History of Japan

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST