Episode 74 – Taira no Masakado

We’ll be taking things back to the Heian Period this week for the story of the great rebel Taira no Masakado. His rebellion, however, is only half the story — after he dies, things get very interesting indeed…

Listen to the episode here

Sources

Friday, Karl. The First Samurai.

Rabinovitch, Judith N. Shomonki: The Story of Masakado’s Rebellion.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Taira no Masakado dressed for battle, as depicted in an Edo Period print.
Taira no Masakado dressed for battle, as depicted in an Edo Period print.
Taira no Masakado. In life he was a powerful warlord of the Kanto, but his reach exceeded his grasp and his rebellion was crushed.
Taira no Masakado. In life he was a powerful warlord of the Kanto, but his reach exceeded his grasp and his rebellion was crushed.
The head of Taira no Masakado was taken to Heian (Kyoto) to be displayed; however, according to some stories it wasn't content to stay there...
The head of Taira no Masakado was taken to Heian (Kyoto) to be displayed; however, according to some stories it wasn’t content to stay there…
Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Specter, a print by the Edo period artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Supposedly Takiyasha was possessed of supernatural powers and used them against Ooya no Mitsukuni, an inspector sent by the government after the end of the rebellion to ensure that none had survived.
Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Specter, a print by the Edo period artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Supposedly Takiyasha was possessed of supernatural powers and used them against Ooya no Mitsukuni, an inspector sent by the government after the end of the rebellion to ensure that none had survived.
Kubizuka, the monument to the head of Taira no Masakado. It's located in Otemachi in Tokyo.
Kubizuka, the monument to the head of Taira no Masakado. It’s located in Otemachi in Tokyo.
Kanda Myojin Shrine, in which Taira no Masakado is enshrined today.
Kanda Myojin Shrine, in which Taira no Masakado is enshrined today.

Episode 73 – The Slow and Steady Step, Part 2

After his defeat at the hands of Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu will lie low for a decade or so, biding his time. However, when the opportunity presents itself with Hideyoshi’s death and the succession of his young heir, Ieyasu will strike at last, and gamble everything for one more shot at power.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Friday, Karl. Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Sadler, AL. Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Sansom, George B. A History of Japan Vol II: 1336-1615.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

The hollyhock crest of the Tokugawa family.
The hollyhock crest of the Tokugawa family.
Hideyoshi and Ieyasu apparently were fond enough of each other to take time to play Go together; they used this board to play. I can't find a record of who won, but I know who I would bet on.
Hideyoshi and Ieyasu apparently were fond enough of each other to take time to play Go together; they used this board to play. I can’t find a record of who won, but I know who I would bet on.
Force deployments at Sekigahara. Ieyasu's troops are in red, the pro-Toyotomi ones led by Ishida Mitsunari in blue. Kobayakawa Hideaki's forces -- the defectors who turned the tide of battle -- are in yellow.
Force deployments at Sekigahara. Ieyasu’s troops are in red, the pro-Toyotomi ones led by Ishida Mitsunari in blue. Kobayakawa Hideaki’s forces — the defectors who turned the tide of battle — are in yellow.
A second view of the Battle of Sekigahara.
A second view of the Battle of Sekigahara.
The Battle of Sekigahara. This screen of the battle was comissioned by the Tokugawa after their seizure of power as a reminder of their great triumph.
The Battle of Sekigahara. This screen of the battle was comissioned by the Tokugawa after their seizure of power as a reminder of their great triumph.
Tokugawa Hidetada, Ieyasu's son and successor as the second Tokugawa shogun.
Tokugawa Hidetada, Ieyasu’s son and successor as the second Tokugawa shogun.
An illustration of the fall of Osaka Castle done by a French Huguenot working for the Dutch East India company called Francois Capon. Capon wrote a book called "A True Description of the Mighty Kingdoms of Japan and Siam," from which this illustration is taken.
An illustration of the fall of Osaka Castle done by a French Huguenot working for the Dutch East India company called Francois Capon. Capon wrote a book called “A True Description of the Mighty Kingdoms of Japan and Siam,” from which this illustration is taken.
The Siege of Osaka Castle .
The Siege of Osaka Castle .
This print is called a Kawariban -- a sort of proto-newspaper. It depicts the fall of Osaka castle to Ieyasu.
This print is called a Kawariban — a sort of proto-newspaper. It depicts the fall of Osaka castle to Ieyasu.
Precepts for success in life written by Ieyasu to guide his descendants in ruling Japan.
Precepts for success in life written by Ieyasu to guide his descendants in ruling Japan.
Ieyasu's inked handprint is preserved at Nikko Shrine and shown here.
Ieyasu’s inked handprint is preserved at Nikko Shrine and shown here.
Nikko Toshogu Shrine, a monument either to Ieyasu's greatness or his ego -- depending on your point of view.
Nikko Toshogu Shrine, a monument either to Ieyasu’s greatness or his ego — depending on your point of view.

Episode 72 – The Slow and Steady Step, Part 1

This week, join us for part one of the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu. A brilliant and ambitious man, Ieyasu began his life as a hostage for the good behavior of his middling-rank family. By 1584, however, he would be in position to make his first bid for power.

Listen to the episode here.

Also, we’re now taking donations if you’re so inclined; check out our webpage on Patreon to donate, and thank you very much for your support! You can also take advantage of Audible’s offer for our listeners at http://www.audibletrial.com/japan

Sources

Friday, Karl F, editor. Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850.

Jansen, Marius B. The Making of Modern Japan.

Sansom, George B. History of Japan, Vol II: 1336-1615.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Mikawa Province, the birthplace of Ieyasu.
Mikawa Province, the birthplace of Ieyasu.
The 1564 Battle of Azukizaka, part of Ieyasu's campaign against the Ikko Ikki in his province.
The 1564 Battle of Azukizaka, part of Ieyasu’s campaign against the Ikko Ikki in his province.
The 1573 Battle of Mikatagahara. In this battle of his war with the Takeda, Ieyasu would lose and come close to dying himself. The untimely death of Takeda Shingen, however, saved Ieyasu from further defeat; Shingen's son Katsuyori was not up to defeating Ieyasu.
The 1573 Battle of Mikatagahara. In this battle of his war with the Takeda, Ieyasu would lose and come close to dying himself. The untimely death of Takeda Shingen, however, saved Ieyasu from further defeat; Shingen’s son Katsuyori was not up to defeating Ieyasu.
Ieyasu after his defeat at Mikatagahara. His defeat at the hands of Takeda Shingen was the closest Ieyasu ever came to being crushed militarily and dying in combat, and this image (done after the fact) captures the frustration he must have felt at this brush with disaster.
Ieyasu after his defeat at Mikatagahara. His defeat at the hands of Takeda Shingen was the closest Ieyasu ever came to being crushed militarily and dying in combat, and this image (done after the fact) captures the frustration he must have felt at this brush with disaster.
The Honnoji Incident, or the death of Oda Nobunaga. The 1582 assassination of Oda Nobunaga threw Japan into chaos, allowing for the rise of Hideyoshi. Ieyasu was not prepared to move swiftly into the power vacuum.
The Honnoji Incident, or the death of Oda Nobunaga. The 1582 assassination of Oda Nobunaga threw Japan into chaos, allowing for the rise of Hideyoshi. Ieyasu was not prepared to move swiftly into the power vacuum.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
An Edo print of Sakakibara Yasumasa, one of Tokugawa's most famous generals. After one of the engagements during Ieyasu's war with Hideyoshi (the Battle of Komaki), Sakakibara chased Hideyoshi away as the latter retreated. That story is depicted in this print.
An Edo print of Sakakibara Yasumasa, one of Tokugawa’s most famous generals. After one of the engagements during Ieyasu’s war with Hideyoshi (the Battle of Komaki), Sakakibara chased Hideyoshi away as the latter retreated. That story is depicted in this print.
The Battle of Nagakute, part of the war between Ieyasu and Hideyoshi. Ieyasu would win this battle fairly handily, but the decision by Oda Nobukatsu to break their alliance and make a separate peace would force him to settle his differences and abandon his challenge to the Toyotomi family -- at least for now.
The Battle of Nagakute, part of the war between Ieyasu and Hideyoshi. Ieyasu would win this battle fairly handily, but the decision by Oda Nobukatsu to break their alliance and make a separate peace would force him to settle his differences and abandon his challenge to the Toyotomi family — at least for now.

Episode 71 – Playing the Part

This week, we’re going to to talk about the life of Yamaguchi Yoshiko, the Chinese-born actress turned politician who went from propaganda actress to one of the most moving voices for Sino-Japanese reconciliation (yes, I know I said we’d be doing Tokugawa Ieyasu — don’t worry, he’s up next week).

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

The New York Times obituary for Yamaguchi Yoshiko.

A Review of Yamaguchi Yoshiko’s autobiography, Ri Koran wo Ikite (My Life as Li Xianglan) hosted by the Japan Society of the UK. She also wrote a second autobiography, Ri Koran — Watashi no Hansei (Li Xianglan — Half My Life).

The obituary for Yamaguchi Yoshiko in the People’s Daily, the English-language newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

Media

A clip from China Nights, one of the propaganda films in which “Li Xianglan” appeared.

Yamaguchi Yoshiko singing in Japanese (the song is called “Arukimashou,” or “Let’s Walk”) after the war.

Yamaguchi Yoshiko.
Yamaguchi Yoshiko.
"Li Xianglan" during the height of her career in China.
“Li Xianglan” during the height of her career in China.
The poster for the 1940 film China Nights, in which "Li Xianglan" starred.
The poster for the 1940 film China Nights, in which “Li Xianglan” starred.
Yamaguchi Yoshiko with Zhang Ailing (better known in the US as Eileen Chang), one of the most famous writers of modern China. Zhang was forced to flee China after the rise of the Communists.
Yamaguchi Yoshiko with Zhang Ailing (better known in the US as Eileen Chang), one of the most famous writers of modern China. Zhang was forced to flee China after the rise of the Communists.
Yamaguchi with her first husband, the Japanese-American sculptor Noguchi Isamu.
Yamaguchi with her first husband, the Japanese-American sculptor Noguchi Isamu.
The American noir film House of Bamboo (1955) starred "Shirley Yamaguchi" in one of her American appearances.
The American noir film House of Bamboo (1955) starred “Shirley Yamaguchi” in one of her American appearances.
A scene from House of Bamboo. From the New York Times.
A scene from House of Bamboo. From the New York Times.

Supplementary Episode — Zero Hour, August 14, 1944

As a special treat I found while digging around for last week’s episode, here’s an episode of Zero Hour from August 14, 1944. It’s the best quality recording of the show that I’ve been able to find, but the shortwave broadcasts definitely weren’t up to the standards of modern audio. Still, if you want to enjoy some old school radio propaganda, check it out here!

Original file courtesy of archive.org