Category: japan

This may be a female shaman.
This fragment of an earthenware vessel inscribed with a possible drawing of
a woman shaman wearing a bird costume was uncovered in western Japan at
Shimizukaze, a site dating to the middle of the Yayoi Period, around
100 BCE.

Nineteen other earthen vessels inscribed with human figures with
outstretched arms have been unearthed across Japan, but this is the
first to appear to have breasts.
Her eyes, nose, mouth, and one arm with five fingers are also visible on
the fragment, which measures just 5 inches by 6.5 inches.

Technically, the Taiwan Republic was the first independent republic in Asia. The Republic of Formosa was established on May 25th, 1895. However, on May 29th, 1895, a Japanese military force of over 12,000 soldiers landed in Northern Taiwan and turned Taiwan into a Japanese colony.

Rāgarāja, also known as Aizen-Myōō, one of the five Wisdom Kings of Buddhist tradition. He has a fearsome appearance, all red, with a third eye and flaming wild hair.

Japan, Kamakura-Nambokuchô period, 1300s.

Sapporo is the oldest beer company in Japan. It was founded in 1876, less than 10 years after the Meiji Restoration.

During Word War II, the Imperial Japanese Navy used Kaiten submarines, which were the torpedo equivalent to kamikaze pilots. Kaiten subarines were manned torpedoes that would engage in suicide attacks on enemy ships.

They were relatively ineffective and there are only three confirmed successful kaiten attacks in the Pacific theater.

NINNA-JI 

NINNA-JI is a Shingon Buddhist temple complex located in Kyoto, Japan. Known as the ‘Temple of Heavenly Benevolence’, it was founded in 888 CE by Emperor Uda (r. 887-897 CE). Ninna-ji is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and its Main Hall is recognised as an official National Treasure of Japan. The site is today perhaps most famous for its Buddhist artworks and the large grove of cherry trees which provide a magnificent sight during their annual blossoming.

Emperor Uda reigned in the final quarter of the 9th century CE, and he oversaw the completion of the construction of a Buddhist temple site in the western foothills outside the capital Kyoto (Heiankyo) in 888 CE. The name Ninna-ji derives from ninna (‘Virtue and Harmony’), the posthumous era name of the reign of Uda’s father and predecessor, Emperor Koko (r. 884-887 CE). When Emperor Uda retired from office in 897 CE he promptly took up the position of abbot, the temple’s first. The royal connection to the site continued until 1869 CE with an imperial prince always being appointed as abbot.

Read More 

MARTIAL ARTS IN MEDIEVAL JAPAN: 

THERE were 18 martial arts (bugei or bujutsu) in medieval Japan, and these included use of weapons, unarmed self-defence techniques, swimming, and equestrian skills. Initially designed to hone the skills of warriors for greater success on the battlefield, many of the arts were later practised by civilians as a method to foster discipline, agility, and mental alertness. Many of the arts remain popular today, notably judo, kendo, karate, and aikido.

Several of the martial arts which became popular in medieval Japan were introduced from China where, according to tradition, they had begun as a way for Buddhist monks to ensure they were fit enough to sit in meditation for hours on end and as a method to aid their concentration. Over time, these exercises began to incorporate skills with weapons and they spread across to Japan. Kendo, for example, which emphasised skill with a sword, was likely introduced there in the 7th century CE. Nevertheless, the Japanese added their own weapons, skills, and psychological emphasis to martial arts to both suit their own military needs and their philosophical approach. From the 10th century CE and throughout the medieval period (1185-1603 CE), warriors, especially the samurai, practised their skills at weaponry and horse riding in order to prepare themselves for the challenges of the all-too-frequent wars that plagued the country as rival warlords fought for dominance.

Read More 

Oda Tokuhime, the daughter of Oda Nobunaga, married Tokugawa Ieyasu’s five-year-old son Nobuyasu in 1563, when she herself was just five years old. The marriage, though for political advantage, became a happy one. The was just one problem: Tokuhime’s mother-in-law.

Lady Tsukiyama was so jealous and quarrelsome that even her husband had difficulty dealing with her. Among other things, she took a made a retainer’s daughter Nobuyasu’s concubine because Tokuhime had produced no sons by age 20 – although their two daughters would suggest that Tokuhime was certainly fertile enough.

At some point, Tokuhime decided she could not like with Tsukiyama anymore. She wrote an anonymous letter to her father, the very powerful Oda Nobunaga, and accused Lady Tsukiyama of treason. Tokugawa Ieyasu imprisoned his wife as a result, then to protect his alliance with Nobunaga, had her executed. But what would Nobuyasu, Tokuhime’s husband, do? Everyone was very concerned that he would seek an honorable revenge against Oda Nobunaga for the death of his mother. So Ieyasu ordered Nobuyasu to commit suicide by seppuku: his own son killed himself, to protect his father’s most important alliance. Tokuhime accidentally got rid of her husband while she was trying to get rid of her mother-in-law. Tokuhime lived another 50 years and never remarried.

Most people think the pizzas they know and love – four cheese, pepperoni – were invented in Italy. But they were actually developed by Italian immigrants in the United
States, and then exported back to Italy. Syracuse University
anthropologist Agehananda Bharati calls this the “pizza effect.” Here are some other examples of when
elements of a nation’s culture  developed elsewhere and were then reimported:

  • Mexico City’s Day of the Dead parade was invented for the James Bond film Spectre and then adopted by the city.
  • American blues music influenced English musicians in the 1960s, who then exported blues-rock to the United States.
  • Adapted from India’s chicken tikka, chicken tikka masala became one
    of the most popular dishes in Britain before being re-exported to India.
  • Yoga became popular in India after its adoption in the West.
  • Salsa music originated largely among Cuban and Puerto Rican
    immigrants to New York in the 1920s and then spread throughout the
    Americas.
  • Teppanyaki, the Japanese style of cooking on an iron griddle, grew to prominence in America in “Japanese steakhouses.”

Young couple strolling in the Ginza area, 1959. Photographed by John Dominis.