history

Why Did Japan Join Forces With Germany During World War II?

After President Obama’s recent visit to Hiroshima, my heart was warmed to see how much Japan and America’s relationship has grown from bitter enemies to great friends. While there are, of course, hard-liners in both countries that try to continue fanning the flames of hatred, much of the wounds inflicted by histories greatest and most…

Hoping For Peace: the Hibakusha (Atomic Bomb Survivors) and Obama’s Speech

On Friday, May 27th, Barack Obama became the first sitting US President to visit Hiroshima after the US dropped the bomb there nearly 71 years ago. In his speech at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, he called for a “moral revolution” and a world free from the threat of nuclear warfare. He mentioned the surviving…

Ken Domon, the Award-Winning Photographer Who Captured Life After War on Film

Ken Domon was a renowned 20th-century Japanese photographer who drew attention from the world with his images of the Hiroshima bombing aftermath. He independently documented the ordinary life of people which made him a prolific contributor to Japanese magazines. He is also considered to be the pioneer of realism due to his meticulous way of…

Everything You Know About the Samurai Is Wrong?

Many years ago, in high school, I was a total otaku. I loved JRPGs, anime, and most of all samurai. I have always loved the idea of a lonely warrior who can match wits as well as blades. So, naturally I fell in love with anime such as the classic Ruroni Kenshin series, and when…

Why the Russo-Japanese War Is the Most Important War You’ve Never Heard Of

The Russo-Japanese War is one of the most important wars not only in Japanese history but world history. It was a true David vs Goliath type tale of tiny little Japan, who had just recently ended its policy of isolation and the colossus of the Russian Empire! This was one of the first wars of…

W.M. Vories: The Kansas Boy Who Became a Famous Japanese Citizen

If you were to visit the beautiful lakeside town of Omi Hachiman in gorgeous Shiga prefecture, you might notice that much of the architecture is not very Japanese. It might look very different. That is because many residential areas, government buildings, and over 1,000 different buildings and houses were built by an untrained American missionary…

Ahoy, Matey! All You Need to Know About the Awesome Pirates of the Japanese Seas

What image comes to mind when someone says the word “pirate”? You probably think of Jonnie Depp in a crazy costume swinging from the mast of a ship swinging his cutlass and having great adventures in the beautiful Caribbean waters. Our cultural image of pirates has been mostly made up of the romanticized stories of…

Did You Know that Tokyo Station has a Dark History of Assassinations?

Tokyo JR station is located in the Marunouchi business district of Chiyoda, Tokyo, and is one of the busiest stations in the city, always packed with busy businessmen and excited tourists. However, did you know that apart from being the main intercity rail terminal, the station also has a dark history of assassinations behind it?…

Bring Yourself Good Luck With Sekihan, a Traditional and Auspicious Japanese Dish!

While in Japan, you are bound to come across many types of dishes which feature rice along with vegetables, meat or seafood. From the dizzying array of bentos sold at restaurants, shops and train stations to the suite of donburi offerings including oyako-don, yakiniku-don, hitsumabushi, and more, Japan is a country where you will have…