History of Japan

Apologies for the delayed publication, all! Slight technical hiccup on my end.

This week, we turn to the life and legacy of the first of Japan's three unifiers: the warlord Oda Nobunaga, who expanded his domains from part of a backwater province to 1/3rd of all Japan in just a few decades. Who were the Oda? Where did they come from? And how did Nobunaga go from a nobody to a major force in Japanese politics in just a few years?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_280.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 2:30pm PDT

This week, we consider a figure who appears in two stories from the ancient collection of tales known as the Konjaku Monogatari: the bandit chief Hakamadare. What do we know about him? What do the stories say about him? And what can we learn from those tales?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_279.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week we investigate the role of Japan in laying the groundwork for Vietnam's wars against France and the United States. How did Japan's occupation of Indochina create the groundwork for the Viet Minh? And why did some Japanese soldiers, given the choice to return home in defeat or stay behind and fight on behalf of a country other than their own, take up the Vietnamese cause? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_278.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we arrive at the end of the Ashikaga. What were the final 100 years of Ashikaga "rule" like, and what can we take away from exploring their time as rulers of Japan?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_277.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we do a deep dive on the life of Ashikaga Yoshimasa and the lead up to the Onin War, the conflict that traditionally marks the end of Ashikaga rule over Japan. But how fair is it to point to Onin as a break with the past? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_276.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week we turn away from politics to discuss religion, art, and the economy during the age of the Ashikaga. Why is this era such a moment of societal flourishing despite the constant warfare and instability of Ashikaga rule?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_275.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: war in the Ashikaga age. Plus; the reign of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu is generally considered the zenith of Ashikaga prestige, but why was his power built on such shaky foundations? Once the Ashikaga had seized control of Japan, how did they go about actually governing it?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_274.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week we start a multipart series on the Muromachi period and the reign of the Ashikaga family. How did they come to power? Why is their government generally described as so weak? And how, despite that weak government, did they win a 60 year war for control of Japan?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_273.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week we cover the life and career of the legendary judge Oka Tadasuke, who rose from minor samurai to the rank of daimyo and a major position in the bakufu -- only to become a legendary figure. Who is he? How did he rise so high? And what can he tell us about the role of judges and bureaucrats in Japanese society more generally?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_272.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we cover the fascinating tale of Sei Shonagon and the Makura no Soushi, or Pillow Book. Why is a collection of anecdotes considered to be one of Japan's greatest literary classics? What mkes the Pillow Book so famous? And why does Isaac love it so very much?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_271.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT