Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

Noah Oskow

Noah Oskow is a professional Japanese translator and interpreter who holds a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures. He has lived, studied and worked in Japan for nearly seven years, including two years studying at Sophia University in Tokyo and four years teaching English on the JET Program in rural Fukushima Prefecture. His experiences with language learning and historical and cultural studies as well as his extensive experience in world travel have lead to appearances at speaking events and popular podcasts. Noah is currently working on his Masters Degree in Global Studies at Leipzig University in Germany.

Samurai on horses

The Fall of Ezo, Japan's "Samurai Democracy"

By Noah Oskow  ·  March 04, 2019 • Tagged with history, hokkaido, tokugawa, samurai, meiji, meiji restoration, war

How Japan's samurai resistance fell to the pressure of history - and how its founder went from hatred traitor to respected leader.

Samurai on a horse

The Last Samurai: Enomoto Takeaki and the Warrior Democracy of Ezo

By Noah Oskow  ·  February 20, 2019 • Tagged with history, hokkaido, tokugawa, samurai, meiji, meiji restoration, war

The story of the samurai who fought the rise of modern Japan to the end - and who, when all else failed, founded his own nation-state.


The Colonization of Hokkaido: How a "Foreign" Frontier Became Japan

By Noah Oskow  ·  February 13, 2019 • Tagged with history, hokkaido, ainu, colonization, meiji era, edo

How a mysterious frontier island peopled by "barbarians" became one of the four main islands of Japan - and how the original inhabitants suffered as a result.

Japan on the waves

When Japan Ruled the Waves: The Forgotten Colonies of Micronesia

By Noah Oskow  ·  January 02, 2019 • Tagged with micronesia, nanyo, colonization, meiji, WWI, WWII, palau, germany, immigration

How Japan defeated the German Empire in World War I and ruled over Micronesia for three decades - before it all came crashing down.

The epic tale of the return of the Japanese-Brazilians to Japan

Conflicted Homecoming: How the Japanese-Brazilians Returned to Japan

By Noah Oskow  ·  December 03, 2018 • Tagged with immigration, brazil, economic miracle, 1980s, 1990s, nikkei, dekasegi, economy

The epic tale of the 300,000 cousins the Japanese welcomed home from Brazil and insisted they needed - until they suddenly didn't.

The epic tale of the Japanese who immigrated to Brazil

The Japanese Who Came to Call Brazil Home

By Noah Oskow  ·  November 13, 2018 • Tagged with history, immigration, brazil, japan, world war ii, meiji, nikkei

Why are there so many Brazilian-Japanese in Japan? The answer goes back to the Meiji era, and the government's need to get rid of its own citizens.

Japanese and Russian Cooperation

Akira Kurosawa and the Kremlin - Part 2: Saved by the Soviets

By Noah Oskow  ·  October 26, 2018 • Tagged with film, movies, akira kurosawa, Russia, culture

Akira Kurosawa once said, "Take me, subtract movies, and you get zero." At a time when he felt he had nothing, it was up to a Soviet production company to put the movie back in the maestro.

Red Square, Moscow.

Akira Kurosawa and the Kremlin - Part 1: Rise and Fall

By Noah Oskow  ·  October 25, 2018 • Tagged with film, movies, akira kurosawa, Russia, culture

Japanese film maestro Akira Kurosawa's enduring love of Russian literature may have saved his life when the Soviet Union stepped in to save his career. In Part 1 of this story, Noah Oskow reviews the auteur's highs and lows.