I recently visited Yamaguchi Prefecture and found out that the first Christmas ever celebrated in Japan was right there. During the Christmas holidays I watched the movie ‘Silence’ so I decided to dig a little deeper. Searching for more information I came across this article. It’s well written, thus I would like to share it… Read More First Christmas in Japan, 1552
Hello everyone and Happy New Year! Just a quick post to say thank you to my followers. Last year was the best to date with the most number of people who visited my blog and read my stories. I have many more exciting places to visit and explore on my list this year. Over the… Read More Best Year To Date!
Ikedaya Incident The Ikedaya Incident, in which members of the Shinsengumi attacked and killed anti-Tokugawa activists thwarting their supposed plans to torch Kyoto, took place 155 years ago on July 8, 1864. The attack is known as the Ikedaya Incident, as the rebel Choshu (modern-day Yamaguchi Prefecture) and Tosa (now Kochi Prefecture) clan samurai had… Read More Shinsengumi Attack Rebels- Ikedaya Incident, 1864
Despite Fukuoka castle being one of the all time great castles of Japan (I’m a bit biased as I live in Fukuoka) there is not a whole lot of research material in English about it. Wikipedia has quite a nice write-up, but as we don’t know who the author is, it is not usually used… Read More History of Fukuoka Castle
Scanning photos today I found another early map of Fukuoka. I think I took this in the archaeology center in Fukuoka. I labelled some of the main points we know today. I think it was made after 1603 as Fukuoka castle is clearly visible. According to my earlier post, the population of Fukuoka at that… Read More Early map of Fukuoka city c.1600
I haven’t done a post for a while about one of my favourite Ukiyo-e print series. So lets have a look. It is print #35, Narai Station, currently Narai town in Nagano Prefecture. It is a beautiful little town in the Japanese Alps and it still has the old Edo period feel to it. It… Read More Keisai Eisen – Kisokaido Narai Station, Print #35.
This article was originally going to be included in the ‘History of Aki (Hiroshima) Prefecture’ but as this article has now become too long I decided to make one for Miyajima on its own. I was surprised by the fantastic history of this temple complex and I hope you think so too. Located in the… Read More The History of Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima Island.
An amateur historian has unearthed compelling evidence that the first Australian maritime foray into Japanese waters was by convict pirates on an audacious escape from Tasmania almost two centuries ago. Fresh translations of samurai accounts of a “barbarian” ship in 1830 give startling corroboration to a story modern scholars had long dismissed as convict fantasy:… Read More Escaped convicts first ever Australian ship to Japanese waters.
In Japanese folklore the female demon (oni) Hannya figures prominently. Often depicted in traditional Noh and Bunraku plays using a wooden mask of a fierce and grimacing horned demon, this malicious entity may be Japan’s most well-known demon. An ancient legend recalls how the female Hannya persecuted all who attempted to pass through the Rashomon… Read More Hannya – (A Japanese She-Demon)
On the hill overlooking the historical Bikan area is the ancient Achi Shrine. According to the Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) it was founded way back in the 4th Century AD during the reign of Emperor Ojin. Since that time the shrine has been an important stop for sea travelers and merchants between eastern and western… Read More Achi Shrine, Kurashiki, Okayama.
(Tenshu-kaku from the south) (Tenshu-kaku from the north. You can see the irregular shape of the base floor from this vantage point) I was originally going to post a combined Okayama castle and Korakuen gardens article but during my writing I realised that both are individually significant so I have split them into two articles.… Read More Okayama Castle
Shukkeien gardens date back to 1620, a year after feudal lord Asano Nagaakira was made lord of Hiroshima. Asano’s principal retainer, Ueda Soko, a master of tea ceremony built and designed the gardens. The gardens were built as an expression of many miniature scenes modeled on Xihu (West Lake) in Hangzhou, China. The centerpiece of… Read More Shukkeien, historical gardens in Hiroshima.
My first visit to Fukuyama and it turned out to be a beautiful day. After doing my immigration paperwork I went to the castle. Fukuyama castle is beautiful on the eye. As with most castles it was also bombed during the war, which is a sad pattern I’m finding for each place I go to.… Read More Fukuyama Castle
I went to Onomichi today hoping for clear skies and cherry blossoms. One came true, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom now. The sky was hazy so I couldn’t get nice blue/white contrasts. But it was nice and good exercise. I went to Tennei-ji, climbed what seemed like 1000 stairs to get up to… Read More Onomichi – Tennei-ji and Senko-ji
I finally got an afternoon off, so I did a bit of exploring around Mihara. I visited the castle ruins and there isn’t really much left. Looking at the old layout of the castle you get the impression that it must have been one huge grand castle complex using the ocean for its numerous moats… Read More Mihara Castle Ruins – Hiroshima.
This is a very pretty scene. It shows travellers walking along the track by a fast flowing stream on a clear morning after heavy overnight snow. Snow scenes can be very monochromatic, as with this, but the artist has added bits of colour to break the dreariness. Some of the travellers have colourful coats, the… Read More 69 Stations of the Kisokaido. Plate 15-Itahana snow.
God (Kami) When the English word God is translated into Japanese, it is generally represented by the kanji (Chinese character) 神 and pronounced kami. However, to avoid misunderstanding, it would be better to think of God, 神, and kami as three separate concepts. “God” is the supreme being of monotheism and is customarily capitalized to… Read More The Evolution of Japan’s Native Gods
Hall of the golden hue (konjikido) This print was the last print ever to be designed by Kawase Hasui. Sadly, he passed away 1957 just before this print was to be published. Thus, his “fate” did not allow him to see the production of this, his final work: ….Stepping up a long stair towards heaven,… Read More Konjikido in Snow, Hiraizumi, 1957
Everybody knows about Japan and their samurai. But did you know men were not the only ones being trained to kill, lead, and fight with deadly weapons back in feudal Japan? Lesser known than their male counterparts, the Onna Bugeisha played an important role in Japan’s history and Empress Jingu is perhaps the most legendary… Read More Empress Jingu and the Onna Bugeisha
Title: Konosu Station, View of Mt Fuji from Fukiage. This scene is dominated by Mt Fuji in the distance and the sharp curves of the Kisokaido (walking path). On the left of the print is a Komuso monk wearing a basket shaped straw hat and white attire of a holy man. He is carrying a… Read More Keisai Eisen – 69 Stations of the Kisokaido – Plate 8.