This is one of my favourite temple regions and it is a World Heritage Site to boot. You will need a least a whole day to explore the three temple complexes properly. You will also need to have a basic level of fitness as the site is on top of Mt Hiei and there are… Read More Enryakuji temple – Kyoto (Pictorial)
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
The rain misted down and I had two choices: the road up the hill, or the one alongside the river. I stood next to some kind of cement plant, most of it hidden behind a corrugated metal fence dripping with moisture. My pack pulled down on my shoulders. The river, engorged by two days of… Read More Looking for Hiroshige’s Japan
Ashikaga Yoshiteru, The 13th Ashikaga Shogun was assassinated in June 450 years ago, June 17, 1565. Ashikaga Yoshiteru reigned as the 13th Ashikaga Shogun from 1546 to 1565. Born March 31, 1536, he was the first son of the 12th shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiharu. Yoshiteru was just 11 when his father was forced to retire due… Read More Ashikaga Yoshiteru – 13th Ashikaga Shogun.
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)
Sad news I found today about the closing of a famous and traditional Japanese inn. It dates way back to the Edo period and is even in the famous 53 Stages of the Tokaido by Hiroshige. I wish I had the money to buy this, to preserve the history and its legacy alive. Story is… Read More 360 year old inn closes its doors.
I have had this print on file for a while but was never able to find the details of it other than it was Kyoto. Thankfully a fellow Japanese history lover found the info. You will see that I have two versions of the print. One is probably the original colourised one while the other… Read More Kyoto, Meiji Period print.
Nishi Honganji is the mother temple for the Jodo Shinshu sect of Japanese Buddhism established by Shinran Shonan who lived between 1173 to 1263. The temple has its origins in the Eastern hills of Kyoto, where Shinran’s mausoleum is currently located. The sect has an interesting history and the current site has been occupied since… Read More Nishi Honganji
Shikoku is host to the famous 88 temple pilgrimage. It is said to take up to 3 months to complete the 1200km. The pilgrimage dates way back to the time of famous Buddhist monk Kukai who lived from 774 to 835. There are several legends related to the beginnings of the pilgrimage. The most popular… Read More Shikoku Pilgrimage
While readers of Japanese literature from the Heian and Kamakura periods often find it difficult to determine when a sexual encounter has actually taken place, there are certain textual indicators that writers can use to make it plain that something carnal has, in fact, occurred. Writers may speak of the night as “dreamlike,” or describe… Read More Forced Affection -Rape as the First Act of Romance in Heian Japan (an essay)
Not something I have done before but I found this beautiful Ukiyo-e print with some history attached to it. It’s quite good so I thought I would share it with you. A scene from a famous Noh play. The outlaw priest Kumasaka Chohan (with long sword) fights a leaping Ushiwakamaru (later known as Minamoto no… Read More Ushiwakamaru defeats Kumasaka Chohan – Ukiyo-e print
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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