History of Japan

We're live, folks! Sorry for the delay. It's time for the career of Taira no Kiyomori, the man whose talent and ambition was matched only by his temper and his ego.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_150.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:28am PDT

This week: patricide, rebellions, and royal incest. Oh, also the increasing destabilization of the Heian government as ever more power falls into the hands of Taira no Kiyomori.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_149.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: the Taira family continue their rise to prominence, the Minamoto get stuck spinning their wheels for a few decades, and warrior violence makes its way to Kyoto.

All that, plus the hottest court gossip of the 1120s, this week.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_148.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, Minamoto no Yoshiie establishes the power of the Seiwa Minamoto family, upsetting a careful balance of power. Also, he drops the hottest rhymes of

Direct download: History_of_Japan_147.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:35am PDT

This week, we'll be starting a short series about the advent of the samurai class. First, what came before the samurai, and why did Japan's emperors decide to devolve more and more power to provincial warriors?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_146.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 3:30am PDT

What does organized crime look like in modern Japan, and why does anybody put up with it? Also, how many rocket launchers can you buy with 50 pounds of amphetamines?

All that and more, this week.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_145.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this episode as a gift on my podcast's release day. 

Pull off your shirt to reveal your gang tattoos, it's time for the yakuza!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_144.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:58pm PDT

This week, we talk about how views of Nanjing have shifted since WWII, and where the modern right-wing revisionists came from.  Why are we still talking about a massacre from 80 years ago?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_143.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we look at the events of the Nanjing Massacre. Just what happened in China's capital city in December, 1937?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_142.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Today we're going to talk about Japan's relationship with nuclear power and the catastrophic events of March, 2011. Why did Japan become so reliant on nuclear energy? Why did all the safeguards in place fail so badly in 2011? And where on earth do we go from here?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_141.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we'll talk about the birth of the Japanese space program. From its origins as the brainchild of a former weapons designer and a borderline pyromaniac, the programs now incorporated into JAXA (the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) have accomplished some of the most amazing technical feats of the 20th and 21st century. How did they do it, and why? And what's changing now with the rise of China?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_140.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: conscription in Japan. What's it like to be conscripted into the Imperial Japanese Army? How are conscripts treated, and what are the goals of the conscription system?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_139.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Aaand we're done. This week, some final thoughts on the period and its key players before we put the Meiji Restoration to bed for good! Be sure to get in touch and tell me what you thought of the series.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_138.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we turn to the final drama of our series -- the samurai rebellions that will break out in final defense of 1000 years of samurai tradition. As the group of leaders who had overthrown the Tokugawa becomes ever smaller, the final course of Japan will be set. From this point on, what the new Japan will look like will be clear.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_137.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, Saigo Takamori is going to sidetrack the whole government by pulling the idea of invading Korea off the shelf, sparking a political crisis. Once the dust from this debate has settled, the political landscape will have changed once again, and the battle lines for a final showdown over the fate of Japan will be drawn.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_136.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we cover the major issues of the new government. Who's in charge? What do they want to do? And what could possibly go wrong if we just take half the leadership off for a two year trip?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_135.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we take a look at the new balance of power now that the Tokugawa are gone. Who's calling the shots? What do they want? And most importantly of all, now that the war is over, will we all be resolving our differences with calm discussion like a bunch of grownups?

 

Spoilers: no.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_134.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: the "short-lived" part of "the short-lived Ezo Republic" comes to fruition, and what is now Meiji Japan begins dealing with a new issue. Now that the Tokugawa are finally gone, what comes next?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_133.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we'll cover the military campaigns of 1868. Edo will (surprisingly anticlimactically) fall, the north will rebel, and Matsudaira Katamori's domain of Aizu will be overrun after a brutal two month siege. In the end, only the small splinter territory of the Ezo Republic will be left standing.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_132.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

In early 1868, the armies of the loyalists and the Tokugawa bakufu will clash outside Kyoto. We'll discuss the factors that led to the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, and why what was supposed to be a walk in the park for the Tokugawa turned into a complete disaster.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_131.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we cover 1867: the final year of the Tokugawa shogunate (sort of). Caught between a loyalist rock and an imperial hard place, Tokugawa Yoshinobu will consider the unthinkable: resignation, and an end to 260 years of bakufu tradition.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_130.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 11:28pm PDT

Choshu vs the Tokugawa, round 2! Only two years after being defeated by the Tokugawa, Choshu is back at war with Japan's leading family. This time, they've got far more cards to play, though. Can Choshu defeat the Tokugawa and put them into a slow death spiral from which they will never recover?  Hint: yes!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_129.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Not even a dead motherboard can stop me; 1865 is just too important for us to talk about! This week: Civil Wars, gunrunning, and important financial tips (hint: become an arms dealer) as we continue the march to the fall of the Tokugawa!

Direct download: History_of_JApan_128.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

1864 is probably the most important year in the Meiji Restoration that nobody really has heard of; the Tokugawa will come as close to winning their fight for control of Japan as they ever will, and the shishi movement will end up on the ropes. So, how did the Tokugawa stage such an effective comeback, and why did Tokugawa victories end up laying the groundwork for Tokugawa defeats down the line? All that and more, this week!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_127.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we'll move into the tumultuous events of 1863. Challenges foreign and domestic are going to upset the balance of power that has existed since the death of Ii Naosuke, and drive Japan ever closer to civil war.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_126.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm PDT

This week, we'll move into the messy early/mid 1860s and look at the doomed attempt to bridge the gap between the Tokugawa and the Imperial Court. We'll also look at the situation in Kyoto, which was growing more violent by the day.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_125.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, the turbulent politics following the death of Ii Naosuke will result in the rise of one of the most famous symbols of the late Tokugawa era: the shishi, or men of spirit. These shishi groups, radicalized by the political trials of recent years, will introduce a degree of violence to Japanese politics not seen in generations, and pave the way for a fundamental change in Japanese politics.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_124.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 1:48pm PDT

This week, Ii Naosuke will try to right the ship of state by any means necessary. However, his reassertion of Tokugawa authority will run into serious problems as the violence surrounding politics begins to ramp up.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_123.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

This week, we explore the beginnings of opposition against the bakufu. The Harris Treaty will prove deeply divisive, and before long two factions of daimyo will develop opposing and supporting it. Locked in a stalemate, the two sides turn to a place that had been isolated from politics for nearly 1000 years: the imperial court and its young emperor Komei in Kyoto.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_122.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to stop the forward progress of the narrative and focus on two men who are going to have a large impact on the massive political realignment that's coming down the tubes, though they themselves will not live to see it: Sakuma Shozan and Yoshida Shoin. We'll use them to try to answer the question of just how radical the most radical elements in 1850s Japan really were.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_121.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we'll explore Japanese reactions to Perry and his successor, the new US Consul in Japan Townsend Harris. As the foreign powers begin to muscle their way more and more into Japan, battle lines between two opposing camps with different visions of Japan's future will be drawn. Things haven't come apart yet, but we're now officially on the road to Tokugawa collapse.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_120.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 10:49am PDT

So why did President Millard Filmore decide to send an expedition to Japan? Who exactly was Commodore Perry? And why did he have such a thing for giving people model trains?

 

All that and more, this week.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_119.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

In this ecclectic episode, we'll finish up our quick review of the Tokugawa period with a look at three things: the various issues which plagued the samurai class by the 19th century, three of the regions that will play a key role in the fall of the shogunate, and finally the foreign crisis.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_118.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're starting our new longest ever series on the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate and the birth of modern Japan. This week, we're taking a look at the political situation in the Tokugawa period -- how was the country carved up by Tokugawa Ieyasu? Who ruled what, and what kind of implications did that have in terms of establishing a secure and stable nation?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_117.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Yoshida Shigeru was the postwar Prime Minister who helped salvage Japan's economy after WWII and set the country on the course to recovery. Today we'll discuss his background, time in office, and his influence on the course of Japan's political history.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_116.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:35pm PDT

This week, we cover the first Japanese expeditions to Europe. How was it decided that a group of samurai should be dispatched to Rome? Were there really samurai who were also technically knights? How scandalized were the European upper classes by the idea of chopsticks? All that and more, this week!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_115.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:09am PDT

This week, we cover the rise to global fame of one of Japan's greatest cultural ambassadors: Godzilla. How did a monster designed as a metaphor about the bomb become emblematic of postwar Japan? Find out this week!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_114.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

In the final episode of our series on the atomic bomb, we'll talk a bit about some other theories related to the bomb before closing with some general thoughts about the bomb and what it says about how we approach and write history.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_113.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we look at the Revisionist critiques of the atomic bomb. Why did America use it, and was it really necessary to end the Pacific War?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_112.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48pm PDT

This week, we'll be covering the Orthodox position on the atomic bomb: the defense of the bomb as necessary in the face of Japanese unwillingness to surrender. We'll look at the original impetus for putting forth a systemic defense of the bomb as well as the basic arguments often used to defend its use. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_111.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week; what exactly happened during the final, fateful weeks of World War II? What sequence of events finally led to Japan's surrender?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_110.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

For our longest (non-Q&A) episode ever, we'll discuss the development of the Manhattan Project as the odd couple of Leslie Groves and Robert Oppenheimer work to complete the greatest feat of scientific engineering in history.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_109.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am PDT

In our first of six episodes on the atomic bombs, we start to answer an important question; where did the idea for the bomb come from? Where did people get the idea that a sufficiently large bomb would enable them to win wars from the air?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_108.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

How does a nation ruled by warriors descend into over 100 years of civil war? Find out this week as we discuss the causes of the Onin War and the collapse of the authority of the Ashikaga shoguns.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_107.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Kato Shizue was one of Japan's earliest feminist icons. This week we'll trace her unusual rise from daughter of wealth and privilege to firebrand politician fighting for the rights of Japanese women and women everywhere.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_106.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we cover Japan's doomed attempt to build an undefeatable battleship in a time when battleships were no longer really the key to naval victory. That's right, it's time for the IJN Yamato!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_105.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: did the postwar period destroy the soul of Japanese culture? Mishima Yukio certainly thought so. We'll explore his life, his career, and the unusual manner of his untimely death this week!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_104.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:45pm PDT

What do you get when you cross radical Confucianism with armed samurai? Japan's first samurai rebellion since the 1630s, and a recipe for one fascinating episode. Cannons, torture, and philosophy: this episode has it all!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_103.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: your questions! What places are fun to visit Japanese? How do you learn Japanese outside of school? And does the Emperor obey traffic laws when he drives himself? All that and more today!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_102.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we've got our first ever interview with author and Shikoku pilgrimage survivor Paul Barach. You can find his book, Fighting Monks and Burning Mountains, on Amazon.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_101.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose from the lower ranks of society in just a bit over 30 years; how did he rise so far so fast, and why did the regime he built crumble almost immediately after this death? All that and more this week.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_100.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week: what does it take to be part of Japan's most infamous warlord duo? We explore the lives of Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin, their relationship with each other, and the ways in which their rivalry has been romanticized over the course of Japanese history.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_99.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to discuss one of the most reprehensible aspects of a war littered with horrible acts; the system of mass sexual slavery of women euphemistically dubbed "comfort women". We'll talk about the origins and nature of the system, and the reason why it has come back to haunt Japanese politics today.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_98.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we turn to Japan's "native outsiders" -- the Ainu, the aboriginal people of Hokkaido. We'll trace their relationship with the Japanese and talk about their position in modern Japan.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_97.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're turn to the modern Sino-Japanese relationship. After 1978, the communist party assumed a different form under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. How did those changes affect diplomacy between China and Japan? And what on earth happened to lead to the modern fraught relationship between East Asia's two most powerful states?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_96.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week we explore the rise of the man who would come to symbolize, for good or ill, modern China: Mao Zedong. Who was he, how did he come out on top, and what was his relationship with his neighbors to the east?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_95.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week we look at the Second Sino-Japanese War from the opposite angle: not those who fought, but those who collaborated. We'll discuss the titular leader of Manchukuo and the head of the "reformed" Chinese regime with an eye towards shedding some light on who collaborated and why.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_94.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week we introduce the man who led China's war against Japan: Chiang Kai-shek. The reluctant military leader wanted no part of a war against the nation where he had trained, but the trends of the time forced him into a conflict that would eventually destroy not only Japan, but his own regime as well.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_93.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we turn to the life of the father of modern China: Dr. Sun Yat-sen. How did he help turn China from an empire into a modern nation-state, and how did his paths cross with Japanese allies and enemies along the way?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_92.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to start our exploration of the Sino-Japanese relationship with a quick recap of the history of China's last imperial dynasty. How did China find itself in such desperate straits by the turn of the twentieth century that they were being surpassed by a chain of islands that had been irrelevant for centuries? Tune in to find out!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_91.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

In the late 17th century, the popular writer Ihara Saikaku produced literature for mass entertainment and consumption. He became immensely popular, and remains widely read even centuries after his heyday. We'll explore his life, career, and legacy as we ask, "just how did a man making entertainment to pay his bills become one of Japan's most celebrated authors?"

Direct download: History_of_Japan_90.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week we'll be going through the basics of daily life for children, women, and men during the Meiji Period. How did the tremendous changes of the Meiji Era change the way people lived and worked? This week, we'll try to sketch an outline of an answer for that question, as we cover themes as varied as compulsory educations and fistfights over the rights of prostitutes! 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_89.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week; a mad emperor on a quest to live forever, and the sorcerer who led an expedition to make it happen and may just have founded Japanese civilization in the process (but probably not). It's the likely untrue but still fun and interesting story of Xu Fu!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_88.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

For our final episode on Shinto and the Japanese state, we'll focus on the postwar controversies of Shinto: what was the role of the emperor going to be? How would Shinto fit in the new political order? And what on earth are we going to do with Yasukuni? The answers to these questions are what give shape to much of the controversy surrounding Shinto in modern Japan.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_87.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week we move into Japan's imperial period; what was the relationship between Shinto and a government which claimed its legitimacy in part from an emperor descended from one of the kami? What was the reality of "State Shinto", and who really led the charge to integrate church and state in Japan? All that and more, this week!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_86.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Direct download: History_of_Japan_85.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we go back to address a glaring flaw from episode 10: my total lack of discussion of the countryside. Rural life in the Edo Period involved a lot more than simply farming from dawn to sunset, and this week we'll get into exactly what it meant to be a peasant in the golden age of the samurai.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_84.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Koizumi Junichiro was quite possibly the most successful Prime Minister Japan has had for decades (and certainly the best dressed). This week, we'll trace the rise of his career, his goals while in power, and the impact of his reforms on a Japanese state sometimes thought to be irreformable. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_83.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

After the fall of Tanaka Kakuei, one man has become known as the heir to his tradition. One man has attempted to manipulate the flow of politics in order to either serve as a populist champion for Japan or embody the worst of the Japanese political process (depending on who you ask). His name is Ozawa Ichiro, and he is our topic for this week.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_82.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

In 1910, an anarchist plot to assassinate the Meiji Emperor was uncovered. Seizing the opportunity, conservatives in the government pounced in to arrest 26 anarchists. The background of this confrontation between the government and the radical left, the trials themselves, and their modern legacy are our topics this week.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_81.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week -- and if you're getting this on release day, 72 years and 364 days later -- we're going to discuss the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as well as its architect, the iconoclastic Japanese admiral Yamamoto Isoroku. Who was this man who came up with a bold plan to disable the entire US Navy in one shot? What was he thinking when he put this plan together? And why, in the end, did he have no prospect of victory?

Direct download: History_of_Japan_80.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Our topic this week is the life and legacy of one of Japan's greatest political leaders: Ito Hirobumi, author of Japan's first modern constitution. Born into a low-rank samurai family in Choshu, Ito would wear many hats in his life: radical, terrorist, student, diplomat, leader, and finally -- and fatally -- as the face of Japanese dominance in Korea. His life and his legacy are central to the story of modern Japan.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_79.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Our topic this week is the Meiji intellectual Fukuzawa Yukichi. From the second son of a poor samurai family he rose to be one of Japan's most prominent intellectuals, and helped define what it meant for Japan to be a modern country. His influence was tremendous, but it also had a darker side; in his works lie the kernel of what would later become Japanese imperialism and ultra-nationalism.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_78.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Our topic this week is Hagakure, one of the best known works on bushido ever written. Where did it come from? What is its purpose? What is its legacy? All that and more, this week!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_77.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

We're turning our attention this week to Japan's first classic of poetry: the Man'yoshu, or the Collection of Ten-Thousand Leaves. We'll trace the origins of the work as well as its cultural impact through the ages, and talk about why it is we should care about a bunch of poems some of which date back to times contemporary with the Roman Empire.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_76.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to take a look at the collection of supernatural stories published by American author and journalist Lafcadio Hearn, called Kwaidan. We'll look at Hearn's life and how he came to Japan, and also discuss the nature of one of the creatures he describes: the yuki onna, or snow woman. We'll close with a reading of Hearn's story on the yuki onna

Direct download: History_of_Japan_75.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:33am PDT

We'll be taking things back to the Heian Period this week for the story of the great rebel Taira no Masakado. His rebellion, however, is only half the story -- after he dies, things get very interesting indeed...

 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_74.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

After his defeat at the hands of Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu will lie low for a decade or so, biding his time. However, when the opportunity presents itself with Hideyoshi's death and the succession of his young heir, Ieyasu will strike at last, and gamble everything for one more shot at power.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_73.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, join us for part one of the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu. A brilliant and ambitious man, Ieyasu began his life as a hostage for the good behavior of his middling-rank family. By 1584, however, he would be in position to make his first bid for power.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_72.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to to talk about the life of Yamaguchi Yoshiko, the Chinese-born actress turned politician who went from propaganda actress to one of the most moving voices for Sino-Japanese reconciliation.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_71.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

As a supplemental to this week's episode, here's an entire episode of Zero Hour, courtesy of the Internet Archive. This episode is from September 14, 1944. If you're looking to hear some genuine old fashioned World War II propaganda, now's your chance!

Direct download: Zero_Hour_9-14-44.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Note: This is a revised version to fix a technical issue with the original release

This week, we're going to talk about the life of Iva Toguri, the woman most associated with the infamous (and legendary) role of the Tokyo Rose. Labelled as a traitor for her actions during the war, Toguri fought hard for her citizenship and her reputation, and was rewarded for her tenacity decades after the fact.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_70.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

In our final episode on the US-Japan relationship, we'll bring things up to the modern day and discuss the revival of the US-Japan alliance in the 2000s. After decades of tension, today the US-Japan relationship seems closer and more natural than it has ever been. Still, where will things go from here? Only time will tell.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_69.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're jumping ahead to cover the 1950s through the 1980s; Japan and the United States, former foes, are now allies in the Cold War. The relationship, however, is not as smooth as it seems on the surface.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_68.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we take the final plunge to Pearl Harbor. Backed into a corner by foolish decision-making and serious misreadings of their situation, the leaders of Japan will scramble at the last minute to avoid war, but refuse to make any serious concessions to do so. In the end, war will happen not because anyone really wants it but because no one wants to avoid it badly enough.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_67.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we'll discuss the Second Konoe Cabinet, which was torn by indecision and plagued by bad leadership. The Japanese leadership will alienate the US by signing the Tripartite Pact, and their attempts to bridge the gap with the US will be plagued by bad management and failure. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_66.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:18pm PDT

This week, we'll delve into the origins of Japan's war with China and the strain that conflict placed on Japan's relationship with the US. In the course of the 9 years from the invasion of Manchuria to the second appointment of Konoe Fumimaro as Prime Minister, Japan will become bogged down in an unwinnable war and find itself facing a far more assertive United States. 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_65.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we'll discuss America and Japan's new roles as Great Powers in the 20th century. We'll discuss the reasons Japan and America came together to support the Allies in World War I, the rationale behind Japanese support for an American-dominated world order after 1918, and the early arms control and peace initiatives supported by Japan and the US.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_64.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're beginning a multiparter on the modern relationship between America and Japan. We'll cover the background of both countries and their relationship leading up to the 1905 Russo-Japanese War.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_63.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, Sam Timinsky will be joining us for another guest podcast, covering changes in masculine identity in the wake of Japan's economic bubble and bust in the 1980s and 1990s.

 

As a reminder, there will be no new episode next week; the week after that we will resume normal service.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_62.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04am PDT

This week, a special guest reader will be coming on to read a script on Akutagawa Ryunosuke, one of modern Japan's foremost authors. As the script is still mine, any errors are my own; join us for a distinctly non-expert look at one of the great minds of Japanese literature!

Direct download: History_of_Japan_61.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:26am PDT

For our first ever guest episode, an old colleague and dear friend of mine named Sam Timinsky will be coming in to discuss the history of women's activist movements in Japan. Sam does an excellent job with a very difficult topic, and this episode gives you a chance to get a different perspective from my own on modern history!

Sam is a PhD student (like myself) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_60.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:56am PDT

This week, we're covering two women whose work in the Occupation helped reshape Japan into a modern state. Beate Sirota was the Austrian-born Jewish-American woman who pushed for Japan's equal rights clauses in its Constitution, and Eleanor Hadley was a Seattle native who fought to disestablish Japan's powerful zaibatsu.  We'll discuss the lives and contributions of these two incredible women.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_59.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

This week, we'll be discussing the most important premodern Japanese philosopher that no one has ever heard of: Motoori Norinaga, the leading light of Kokugaku (National Studies) in Edo-period Japan. We'll be covering his life, a barebones overview of his philosophy, and his impact on Japan.

 

Direct download: History_of_Japan_58.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:17pm PDT

This week, we're discussing one of Japan's most famous tales: 47 warriors without a master who, during the height of Japanese feudalism, took it upon themselves to avenge their former lord's death. In doing so, they catapulted what was a fairly obscure feud into the pages of history and legend, and remain figures of incredible popularity in Japan (and to a certain degree, the West) to this day.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_57.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:37pm PDT

This week, we're going to be talking about Japan's legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu. We'll discuss his cultural background, the reasons for his rise, his sudden fall, and his massive impact on Japanese culture.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_56.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:01am PDT

This week, we'll be discussing the history and possible future of Article 9, the peace clause of Japan's constitution.  Where did it come from?  How has it been interpreted?  What does its future look like? All that, this week!

Direct download: History20of20Japan2055.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we'll be talking about Japan's first great political reform: the Taika, or Great Change. We'll discuss its causes, effects, its parallels with the Meiji Restoration some 1200 years later, and its legacy -- which reaches a lot farther than you might think.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_54.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to take a look at the first figure in recorded Japanese history: Himiko, queen of Yamatai. Despite the fact that the records on her are extremely brief, she's assumed a position of tremendous importance in our thinking about the early history of Japan. We'll look at our records of her life, and her legacy in Japanese history and self-identity.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_53.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

This week, we're going to be talking about one of Japan's most famous religious movements: Nichiren Buddhism, devoted to the veneration of the text know as the Lotus Sutra. We'll discuss the life and education of Nichiren, as well as the legacy his teachings have for Japan and the world.

Direct download: History_of_Japan_52.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:00am PDT