Why did Akechi Mitsuhide turn against his lord? There are many theories, but no-one really knows for sure. New information is occasionally revealed which helps us to gain a better understanding of why. Letters suggesting a link between a feudal warlord in Shikoku and the 16th-century Honnoji Incident, in which powerful warlord Oda Nobunaga committed… Read More Letters suggest Shikoku warlord’s link to 16th-century Honnoji Incident
I have a few friends who also have a passion for Japanese history. Here is a great article about the emergence of Buddhism into Japan. Buddhism arrived rather late in Japan in the middle of the 6th century, along with Korean and Chinese priests … one thousand years after the religion had originated with Siddhartha… Read More 6th Century Japan and the Emergence of Buddhism.
I’ve been interested in Japanese style architecture for a long time but recently I’ve taken an interest in traditional home architecture. My dream home has gotta be something like one of these pictures. They are beautiful, please enjoy.
HIKONE, Shiga Prefecture–Fascinating tidbits from the daily lives of samurai warriors have been gleaned from a diary found four years ago at the residence of a notable family. The discovery of the “Biwa Nikki” (Biwa Diary), a memoir of a samurai from the late Edo Period (1603-1867), sent the pulses of researchers racing as few… Read More Rare account of feudal warrior’s daily life.
I visited Hikone castle in January 2015 with my friend Ohara san. It was a cold and snowy winters morning but we were determined to see this beautiful original castle. I have had a couple of old Meiji period photos on my hard drive for a while and I wanted to try and get to… Read More Hikone Castle – Shiga Prefecture. My photos and Meiji Period photos.
A great article about how to identify the age of Japanese postcards. http://sites.lafayette.edu/eastasia/2014/09/04/how-to-ascertain-the-date-or-time-period-of-a-japanese-postcard/
I am aware of the Toyotomi campaign in Korea but I was pleasantly unaware to the extent of the construction of so many castles in the attempt to defend the Japanese held territory in Korea. Lets look a bit more at the Toyotomi Hideyoshi campaign back in the 16th Century. The seven year Imjin War… Read More Japanese Castles in Korea
Details of the museum in English as follows: http://www.ryoma-kinenkan.jp/en/ Copied from the museum’s introduction of Ryoma. Sakamoto Ryoma, born in Kochi in 1835, made a great contribution to Japan’s rapid modernization which marked the end of 700 years of feudal government. The modernized nation he pictured had laws, a parliamentary system and a diplomatic office.… Read More The Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum
The origins of the name “Yamagata” can be traced back to the early Heian Period (794-1192) of Japan. A dictionary from that time period entitled Wamyo Ruijusho refers to the area to the south of what is now Yamagata City as a province called “Yamagata.” At that time, “Yamagata” was written with different kanji (Chinese… Read More A quick history of Yamagata Prefecture
Wow, so busy teaching at the moment so I haven’t had time to do any more research into my next blog post. In the mean time I found a nice article from the Japan Times. I hope you enjoy it. The sense of antiquity on the Kunisaki Peninsula is immediate. There are those that believe… Read More Kunisaki: Into a World of Moss and Stone
The Sea of Okhotsk to the north and northeast of Hokkaidō plays no significant role in recorded Japanese history until the second half of the eighteenth century, when clashes began to occur between Russians advancing southward through the Kuril Islands and Japanese settlers trying to drive them back. But from archeological evidence and records from… Read More The Ainu and Early Commerce in the Sea of Okhotsk
Riding the circular Yamanote Line on a Sunday in Tokyo, it is easy to daydream. Those who have found themselves at times wondering what the city might have been like in the past are likely to enjoy the aptly named “Lust, Commerce, and Corruption: An Account of What I Have Seen and Heard, by an… Read More A firsthand account of vice and profit in Edo – Book review.
Last year my family and I visited the Sapporo Beer Factory. I have been there a few times but the mission was always to eat as much ‘Jingiskan’ and drink as much Sapporo beer as I could. This time we allowed some time to explore the museum and outside gardens as well. The myth of… Read More Sapporo Beer Factory
I never get tired of going to Mt Hiei and taking photos. The three Enryakuji temple complexes are fabulous and are different within themselves. I just wish I could read more Kanji so I can read the information sheets to share with you all. You can buy a day ticket that will allow you entry… Read More Mt Hiei
Great photo of Kiyomizu Temple from the 1880s.
The newly refurbished roof of Himeji Castle is really, really white. No wonder people in Japan are bewildered. This isn’t what people are used to! Himeji Castle is one of Japan’s most famous and most beautiful castles. It is a World Heritage Site, and if you ever visit Japan, you need to visit it. Since… Read More Himeji Castle’s roof unveiled
Two of my favourite Japanese travel books were written by Alan Booth. The Roads to Sata (1986) and Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan (1995). I have collect a few articles that truly describe Booth, his personality and style of writing. I wish I could have met him, it seems a little… Read More Travel books
Browsing my photos over the weekend I realised one of the photos I posted last week has a connection with the diorama at the Edo museum I visited last year. I love it when I find these things. Original Meiji Period photo of Ginza The diorama of the same Ginza district from the Edo museum.… Read More Tokyo Ginza revisited.
When I visited Nishi Honganji I bought a series of old hand drawn postcards. I picked out one that I recognised and went back to take a photo. It was a great feeling.
Tokyo – A trove of ancient documents unearthed at the Vatican could shed light on the brutal crackdown on Christianity in isolationist Japan under its samurai rulers, scholars say. The hoard contains about 10 000 pieces of paper, collected by an Italian priest who lived in Japan last century, mostly dating from the “Edo” period… Read More Trove of documents found from the Samurai era