Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

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Tray of colored pencils

Colors in Japanese: Not as Black and White as You'd Think

Essay   By Stephanie @ Kotobites  ·  January 03, 2019 • Tagged with colors, language, japanese, history

Did you know that Japanese once only had four colors? A look at the interesting evolution of color vocabulary in the Japanese language.

Kimura Komako Marching in New York

Kimura Komako: The Dancing Feminist

News   By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  December 18, 2018 • Tagged with women, feminism, history, culture, women of japan

Born in an era in Japan when women's rights were more oppressed than ever, Kimura Komako never gave up the fight - even when that meant taking the fight overseas.

Akutagawa Ryunosuke

Akutagawa Ryunosuke: A Life of Intense and Fleeting Genius

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  December 05, 2018 • Tagged with literature, culture, writing, people, Showa era, whos who, history

A brilliant author. A tragic trajectory. A powerful legacy. Learn more about the writer whose works inspired one of Kurosawa's most famous films.

Yamamoto Yae

Yamamoto Yae: The Warrior Woman Who Never Stopped Serving

Essay   By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  November 21, 2018 • Tagged with samurai, warrior, war, history, bakumatsu, meiji era

From defending castles to outraging society, Yamamoto Yae never met a battle she didn't pick. Alyssa Fusek on one of Japan's most iconoclastic warrior-women.

The epic tale of the Japanese who immigrated to Brazil

The Japanese Who Came to Call Brazil Home

Essay   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.

Murasaki Shikibu, author of Genji Monogatari

Murasaki Shikibu: The First Lady of Japanese Literature

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  November 08, 2018 • Tagged with fiction, literature, history, Heian era, feminism, women, whos who

How a grieving widow came to write two classics of world literature: a sprawling novel, and an 11th-century Twitter account.

Ecstatic dance of the pre-Meiji era.

Why Not? How Japan Danced Away Its Samurai Past

Essay   By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  November 05, 2018 • Tagged with history, culture, Meiji Japan, Edo Japan

How a weird, unexplained event in the capital of Edo kicked off a frenetic dance movement across Japan that brought the era of the samurai to a close.

Tokugawa Ieyasu, the man who unified Japan.

Tokugawa Ieyasu: The Hero That Everyone in Japan Hates

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  October 22, 2018 • Tagged with history, site news, warring states period, samurai, shogun, whos who

He ended a century-long war and brought about 264 years of peace. So why does no one in Japan like Tokugawa Ieyasu? In this first of five articles in Unseen Japan's Banner Series, I discuss his legacy - and his deep unpopularity.

Kasamori Osen, in a classic Japanese pin-up shot.

Kasamori Osen: The Idol Star of Edo Japan

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  July 05, 2018 • Tagged with essay, history, people, Edo era

Before AKB48, there was Kasamori Osen, the original idol star of Edo Japan.