Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Month: April 2014

Episode 50 – The Q&A Show

For the one year anniversary of the show, join us for an extra-long Q&A show; I’ll be taking questions submitted by the audience. Thank you all for a great year, and here’s to many more!

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

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

Craig, Albert. Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Totman, Conrad. “Review of Giving Up The Gun.” Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 39, No. 3.

Images 

Sakamoto Ryoma in the year of his death in 1867.

Sakamoto Ryoma in the year of his death in 1867.

The Tokugawa shogunate inaugurated the use of the hinomaru as the national flag by using it as Japan's naval ensign. You can see this shogunal battleship -- the Asahi-maru -- displaying it.

The Tokugawa shogunate inaugurated the use of the hinomaru as the national flag by using it as Japan’s naval ensign. You can see this shogunal battleship — the Asahi-maru — displaying it.

The hinomaru being raised in front of the United Nations Building in New York during Japan's admission to the UN in 1957.

The hinomaru being raised in front of the United Nations Building in New York during Japan’s admission to the UN in 1957.

Franz Eckert's notes presented to the Meiji Emperor regarding Japan's national anthem.

Franz Eckert’s notes presented to the Meiji Emperor regarding Japan’s national anthem.

Replica Edo-era firearms being demonstrated. Courtesy of Japan Today.

Replica Edo-era firearms being demonstrated. Courtesy of Japan Today.

Episode 49 – The History of Video Games

This week, join us for a very special podcast where we talk about the rise and not-quite-fall of Japan’s video game industry. We’ll cover the histories of the major Japanese gaming companies, and even discuss my own very tangential involvement in Japan’s video game sector.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Anchordoguy, Marie. Reprogamming Japan. 

Beyond that, mostly just googling around; it’s hard to find good academic stuff on the history of gaming, so my rule was to use any piece of information I found verified by more than three sources. It’s not foolproof, but in a pinch it gives you a fighting shot of filtering out most of the nonsense.

Images 

OXO, one of the first games ever programmed, running in an emulator on a modern system. The code for the game dates from 1952. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

OXO, one of the first games ever programmed, running in an emulator on a modern system. The code for the game dates from 1952. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

SpaceWar!, the first mass-distributed video game from 1960. Courtesy of ArsTechnica.

SpaceWar!, the first mass-distributed video game from 1960. Courtesy of ArsTechnica.

Space Invaders, the 1978 game which put Taito on the map. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Space Invaders, the 1978 game which put Taito on the map. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Donkey Kong, Nintendo's first breakout hit in the US. Courtesy of GiantBomb.

Donkey Kong, Nintendo’s first breakout hit in the US. Courtesy of GiantBomb.

David Rosen, center, from 1985. The next year Sega would launch its first home system, the Sega Master System.

David Rosen, center, from 1985. The next year Sega would launch its first home system, the Sega Master System.

Miyamoto Shigeru is Nintendo's game design auteur, responsible for creating the Mario franchise (among other things). Courtesy of mariowiki.com.

Miyamoto Shigeru is Nintendo’s game design auteur, responsible for creating the Mario franchise (among other things). Courtesy of mariowiki.com.

The Sega Dreamcast, the final Sega system to be produced. I still believe! Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Sega Dreamcast, the final Sega system to be produced. I still believe! Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Wii U, Nintendo's newest system and one of the projects I worked on while I was there. Courtesy of Endgaget.

The Wii U, Nintendo’s newest system and one of the projects I worked on while I was there. Courtesy of Endgaget.

The PlayStation 4, Sony's most recent entrant into the home console market. We've come a long way since Spacewar. Courtesy of Business Insider.

The PlayStation 4, Sony’s most recent entrant into the home console market. We’ve come a long way since Spacewar. Courtesy of Business Insider.

 

Episode 48 – The Emperor’s Own, Part 4

In this final segment on the rise of the imperial military to power, we’ll discuss the process by which the military hijacked Japan’s foreign policy and shut down the democratic process. After this was done, the army briefly turned on itself before taking the final plunge into a war with China.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Drea, Edward. Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Pyle, Kenneth. The Making of Modern Japan.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Doihara Kenji, leader of the group in the Guandong Army which planned the invasion of Manchuria. He was an opium addict who preferred the nickname "Lawrence of Manchuria," in reference to T.E. Lawrence.

Doihara Kenji, leader of the group in the Guandong Army which planned the invasion of Manchuria. He was an opium addict who preferred the nickname “Lawrence of Manchuria,” in reference to T.E. Lawrence.

The railcar of Zhang Zuolin, assassinated by Doihara Kenji in 1928 as part of a plot to enable the Guandong Army to seize Manchuria. This attempt failed as the predicted civil strife never materialized; the next in 1931 would succeed.

The railcar of Zhang Zuolin, assassinated by Doihara Kenji in 1928 as part of a plot to enable the Guandong Army to seize Manchuria. This attempt failed as the predicted civil strife never materialized; the next in 1931 would succeed.

Zhang Xueliang, the leader of Manchuria at the time it was invaded by Japan. He was forced to flee, and would later be instrumental in forcing Chiang Kaishek to turn his attentions to Japan rather than the Chinese Communist Party.

Zhang Xueliang, the leader of Manchuria at the time it was invaded by Japan. He was forced to flee, and would later be instrumental in forcing Chiang Kaishek to turn his attentions to Japan rather than the Chinese Communist Party.

The section of the Mukden rail line where the bomb that triggered the invasion of Manchuria was planted.

The section of the Mukden rail line where the bomb that triggered the invasion of Manchuria was planted.

Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi), leader of the Guomindang. Chiang would eventually come into open conflict with Japan's militarists over the future of China.

Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi), leader of the Guomindang. Chiang would eventually come into open conflict with Japan’s militarists over the future of China.

Osaka Mainichi Shinbun headline describing the assassination of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi.

Osaka Mainichi Shinbun headline describing the assassination of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi.

The order from the Emperor to the February 26 rebels of the Kokutai Genriha (National Principle Faction). The Emperor ordered the men to stand down in their attempts to restore absolute power to him.

The order from the Emperor to the February 26 rebels of the Kokutai Genriha (National Principle Faction). The Emperor ordered the men to stand down in their attempts to restore absolute power to him.

Soldiers of China's National Revolutionary Army (the armed forces of the Guomindang) fighting the Japanese at the Marco Polo Bridge.

Soldiers of China’s National Revolutionary Army (the armed forces of the Guomindang) fighting the Japanese at the Marco Polo Bridge.

Episode 47 – The Emperor’s Own, Part 3

This week, we’ll continue with our story of the rise of Japan’s military to power; after the crushing of Russia in 1905, the army and navy will lose power and influence to the civilian government as political parties rise to prominence. However, storm clouds gather on the horizon as World War I convinces some military leaders of the necessity of a military state and antagonism between the armed forces and the civilian leadership grows.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Drea, Edward. Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

The Russian Army in retreat after the Battle of Mukden.

The Russian Army in retreat after the Battle of Mukden.

Japanese troops moving through Seoul in 1904 on their way to Manchuria to fight Russia.

Japanese troops moving through Seoul in 1904 on their way to Manchuria to fight Russia.

The Hibiya Riots of 1905. Protesters flooded the streets to speak against the terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth, which was seen as insufficient in light of Japanese losses.

The Hibiya Riots of 1905. Protesters flooded the streets to speak against the terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth, which was seen as insufficient in light of Japanese losses.

Saionji Kinmochi, the Prime Minister forced from office by the Army in 1912 in response to his attempts to restrain their spending.

Saionji Kinmochi, the Prime Minister forced from office by the Army in 1912 in response to his attempts to restrain their spending.

Yamamoto Gonnohyoe (sometimes his first name is given as Gonbei). He brought the military back under control in 1913 and restricted its ability to influence policy, despite being a former military man himself (he was a retired Admiral).

Yamamoto Gonnohyoe (sometimes his first name is given as Gonbei). He brought the military back under control in 1913 and restricted its ability to influence policy, despite being a former military man himself (he was a retired Admiral).

Frank Kellogg, US Secretary of State and one of the minds behind the Paris Peace Pact (Kellogg-Briand Pact).

Frank Kellogg, US Secretary of State and one of the minds behind the Paris Peace Pact (Kellogg-Briand Pact).

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Aristide Briand, one of the thinkers behind the Kellogg-Briand Pact. After World War II, the pact would provide the intellectual inspiration for many other agreements to restrict or end war, including the UN Charter.

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Aristide Briand, one of the thinkers behind the Kellogg-Briand Pact. After World War II, the pact would provide the intellectual inspiration for many other agreements to restrict or end war, including the UN Charter.

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