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

This week: was Japan's 5th Tokugawa shogun really as crazy as everybody says?

Spoilers: no. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_222.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we cover a crime wave that shocked 1980s Japan, and proved that postwar society was perhaps not quite all it was cracked up to be. Also, there's a lot of poisoned candy. 

Direct download: Episode_221.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we investigate the great Zen master Dogen, who was something of an eccentric in his own time but remains one of the greatest Buddhist thinkers in Japanese history. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_220.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

Turns out, getting involved in a land war in Asia really is one of the classic blunders.

This week, how did it all pan out?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_219.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_218.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

100 Years ago, Japan intervened in Russia to create a buffer state against the new Soviet Union. So how did that work out? We'll start answering that question this week. 

Direct download: Episode_217.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: why is a military failure worth 7 episodes of our time? The legacy of the Mongol invasions of Japan, explained. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_216.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

The 1281 invasion is at the gates (or the seawall, I suppose). How will round 2 play out?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_215.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we prepare for round two. How are the Japanese getting ready for another invasion, and how does that new invasion begin?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_214.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_213.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week I promise we'll actually get to the 1274 invasion. But first, how were the samurai who defended Japan organized, and what weapons did they use?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_212.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: why did Kublai go to Japan? A quick overview of the tensions that led to the first invasion, and a look at the armies of Mongols and Chinese that would fight it. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_211.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_210.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

Today, we wrap our look at immigrants from Japan with a brief discussion of Nikkei communities in the Philippines and China, and with a look at Japan's own attempts to have Nikkei return "home."

Direct download: History_of_Japan_209.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: why did the American government think it was necessary to round up Nikkei on the West Coast? And what did that policy mean for the people who actually lived it?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_208.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we're headed south to take a look at Nikkei communities in Brazil and Peru. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_207.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we take a closer look at early communities of Nikkeijin -- people of Japanese descent -- in the United States and Hawaii.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_206.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we begin a new series on the Japanese diaspora!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_205.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week we tackle the question of Japanese fascism by looking at one of Japan's foremost fascists, the authoritarian scholar Kita Ikki. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_204.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: one of Japan's most famous Buddhist masters, Kukai, takes center stage!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_203.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

Today we discuss Japan's greatest artistic genius, Katsushika Hokusai!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_202.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: Japan's a pretty verdant place, but how did it stay that way when so many other places were ravaged by human development?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_201.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_200.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_199.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: can a martial art be a philosophy of life? Can it rise to the level of a religion? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_198.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: karate comes to mainland Japan (and gets a rebrand in the process), and the Butokukai's attempts to militarize the martial arts backfire when the Americans come to town.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_197.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: the rise of judo and of the modern budo, and karate strikes back!

 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_196.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: who wants to swing a sword when you can just shoot a gun?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_195.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: where do Japan's traditional martial arts come from? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_194.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: what are three educated women to do in a society that doesn't value their education?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_193.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: the beginning of a two parter on Japan's first ever female exchange students. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_192.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: what, in the end, did the Occupation mean -- for both the occupied and the occupier? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_191.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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: 4:00am PST

This week: the social reforms of the Occupation. Economic policy, education policy: it's like our very own C-SPAN screening! 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_189.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_188.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_187.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:16am PST

This week, we'll begin a discussion of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, better known as the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Who is being tried, what for, and why? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_186.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: where did Japan's constitution come from, and how the hell did it get done in only six days?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_185.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

The Occupation begins! This week, we'll set the stage with a focus on the relationship between Supreme Commander Douglass MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_184.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 1:12pm PST

This week, we turn our attention to the US Occupation of Japan. When did Americans first start thinking seriously about taking Japan over and remaking its whole society?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_183.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, we're doing a biography of the little known Buddhist socialist Seno'o Giro. How do you reconcile Buddhism and Marx? Find out this week!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_182.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_181.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week: the Japanese left is relegated to permanent opposition status in the postwar period. How did the revolutionary moment come to this?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_180.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week, the floodgates are open! The system has fallen, and the left is poised to seize power...or not!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_179.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:00am PST

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. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_178.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

The revolution comes to Japan...but not really. Today we explore the birth and very rapid death of Japan's first socialist party, and the rise of its communist movement.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_177.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:50am PST

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? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_176.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PST

This week, it's time for Japan's first party politician: Hara Takashi. Was he a populist hero or a wannabe elite? And in the end, does that even really matter?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_175.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

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. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_174.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

Today, we'll wrap up our look at the Russo-Japanese War with some thoughts on its long term consequences. How much of an impact can a war that lasted for a year and a half really have?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_173.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST

Apologies for the technical delay! Today, we'll watch Russia descend into chaos, and take a look at the peace negotiations that result as both sides realize they can't keep this war up. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_172.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:20am PST

It's time for the Imperial Japanese Navy to bail out the Imperial Japanese Army. But first, let's enjoy the Russian Baltic Fleet's Party Cruise to the Pacific!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_171.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:04am PST

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_170.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PST