Hara Castle Ruins and the Amakusa/Shimabara Rebellion, Minami Shimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture.

For about a year I have wanted to visit Hara Castle ruins. I first heard of Hara castle when I visited Amakusa, a short distance across the Ariake Sea. Both regions made famous during the Amakusa Rebellion in 1589-1590 and the larger Amakusa-Shimabara Rebellion in 1637/38. I covered the rebellion in Amakusa a little in… Read More Hara Castle Ruins and the Amakusa/Shimabara Rebellion, Minami Shimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture.

Escaped convicts first ever Australian ship to Japanese waters.

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.

Shukkeien, historical gardens in Hiroshima.

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.

16th & 17th Century Japanese Christianity

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

The Throw Away Temple – Dumping Ground of the Yoshiwara Prostitutes.

Not far from Minowa station on the Hibiya line is a nondescript temple called 浄閑寺—Jokanji. From the street, it looks like many other Tokyo temples, but behind the new main building is an old cemetery that has one particular point of interest, a crypt and monument to twenty-five thousand prostitutes interred there. Being so close… Read More The Throw Away Temple – Dumping Ground of the Yoshiwara Prostitutes.

The Ainu and Early Commerce in the Sea of Okhotsk

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

Tokugawa and Edo Period (Poster presentation notes)

A few notes from a poster presentation I did about the Tokugawa family and the Edo Period. History of the Tokugawa Family Matsudaira Motoyasu (later Tokugawa Ieyasu) was born into a powerful clan which traces its history back to the Minamoto clan during the Heian period (794-1185) and the Ashikaga Shogunate in the 1330s. During… Read More Tokugawa and Edo Period (Poster presentation notes)