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

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