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Feb 17, 2023

When World War I began, many among the Japanese leadership were hesistant to take advantage of the opportunity to move into Micronesia. What changed their minds, and how were they able to square a colonial government with the idealistic language of the postwar League of Nations?

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Feb 10, 2023

Japan would seize control of German Micronesia in the fall of 1914, but Japanese interest in the region goes back centuries further. This week: how did Japan get from disinterest in the nebulously defined 'Southern Seas' to active military operations to take control of them?

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Feb 3, 2023

This week: the bizarre story of an attempted coup in Korea that, along the way, touches on everything from Japanese liberalism to the birth of overseas empire. 

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Jan 27, 2023

If the first translation of a text on smallpox vaccination in Japan was finished in 1820, how did it take another 29 years for the first mass vaccination campaigns to begin? The answers involve everything from a German doctor accused of being a spy to networks of physicians trying to navigate obscure bureaucracy. And...


Jan 20, 2023

This week: the elimination of smallpox is probably one of the greatest medical accomplishments in human history. The vaccine that made it possible, however, was invented during a time of isolation for Japan. So how did the vaccine make it to Japanese shores, and what does that story tell us about public health, the...