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Japan Explained

Japan Explained

Author: Stray Toki

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Hello and welcome to Japan Explained!
I‘m Toki and I am tired of the daily battle with misconceptions about Japan.
So I started this podcast to tell the world about Real Japanese Culture, its history, crafts, architecture, people and more.
I believe in research. And if you do too, we have a lot to talk about ;)
16 Episodes
In the previous episode, we looked at the origins of ukiyo-e, the development of printing techniques and the classical period in the history of ukiyo-e. We followed the works of a few brilliant artists such as Harunobu, Sharaku and Utamaro and ended up in the late 18th century. So definitely check it out if you haven’t listened to it yet. This time let’s look at ukiyo-e in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Lots of things are going to happen in Japan, affecting all aspects of daily life and culture. And ukiyo-e won’t be left aside. Check episode notes and support the podcast on
This time let's talk about art. And speaking of Japanese art, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? I bet most of us thought of ukiyo-e. These colourful prints represent Japan to the world, but what do we know about them? Not much. What is ukiyo? When did these prints appear? Who made them? Were they always as expensive as now? Let's follow the history of ukiyo-e and find the answers. Say hi, learn more and support the show at
Karaoke Explained

Karaoke Explained


Why do people go to karaoke? Why in the West people prefer karaoke bars while the East is all about karaoke boxes? Was karaoke really invented in Japan? How old is it? Why karaoke songs sound so different from the original ones? The list goes on and on. My friends asked me so many questions about karaoke that I decided to make an episode about it to answer them all at once.
This time let's talk about Japanese curry that has a rather short 150-year long history yet managed to become one of the national dishes of Japan. Lets's see how it climbed to fame and how many varieties of the dish we have now in case you want to cook one.
Perry promised to come back the next year. And so he did. Now, let's check out what happened next.
In 1853 Commodore Perry came to the shores of Japan and "opened" it to the world. Or did he? Let's see what actually happened when four black ships appeared one summer day near the shore of Uraga.
In the second part of Yokai Explained, I'll tell you how strict censorship made yokai superstars of the Edo period, which Japanese monster made a big fuss in 19th century London and New York and why in the 21st century we are still fascinated by yokai, creating more and more of them all the time. Learn more on
We all love something cooling during the summer heat. And what can be more refreshing than a spooky story that makes you shiver. But sorry, I can't handle scary stories. They are, well, scary. Japanese people, on the other hand, are really good at making and retelling them. So this time let me introduce you to the Japanese monsters - yokai, and help you understand how they came to life and what turned them into Pokemon. Learn more on
Nabe Hotpot Explained

Nabe Hotpot Explained


You voted for it, so today I'll look into a long history of nabe hot pot cuisine in Japan, millions of its seasonal and regional varieties and give you a few tips on picking the best pot for your nabe (spoiler alert: you can use pretty much anything).
The second part of Michizane's story starts with his exile to the island of Kyushu, where he dies. And then the unexpected happens...
This time I'll tell you about a scholar and a poet, a spirit, Shinto deity and bodhisattva. A man, worshipped by his enemies, respected by Zen monks, praised by Confucian scholars and loved by high-schoolers. And in Part one we'll look into his life.
This time I want to tell you the story of the most glamorous building in Japan - the Golden Pavilion.
Deer of Nara Explained

Deer of Nara Explained


In this episode, I'm going to talk about deer. Not reindeer, even though it would be more appropriate before Christmas, but about sacred deer of Nara. Because they are cute and all, but there is so much more to their story. And after finishing this episode don't forget to check out Japan Explained Patreon blog for more deer-related fun.
Soy Sauce Explained

Soy Sauce Explained


This time I'll look deep into the history of Japanese soy sauce, walk you through the process of making a traditional Japanese shoyu and tell you all you need to know to pick the perfect bottle.
Geisha Explained

Geisha Explained


In the first episode, I will address the biggest misconception about Japanese culture and tell you the truth about geishas. I'd appreciate if you support me on Patreon Also check out @not_only_tokyo for travel inspiration and off the beaten path Japan and @elizabethproink for the beautiful artwork. Sound Effects by ©Sound Effect Lab



Hello and welcome to Japan Explained!In this short Intro let me introduce myself and this podcast.
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