Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Episode 264- The Man of Legend

This week, we cover the story and legacy of the great warrior Kusunoki Masashige. Why does he have the unique distinction of a statue on the grounds of the emperor’s palace in Tokyo? What do we actually know about him?

Sources

McCullough, Hellen Craig (translator). Taiheiki: A Chronicle of Medieval Japan

Sato, Hiroaki. Legends of the Samurai.

Brownlee, John S. Japanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600-1945

Images

The Siege of Chihaya, as depicted in an Edo period print by Ichijusai Yoshikazu. Despite his ultimate defeat, Masashige’s stand here was the start of his legend as a valiant warleader.

The siege of Akasaka Castle.

The battle of Minatogawa, by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Another scene from Utagawa’s rendering of the battle of Minatogawa.

The aforementioned statue

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Episode 263 – Their Eyes Were Watching the Gods, Part 2

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Episode 265 – The House Always Wins

3 Comments

  1. Kirill

    Very interesting episode, it is fun how a statue can tell a story connecting the end of Kamakura and Meiji and even WW2.

    Corrections:
    First, it is MasaSHige, not MasaHige.
    Second, you say that it is characters for “tree” and “self” combined that make the character for “camphor tree”.
    Actually, it is “tree” and “south”.

    • ijmeyer

      Aaah, good catch. Looks like I made a transliteration error in my notes and then just never fixed it during the research process.
      It’s fixed in the show notes, and a fixed .mp3 file is uploading as we speak. Thanks!

  2. Kirill

    Never mind the second correction. I don’t know why I heard self there.

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