Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Month: December 2013

Episode 35 – Christmas and New Years

For our last podcast of 2013, I thought it’d be fun to do something light-hearted; so let’s talk about traditions surrounding Christmas and New Years in Japan. We’ll cover how these holidays came to be celebrated in Japan and talk a bit about the forms they take today.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

On the history aspects:

Sansom, George. A History of Japan, Vol II and III.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan

The modern information is all personal knowledge or googleable information.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Christmas lights in central Tokyo. The spire in the background is Tokyo Tower.

Christmas lights in central Tokyo. The spire in the background is Tokyo Tower.

A Christmas float in Kobe, Japan.

A Christmas float in Kobe, Japan.

Because you thought I was kidding about the Christmas chicken thing.

Because you thought I was kidding about the Christmas chicken thing.

800px-Meiji_Shrine_Sando_and_Torii_New_Year_Worship

An assortment of Osechi Ryori.

An assortment of Osechi Ryori.

A Kadomatsu, home for visiting toshigami.

A Kadomatsu, home for visiting toshigami.

Nengajo, or New Years Cards.

Nengajo, or New Years Cards.

Episode 34 – Japan and Okinawa, Part 2

This week we’ll finish up our two-parter on Japanese-Okinawan relations with a look at Okinawa during the Imperial Period. We’ll be focusing heavily on the bloody Battle of Okinawa, and then wrap things up by looking at the relationship between the islands and the Japanese mainland today.

This week’s episode is rather more graphic and violent than usual — I could not in good conscience whitewash the battle, but I do feel I should warn those of you who might be offended by such things to pass on this one.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Fields, Norma. In the Realm of a Dying Emperor.

Pyle, Kenneth. The Making of Modern Japan.

Images(Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

The commanders of the Japanese 32nd Army, which would be annhilated during the Battle of Okinawa. Every man in this photograph would die fighting the United States.

The commanders of the Japanese 32nd Army, which would be annhilated during the Battle of Okinawa. Every man in this photograph would die fighting the United States.

A US Marine patrol passes a dead Japanese soldier during the battle.

A US Marine patrol passes a dead Japanese soldier during the battle.

American troops on Okinawa listening to the radio reports on May 8th announcing Germany's surrender. Okinawa would not fall until 55 days after Hitler's regime collapsed.

American troops on Okinawa listening to the radio reports on May 8th announcing Germany’s surrender. Okinawa would not fall until 55 days after Hitler’s regime collapsed.

Civilian POWs on Okinawa. Before capture, Okinawans were led to expect brutal treatment at the hands of the Allies.

Civilian POWs on Okinawa. Before capture, Okinawans were led to expect brutal treatment at the hands of the Allies.

The New Mexico-class battleship USS Idaho bombarding Okinawa during the battle.

The New Mexico-class battleship USS Idaho bombarding Okinawa during the battle.

Futenma Air Station, one of the American bases on Okinawa. Futenma is one of the largest and most controversial base sites owing to its proximity to centers of civilian population.

Futenma Air Station, one of the American bases on Okinawa. Futenma is one of the largest and most controversial base sites owing to its proximity to centers of civilian population.

The Cornerstone of Peace Memorial on Okinawa. Listed on the monuments are the names of every verifiable death during the Battle of Okinawa.

The Cornerstone of Peace Memorial on Okinawa. Listed on the monuments are the names of every verifiable death during the Battle of Okinawa.

Episode 33 – Japan and Okinawa, Part 1

This week, we’ll begin a two-part series on the relationship between Japan and what is now her southernmost province: Okinawa. We’ll cover the founding of the Kingdom of the Ryukyus, its relationship with Japan, and finally its incorporation into the burgeoning Japanese Empire.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Sansom, George. A History of Japan, Vol 2 and Vol 3.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

A map showing the location of the Ryukyu Islands relative to China and Japan.

A map showing the location of the Ryukyu Islands relative to China and Japan.

Okinawa divided into the three kingdoms which once ruled it. Chuzan (in the middle) would eventually come to dominate the other two under the leadership of King Sho Hashi.

Okinawa divided into the three kingdoms which once ruled it. Chuzan (in the middle) would eventually come to dominate the other two under the leadership of King Sho Hashi.

The flag of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

The flag of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Shuri Castle in Naha, capitol of the Kingdom of the Ryukyus (as well as modern Okinawa Prefecture).

Shuri Castle in Naha, capitol of the Kingdom of the Ryukyus (as well as modern Okinawa Prefecture).

King Sho Shin, Grandson of Sho Hashi and third king of the Ryukyus.

King Sho Shin, Grandson of Sho Hashi and third king of the Ryukyus.

King Sho Tai, the final King of the Ryukyus. In 1879 he was brought to Tokyo and made a Marquis in Japan's new peerage system (based on that of Great Britain).

King Sho Tai, the final King of the Ryukyus. In 1879 he was brought to Tokyo and made a Marquis in Japan’s new peerage system (based on that of Great Britain).

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