This is a cooking vessel from Japan dating back to 2,500 BCE! Archaeologists call this kind of vessel “fire-flame,” ka’en in Japanese, because their tops resemble flames. No one knows why the design was created, or what it actually represents.
Pots like this were used by making holes in the ground, starting fires in the holes, then placing the pots onto the fires in the holes. As a result, bottoms often deteriorated and this particular vessel’s bottom is a replacement.
Even after Japan began its formal policy of isolationism in 1639, the Dutch continued to be allowed to trade through the port of Nagasaki. They were notably… pliable… traders. Basically, the Dutch would do whatever was needed to maintain good relations and keep trading flowing. For example:
“…In 1640 a Dutch trading party was allowed to stay [in Nagasaki] after the expulsion of the Spanish and Portuguese. The ‘Hollanders’ assured their hosts of the relative pliancy of their brand of Christianity, demonstrating their good Protestant faith by firing a few shells at the Japanese Catholics huddled in Hara Castle.” Their actions meant that the Dutch had exclusive access to Nagasaki for over a century. Japan also kept trading relations open with their much closer neighbors the Ryūkyū Kingdom, Korea, and Russia through the ports of Satsuma, Tsushima and Matsumae (respectively).
Momofuku Ando is a national hero in Japan, for helping to end a national food shortage after World War II. He did this by … inventing instant ramen. He created the brands Top Ramen and Cup Noodles.
At the time, the United States was providing wheat flour to Japan to prevent widespread famine. The Japanese government tried to encourage its people to make the wheat flour into wheat bread, but that was unfamiliar to pretty much all Japanese at the time, and many went hungry instead. Ando thought noodles made more sense. Noodles were familiar, could be made using wheat instead of rice flour, and could be easily made at home using only hot water. After months of trial and error, he debuted the first instant noodles: Chikin Ramen. And the rest is history!
In 1936 the Japanese military police suspended a Korean newspaper for 9 months and imprisoned eight Koreans associated with the newspaper. What was their crime? The newspaper had published a photograph of the Olympic gold medalist for the marathon, Sohn Kee-chung, with the Japanese flag removed from his running shirt. Sohn was Korean. Since Korea had been occupied by the Japanese since 1910, he ran as part of the Japanese Olympic team. But the newspaper proudly claimed him as a Korean and that was unacceptable to the Japanese who were trying to forcibly erase Korean language, culture, and heritage. Sohn had been required to compete under a Japanese-ified name, Son Kitei.
Sohn himself refused to acknowledge the Japanese anthem while it was played at his award ceremony and later told reporters that he was ashamed to run for Japan. His medal is recorded today as the first Olympic medal for a Korean.
“Kaiunbashi Bridge (First National Bank in Snow)” by Kobayashi Kiyochika. It comes from a series of prints “Pictures of Famous Places in Tokyo” (1876–81) where the artist focused on how light, from the new technologies that were being introduced, were transforming Tokyo.
The Meiji Restoration had just occurred and industrialization and westernization being rushed in by the new government. The artist’s presentations of dawn, dusk, and night evoked a pensive mood suggesting a personal uncertainty in a moment of major societal change.
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
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.