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Need your Help! [Jun. 30th, 2005|04:34 pm]

I am a student of the University of Leipzig, Germany. I found your group because some friends and I did an online-survey on memory, politics and events. It would be great if people from all over the worlds could fill in the survey. I have already 28 answers from Japan but it would be great if you could help me to get 50 answers. You can find the survey at www.globus05.net
You can fill in the survey in Japanese and English!

Thank you so much for your help! If you know someone who could be interested in this survey just forward him or her the link.

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(no subject) [Jun. 20th, 2005|12:06 am]

Hey, new member here. I'm a major Bakumatsu and Meiji Era nerd, though I'm actually pretty ignorant. My other obsession is Geisha culture and life, especially in pre-present day Japan.

Because I feel stupid making a first post without contributing anything, I'll list some of the books and websites I've found most helpful.

1. The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori- A very informative book. A bit of a dry read, but the sheer amount of facts more than makes up for it.

2. Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai- A very engaging book that paints a vivid picture of the late Tokugawa period. My major complain would the lack of historical context. There are very few dates in this book, and if you're reading for the history this can be disappointing, as it makes it difficult to place the events. It should also be noted that this is largely historical fiction. Nobody knows exactly how each of Ryoma's conversations and life went, so the author invents.

3. Diary of Kido Takayoshi (Three Volumes).- Exactly like it sounds. Chronicling the man's life from 1868-1877, these books are an insider's view on the Meiji government.

4. Women of the Pleasure Quarters : The Secret History of the Geisha My favorite book on geisha. It is both informative and beautiful to read.

5. Geisha- One of the basics for anyone interested in geisha. This book makes a great starting point.

6. "http://www.geocities.com/tokyo/pagoda/5770/boshinwar.htm" A very nice website on the Boshin War. It has a timeline for quick reference. Not everything on the main website is accurate, but this seems well done.

7. "http://www.shinsengumihq.com/" Most likely the best English Shinsengumi page out there. These people are truly obsessed. (And I mean that as a compliment.)

Well, that's me. *pops out*
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Capitulation. [Jun. 17th, 2005|12:54 pm]


160 kb

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Yukio Mishima [May. 2nd, 2005|05:32 pm]

Yukio Mishima (Mishima Yukio) > all authors.

A very controversial man, he was known as a Nazi and a homosexual sympathizer.
Nonetheless, one of the greatest authors the world has ever known,
he was nominated for Nobel Prize in Literature 3 times!

He also committed seppuku (ritual suicide) when he felt Japan was losing its tradition.

I like this quote from one of his novels about Japanese business, "Silk and Insight,"
which I am reading now.

"When I reached my present age, I began to think that business and artistic interests are one and the same. In farting, in running a business, in making love to a woman, in observing your faith, you must get into a frenzy and do whatever you can with selfless intensity. You must leave room for enjoying yourself, but you must enjoy yourself with selfless intensity, too." -Yukio Mishima, from "Silk and Insight"

In Honor of Yukio Mishima (1925-1970)
Written by: Alan Yang

With you and your girlish upbringing
Locked away from the world in darkness
Like a misunderstood nemesis
Your father saw you as a weakling

Cold and frail, you played with geisha dolls
Dueled with the samurai and shoguns
Ran under a scorching Nippon sun
All in books, for you were locked in walls

Doors opened your eyes to the real world
Schooled in Tokyo, you learned to write
To escape war's slaughter, rape, and fright
And write against the cruel underworld

A mask hid your true talents
Tiring yourself in finance affairs
Your aged father was right to declare
The return of your name on the prints

Your words shook the islands of Japan
Struggling to preserve the tradition
You bowed to Emperors' ambitions
To save the virtue of noble man

Although you committed seppuku
Ending your life in a sad protest
With the dying tradition you rest
Honored by authors you overthrew
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Japan and China [Apr. 18th, 2005|11:19 am]

Just read another book on Japan that I talk a bit about in my journal.

Also, posting another thing I just put up today on the latest spats between Japan and China. Criticisms?


Consider this post a response to the learned musings of Justin, Ken and Travis.

The protests that began in Beijing last week and that have since spread across the countries urban nexuses that dot the coast are not just about another island controversy, or the well-known textbook issues, or a random assertion of chauvinistic Chinese nationalism. The reason that explains the continued government encouragement of the demonstrations is the spectre of Japan gaining a seat in a revamped United Nations Security Council. The PRC feels its ascent challenged by an equally powerful Japan. In a zero-sum game, China is seeking to end up on top. China seems to be taking advantage of the increased tensions to point out to the rest of the world that a Security Council enabled Japan would inevitably 'hurt the feelings' of the Chinese people, and as such prove to be a destabilizing threat to Northeast Asian security.

What fascinates me most about this diplomatic scuffle are the qualitatively different methods Beijing is using to derail a Japanese permanent seat. In the past, China would wear two masks whenever an outburst of anti-Japanese sentiment would pop up. The diplomats would, when facing inward, condemn virulently whatever Japanese sin was in vogue at the time, while its outward posturing would be more reserved. Perhaps a canceled meeting or a formal protest. Just enough to provide cover for when the Chinese police are ordered to dispel the protesters. (For more, check out the book China's New Nationalism.)

Now, however, the outward and inward masks appear to be reducing their common gap. There's one more gradation available for China to climb up should it seek to escalate tensions while still remaining in a peaceful sphere: the punishment of Japan through economic means. And my understanding of the current economic realities at present are that China needs Japans less than Japan needs China.

9:50 Edit: I just reread this post, and it ends on an awfully alarmist note. I didn't intend it so. I suspect that things will indeed settle down, and that's it's unlikley that the scuffle will bleed into the economic realms. Because even while the economic balance tilts in China's favor, Japan's contribution still deserves respect. I do doubt, however, that Japan will receive its UNSC seat.
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New here, materials to share [Mar. 30th, 2005|10:36 am]

Hi all -

My interest in Japanese history is primarily in Edo/Meiji eras of Japan. (cough, thanks to popular anime, TV, and film and rpgs).

I have started putting together various things that I culled from the net and my own research -- and am looking to dialogue with other people who are similarly interested.

I have been slowly putting together webpages including some information on Katsura Kogoro/Kido Takayoshi (http://red-bird.org/meiji) based on translations of his diaries. I just obtained a copy of a dissertation/biography of the man and plan to also work through that.

I look forward to participating in this community :)
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(no subject) [Mar. 25th, 2005|09:54 pm]

Hi! Umm... looking for information on the Warring States (Sengoku-Jidai) period. Specifically, I'd like information on daily life and court behavior for the clan leaders and lords.

I'm terribly sorry if there is another comm for asking questions like this. I've tried and tried, but I can't find one. Sorry!
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New!! [Mar. 22nd, 2005|09:54 pm]

im new here (obviously i think)
well...just to say i really liked the layout you got here, and as far as i know, your information seems historically correct...
well it should be anyway lol...

I have contributions to the community as well though...I have extensive knowledge on the religions of japan, both modern and historical...
Taoism (little but not unknown)
The Samurai (They on a basis had their own religion and codes)
Along with the other Gods

as well as that i also have random stories, proverbs and extracts from writings of Lords about, The Way of Samurai and general basics of life...

Speaking of which i also have books with the history, teachings, and techniques of the Infamous Ninja in particular the Nien Jih Ssu Ch'u Chueh (literally translated "Ninja Death Touch". Which mostly derives from the Hai Lung T'ung Pao Ying or the Black Dragon Tong of Retribution clan.

yes'm so feel free to ask about the above...
if i don't have the information as of yet, i will research it...mainly for myself...

Thank You
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I just posted this in my journal, ... [Mar. 17th, 2005|03:03 pm]

..., and I thought it might be of interest to some people here.


In the book Crescent & Star: Turkey, Between Two Worlds, which I just finished this afternoon, I noticed at least two similarities between contemporary Turkish and Japanese history.

First, the Turkish concept of devlet (literally "state") appears to be identical to the pre-World War II Japanese concept of kokutai. The latter concerned itself with the maintenance of the emperor-centered political system, and was used by fascists to silence political opponents. In Turkey, the state being defended is the secular state founded by Atatürk.
No one ever defines what devlet means; everyone is supposed to know. Its guardians are a self-perpetuating elite ... This elite has written many laws to help it do what it perceives as its duty, and when necessary it acts outside the law. (27)
In the Japanese context, kokutai served as the rallying point for the attempted coup known as the February 26th Incident. In the US context, could 9/11 be that all powerful term?

Second, in 1923, the Tokyo region suffered from an large-scale earthquake that resulted in a major rebuilding of Tokyo and a population movement toward the Kansai (Kyoto) area. Following the disaster and the fires that enveloped the low city, anti-Korean riots sought out that minority population and punished them for having "started" the fires. In 1999, Turkey experienced a large scale quake of its own and if Kinzer is to be believed, it marked the beginning of a new understanding of the Turkish state - namely, the realization that it was severely flawed. More, it ushered in a new era of Turko-Greek relations. Images of Greeks aiding Turks, reciprocated several weeks later when a smaller earthquake hit Greece, allowed each nation to look at each other with fresh eyes. And this began the process of achieving concrete policy agreements.

What I found most interesting was the portrayal of the Turkish army, which was shown to be the guardian of Turkish secularism and democracy, even at the unintended expensive of those very ideals. No such positive - or at worst, ambivalent - review of the role of the Japanese armed forces during the lead up to war can be seriously made.
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"ancient" Japanese language [Mar. 2nd, 2005|01:33 pm]
Any of you who've seen Ghost in the Shell or Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence probably remember the theme song (“Making of Cyborg”) with its peculiar vocals. Curious about the lyrics, I found them with a note that they're “ancient Japanese.” What period of Japanese history would they be from? Jomon?
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