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Osaka – Japan

Osaka, which is usually pronounced just “Osaka,” is a designated city in Japan’s Kansai prefecture on the island of Honshu. The third most populous city in Japan, after Special wards of Tokyo and Yokohama, it serves as the capital and largest city of Osaka Prefecture. It is also the largest part of the Keihanshin Metropolitan …

Daimyo and Domains in Japan

Daimyô was an informal phrase used to refer to the largest military lords in premodern Japan. It is made up of the Chinese characters dai (great or enormous) and myô (mean-ing myôden or “name land”). Earlier historical eras used the term in a variety of ways, but during the Tokugawa period it took on a …

Firefighting clothing during the period Tokugawa

Due to the flammable nature of the building materials and the regularity of earthquakes, fires regularly broke out in the castle towns of Tokugawa Japan. They happened so frequently in Edo that the city was known by the proverb “Fires and battles are the flowers of Edo.” Although many different kinds of firefighting organizations were …

Okinawa Island

The largest of Japan’s Ryukyu (Nansei) Islands, Okinawa Island is located in the Kyushu area. Of Japan’s five main islands, this one is the smallest and least populous. The island has a total size of 1,206.98 square kilometers, is around 106 kilometers (66 mi) long, and is typically 11 kilometers (7 mi) wide (466.02 sq …

Bunbu – Civil and Military Arts

The “twin methods” (ryôdô) of military instruction (bu, also known as the “arts of war” or “martial arts”) and the “civil arts” (bun, also known as “the arts of peace” or “letters”), both of which were regarded as important for efficient government, created some conflict in Tokugawa Japan. The dual role that samurai were expected …

Japanese rail travel

In Japan, rail travel is a significant mode of passenger transportation, particularly for high-speed, mass transit between large cities and for commuter transportation in urban regions. Just 0.84% of the movement of goods use it for freight transportation, which is a very small percentage. The privatized network runs extremely punctually, efficiently, and with minimal support. …

Oishi Shrine (Oishi jinja)

Oishi Shrine is situated on the grounds of the Akô Castle site in Akô city, Hyôgo Prefecture. It was built to house the ghosts of the forty-seven masterless rôninor samurai who killed Kira Kôzunosuke in order to exact revenge on their lord, Asano Naganori. Naturally, Sengakuji temple in Edo served as the location for their …

Chushingura (Treasury of the Loyal Retainers) 47 Ronin

The term “Chûshingura” refers to the historical occurrences surrounding the activities of 47 rônin, or masterless samurai, of the Akô realm to exact revenge on the daimyo Asano Takumi- no kami Naganori, who had killed their lord. Since then, many times have been told the tale, which occurred between 1701 and 1703. Since then, many …

Arai Hakuseki (1657-1725)

Arai Hakuseki, a Confucian scholar and official, advised the shoguns Tokugawa Ienobu and Ietsugu in the early eighteenth century and contributed to influencing economic and diplomatic policies. When Ietsugu passed away, Hakuseki resigned from his position as secretary of state and started a career as a prolific writer of Japanese history, political philosophy, military arts, …

Samurai – Ambassadors

After Japan was opened to Western countries in 1853, samurai once again played a significant diplomatic and foreign policy role in the nation’s foreign relations. The Tenshô embassy (1582-1590) and the Keichô embassy (1613-1620) were diplomatic missions dispatched to Europe earlier in order to foster trade relations at a time when the continent was relatively …