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Dec 25, 2020

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.

Dec 18, 2020

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...

Dec 11, 2020

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?


Dec 4, 2020

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?

Nov 27, 2020

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