Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Month: September 2013

Episode 24 – In Buddha’s Name: The Rise and Fall of the Ikkō Ikki, Part 2

We’ll be wrapping up our discussion of the Ikkō Ikki this week, as the unstoppable force of the militant wing of Jōdo Shinshu meets the immovable objects of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga. What follows is a tale of treachery, war, and revenge worthy of an HBO miniseries.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Tsang, Carol Richmond. War and Faith: The Ikkō Ikki in Late Muromachi Japan.

Sansom, George. A History of Japan, Volume II: 1337-1615

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Kennyo, the Patriarch who was unlucky enough to be in charge during the wars against the Tokugawa and Oda. He was able to successfully rescue his faith from the brink by currying favor with Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who allowed the sect to rebuild and survive.

Kennyo, the Patriarch who was unlucky enough to be in charge during the wars against the Tokugawa and Oda. He was able to successfully rescue his faith from the brink by currying favor with Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who allowed the sect to rebuild and survive.

The Battle of Azukizaka in 1564, part of Tokugawa Ieyasu's campaign against the Ikko Ikki in his province of Mikawa.

The Battle of Azukizaka in 1564, part of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s campaign against the Ikko Ikki in his province of Mikawa.

Shibata Katsuie, the warlord and Nobunaga loyalist who led the campaign to eradicate the Ikko Ikki in Echizen. He would later be crushed when he rebelled against Toyotomi Hideyoshi, with Hideyoshi taking advantage of the remaining Ikki members' hatred for Shibata to enlist their aid in defeating him.

Shibata Katsuie, the warlord and Nobunaga loyalist who led the campaign to eradicate the Ikko Ikki in Echizen. He would later be crushed when he rebelled against Toyotomi Hideyoshi, with Hideyoshi taking advantage of the remaining Ikki members’ hatred for Shibata to enlist their aid in defeating him.

The top of Mount Shizu, site of the Battle of Shizugatake, where Toyotomi Hideyoshi (with the help of the remaining Ikki) crushed Shibata Katsuie. The cardboard cutout on the left is of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's armor, which I'm sure must grate the ghost of Shibata Katsuie.

The top of Mount Shizu, site of the Battle of Shizugatake, where Toyotomi Hideyoshi (with the help of the remaining Ikki) crushed Shibata Katsuie. The cardboard cutout on the left is of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s armor, which I’m sure must grate the ghost of Shibata Katsuie.

Nishi Honganji in Kyoto, the rebuilt (and current) headquarters of Jodo Shinshu. The temple was built with the blessing of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, in exchange for the aid given by Kennyo and the Ikko Ikki during his bid for power.

Nishi Honganji in Kyoto, the rebuilt (and current) headquarters of Jodo Shinshu. The temple was built with the blessing of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, in exchange for the aid given by Kennyo and the Ikko Ikki during his bid for power.

Episode 23 – In Buddha’s Name: The Rise and Fall of the Ikkō Ikki, Part 1

For our first two-part episode, we’re going to discuss the Ikkō Ikki, a militant insurrection of believers in the faith of Jōdo Shinshu, or True Pure Land Buddhism. We’ll discuss the rise of the movement to political and military prominence during the Sengoku Era in this week’s episode; next week, we’ll discuss its decline and fall.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Tsang, Carol Richmond. War and Faith: The Ikkō Ikki in Late Muromachi Japan.

Sansom, George. A History of Japan, Volume II: 1337-1615

A translation of the letters of Rennyo for those of you interested in a more in-depth look at the religion of Jōdo Shinshu.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Amitabha, or Amida Buddha. This statue is located in Ushiku, Japan.

Amitabha, or Amida Buddha. This statue is located in Ushiku, Japan.

A roughly contemporary image of Shinran, though presumably his neck didn't actually look like that.

A roughly contemporary image of Shinran, though presumably his neck didn’t actually look like that.

A statue of Rennyo, the "Second Founder of Jodo Shinshu."

A statue of Rennyo, the “Second Founder of Jodo Shinshu.”

The province of Kaga, one of the Ikko Ikki strongholds, is marked in red. To its left is the province of Etchu; to the right Echizen. This area was one of the hotbeds of Ikko Ikki activity.

The province of Kaga, one of the Ikko Ikki strongholds, is marked in red. To its left is the province of Etchu; to the right Echizen. This area was one of the hotbeds of Ikko Ikki activity.

Episode 22 – The Way of the Warrior

For our first listener-submitted topic, we’re tackling Bushido: the warrior code of the samurai class. We’ll discuss the evolution of the bushido ideology, the role it played during the ages of warfare in Japan as well as during the Tokugawa, and its modern legacy in a post-samurai world.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Ikegami, Eiko. The Taming of the Samurai.

Jansen, Marius. A History of Japan.

Sansom, George. A History of Japan, Vol III: 1615-1867.

The Last Testament of Torii Mototada

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Kusunoki Masahige, the famous warrior who was loyal to his Emperor to the last. This statue is in the open part of the Tokyo Imperial Palace, as Masahige became something of a popular touchstone for Imperial loyalty after the Meiji Restoration.

Kusunoki Masahige, the famous warrior who was loyal to his Emperor to the last. This statue is in the open part of the Tokyo Imperial Palace, as Masahige became something of a popular touchstone for Imperial loyalty after the Meiji Restoration.

Torii Mototada, whose sacrifice (according to some) enabled Tokugawa Ieyasu to win the Battle of Sekigahara, and thus control of Japan.

Torii Mototada, whose sacrifice (according to some) enabled Tokugawa Ieyasu to win the Battle of Sekigahara, and thus control of Japan.

A bust of Yamaga Soko, the Bushido/Confucian philosopher.

A bust of Yamaga Soko, the Bushido/Confucian philosopher.

The 47 Ronin storm the home of Lord Kira, by Katsushika Hokusai.

The 47 Ronin storm the home of Lord Kira, by Katsushika Hokusai.

The graves of the 47 Ronin at Sengakuji in Tokyo.

The graves of the 47 Ronin at Sengakuji in Tokyo.

The Senjinkun, a military manual for Japanese soldiers in World War II. The text was heavily influenced by bushido ideology.

The Senjinkun, a military manual for Japanese soldiers in World War II. The text was heavily influenced by bushido ideology.

American translator William Scott Wilson led an international group of Hagakure enthusiasts to produce a manga version of the text (sample above). It's a pretty telling example of the hold Hagakure (and bushido more generally) still has on Japanese culture.

American translator William Scott Wilson led an international group of Hagakure enthusiasts to produce a manga version of the text (sample above). It’s a pretty telling example of the hold Hagakure (and bushido more generally) still has on Japanese culture.

Episode 21 – The Crash

For our final outline episode, we’ll be tackling the origins and effects of the real-estate bubble which devastated the Japanese economy in 1991, and which so brutally halted the story of Japanese growth. In particular, we’ll be focusing on the ways in which the various problems outlined last week were brought to the fore by the economic chaos of the 1990s.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Anchordoguy, Marie. Reprogramming Japan.

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising.

Tett, Gillian. Saving the Sun: A Wall Street Gamble to Save Japan from its Trillion-Dollar Meltdown.

The full text of the Murayama Statement

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation unless otherwise noted)

The five men who negotiated the Plaza Accord in 1985. From left to right they are Gerhard Stoltenberg (German Federal Republic), Pierre Bérégovoy (France), James A. Baker III (United States), Nigel Lawson (United Kingdom), and Takeshita Noboru (Japan).

The five men who negotiated the Plaza Accord in 1985. From left to right they are Gerhard Stoltenberg (German Federal Republic), Pierre Bérégovoy (France), James A. Baker III (United States), Nigel Lawson (United Kingdom), and Takeshita Noboru (Japan).

The grounds of the Imperial Palace in downtown Tokyo. According to some estimates, during the height of the asset bubble this ~2 square mile area was worth more than the entire state of California.

The grounds of the Imperial Palace in downtown Tokyo. According to some estimates, during the height of the asset bubble this ~2 square mile area was worth more than the entire state of California.

The Ginza district of downtown Tokyo. In 1989, 1 square meter of this district would have run you $200,000.

The Ginza district of downtown Tokyo. In 1989, 1 square meter of this district would have run you $200,000.

Murayama Tomiichi, the last of the three non-LDP Prime Ministers of the 1990s. Murayama's most famous accomplishment during his year in office was the issuing of the Murayama Statement apologizing for Japanese behavior in World War II.

Murayama Tomiichi, the last of the three non-LDP Prime Ministers of the 1990s. Murayama’s most famous accomplishment during his year in office was the issuing of the Murayama Statement apologizing for Japanese behavior in World War II.

Hikikomori suffer from an accute form of social withdrawal in which they refuse to leave a confined area (usually either a house or a single room).

Hikikomori suffer from an accute form of social withdrawal in which they refuse to leave a confined area (usually either a house or a single room).

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