Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

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Entrance to the Ainu Museum in Shiroai, Hokkaido
Hiratsuka Raicho
Samurai on horses

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

Essay   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.

Man firing arrow from a horse in a display of yabusame, the traditional form of Japanese horseback archery

Yabusame: The Art and Ritual of Japanese Horseback Archery

Essay   By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  February 21, 2019 • Tagged with archery, sports, history, tradition, culture

Ancient. Colorful. Hard as hell. Learn how the samurai's "way of the bow and horse" evolved into a beautiful art form.

Samurai on a horse

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

Essay   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.

Picture of war

The Student Deployment: When Japan Threw Its Youth Away

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  February 15, 2019 • Tagged with war, world war 2, history

When Japan found itself in desperate straits in 1943, it used the one untapped resource it had left: its college youth. A former soldier tells how he survived - and the permanent damage it etched into his soul.

Hokkaido

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

Essay   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.

Drawing of Ichikawa Fusae

Ichikawa Fusae: The First Woman of Japanese Politics

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  February 12, 2019 • Tagged with history, feminism, women of japan

In an age when women had few rights, Ichikawa Fusae fought for hers - and used her hard won career to give a voice to the voiceless.

Japanese delegation arrives to sign Japan's declaration of surrender.

Resistance and Acceptance in the Allied Occupation of Japan

Essay   By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  January 28, 2019 • Tagged with history, culture, society

How the Allied Occupation plunged Japan into a national Five Stages of Grief - and how it permanently changed Japanese society and government.

Sakamoto Ryoma

Sakamoto Ryoma: The Samurai Who Ended the Samurai

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  January 07, 2019 • Tagged with tokugawa, feudal japan, history, war, america

He remade Japan, not with a sword, but with his wits. Read more about how a low ranking samurai brought down the Shogunate.