History of Japan

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?

Direct download: Episode_267.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:00am PST

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. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_266.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_265.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_264.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

As a surprise bonus, here's an episode of my new show Criminal Records on one of Japan's most fascinating criminal cases. Fair warning: this episode includes some graphic content!

Direct download: Episode_03_-_Abe_Sada.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 10:46am PST

This week; Oomoto's zenith and fall from grace. Plus, what have we learned from all this?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_263.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_262.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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.

 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_261.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: the Great Kanto Earthquake, the firebombing campaign, and Tokyo during the Occupation. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_260.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, from Edo to Tokyo: how the shogun's city became the emperor's!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_259.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we start a look at the history of the city of Tokyo. How did the frontier fishing village of Edo go from backwater nowhere to the heart of the nation in only a few short generations?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_258.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we cover the life and legacy of one of the great bridges between Japan and China -- the Christian bookseller of Shanghai, Uchiyama Kanzo. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_257.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we take a look at the history of pro wrestling in Japan, and its unlikely progenitor: a Korean-born sumo wrestler named Rikidozan. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_256.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we close out our time with Taiwan with a look at its return to the Republic of China, and at the modern day relationship between the "renegade province" and Japan. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_255.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_254.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: now that Japan has conquered Taiwan, what are they actually going to do with it?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_253.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we start a history of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. How did Japan come to conquer the island, and what did its conquest entail for the Japanese and for the inhabitants?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_252.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:09pm PST

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? 

Direct download: Episode_251.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_250.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_249.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_248.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_247.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_246.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we cover the Miike coal mine strike of 1960. As labor and management do battle over the future of the mines, how will the future of the country be shaped by their clash? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_245.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_244.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, the origins and history of Sumo. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_243.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, the story of Nakahama Manjiro, the castaway turned American whaler turned gold miner turned samurai turned English professor. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_242.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PST

This week, we conclude our up close look at the Shimazu family and Satsuma domain with a consideration of how the domain fit into Edo society, and its position in modern Japan. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_241.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_240.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_239.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we tackle the evils of Unit 731 -- its history, its experiments, and its ultimate escape from any real justice. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_238.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we take on the scintillating story of the Manchurian princess Kawashima Yoshiko, who grew up in Japan before becoming an agent for Japanese intelligence. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_237.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:30am PST

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_236.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_235.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_234.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_233.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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/.

 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_232.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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/.

 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_232.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we wrap up the life of Japan's 124th Emperor. What, in the end, did it all mean?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_231.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

How does a man raised to be a military autocrat become a democratic emperor in just a few short years? Or is that even possible?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_230.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_229.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we take a look at Hirohito's life before World War II. What kind of ruler was Japan's new emperor when the chips came down?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_228.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_227.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_226.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we cover a famous caper that probably sent an innocent man to jail for nearly 40 years. There's poisoning, plotting, and conspiracy galore as we discuss the Teigin Incident. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_225.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we cover the features of modern Japanese policing, from the friendly face of the koban police boxes to the harsh realities of Japan's rules on interrogation.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_224.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_223.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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