1952), the Allies undertook a massive effort to overhaul Japan's politics, economy, and society. We'll discuss the ways in which they tried to do so, and briefly attempt to evaluate their success. This was a really interesting episode to write and record -- I learned a lot myself! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.. . .
This week we're going to be taking another break from the forward march of history to discuss the life of a man named Sugihara Chiune. Sugihara worked as a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to World War II, and in 1940 he gave up his career in order to save thousands of Jewish refugees from the Nazis. We'l discuss who Sugihara was, what he did, why he did it, and why I think he's worth remembering.. . .
This week, we'll be discussing domestic developments in Japan, and the path by which a reasonably (if not totally) liberal democracy in the 1910s and 1920s morphed into a military dictatorship in the 1930s. We'll talk about the various means by which the military grew its influence, and how it was able to use violence to cow the civilian government.. . .
Our podcast this week will turn to the subject of Japanese foreign policy from the end of the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 to the middle of the war against Nationalist China in 1940. We will cover the Russo-Japanese War, the steady split of the military away from the rest of the government, and the radicalization of Japanese policy towards China, culminating in the decision to launch a foolish and counterproductive war in 1937.. . .
This week, we're going to cover the early Meiji Period (1868-1900 or so). We'll be covering a wide range of topics, ranging from international relations to politics to social developments. This is one of the most interesting and tumultuous periods in Japanese history, and I hope you find it as engaging as I do!. . .
This week, we'll be talking about the period called the Bakumatsu, or the end of the Bakufu. We'll be tracing a complex, but very interesting narrative describing how the Tokugawa went from masters of all they surveyed to defeat and destruction in a mere 15 years.
Man, that sounds really gloomy. I promise there are fun bits too!. . .
This week, I'll be talking about the life of the average city-dweller in the Edo Period. This is a very wide-ranging episode, covering everything from the schools in which young samurai were trained to the kabuki-based prostitution which those same young samurai were absolutely forbidden to patronize (not that it stopped them).
I have to say, of all the episodes I've finished up to this point, I've enjoyed writing this one the most. I hope you guys like it too!. . .
This week we will be covering the social and political structure of Edo Japan. There's a lot of interesting material to go through, ranging from the social system (hint: it's good to be a samurai [but not as good as you might think]) to the foreign relations of the bakufu (which mainly involved making Dutch people do hilarious things for their amusement).
Enjoy!. . .
This week, we will be discussing the reunification of Sengoku Japan under the three Sengoku Unifiers -- Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu.
We will be discussing the trajectory of their careers and the nature of their characters. Since (spoilers) they were pretty bad people, it should make for some pretty good listening!. . .
This week, we're going to cover the fall of the Ashikaga and the early Sengoku period (rougly 1400-1550 AD). I'll also be briefly discussing the arrival of Westerners and the rise of the militant Ikko Ikki movement. Enjoy!. . .
This week we will cover the structure of the Kamakura bakufu, the Hojo triumph over the Mongols, the fall of the Hojo, and their replacement by the Ashikaga family. We'll also cover some cultural developments in the fields of Buddhism and Noh theater. Intrigue! Backstabbing! Performance Art! All the makings of an exciting show!. . .
This week, we will be covering the fall of the Heian system, the massive Genpei War between the Minamoto and Taira families, and the rise of the first shogunal government (called a bakufu) under the auspices of the brutal Minamoto no Yoritomo.. . .
This week's episode will discuss the Heian Period (794-1185), one of the golden ages of Japanese history. We'll talk about the politics and culture of the period, covering the structure of government, literary styles, and why it is that I think the Tale of Genji is kind of creepy.. . .
Today we will be discussing the Asuka and Nara periods, and the formation of a centralized, Chinese-style government based in a permanent capitol city. There's intrigue, backstabbing, and stories about poop; should be fun!. . .
Welcome to our introductory episode! Today we will be covering the basic ideas behind this podcast, including: Who I am
What I'm planning to do here
Why you should care about history
Why Japanese history is important
What I need from you, my lovely and charming audience I'll be updating with new episodes every weekend (preferably Saturday, sometimes Sunday), so check back next week for more. Thanks for listening!. . .
Dedicated to helping listeners find new history podcasts.