Episode 206 – Across the Sea, Part 2

This week, we take a closer look at early communities of Nikkeijin — people of Japanese descent — in the United States and Hawaii.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Asakawa, Gil. Being Japanese-American.

Spicard, Paul. Japanese Americans: The Formation and Transformation of an Ethnic Group

Odo, Franklin. No Sword to Bury.

Images

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San Francisco’s Japantown in the 1930s.
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Frenzied and racist attacks on Japanese labor led to the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907. Papers like the Seattle Star were instrumental in drumming up pressure for both the 1907 agreement and the 1924 immigration act.
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The bill itself may not have specified the Japanese, but at the time nobody was under any illusions as to who the 1924 Immigration Act targeted.
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Japanese workers on a sugarcane plantation, c. 1915. Courtesy of the University of Hawaii.
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A Honganji (Jodo Shinshu) temple in Oahu. Note the Japanese-inspired detailing on the roof; that kind of thing was far less common on the continent.
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Shashin hanayome (picture bridges) arriving on Angel Island in Los Angeles, 1910. Courtesy of Densho.org.

Episode 205 – Across the Sea, Part 5

This week, we begin a new series on the history of the Japanese diaspora!

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Masterson, Daniel et al. The Japanese in Latin America.

The excellent resources of the Japanese American National Museum.

Dresner, Jonathan. Japanese Diasporas: Unsung Pasts, Conflicting Presents, and Uncertain Futures.

Images

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The grave of Otokichi in Singapore; he was never allowed to return to Japan after being blown away in a storm.
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Nakahama Manjiro, the castaway who became a samurai — and one of very few to leave Japan during the Edo Period.
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Seattle’s Japantown c.1909, in what is now the International District.
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Seattle Japanese-American fishermen participating in a public parade.
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Japanese immigrants arriving in Victoria, British Columbia.
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Japanese laborers on a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, c.1900.

Episode 204 – No Peace Without War

This week we tackle the question of Japanese fascism by looking at one of Japan’s foremost fascists, the authoritarian scholar Kita Ikki.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Maruyama, Masao. Thought and Behavior in Japanese Politics (if you’re interested in the topic this is the one must-read book)

Tansman, Alan. The Culture of Japanese Fascism.

Kita, Ikki. Outline Plan for the Reorganization of Japan.

Images

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Kita Ikki as a young man.
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Yoshino Sakuzo was the target of a failed political smear campaign by Kita Ikki and the Yuzonsha — a failure indicative of the wider political fortunes of the Yuzonsha organization.
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Officers sympathetic to Kita, shown here occupying the Imperial Hotel, were a big part of the 2-26 incident — and as a result of the coup attempt, Kita was arrested and shot.

 

Episode 203 – The Old Man and the Sea

This week: one of Japan’s most famous Buddhist masters, Kukai, takes center stage!

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Winfield, Pamela. Icons and Iconoclasm in Japanese Buddhism

Bowring, Richard. The Religious Teachings of Japan, 500-1600.

Totman, Conrad. A History of Japan.

Images

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A painting of Kukai from the medieval period.
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The Mandala of the Two Realms, used as a visual pattern for Mt. Koya and central to Kukai’s Shingon Buddhism.
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A letter from Kukai to Saicho.
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The main hall of the Mt. Koya complex.
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Monks bringing food and clothes to Kukai’s body.

Episode 202 – The Old Man Mad About Art

Today we discuss Japan’s greatest artistic genius, Katsushika Hokusai!

Listen to the episode here.
Sources
Katsushika Hokusai – The complete works

Some Hokusai content from the Met Museum

Strange, Edward F. Hokusai: The Old Man Mad About Painting

Images

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Fireworks over Ryogoku Bridge, one of Hokusai’s earliest landscapes.
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Hokusai painting the great Daruma in Nagoya. Though the original is lost, promotional materials survive that give us a sense of the scale involved.
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The Great Wave off Kanagawa
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An earlier attempt at a wave drawing from 1804. You can see substantial technical improvements in the Great Wave.
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The Hokusai Manga.
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Another image from the Hokusai Manga.
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Hokusai’s self portrait as an old man.
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Ducks in a Stream, completed by Hokusai at the age of 87.

Episode 201 – The Green Archipelago

This week: Japan’s a pretty verdant place, but how did it stay that way when so many other places were ravaged by human development?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Totman, Conrad. The Green Archipelago.

Totman, Conrad. A History of Japan.

Basically everything Conrad Totman ever did.

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Adding to the strain on Japan’s environment was the need to rebuild major monuments after a set time — particularly Shinto shrines, since Shinto’s fierce taboos surrounding decay require sites to be continuously restored. Ise Shrine, shown here, is rebuilt every 20 years on alternating sites, and has been since the 600s.
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The Todaiji Buddha, which required 160,000 cubic feet of charcoal to produce.
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Stands of Japanese cypress, or hinoki, were among the most valuable timber sources in Japan — and the most heavily harvested.
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Zojoji, one of two burial temples of the Tokugawa shoguns in Edo.
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Nikko Toshogu, a shrine to the deified spirit of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu’s building boom was the largest one in Japanese history before the Meiji Era.

 

Episode 200 – The 200th Episode

All you could ever want to know about podcast recording, UW’s graduate program, and why the Japanese definitely are not part of the 10 lost tribes of Israel! That and more!

Thank you all for 200 great episodes!

Listen to the episode here.

Check out Accessible Japan at its fantastic website here!

Sources

An NIH article on kampo.

Shillony, Ben-Ami. Jews & The Japanese: The Successful Outsidesr.

Goodman, David G. and Masanori Miyazawa. Jews in the Japanese Mind: The History and Uses of a Cultural Stereotype. 

Morikawa, Jun. Whaling in Japan.

A collection of articles and information on Japan’s territorial disputes assembled by the New York Times.

Images

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My “research assistants” and banes of my audio recording career, playing innocent after spending 20 minutes trying to get me to stop recording and play with them.
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Proponents of the theory that the Japanese are part of the tribes of Israel point to Shinto customs like this one, which involves ritual headwrappings that superficially resemble the tefilin worn by Orthodox Jews during prayer, because there is nothing intrinsically important about the human head that might draw someone to place some kind of symbolic significance on it.
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Under the pretense of research whaling, Japanese vessels continue to hunt whales for consumption. However, whale meat was never very popular before the 1950s.
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A Korean street protest against Japan’s claim on the Liancourt Rocks. The issue is far more of a hot button in Korea than in Japan, where it is generally ignored by the public at large and used by the LDP as a cheap electoral strategy.