The first active and longest running online community for Japanese History has just updated its forum. I’m not even joking when I say this is one of the best places to get your geek on. Continue reading Samurai Archives Forum Gets Major Update
It’s sounds inaka, but so does your mom. Continue reading What does Tamachi 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 see where this takes us. . On the record, here’s what we’ve got. . At the beginning of the Edo Period, the 増上寺代官 Zōjō-ji daikan magistrate of Zōjō-ji[i] 奥住久右衛門 Ozumi Kyūemon[ii] lived here. Because of that, the area was called affectionately called 久右衛門町 Kyūemon-chō Kyūemon Town. However, … Continue reading What does Hamamatsu-cho 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. Continue reading What does Hikifune mean?
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If not, that’s OK, I made you a video today. Continue reading Questions from Readers
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. Continue reading Why is Roppongi called Roppongi
Asakusa – one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Japan. Continue reading What does Asakusa mean?
Today, I’d like to answer a few readers questions in one post. In short, how can I get an overview of Japanese History? I’m also going to recommend a few online sources that will help you broaden your understanding of Japanese history and culture. Continue reading 10 Ways to Learn Japanese History
Middle class and upper middle class samurai? Yes, please! Continue reading What does Ushigome Tansu Machi mean?
I love the shitamachi style of Tokyo. It really helps me connect with history.
If you want to travel to Japan, Ryogoku should be high on your list of places to go. Sumo, samurai, 37 ronin, Japanese food, and Japanese girls in glasses (OK, I made up the last one…) Continue reading What does Ryogoku mean?
Just wanted to share 4 more great books about Japanese History that I love! Have an awesome day! Continue reading 4 More Bad Ass Books on Japanese History
I’ve talked about Edo Castle quite a bit on Japan This! If you wanna see some great pictures and descriptions of Edo Castle and other Japanese Castles, please check out Jcastle.info. It’s a bad ass site and I know you’ll love the shit out of it! #japanesecastles #japanesehistory #japan #castle #twinglish Continue reading Check Out These Japanese Castles!
If read literally, Shibuya means “bitter valley.” However, there are multiple theories about this famous place name’s etymology. Continue reading What does Shibuya mean?
Was there a connection between the place names for Shinagawa and Takanawa? Let’s find out today. (btw – today’s place names will require a pretty reasonable familiarity with kanji). Continue reading Why are Shinagawa and Takanawa called Shinagawa and Takanawa?
The area that comprised the grounds of Edo Castle is roughly that of modern 千代田区 Chiyoda Ward. The name of the area pre-dates the Edo Period and has a very lucky meaning. Let’s find out why Chiyoda is called Chiyoda! Continue reading What does Chiyoda mean?
Major fires (conflagrations) have changed the organization and look of Tokyo, Japan. Today let’s look at some of the major disasters that made Tokyo what it is today! Continue reading Conflag Hag – How Fires Shaped the Face of Edo and Tokyo
代官山 Daikanyama (Daikan Mountain) First a quick definition. A 代官 daikan was a kind of local magistrate or governor in the Edo Period. There are 2 theories as to why this area is called Daikan Mountain: 1) A daikan‘s residence was located here at some time. 2) The forest mountain here fell under the direct supervision of a daikan. There is insufficient documentation remaining to support one theory over the other. Continue reading Why is Daikanyama called Daikanyama?
This one doesn’t have much of a story, but it’s definitely a cool spot in Tokyo. Kagura is a kind of Shinto ritual dance. Continue reading What does Kagurazaka mean?
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
半蔵門Hanzōmon (Hanzō Gate) It’s Hanzō Time! 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 … Continue reading What does Hanzomon mean?
八重洲Yaesu (corruption of the Dutch personal name Jan Joosten, itself a shortening of Jan Joosten van Lodensteijn) A Foreign Samurai There were only a handful of “foreign samurai” and so Jan Joosten has a unique place in the history of foreigners in Japan. In 1600, he arrived in Japan and was eventually made an advisor of foreigner affairs and translator for the new shōgun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and his court at Edo Castle. He was granted permission to marry a Japanese woman and given a mansion with the inner moat of Edo Caste (丸ﾉ内). He was also given samurai rank and … Continue reading What does Yaesu mean?
Ever heard of Yodobashi Camera? Sure, you have. Ever heard of Yodobashi Ward, Tokyo? Probably not. Every heard of the Yodo Bridge in Tokyo? Most likely not. Have you ever been to Shinjuku or Nakano? Probably, yes…. Continue reading Yodobashi – A Haunted Bridge in Nakano?