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Japanese History

Ōedo Line: Shiodome

Continuing with our 17th installment of exploring Edo-Tōkyō via the Ōedo Line.

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Japanese History Tokyo Rivers Travel in Japan

The Kanda River

The story of the Kanda River is a story as old as Edo itself. It is part and parcel of the evolution of the city.

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Japanese History Tokyo Rivers

The Tone River

Sometimes called the biggest river in Japan, though it’s actually not, this unruly river unites much of the Kanto area.

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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

What does Hakusan mean?

Today we’re going to wrap up our little journey around 文京区 Bunkyō-ku Bunkyō Ward which has taken us to Myōgadani, Koishikawa, and finally Hakusan.

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Japanese History

What does Koishikawa mean?

This may be the closest you get to experiencing a real daimyo garden in Edo.

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Japanese History

What does Ohanajaya mean?

Today, the area called Ohanajaya refers to three blocks in Katsushika Ward, but in the Edo Period, this was the countryside and was used for falconry by the Tokugawaw shōguns.

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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 Travel in Japan

What does Asakusa mean?

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

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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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Japanese History

What does Mejiro mean?

What do a 200 year old whiskey and monkey powered jet packs have to do with each other? Nothing!

Today will dig a little deeper into the seemingly related Meguro and Mejiro. All I can tell you now is that it doesn’t end well.

Categories
Japanese History Japanese Shrines & Temples

What does Senju mean?

In the Edo Period, Senju was a hub to some of the most prestigious destinations of the Era. It was a launch pad for many travelers in the realm, but it was a particularly special hub for the Shogun Family.

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Japan Japanese History

Samurai Archives Podcast (part 1)

So……… yeah. Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter may have seen my giddy posts about doing a podcast with some of the guys from Samurai Archives. I finally got to do it and although I was super nervous to talk with them, it actually was the most normal and natural thing […]

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Japanese History

What does Iidabashi mean?

Today we’ll learn about a shitamachi place name that has disappeared. We’ll also learn how it’s important to pay attention to what reading of kanji is being used.

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Japanese History

What does Inokashira mean?

Inokashira Park is Kichijoji’s famous park. But did you know that big lake was the source of drinking water for a million people in Edo?

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Japanese History

What does Mitaka mean?

I’ve been writing about Tokyo places names for half a year now and I don’t know why I haven’t written about this one. This was the first origin story I ever heard. Now I’ll share it with you.

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Japanese History

What does Muromachi mean?

The history of today’s place name is going to take us on a long journey across the country to Kyoto and back in time to the Ashikaga Shogunate (and in reality back to the Kamakura and Heian Periods). Plot twists abound. Strap yourselves in and get ready to feel the G’s, baby.

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Japanese History

What does Anjin-cho mean?

Have you ever seen the old American TV series “Shogun?”

Or have you ever imagined what it would be like if you, a foreigner, were a samurai in feudal Japan?

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Japanese History

What does Akabane mean?

赤羽Akabane (Red Wings; but more at Red Clay) Today’s place name etymology is a pretty interesting one because we will get a sneak peak at the extinct pre-Edo Period dialect of the area. Akabane sits in the northern part of Kita Ward. It’s basically next to Kawakuchi, Saitama. So it’s on the literal outskirts of […]

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Japanese History Japanese Shrines & Temples Tokugawa Shogun Graves Travel in Japan

The Grave of Tokugawa Yoshinobu

The shogunate is finished… that’s not sad to me. The sad thing is closing out this chapter on a subject that is so personal to me. I also love Yoshinobu because after a hundred years of 微妙 shoguns, we got a guy who represented his era and his pedigree exceptionally. Until the bitter end, Yoshinobu was an aristocrat, but in a time of crisis he took the challenge and helped to save the shogun family line persist until the present day.

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Japanese History Japanese Shrines & Temples Tokugawa Shogun Graves Travel in Japan

Shomyo-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Iemochi

We’re at the twilight of Tokugawa power in Japan – the 14th shogun, Tokugawa Iemochi.

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Japanese History Japanese Shrines & Temples Tokugawa Shogun Graves Travel in Japan

Shintoku-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ieyoshi

Tokugawa Ieyoshi was a pretty much a brown paper bag shogun. There is nothing notable about his rule… until the last year. In the last year, Commodore Perry arrived in Japan with his “Black Ships” and demanded that Japan end its isolationist policy. That’s when the shit hit the proverbial fan.

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Japanese History Japanese Sex Japanese Shrines & Temples Tokugawa Shogun Graves Travel in Japan

Bunkyo-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ienari

Tokugawa Ienari is my favorite shogun. Dude as a straight up player. Watch and learn, children.

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Japanese History Japanese Shrines & Temples Tokugawa Shogun Graves Travel in Japan

Shunmei-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ieharu

Tokugawa Ieharu, the lovable but forgettable 10th shogun.

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Japanese History Japanese Shrines & Temples Tokugawa Shogun Graves Travel in Japan

Junshin-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ieshige

Today we’ll look at the grave of the 9th shogun, Tokugawa Ieshige — which is basically the grave of the 7th shogun, Ietsugu.

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Japanese History Japanese Shrines & Temples Tokugawa Shogun Graves Travel in Japan

Yutoku-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Yoshimune

Tokugawa Yoshimune is considered one of the greatest shoguns of Edo Bakufu. He initiated financial reforms that most likely made writing the rest of this series on Tokugawa shogun graves infinitely easier. Just as they re-used existing sites, I can re-use existing blogs. Awwwww yeah.

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Japanese History Japanese Shrines & Temples Tokugawa Shogun Graves

Yusho-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ietsugu

We’ve come to the 7th shogun. His funerary temple was one of the architectural gems of Edo-Tokyo. Sadly, it was the last of these fine structures. From here on out we will only have group enshrinements. It’s the end of an era.

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Japanese History Japanese Shrines & Temples Tokugawa Shogun Graves Travel in Japan

Joken-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi

Last time, I wrote about the 4th shogun, Tokugawa Ietsuna. Today let’s look at the grave of his younger brother, the much more famous Tokugawa Tsunayoshi – the so-called Dog Shogun. If you’ve been to Ueno Park, you may have seen the gate to his tomb. It’s much better preserved that Ietsuna’s and a little more centrally located… kinda.