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.