Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

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View of Mount Bandai, in better days.
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.

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.

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.

Japan on the waves

When Japan Ruled the Waves: The Forgotten Colonies of Micronesia

Essay   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 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.