Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

New notes on currency
Japanese lighthouse on Sakhalin (a.k.k. Karafuto)
Russia, Japan, and Sakhalin/Karafuto

Sakhalin Island: Japan's Final Frontier

Essay   By Noah Oskow  ·  March 25, 2019 • Tagged with history, hokkaido, sakhalin, tokugawa, russia, meiji, indigenous, ainu

How Japan's discovery of a large northern island devastated the island's native population - and how Japan lost control when Russia muscled in.

Entrance to the Ainu Museum in Shiroai, Hokkaido

Why Japan's Ainu Recognition Bill Upsets the Ainu

Essay   By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  March 18, 2019 • Tagged with ainu, hokkdaio, indigenous, history, law, equality

After all these years, the Japanese government officially recognized the Ainu. Here's why the Ainu can't take them seriously.

Hiratsuka Raicho

Woman Was The Sun: The Life of Japanese Feminist Hiratsuka Raicho

Essay   By Krys Suzuki  ·  March 06, 2019 • Tagged with history, feminism, women, women of japan

From her scandalous love life to her campaign to have men with STDs barred from marriage, Hiratsuka Raicho was like nothing Japan had ever seen.

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.