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Japanese History

The History of Hanami

We all love hanami and sakura, but where did it all start? Let’s take a look at the history of hanami.

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Japanese History

Yamanote Line: Tōkyō

Almost at the end of our loop around Tōkyō so it’s about time we get to Tōkyō Station.

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Book Reviews Japanese History

Book Review – Japanese Capitals in Historical Perspective

This is a collection of scholarly articles exploring the urban geography, architecture, and projection of power in the landscapes of Kyōto, Edo, and Tōkyō. Fantastic for lovers of spatial anthropology.

Categories
Japanese History

What does Ōji mean?

王子Ōji (imperial prince, but more at “a kami divided from another kami”) Ōji – A Princely Namesake… or Something Like That… To modern eyes, this place name means “prince.” In a very general sense, it could be understood as a son of a king or emperor. In this case, it most likely isn’t a reference […]

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Japanese Castles Japanese History

Ōedo Line: Toshimaen

Continuing with our 29th installment of exploring Edo-Tōkyō

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Japanese History Travel in Japan

Ōedo Line: Tsukishima

Continuing with our 14th installment of exploring Edo-Tōkyō via the Ōedo Line.

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Japan Book Reviews

Book Review – Tokyo: From Edo to Showa

Wanna read a book about how Edo became Tokyo? This one might be for you!

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Japanese History

You Know You’ve Been in Edo Too Long…

Thanks to all of you, let’s keep this YOU KNOW YOU’VE BEEN IN EDO TOO LONG thing going!!!

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Japan

Questions from Readers

Wanna support the blog? It would mean a lot if you did!
If not, that’s OK, I made you a video today.

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Japanese History Travel in Japan

What does Haneda mean?

Nobody ever thinks about the etymology airport names. Be one of the few chosen ones!

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Japanese History Travel in Japan

Tokyo Train Line Names

Most of the train lines in Tōkyō have names based on whatever major area they originated/terminated – or at least stopped at. For example, the Marunouchi Line’s most important stations were in the former Marunouchi (Daimyō Alley) and the Yamanote Line connected centers of the “new Yamanote.[ii]” Some of the more ambitious, longer train lines have names that describe their start/stop points in general terms. This type of name usually reflects the tendency of the Japanese language to make new matches out of existing kanji.

Most of these names are self-evident to the Japanese, especially people who live and/or work in and around Tōkyō. But many of these names may be slightly mysterious to foreigners.

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Japanese History

What does Toranomon mean?

I’m not even joking when I say I think this name was chosen just because it sounded cool.

Categories
Japanese History Travel in Japan

What does Asakusa mean?

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

Categories
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 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.

Categories
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 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 History

What does Mamiana-cho mean?

Before the Scientific Method arrived, scholars and common folk grouped animals in according to a traditional Sino-Japanese methodology. Today’s place name bears evidence to that grouping methodology.

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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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Japan Japanese Holidays Travel in Japan

Edo River Fireworks

Summer in Japan means matsuri (festivals), hanabi (fireworks), and fuzoku (prostitution). Today we’ll look at the first two!

Categories
Japan Japanese History

Why does Japan have Prefectures?

Many countries have states or provinces or regions. But only Japan and France have prefectures. So what’s up with dat?

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Japanese History

What does Musashi mean?

Musashi was an old Japanese province, however the name is still with us today.

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Japanese History

What does Kudanshita mean?

Yesterday we learned about Iidabashi (and its precursor, Iidamachi). Today we’ll look at Kudanshita, a location whose recent controversial history has somewhat obscured its samurai origins.

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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.

Categories
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 Okachimachi mean?

Between Ueno and Akihabara there is Okachimachi. Awwwwwww yeah.

Categories
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

What does Marunouchi mean?

It’s the last day of GW!

If you’re curious about what happened to real estate in the early Meiji years, I’ve got some pretty amazing pictures for you in this one. Today’s topic is Marunouchi and the so-called Daimyo Alley, the high-walled, moated, garden filled area of upper residences of the most elite daimyo. Today the area is filled with the skyscrapers of some of Japan’s wealthiest and most powerful companies.

Oh and just a heads up, this is good week for JapanThis. We’re finally at 100 members on Facebook. This week’s topics are Marunouchi, Shiodome, Shakujii, Nerima and a quick book review.

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Japanese History Travel in Japan

Go-kaidō – The 5 Highways of Old Japan

Teleportation technology wasn’t yet available for the Shogun in Tokugawa Japan, so instead they used an extensive system of roads. The 5 most important roads led to Edo. They were called the Go-kaido. Awwwwwwwww yeah.

Categories
Japanese History

What does Nihonbashi mean?

Nihonbashi! Once the most famous bridge in Japan, now most people are surprised to hear there’s actually a bridge here at all.