History of Japan

This week, we cover the life and work of one of Japan's most famous authors: the 11th century courtier Murasaki Shikibu. Why do we know so little about who she was? What inspired her to write Genji? Why do I dislike her work so viscerally? And how did it become so famous?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_270.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

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?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_269.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

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? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_268.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT