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Japanese History

What does Kioi-chō mean?

JapanThis! Where etymology, Japanese history, and James muthafuckin’ Bond collide. Yeah, you read that right.

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Japanese History

What does Shinjuku mean?

Shinjuku is one of the craziest places in Tokyo. Guess what. It’s ALWAYS been like that!

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Japanese History

What does Chōfu mean? (Part Deux)

調布の玉川Chōfu no Tamagawa (a reference to cloth production and dyeing on the Tama River) In reference to my article entitled Setagaya and its Freaky Horse Fetish, I was going to name this article The Tama River Basin and its Freaky Cloth Fetish, but as it turns out the fetish isn’t as freaky as Setagaya and […]

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Japanese History

What does Chōfu mean? (Part One)

Chōfu is a suburb west of the 23 Wards that is home to many historical treasures. It’s best known as the hometown of Kondō Isami, leader of the Shinsengumi.

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Japanese History Tokyo Rivers

The Edo River

Soy sauce, sweet rice vinegar, Disneyland, oh my! The Edo River has it all! Plus fireworks!

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Japanese History Tokyo Rivers

The Tama River

The Tama RIver is another river associated with the Edo Period, but in reality, it's history goes back much further…

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Japanese History

What does Tabata mean?

田端Tabata (on the edge of the field) First Let’s Start with the Kanji, Shall We? 田ta rice paddy 端hata edge, boundary, beside, close to This is a place name found all over Japan, with reading variations. It’s also a family name found all over Japan… yes, also with reading variations[i]. And despite sounding really backwatery […]

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Japanese History

What does Suitengumae mean?

Want to announce your pregnancy the sneaky Tokyo way? This is the article for you.

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Japanese History

What does Hamamatsu-cho mean?

浜松町 Hamamatsu-chō (seaside pine town, more at Hamamatsu town) . There’s not a lot to go on with this place name. A lot of it adds up, but a lot of it doesn’t. As such, we’ll probably have to do a little more filling in the gaps than I like to do. But anyways, let’s […]

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Japanese History

What does Sendagaya mean?

Today’s topic was a reader request. But to be honest, I’ve been wanting to write about this place for a while.

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Japanese History Japanese Sex

What does Kameari mean?

Today we’re talking about Kameari in Katsushika Ward. It’s an interesting place name that’’s easy to speculate about because of the kanji.

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Japanese History

What does Myogadani mean?

This place name is a hot mess. All aboard the Tangent Express!!!

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Japanese History

What does Hikifune mean?

Recently, we’ve looked at a few places in Sumida and Katsushika. Today let’s learn about the river that linked these two places together and what happened to that river.

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Japanese History

What does Kappabashi mean?

Kappabashi Dōgugai is a shopping street between Ueno & Asakusa famous for stores selling everything needed by restaurateurs incly

Categories
Japanese History Travel in Japan

Why is Roppongi called Roppongi

Today, Roppongi is a party town. For years it’s been popular with foreigners due to its proximity to so many foreign embassies. Because of this proximity, the area is relatively English-friendly which makes it a destination for foreigners visiting Japan and the seedy businesses that often cater to (or try to take advantage of) foreigners. But in the Edo Period, this was home to sprawling mansions of the elite ruling class. Many of the street blocks still correspond to the locations of these residences.

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Japanese History

What does Yotsuya mean?

Most people seem to think the name Yotsuya is old. Old as in it pre-dates the Edo Period. But one thing that is consistent in most of the etymologies is the first kanji, 四 yottsu four. Much of the mystery of this place name seems to come from the final character. That said, the “number 4” character is also suspect. So let’s be skeptical, shall we?

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Japanese History

What does Ichigaya mean?

OK, so I’ve wanted to write about Ichigaya for a long time, but it is connected to a few other place names which have made it difficult to cover until now. I’m just gonna through this out there now and say my gut instinct tells me none of the etymologies we’ll see today are correct and we’ll never know the true etymology. That said, there’s a little Ota Dokan connection, so heads up to all the Ota Dokan fans out there.

Categories
Japanese History Travel in Japan

What does Asakusa mean?

Asakusa – one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Japan.

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Japanese History

What does Kasai mean?

Kasai seems like a place name, and the term is used, but in Tokyo, there actually isn’t any real area named Kasai. Yet, the name is very ancient. So, say hello to my little friend, Kasai.

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Japanese History

What does Katsushika mean?

Tokyo’s Katsushika Ward and Saitama’s Kita-Katsushika and Minami Katsushika Districts derive their names from the pre-modern Katsushika District of Shimōsa Province, but where did the ancient name come from?

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Japanese History

What does Ogikubo mean?

At the very end of the Marunouchi Line in Suginami Ward lies an area called Ogikubo. The name, “grassy basin” seems straight forward enough, but might there be a Buddhist connection as well?

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Japanese History

What does Yurakucho mean?

Formerly part of the outer enclosure of Edo Castle and now a shopping district next to Ginza, Yurakucho is strange name with an elusive past.

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Japan Japanese History

What does Ushigome-Yanagicho mean?

Kondo Isami’s dōjō? The birthplace of the Shinsengumi? Lead poisoning? Shinjuku? WTF???

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Japanese History

What does Ushigome Tansu Machi mean?

Middle class and upper middle class samurai? Yes, please!

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Japan Japanese Castles Travel in Japan

What does Ushigome mean?

牛込 Ushigome (Crowd of Cows) 。 。 牛 ushi cow 込 komi[i] swarming, huddling, amassed, crowded, “in bulk” 。 According to Japanese Wikipedia[ii], in 701, in accordance to the Taihō Code, a livestock ranch was established in this area. In fact, two were established which were sometimes referred to as 牛牧 gyūmaki a cow ranch […]

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Japanese Castles Japanese History

What does Shirokane mean?

A rich guy, a castle and a nature preserve walk into a bar…

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Japanese Castles Japanese History

What does Edo mean?

Went a little long on this on… sorry about that. But I love Tokyo. I wanted to explore the forgotten side…

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Japan This Lite Japanese History

10 Random Quickies – Japan This Lite

10 Quick Questions From Readers!
(Still took 2 days to write… lol)

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Japanese History

What does Meguro mean?

Meguro is the name of several postal codes, a river, a handful of bus stops and train stations, and one of the 23 Special Wards of the Tokyo Metropolis. The name means “Black Eyes.” Weird.

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Japanese History

What does Nishiarai mean?

Christopher Hitchens claimed that religion poisons everything. In this case, it may have poisoned a place name… but not too badly.