400-year-old documents reveal evidence of Japanese opium production and winemaking

Researchers have revealed that Tadatoshi Hosokawa, a 17th century lord of Kyusyu, Japan, ordered his people to produce not only wine but also opium for medical purposes.

Finding Sanjō Genshi: Women’s Visibility in Late Medieval Japanese Aristocratic Journals

This study examines women’s visibility in journals composed by Japanese male aristocrats in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.

14th-century Japanese artwork comes to the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s recent acquisitions include a 14th-century Japanese hanging scroll featuring the Buddhist deity Aizen Myōō, Wisdom King of Passion. 

Outcasts, Emperorship, and Dragon Cults in The Tale of the Heike

Among the Heike variants to be examined, the Kakuichibon (1371) and Enkyôbon (1309-10) exhibit certain symmetries of contrast that make them especially useful for understanding the relationship between sacred authority and manipulations of the defiled other embodied in outcast or semi-outcast performers.

Japanese medieval trading towns: Sakai and Tosaminato

Trade was essential to the development of urban forms in medieval Japan.

Historical evolution of forest management in Europe and in Japan

This paper describes in brief the historical evolution of forest management in Europe and in Japan and the motivations of these changes. In particular, the paper analyses three periods: pre-industrial (from the Middle-ages until the mid-17th century), industrial (from the mid-17th until the mid-20th century) and the post-industrial period (from the late-20th century until today)

Miyazaki’s Medieval World: Japanese Medievalism and the Rise of Anime

Hayao Miyazaki’s films always present vibrant worlds full of lush, colorful landscapes, characters, and fantastic, even mythic adventures.

How to Create a Legend? An Analysis of Constructed Representations of Ono no Komachi in Japanese Medieval Literature

Although the historical figure known to us as Ono no Komachi (ca. 825–ca. 900) is considered to have been a famous and talented female court poet of the Heian Period in Japan, not much is known about her actual life.

Who Would You Have Been In Feudal Era Japan?

Ever watched Akira Kurosawa’s movies or Inuyasha, or maybe some other Japanese entertainment, and wondered who you would have been during the Feudal Era?

Truth, Contradiction and Harmony in Medieval Japan: Emperor Hanazono (1297-1348) and Buddhism

The philosophical world of medieval Japan (here the 12th through 16th centuries, though other periodizations are possible) was a rich and multifaceted one.

A First Escape from Poverty in Late Medieval Japan: Evidence from Real Wages in Kyoto (1360-1860)

This paper offers a first investigation of long-term trends in Japanese living standards from the mid-14th to the mid-19th century using urban daily wages and price data for a number of basic commodities.

The last man standing : causes of daimyo survival in sixteenth century Japan 

Regional magnates, or daimyo, came to dominate the political landscape of Japan, each controlling territory on their own authority. These military strongmen established control over local warriors and cultivators and then began to challenge one another for supremacy. The result was a period of protracted civil war lasting for almost 150 years.

What Kind of Ninja Would You Have Been?

The Ninja had many roles in their clans: some were unarmed experts, while others used a particular weapon. Some were intelligence gatherers, and others war strategists. Still, others were Kunoichi–female ninja! Only one was the grandmaster! This test will reveal what role you might have fulfilled in an ancient clan!

Cultures of Death: Warrior Suicide in Medieval Europe and Japan

In the course of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the warrior elites of Japan and northwestern Europe, despite many similarities in ethos and lifestyle, developed very different cultures of death.

Legendary Samurai – Videos on Art and Warfare in Medieval Japan

Three videos from the Portland Art Museum

Sword and Spirit: Bushido in Practice from the Late Sengoku Era through the Edo Period

Bushido’s derivative word, bushi, was the original term for the upper warrior classes. The spiritual aspects of it arose from two main sources: Buddhism and Shintoism. Buddhism provided the necessary components for bravery in the face of death.

And The Angel Spake unto Harunobu: A Japanese Christian miracle story of 1591

The early-modern, Portuguese-sponsored Jesuit mission to Japan left behind a body of Christian literature in Japanese whose alphabetic texts have been a treasure trove for linguists, its existence a point of pride for Christian sectarians, and its content rich material for historians.

Collectivism in Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai

Japanese tradition has revolved for centuries around the concept that groups of people must work together to accomplish goals.

A Dis-Integrated Urban Landscape: Making Kyoto Medieval

To begin, we must ask the question, ‘what was ʻmedievalʼ about medieval Kyoto?’

Causes of Piracy in Medieval Japan

The scope of the study spans two distinct phases of piratical activity by Japanese marauders known as the wako, the first lasting from 1223 to 1265 and the second from 1350 to the early 1400s.

The Art of Slicing Fish and Fowl in Medieval Japan

In Western eyes, the delicately cut piece of food is often regarded as central to traditional Japanese cooking. The skilful use of the knife is indeed one of the most prominent features of the Japanese kitchen, and mastery of various cutting-techniques is a matter of course to the Japanese chef as well as to the ambitious homemaker.

A Neglected Chapter. Courtly Fiction of the Kamakura Period

The establishment of the shogun’s court in Kamakura unquestionably affected even members of the nobility who remained behind in the old Heian capital. Diaries describe the journeys made by nobles to Kamakura in order to plead at the law courts for the restitution of lands; and some traveled there simply because…

Shipwreck from Mongol Invasion fleet discovered off Japan

Archaeologists from the University of the Ryukyus in Japan have discovered large parts of a Mongolian/Chinese ship that was likely part of the Mongol invasion fleet that tried to invade the island in 1281. The find is the first intact wreck related to invasion attempts of Japan by the Mongolian ruler, Kublai Khan. Led by […]

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