History of Japan

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

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