Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Your Podcast Needs You…Again!

Hello all!

We’re coming up on the end of the outline episodes (the last one will be out on Sunday), so I’d like to take this chance to solicit any ideas you’ve got for future episodes. If you’re interested, you can either contact me via email at, reach out to me on facebook, or leave a comment on this post.

One way or another, send me your ideas! I’d love to hear from you. For those of you who already sent ideas my way, thank you very much — I’m grateful to have such a wonderful audience!



Episode 20 – Japan as Number One


Episode 21 – The Crash

1 Comment

  1. Gen

    I enjoyed the last episode. I won’t request anything specific, but some areas I’m interested in and have wanted to research myself are:

    – Korean & Chinese narratives vs. Japanese narratives on apologies for imperialism and the Pacific War. It seems to me the Koreas and the PRC are politically dependent upon their own narratives to the point that nothing Japan does would ever cause politicians in either country to ease off the issue. For Japan’s part, I do think it has done a poor job of “atoning” for its wartime atrocities (though I understand some of the explanation for why this is). Still, I also think Japan doesn’t get credit for what it has done on that front. As you know, many Koreans are quick to say that Japan has “never apologized.” The reality isn’t so simple. Personally, I think Japan is terrible at projecting its own narratives into the international community and that a lot of nuance is lost in messaging. For instance, it’s my understanding that while a few Japanese politicians might claim that Comfort Women never existed, many more of them acknowledge the existence of forced sex slaves but differ about the nature of their role and, in particular, which entity coerced them. If I’m not mistaken, some argue it was not the army itself but instead private brokers, etc. This nuance gets lost in the headline that says, “Japanese politician denies Imperial Army coerced Korean women into sex slavery.” Or something to that effect. I realize it’s probably a topic that might be too sensitive for the broad nature of your podcast, but it’s something I’d be interested to hear more about from someone with less of a personal stake in the history.

    – Conflicting claims to Dokdo/Senkaku/Kurils and China’s encouragement of anti-Japanese riots

    – Difficulty of the Japanese writing system, its effect on education, and efforts to simplify it a la similar Korean and Chinese efforts. (I actually once tried to create an alphabet to replace the Japanese writing system. It was based on Hangul and used silent letters to disambiguate homophones. I took it into an adult class I was teaching and asked what students thought of simplifying the writing system given its difficulty. They unanimously rejected the idea, citing its importance to their culture.

    – The role of Japanese soldiers in training the Viet Minh and, somewhat relatedly, the role of Japanese-trained ethnic Korean soldiers in the formation of the North and South Korean armies.

    – The role of Korean capitalists and businessmen in (a) collaborating with the Japanese occupiers; and (b) encouraging expansion into Manchuria. (c) I have often heard it said that after Japan withdrew from Korea, the US empowered the Korean collaborators, often major figures in the Korean business world under occupation. An adjunct professor of Korean history I had back in college (who was Korean) put it this way: because of the fear of communism, the Americans empowered the Korean capitalists, businessmen, and entrepreneurs, many of whom did well in business as collaborators under the Japanese occupation. It was partly due to their earlier lobbying that Japan expanded into Manchuria. Thus, there’s something of a dark secret in the founding of the ROK. The other half of the story is that the true Korean patriots who fought the Japanese occupation went on to found … the DPRK.

    – Stories of the CIA funding the LDP. True? Bullshit?

    – The state of Okinawan identity in the larger Japanese state. Relatedly, the decline of regional dialects/languages.

    I suppose I should stop there. I appreciate the Kaiju reference in the last episode.

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