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.
I had a day off today and it wasn’t raining so I decided to visit Lafcadio Hearn’s residence just down the road from where I live. The address is 2-6 Anseimachi, Kumamoto. It is right behind Tsuruya shopping center. I had come across Hearn’s name before while researching some other Japanese history but never knew… Read More The life of Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (aka Koizumi Yakumo).
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
The Kamakura period 1185 to 1333 is a period of Japanese history that marks the governance of the Kamakura Shogunate; officially established in 1192 by the first Kamakura shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo. The era of the imperial courts of the Heian period were drawing to a close and feudalism was on the rise. Buddhism also… Read More Kamakura Period 1185-1333
I visited the two Nagashino battlegrounds and museum in January 2016. It was a great experience to visit this place and walk on the old battlefield which was a decisive turning point for the Takeda family and eventually lead to their eventual downfall. The Nagashino campaign was launched by Takeda Katsuyori, son of the great… Read More Nagashino Battlefield and Museum
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
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.
University essay case study: 16th & 17th Century Japanese Christianity By Stuart Iles 14th October 2011 In this essay I will discuss the 16th and 17th century global network of Christianity brought with the Spanish and Portuguese during the period of expansion throughout the Pacific and specifically analyse Christianity in Japan during the sixteenth and… Read More 16th & 17th Century Japanese Christianity
After 2 years with the same theme, I decided to make a change. Please tell me what you think. I hope this new theme will showcase more of the articles on the front page so people can get a better idea what the article is about. The layout I think is a little more organised… Read More Site Update
鷺娘の精 (The Spirit of the Heron Maiden) woodblock print by Taniguchi Kokyo (1864-1915), dated 1925; from my collection. Oban tate-e (27.0 x 42.5 cm). “Sagi Musume no Sei,” the “Spirit of the Heron Maiden.” A kabuki hengemono dance (one actor/many roles) wherein the spirit of a heron changes into a girl and then back again.… Read More 鷺娘の精 (The Spirit of the Heron Maiden)
Teradaya Inn. The simple, old inn with a lot of history. Most people would simple bypass this place without having a second look. But if are a Japanese history nut like me it is an important stop. During the Restoration Period, Ryoma Sakamoto, had an assassination attempt on his life by Tokugawa loyalists inside the… Read More Teradaya Inn – Fushimi
Found this comprehensive list of journals for Asia and Japan. I have used some of these but I will be looking into a few more of these. [object HTMLTextAreaElement] via Resources: Journals on Japanese and Asian Studies.
Bix, Herbert P. 2001. Hirohito and the making of modern Japan. New York, NY: Perennial. Booth, Alan. 1995. Looking for the lost: journeys through a vanishing Japan. New York: Kodansha International. Booth, Alan. 1997. The roads to Sata: a 2000-mile walk through Japan. New York: Kodansha International. Bryant, Anthony J., and Angus McBride. 1989. The… Read More Book reference list