History of Japan

This week, we're talking about the rebirth of Japan's rail network in the form of Japan National Railways. Some things will stay the same (it's all the same guys in charge), some will change (a free press keeps reporting on the mistakes those guys make), and all of this will culminate in one of the most ambitious engineering projects in Japanese history: the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_386_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about the role of rail in imperial Japan, with a particular focus on the infamous South Manchuria Railway Company. How does a rail line become key to Japan's imperial ambitions in China?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_385_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're starting off a look at the history of rail in Japan by exploring how this revolutionary technology was introduced to the country. And once it was, how would a government obsessed with strategic infrastructure like rail manage the complexities of funding and constructing something so jaw-droppingly expensive?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_384_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 12:45pm PDT

Today, we're taking a look at a fascinating literary text from 1000 years ago, the Kagero Nikki (most commonly translated as "The Gossamer Diary"). This is the life story of a woman whose name is not known to us, and her tumultuous, borderline abusive relationship with her husband -- and a tale of how, ultimately, she is able to find peace.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_383_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to stay in the Sengoku but take a step away from all this samurai action to ask: what's everybody else up to? From farmers in the countryside enjoying the fruits of a more commercialized economy (while fearing being raided by marauding armies) to merchant towns asserting their authority against warlords, it's a fascinating look into a neglected piece of the era's history.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_382_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we cover the rest of the lives of Sugen'in, Joko'in, and Yodo-dono (and some other really fascinating incidental lives, like Hideyoshi's wife Kodai'in), and ask: what can we learn from these often overlooked narratives?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_381_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're revisiting some well-trod ground (the final decades of the 1500s and the careers of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi) but through new eyes -- focusing on the stories of Nobunaga's sister Oichi, and her three daughters Yodo-dono, Joko'in, and Sugen'in.

Direct download: Episode_380_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25pm PDT

This week, we're starting off a month of Sengoku-themed content with a look at one of the remoter areas of Japan: Tosa province on Shikoku, now known as Kouchi Prefecture. Specifically, we'll be diving into the history of the one-time lords of the area, the Chosokabe family, who rose from minor status to lords of all of Shikoku in two generations, and were then annihilated in the very next.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_379.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about the birth of the idol industry in Japan. What are idols, how are they made famous, and what does all of this say about the nature of consumer culture in modern Japan?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_378_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're taking a look at one of the greatest scandals in the history of Japanese baseball, when the black mist of yakuza-driven sports gambling wracked Japan's national pastime.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_377_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're exploring the history of Japan's most famous drink: sake, or Japanese rice wine (though it turns out, 'sake' in Japanese doesn't necessarily refer to what we think of, nor is it actually a 'rice wine' in the technical sense). We're covering everything from tax laws to how to make your own sake using nothing but your own spit, so buckle up! It's gonna be a fun one.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_376_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're wrapping up our history of the colonization of Hokkaido with a look at the impact of the American occupation on the island, as well as some final thoughts on the modern history of the Ainu and their political organizing.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_375_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about Hokkaido in the early 20th century, and in particular the stark problems created by the island's rapid colonization: its badly unequal economy and the question of what role the Ainu were now to play in their own homeland.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_374__mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're looking at the early decades of Japan's colonization of Hokkaido, and the means by which the island was radically remade within the span of a single lifetime.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_373_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: how did the threat of Western imperialism change the relationship between mainland Japan and Hokkaido, and help set the stage for Japan's eventual colonization of the island?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_372_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're starting a multi-part series on the history of one of Japan's major islands, and its first colonial frontier: Hokkaido. Today, we'll talk about the early centuries of history between the Japanese and the Ainu, the aboriginal people of Hokkaido.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_371_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23am PDT

This week, we're covering the life and career of a poet often overlooked despite her fame in her own lifetime: the shopkeeper's daughter-turned-nun-turned-haiku master, Kaga no Chiyo.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_370_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're taking a deep dive into a distinctly Japanese literary genre (zuihitsu, or 'wandering brush') by looking at two of its most famous exemplars: the Hojoki, or Record of a Hut, and Tsurezuregusa, or Essays in Idleness. What lasts forever in this world? How should we strive to live? What should we do when confronted with gamblers on a losing streak? All this and more, coming up!

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_369_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about one of the most famous stories in Japanese history: the bamboo princess Naotake no Kaguyahime and her absolute wrecking ball-esque demolition of Japan's stupidest and most eligible bachelors before she returns back to her home on the moon.

Who says classical literature isn't fun?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_368_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about one of Japan's territorial disputes: the bitter debate over ownership of the Senaku Islands/Diaoyu Islands/Pinnacle Rocks. Where do these competing claims over a bunch of uninhabited islands in the middle of nowhere come from? And what has their impact been on Sino-Japanese relations?

Direct download: Episode_367_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we cover Sorge's career in Tokyo, and explore just how he was able to convince so many people that he was exactly what he was not -- a loyal Nazi here to report on Japan for the benefit of Hitler's regime. Plus, some thoughts on Sorge's significance in the history of the Second World War.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_366_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we begin our exploration of the life and career of Richard Sorge, one of the most famous spies in Japanese (and arguably world) history. We're beginning this week with the story of his recruitment and his first trip to Asia -- a two year posting in Shanghai.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_365_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we outline what Abe's vision to "restore beautiful Japan" meant during his second go-round in office, why he was able to stay in office so long, and what eventually brought him down (hint: it has a lot to do with the fact that many of you are much less likely to be listening to this while commuting than you used to be).

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_364_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: how did Abe Shinzo get back into the PM's office, why did he not fall flat on his face once again once he did, and what are some of the distinguishing features of his policies? We're covering everything from LDP internal elections to macroeconomic policy to social conservatism, so buckle up -- this is gonna be a fun one.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_363_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we chronicle Abe Shinzo's meteoric rise up the ranks of the LDP and the Koizumi cabinet, culminating in his first tenure as Prime Minister -- followed by his equally meteoric ascent back down the ranks, as his first attempt at governance will blow up in his face.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_362_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're starting our retrospective on the career of Japan's former Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo. We begin with a look at his family history and his career through one of the most tumultuous eras of Japan's modern politics -- the 1990s.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_361.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we wrap up our look at Soka Gakkai with the history of its split from Nichiren Shoshu. Plus, we take some time to look at the various controversies surrounding the group and what they say about Soka Gakkai's position in Japanese society.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_360_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about some of the major projects of Ikeda's time as leader of Soka Gakkai, including both the foundation of Soka Gakkai's political party and the construction of the Sho Hondo, a grand new hall for Nichiren teachings.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_359_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we continue our look at the history of Soka Gakkai during the tenure of Toda Josei. We'll also turn to the rise of the most influential figure in the movement today (and arguably its most influential leader ever): the third president of Soka Gakkai, Ikeda Daisaku.

Direct download: Episode_358_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're starting a multi-episode series on one of Japan's most famous organizations: the study society-turned-religion-turned-political-party known as the Value Creation Society, or Soka Gakkai.

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_357_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: how do historians learn about the lives of everyday people? Let's take a look at how it's done by thinking about a group of people often overlooked in histories of the Edo period even though they made up half the population: women.

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_356_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about one of Japan's most famous collections of supernatural tales, the fantastic Ugetsu Monogatari (Tales of Moonlight and Rain) from 1776.

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_355_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about popular literature, with a specific focus on one of Japan's most famous pieces of detective fiction -- the Hanshichi Torimonocho.

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_354_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we wrap up our history of Christianity in Japan with a look at the Occupation and Postwar Eras -- and with some final thoughts on what it means to be a part of a faith viewed as "outside" the mainstream of the nation. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_353_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we'll cover the striving of Japanese Christians to be accepted as genuine patriots by the government during the pre-war era. This striving will lead to closer and closer ties between the state and religion; it will also invite danger once we get into the war years. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_352_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to talk about the heyday of Japanese Christianity during the Imperial era: the 1870s and 1880s, when the church, finally free of government restriction, began to grow. But behind that growth lurked a dangerous reality about the religion's relationship with the state. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_351_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about Christianity during the Bakumatsu Period -- the era that saw the forced opening of Japan and the collapse of samurai government. How did debates around Christianity figure in to this turbulent time in Japanese history?

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_350_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're turning our attention to Christianity in Japan after the "Christian Century." Despite its status as a minority religion in Japan, Christianity has had a major historical impact on the country. How did this happen? We'll start this week by looking at the Christian persecutions which destroyed the communities built by European missionaries in the 1500s.

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_349.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we cover the short yet fascinating history of Islam in Japan. What factors led to a connection between the Islamic world and Japan? Who led the efforts to build bridges between the two? And why is the history of this relationship so generally unknown?

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_348_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we wrap up the series with a look at black history during the Occupation and Postwar eras, with some final thoughts on the series as a whole.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_347_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we turn our attention to the black experience during the war in the Pacific, and to the fascinating story of the Pacific Movement of the Eastern World. 

Show notes here

Direct download: Episode_346_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about political and cultural exchange between black communities and Japan in the 20s and 30s, as well as how one prominent black leader found himself bamboozled by Japan's pro-empire propaganda in the 1930s.

Show notes here

Direct download: History_of_Japan_345_mixdown.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we look at Japan's relationship with blackness and black communities in the wake of the Meiji Restoration, and at the beginnings of a movement among black people to make Japan into a champion of non-white peoples.

Note: this episode includes some language that may be considered dated or offensive (though no use of slurs). 

Show notes here

Direct download: Episode_344.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're beginning an overview of black history in Japan with a focus on the Sengoku and Edo eras, and especially the fascinating tale of Yasuke. What sources do we have for this moment of cultural contact?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_343.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, how did the 1964 Paralympics end up in Japan? Who made it happen? And why does 1964 represent an important moment in the history of disability sports in Japan? 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_342.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're focusing on the story of Ono no Komachi, a mysterious poet from the 800s whose poems were used to construct a fictional persona entirely separate from who she actually was. How did this happen? Why does it matter? And what can we learn from telling the history of a made up character? 

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_341.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're covering the career of one of modern Japan's spymasters: Akashi Motojiro, who attempted to build an intelligence network in Russia during the Russo-Japanese War. Why was he given this task? Did he succeed? And what lessons does his career offer in terms of the wider arc of modern Japanese history? 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_340.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Mawwiage is whut bwings us togethah, today! Today we're talking about the history of marriage as an institution in Japan. How has it changed and evolved? What customs and practices have governed it? And what do those practices look like today?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_339.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

This week, we finish our look at the Olympic movement in Japan with a series of discussions on the legacy of the 64 games, the Winter Olympics in Japan, and on the prospects for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_338.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:55pm PDT

This week, Japan finally gets the Olympics; but what does that really mean for Japan? What does hosting really accomplish for Japan's image, and how do the games themselves unfold? 

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_337.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're starting a series on the history of the Olympic movement in Japan. How did Japan get involved in the Olympics? What factors drove Japanese participation? And what ever happened to Japan's first attempt to host the Olympic games -- the 1940 Olympics that never were. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_336.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're taking an in-depth look at the life and legacy of Ozu Yasujiro, one of Japan's most famous directors -- despite the fact that it's really only in the last decade and a half of his life that he had the freedom to make the films he wanted to make!

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_335.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking over Japan's response to one of the greatest public health crises of the 20th century: the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-19. What strategies did the government put in place to try and counter the flu, how was it treated, and what was it like for the doctors on the front lines fighting to save their patients?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_334.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we tackle one of our more unique subjects. It's time to talk about an institution so secretive that most of its records were almost certainly destroyed to keep them away from prying eyes. No, it's not some secret ninja clan: it's the harem, or Oku, of the Tokugawa shoguns. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_333.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we tackle the life of one of Japan's most interesting women, who rose from obscure origins to become a major power player in the early Tokugawa period: Saito Fuku, better known as Lady Kasuga. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_332.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week we wrap this series up with a look at the changes in the feminist movement during the US Occupation of Japan, and with a look at the postwar careers of Ichikawa Fusae and Hiratsuka Raicho. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_331.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we continue our exploration of the life of Hiratsuka Raicho, and add a new character to our cast: Ichikawa Fusae. How did these two women navigate the tricky waters of 1920s and 1930s Japanese politics, and what obstacles did they encounter along the way? 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_330.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we start off our first ever twinned biography with a look at the early career of one of Japan's pioneering feminists: Hiratsuka Raicho. 

Direct download: Episode_329.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about my absolute favorite poet in the history of forever: Kobayashi Issa. I promise he's great, and I don't just love him for the poop jokes. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_328.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: what happens once the scandal goes public, and what does all this say about postwar Japan more generally?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_327.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we take a look at one of postwar Japan's most famous political scandals, and how the efforts of one company to revive its fortunes ended up roping in everyone from shadowy underworld figures to the Prime Minister of Japan himself. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_326.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, tensions within Japanese society explode as a simple stock purchase turns into a knock-down, drag out fight over corruption in the Japanese state. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_325.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we tackle a political scandal from 1930s Japan to dig deeper into the question: just why did Japan's system of parliamentary government and liberal democracy, which seemed to be flourishing in the 1920s, fall apart so quickly in the 1930s?

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_324.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're discussing the autobiography of a troublemaking, low-ranking samurai whose life didn't reshape Japan, but whose tale can tell us a lot about how our image of the samurai class matched up with reality.

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_323.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we cover one of Japan's great unsolved crimes: the 300 million yen robbery. How did one man steal so much cash? Why couldn't the police find him? And why are we still talking about it today?

Show notes here

Direct download: Episode_322.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, take a deep dive with me into the life of one of the regents of the Heian Era, Fujiwara no Tadahira, as we try and figure out just what it looked like to try and rule over Heian Japan on a day to day level. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_321.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

As the 1950s become the 1960s, the truth of Chisso's failure to address its problems comes out thanks to a new round of poisoning on the other side of Japan. The people of Minamata seek justice for themselves. 

Show notes here.

Direct download: Episode_320.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're beginning a deep dive into the history of one of the most famous cases of environmental poisoning in Japanese history: Minamata disease. How did a chemical factory end up poisoning the people of a small town in rural Japan for years before anyone found out? And why, once it became clear that they were being poisoned, did it take so long for anything to come of it?

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_319.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're talking about one of the greatest cheesy samurai film franchises of all time. Just how did a series of films about one man and his baby mowing down legions of opponents become a pop culture legend? The story of how Lone Wolf and Cub became one of the greatest samurai film franchises ever is our final episode of 2019.

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_318.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we explore the career of the first woman to make a big splash in modern Japanese literature: Higuchi Ichiyo. We'll talk about her story, her writing, her legacy, and her tragically short career -- and I'll spend a lot of time talking about how much I hate Mori Ogai!

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_317.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, it's time to talk backroom deals and business trickery, because we're chronicling the rise of Mitsubishi and the rags to riches story of its founder Iwasaki Yataro.

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_316.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we trace the evolution of Noh theater over the course of the careers of its famous founders: the father-son acting duo Kan'ami and Zeami.

 

Show notes: http://isaacmeyer.net/2019/11/episode-315-the-world-cast-aside/

Direct download: History_of_Japan_315.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Since Japan just got itself a new emperor, this is a good time to go back and look at an incident from the enthronement of the last emperor -- and at a time where one local politician's comment at a council meeting ignited a national firestorm which ended with him being shot.

Show notes here: http://isaacmeyer.net/2019/11/episode-314-resp…-imperial-throne/

Direct download: History_of_Japan_314.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to zoom in on the kind of life that doesn't usually make the big picture history of Japan. It's time to look at the story of a single medical student during the final years of the Tokugawa era and explore everything from his education to his drinking habit, and to ask ourselves just what we can learn from such a focused examination of the past.

Show notes here.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_313.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This week, we look at the violent incidents that eventually undermined the Freedom and People's Rights Movement, and the legacies of the movement for Japan today.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_312.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

How do you talk about a movement without clear leaders? By breaking down its different levels. Plus, a look at how things came to a head between the Freedom and People's Rights Movement and the government.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_311.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're starting a look at the Jiyu Minken Undo -- the Freedom and People's Rights Movement -- by talking a bit about its ideological origins as well as some of the movement's early leaders.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_310.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: the battle against the construction of a new international airport in Chiba prefecture. Who fought against the airport, why, and how did it all go so very wrong?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_309.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:30am PDT

This week, the crew of the Breskens is freed at last. Plus some final thoughts on Tokugawa diplomacy.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_308.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

The Breskens crew arrive in Edo, with the question of how they are to be treated looming over them. At the same time, another group of very different Europeans arrive there as well. This week, we'll talk about the interwoven fates of both groups, and what they tell us about the concerns of the shogunate and Tokugawa Iemitsu. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_307.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're taking a look at the foreign policy of Edo Japan by starting a deep dive into a complex case study: the tale of the 10 prisoners of Nanbu domain!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_306.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we'll cover the end of USCAR and the legacies of 27 years of foreign rule over Okinawa Prefecture. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_305.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we start off some coverage of the period of American rule over the Ryukyus, and the entwined histories of USCAR - the US Civil Administration for the Ryukyu Islands -- and the GRI, the Government of the Ryukyu Islands. How did this arrangement work? What were the issues between them? And why did so many Okinawans come to despise American rule? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_304.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Finally, a long overdue look at one of the most romanticized and exocitized parts of traditional Japanese culture. What are geisha? Where do they come from? Aren't they basically fancy prostitutes? And haven't I learned everything I need to know about them from reading Memoirs of a Geisha?

 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_303.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we take a look at the peasant uprisings in Aizu domain in 1868 to continue our exploration of the question: where were all the peasants in the Meiji Restoration?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_302.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

What's this? Another cross-posted Criminal Records episode?

That's right! Check it out, and if you like it go to criminalrecordspodcast.com for more. 

Direct download: Episode_24_-_Sakakibara_Seito_AKA_Boy_A.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15am PDT

While the Meiji Restoration was going on, where was everybody else? We'll start trying to answer that question today with a look at an uprising in 1866 in the region of Shindatsu.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_301.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

It's a shame you can't embed gifs in the episode descriptions, because otherwise this would just be the Ron Paul It's Happening! gif.

Thank you all for enjoying the show; it would not be what it is without you.

Direct download: Episode_300_redux_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This week, we cover an obscure bit of samurai history: the Keian Incident, a planned coup against the Tokugawa Shoguns that was foiled by a lucky bit of happenstance. What can we learn from something that, in a certain sense, didn't actually happen?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_299.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This week, we profile one of the great Western interpreters of Japan: Lafcadio Hearn. How did some Anglo-Greek kid end up in Japan by way of New Orleans, and why do we still care about him today?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_298.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This week, we round out our look at the celebrated women of Heian Japan with two very different careers: that of the celebrated poet Akazome Emon and the recluse known either as Takasue's daughter or Lady Sarashina. Plus some final thoughts on women in the Heian era. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_297.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This week: the start of a two-part series on women in Heian Japan. What makes the social position of women in the Heian Era so distinct from later points of Japanese history, and from the East Asian cultural sphere more generally? How do we know what we know about the lives of women? And what can we learn from the story of one particularly badass woman: the poet and "femme fatale" Izumi Shikibu?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_296.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This week, we cover the true story of North Korea's abduction of Japanese civilians. Who was taken, and why? What do we know about their lives in the north? And how does their disappearance still affect the relationship between Japan and North Korea today?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_295.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This week, the effects of the collapsing asset bubble spread as the extent of the damage caused is revealed; Japan's financial and political leaders scramble to respond, while refusing to admit the scale of the crisis. Plus, the legacies of the bubble era for Japan today. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_294.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, it all starts to come crumbling down. Japan is plagued by scandals that destroy public confidence at the system right as some begin to look around and say, "hey, does this all seem a bit unsustainable or is it just me?"

It's not just them. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_293.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

The Plaza Accord was supposed to fix the US-Japan relationship. How did that work out? 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_292.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to talk about life in the bubble era by looking at three snapshots of that experience: a movie, a book, and a poem. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_291.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we turn our attention to the 1980s. Japan and the United States find their relationship wracked by increasing tensions over political and economic relations, and turn to the solution of an agreement designed to ease the pressure of Japan's economic growth. The result? Japan's infamous Bubble Era!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_290.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This week, we're going to talk about the impact that the gun had on Sengoku Era Japan, and the ways that it both reinforced and undermined the political trends of the time. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_289.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

This week, we discuss the history of one of the most important technologies in Japan: the gun. How did it get to Japan and spread around the country so quickly?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_288.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT