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History of Japan
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History of Japan

Author: Isaac Meyer

Subscribed: 15,124Played: 206,785


This podcast, assembled by a former PhD student in History at the University of Washington, covers the entire span of Japanese history. Each week we'll tackle a new topic, ranging from prehistoric Japan to the modern day.
349 Episodes
This week, we're talking about political and cultural exchange between black communities and Japan in the 20s and 30s, as well as how one prominent black leader found himself bamboozled by Japan's pro-empire propaganda in the 1930s. Show notes here. 
This week, we look at Japan's relationship with blackness and black communities in the wake of the Meiji Restoration, and at the beginnings of a movement among black people to make Japan into a champion of non-white peoples. Note: this episode includes some language that may be considered dated or offensive (though no use of slurs).  Show notes here. 
This week, we're beginning an overview of black history in Japan with a focus on the Sengoku and Edo eras, and especially the fascinating tale of Yasuke. What sources do we have for this moment of cultural contact? Show notes here.
This week, how did the 1964 Paralympics end up in Japan? Who made it happen? And why does 1964 represent an important moment in the history of disability sports in Japan?  Show notes here.
This week, we're focusing on the story of Ono no Komachi, a mysterious poet from the 800s whose poems were used to construct a fictional persona entirely separate from who she actually was. How did this happen? Why does it matter? And what can we learn from telling the history of a made up character?  Show notes here.
This week, we're covering the career of one of modern Japan's spymasters: Akashi Motojiro, who attempted to build an intelligence network in Russia during the Russo-Japanese War. Why was he given this task? Did he succeed? And what lessons does his career offer in terms of the wider arc of modern Japanese history?  Show notes here.
Mawwiage is whut bwings us togethah, today! Today we're talking about the history of marriage as an institution in Japan. How has it changed and evolved? What customs and practices have governed it? And what do those practices look like today? Show notes here.
This week, we finish our look at the Olympic movement in Japan with a series of discussions on the legacy of the 64 games, the Winter Olympics in Japan, and on the prospects for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Show notes here.
This week, Japan finally gets the Olympics; but what does that really mean for Japan? What does hosting really accomplish for Japan's image, and how do the games themselves unfold?  Show notes here.
This week, we're starting a series on the history of the Olympic movement in Japan. How did Japan get involved in the Olympics? What factors drove Japanese participation? And what ever happened to Japan's first attempt to host the Olympic games -- the 1940 Olympics that never were.  Show notes here.
This week, we're taking an in-depth look at the life and legacy of Ozu Yasujiro, one of Japan's most famous directors -- despite the fact that it's really only in the last decade and a half of his life that he had the freedom to make the films he wanted to make! Show notes here.
This week, we're talking over Japan's response to one of the greatest public health crises of the 20th century: the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-19. What strategies did the government put in place to try and counter the flu, how was it treated, and what was it like for the doctors on the front lines fighting to save their patients? Show notes here.
Episode 333 - The Oku

Episode 333 - The Oku


This week, we tackle one of our more unique subjects. It's time to talk about an institution so secretive that most of its records were almost certainly destroyed to keep them away from prying eyes. No, it's not some secret ninja clan: it's the harem, or Oku, of the Tokugawa shoguns.  Show notes here.
This week, we tackle the life of one of Japan's most interesting women, who rose from obscure origins to become a major power player in the early Tokugawa period: Saito Fuku, better known as Lady Kasuga.  Show notes here.
This week we wrap this series up with a look at the changes in the feminist movement during the US Occupation of Japan, and with a look at the postwar careers of Ichikawa Fusae and Hiratsuka Raicho.  Show notes here.
This week, we continue our exploration of the life of Hiratsuka Raicho, and add a new character to our cast: Ichikawa Fusae. How did these two women navigate the tricky waters of 1920s and 1930s Japanese politics, and what obstacles did they encounter along the way?  Show notes here.
This week, we start off our first ever twinned biography with a look at the early career of one of Japan's pioneering feminists: Hiratsuka Raicho. 
This week, we're talking about my absolute favorite poet in the history of forever: Kobayashi Issa. I promise he's great, and I don't just love him for the poop jokes.  Show notes here.
This week: what happens once the scandal goes public, and what does all this say about postwar Japan more generally? Show notes here.
This week, we take a look at one of postwar Japan's most famous political scandals, and how the efforts of one company to revive its fortunes ended up roping in everyone from shadowy underworld figures to the Prime Minister of Japan himself.  Show notes here.
Comments (24)

Peter Chaloner

Lay off the cheek. British Empire rule was the best thing that ever happened to India.

Apr 24th
Reply (2)

Barry Murphy

show notes link leads to 404 error message

Apr 18th

Top Clean

Thanks for a very good episode. (^^,) P.S. All the movies and TV series he talks about here, you can get at

Dec 26th
Reply (3)

Risa Hearts

LOVE this podcast! Really interesting, and has some really funny parts too! Highly recommend :)

Apr 19th

rupesh pandey

This podcast is sooooo amazing!!!!

Apr 13th

Torii W

Thanks for your podcast! I've personally read 3 nonfiction books that have disagreed with my school teachings, eachother, Wikipedia & oddly manga/anime. (Yeah, I know the last one shouldn't be taken seriously but when it's set in the past & is from Nippon, one must assume there's some truth to it) but this seems to correct it all and put everything in place!

Mar 24th

Faith Pierce

On Episode 30 - Listening 5 years late and loving the podcast so far. Apologies if you've already corrected this somewhere in the 230 episodes I haven't yet listened to, but Blackthorne was not single in the books. He was married and had children he left behind, and does feel some guilt and angst over the situation. And while he isn't offered the chance to return home in the book, you are given the sense that he increasingly considers Japan his home and very possibly wouldn't go back even if given the chance. And my theory on why the author would choose to change names is that that way, he can feel more free to take tons of creative license and invent fake love stories and whatnot without feeling like he's lying about real people. The characters are based on them - they aren't actually them.

Dec 21st

Peter Chaloner

An especially good episode, with excellent poetry quotations.

Dec 8th

Peter Chaloner

Idiotic analysis by female podcaster. You would do better without her "help".

Nov 9th

rupesh pandey

Love this podcast

Oct 29th

Peter Chaloner

To know that Basho was halfway through his three-year journey when Billy defeated James at the 1690 Battle of the Boyne is delicious.

Jul 22nd

Peter Chaloner

I wish more Americans would speak English as you do.

Jun 16th

Peter Chaloner

"Second shrift"? No such thing. Shrift is the sacrament of Confession in Catholicism, and Short Shrift is the abbreviated form. You were lunging for the latter, but hit upon the nonexistent Second Shrift. See Hamlet: "Bear them to execution straight, no shriving time allowed."

May 14th

Zach Purtee

This is a really interesting podcast

May 6th

Patrick McIntosh

im here for anime....

May 1st
Reply (2)

Aron Einarsson

good episode

Mar 10th

Stephanie Feldman

I love this podcast so much!

Dec 10th
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