History of Japan (general)

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

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: 7:00am EDT

This week: what was it like to live through the Occupation? How did people get by? And why is Kurosawa Akira objectively the greatest director ever? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_190.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

This week: the Port Arthur campaign, from start to finish. Wasn't this supposed to be a cakewalk?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_168.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_165.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_144.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:58pm EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_127.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_126.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51pm EDT

This week, we look at the Revisionist critiques of the atomic bomb. Why did America use it, and was it really necessary to end the Pacific War?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_112.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:48am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_109.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_104.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45pm EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_102.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

This week, we've got our first ever interview with author and Shikoku pilgrimage survivor Paul Barach. You can find his book, Fighting Monks and Burning Mountains, on Amazon.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_101.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_100.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_96.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_95.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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! 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_89.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_86.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_76.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_69.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_68.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_67.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_62.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:04am EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_61.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:26am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_60.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:56am EDT

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.

 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_58.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17pm EDT

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!

Direct download: History20of20Japan2055.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_54.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_51.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

For the one year anniversary of the show, join us for an extra-long Q&A show; I'll be taking questions submitted by the audience. Thank you all for a great year, and here's to many more!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_50.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_49.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_48.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_JApan_47.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_46.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:17am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_43.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_42.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_40.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_39.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:01pm EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_38.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_37.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_36.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:26pm EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_35.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_34.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_33.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_32.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:20pm EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_31.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:44pm EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_30.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:53am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_28.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:17pm EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_27.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:18pm EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_26.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:08pm EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_25.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_23.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_20.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04pm EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07pm EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:14pm EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

This week, it's time for a story of triumph and tragedy, racism and acceptance, international relations, and most importantly: baseball!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

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!

Direct download: Episode_10_-_A_Day_in_the_Life_of_Edo_Japan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:57pm EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_9.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_8.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21pm EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_7.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_6.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

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. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT

In this second episode, we discuss the earliest periods of Japanese history (the Jomon, Yayoi and Tumulus/Kofun periods), covering the years from prehistory to 538 AD.  It's a long haul to cover!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

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!

Direct download: HoJ_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm EDT

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