One Place Name at a Time™
Thank you for checking out my nerdy, little corner of the internet. I’m really glad you’re here.
I put a lot of time and effort into this website. I do it for free when I have time. And it’s 100% a labor of love. I just hope my passion for Japanese History and Culture is infectious. I want you learn, love, and share it too!
I started this website as a personal blog in 2008, but since then it’s taken on a life of its own. The articles got more serious. I became more confident to go down rabbit holes. Along the way, I think I’ve created a completely unique space here.
JapanThis! has brought me a lot of awesome opportunities. I’ve discovered there are a lot of other Japanese history nerds out there. I’ve become friends with many of them. I’ve made connections all around the world and hobnobbed with intellectuals and scholars. I’ve drunk with my fair share of brilliant kindred souls. I’ve lectured at history museums, consulted on commercial and government tourism projects, and participated in a number of documentaries about the Edo Period.
It’s been a trip!
There’s a lot of Edo left in Tōkyō.
You just need to know where to look and what you’re looking at.™
I’m constantly talking about a concept called 江戸東京 Edo-Tōkyō. This is because Japan’s capital has a double life (some might say a triple life or quadruple life). No living person has real memories of Edo, even though Edo is the city’s true name. Since time immemorial until 1868, people called this area Edo. Tokyo is 150 year old concept. That said, there is a continuum, and that’s where my website lives.
I strive to bring the world of Edo and the world Tōkyō together. It’s hard to do, but I just try to explore one neighborhood at a time. It’s amazing how some districts have changed completely and others, not so much.
If the Great Kantō Earthquake destroyed Edo,
the Firebombing nailed its coffin.™
Although it is an old capital, there are many reasons why Tōkyō doesn’t look like other ancient cities like Rome, London, or even the Japanese imperial capital of Kyōto. But I would argue, it has a lot in common with those cities. Those cities just never changed names.
Also, those capital cities also weren’t utterly decimated twice in a 25 year period.
In becoming Tōkyō, especially the Tōkyō that most of the world recognizes today, the capital seems to have sold a lot of its soul. Even many Japanese don’t think of it as a traditional Japanese city. It’s Tōkyō – modern and exciting, the seat of government, Asia’s first “modern” city. For foreigners and visitors to the city, its history is unknown or vague at best. That said, there is so much of Edo to see and experience in Tōkyō. When I walk these streets, I feel like I’m walking in the footsteps of history while breathing the same air, enjoying the same sunrise and moon, and participating in the same rituals the people of Edo did.
That’s so exciting to me!
Thank you for learning more about me. I hope you learn more about Japan through me and I hope I learn more about you in the comments. Or feel free to contact me personally.
Need Something Else?
- If you’re interested in the early history of JapanThis!, please check out my 2013 interview with Metropolis Magazine.
- You might also enjoy Linda Lombardi‘s article “Niche Tours of Hidden Tokyo Reveal Grit and History” which features one of my Tōkyō walking tours (Associated Press).
- If you are an author or a publisher and would like to request a book review, please see this page.
- For guided tours (private, group, institutions, etc.), documentary stuff, and location scouting, please contact me here.
About Copyright, Quoting, Reposting, Stealing Research, and Sharing
All of the contents of this blog are copyrighted under US Federal Law (DMCA). In the past, I’ve been really lax about this because I never really had any problems. But recently, I’ve a few instances where various individuals just straight up copy and pasted huge sections of text (and in one case, an entire article) on to their own blog. WTF?
There also have been a lot of “journalists” writing in the Anglosphere where I know my articles are the only source for such information in English. Look, I’m giving away this stuff for free here, so the least you could do is give me a shout out or link back to my site. You may be salaried, but I earn about $20 a month on this website. So, just be cool, OK?
We probably work better together if you engage me, instead of just biting my shit lol
Go for it! Share Away on Social Media!
If you like what you read here, I encourage you to share! I have options to share to most major social media platforms (for example, Facebook, Twitter, etc…) at the bottom of each article. Share, share, share!
If you want to quote an article, reprint or repost a full article, contact me. I’ll probably always say “yes.” I’m a pretty reasonable guy and if you took the time to read one of my articles, you already have my respect. Just ask.
If I really dig what you’re doing, I’ll even help promote you. Just ask.
That’s all I ask.