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? Continue reading What does Yotsuya mean?

The Difference Between Donkeys and Oxen

In yesterday’s blog, Why is Hanzomon called Hanzomon?, I posted this picture: In the picture comments, I said something about “donkey people” as a joke. Someone pointed out that these are actually oxen. I know. It actually cracked me up that I got e-mails about this. Not so much that I wanted people to think I didn’t know the difference between a donkey and an ox as much as I was happy that people ere actually reading Japan This! Rest assured, it was just a joke. I know the difference between donkeys and oxen. lol Oh, and thanks for reading! Continue reading The Difference Between Donkeys and Oxen

What does Hanzomon mean?

半蔵門 Hanzōmon (Hanzō Gate) Today’s place name is from a request from a reader who’s working near Hanzōmon Station. Thanks for your request, Nate! Anyone else who interested in making a request about Tokyo place names, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be sure to get to it! This one is pretty much straight forward. It’s named after a famous samurai named 服部半蔵 (Hattori Hanzō). The dude is semi-mythical and even in the Edo Period he was a bit of a legend.  He was portrayed as a crucial figure in the seemingly destined rise to power of Tokugawa … Continue reading What does Hanzomon mean?