If you haven't been following our Introduction to Japanese History series, it goes without saying that you're in for a treat. At first we expected that it would run about 6 episodes, but in the end it turned out to last 15 episodes, and although quite detailed, we still consider it a relatively brief overview. Feel free to pick and choose which episodes to listen to - people interested in Samurai battles may choose to skip our treatment of neolithic Japan, or vice versa - so fill up the iPod, and enjoy!
Intro to Japanese History P1 - Prehistory
For part one of our Introduction to Japanese History series, we'll be starting at the beginning of the earliest history of the Japanese archipelago and the changes that took place in culture and technology from the Paleolithic period to the Jomon period, which takes us from prehistory to approximately 300BC.
Intro to Japanese History P2 - Yayoi and Kofun Periods
For part two of our Introduction to Japanese History series, we'll be covering the Yayoi period which was a sharp change from the culture of the Jomon period, where there was a massive influx of NE Asians into the Japanese archipelago. This was followed by the Kofun period, where Japan began to slowly consolidate and unify into a confederacy. The name of the Kofun period comes from the huge keyhole shaped burial mounds known as "Kofun".
Intro to Japanese History P3 - Asuka-Nara Part 1
Continuing our Introduction to Japanese History podcast series, we will examine the Asuka-Nara period over two episodes. The Asuka-Nara period (538AD-794AD) is known for it's classic art and architecture, the introduction of Buddhism, and the Taika reforms and Ritsuryo system. Japan adopted many Chinese style institutions, began to form a national government, and started to assert itself internationally in East Asia.
Intro to Japanese History P4 - Asuka-Nara Part 2
Continuing our Introduction to Japanese History series is part 2 of our Asuka-Nara podcast.
The Asuka-Nara period (538AD-794AD) is known for it's classic art and architecture, the introduction of Buddhism, and the Taika reforms and Ritsuryo system. Japan adopted many Chinese style institutions, began to form a national government, and started to assert itself internationally in East Asia.
Intro to Japanese History P5 - The Heian Period
Part five of our Introduction to Japanese History series covers the Heian period.
The Heian period (794AD-1185AD) is named after Heian-kyo (present day Kyoto). The Heian period is known for it's art, literature, and poetry, as well as the spread of Tendai and Shingon Buddhism.
Intro to Japanese History P6 - The Rise of the Warrior
In this episode of our Introduction to Japanese history series, we examine the rise of the warrior class during the Heian period. As the Heian period began, there was not a distinct warrior class, but armies were raised on an ad hoc basis when needed by the court to put down rebellions, bandits, and pirates. As the Heian period went on, provincial lords began to maintain professional warrior bands to protect their lands and legitimacy, and to go to war on behalf of the court. The court would continue to give these provincial lords legitimacy through bestowing titles and lands. But, as the Heian period went on, court control of these provincial lords and their armies began to weaken.
Intro to Japanese History P7 - The Minamoto and Taira
An important development in the history of Japan and the Heian period, was the rise of the warrior class, which would eventually bring about a true feudal system run by warriors. As more and more military responsibility was delegated to provincial warlords who were out of the sphere of influence of the capital, these warrior houses grew in power. The transition from a central government run by the Heian court to the rise of the warrior class as the controlling group began with the Taira clan, led by Taira Kiyomori, who usurped the power of the Fujiwara clan. Eventually, the only alternative for people who were at odds with the Taira clan, was to throw in their lot with the Minamoto clan of Eastern warriors, which would eventually lead to civil war.
Intro to Japanese History P8 - The Kamakura Period
In part 8 of our Introduction to Japanese History podcast, we examine the early Kamakura period. Once Minamoto Yoritomo became Shogun, he began using the authority given to him by the emperor to solidify his power. Over the course of the next 20 years the Minamoto would usurp much of the power of the imperial court, only to be replaced completely by a line of puppet shoguns controlled by the Hojo Regents.
Intro to Japanese History P9 - The Mongol Invasions in Brief
Part nine of our Introduction to Japanese History series gives a brief overview of the two attempted Mongol Invasions of Japan during the 13th century, and the effect it had on the country in general, and the Hojo regents and Bakufu specifically.
Intro to Japanese History P10 - The Early Muromachi Period
For the 10th episode in our Intro to Japanese History podcast series, we examine the events that lead to the fall of the Kamakura Shogunate. Emperor Go-Daigo, deciding he wants a return to imperial rule without a Shogunate, enlists various warrior families to support him in overthrowing the Kamakura Bakufu and the Hojo regents - however not all goes as planned as Ashikaga Takauji, his ally turned enemy, ends his dream of imperial rule and establishes the Ashikaga Shogunate. Unfortunately for the Ashikaga clan, it's not all rainbows and lollipops for the first 60 years of the Ashikaga Shogunate, as Go-Daigo's supporters set up an alternate imperial line and engage in decades of guerrilla and outright war on behalf of the emperor.
Intro to Japanese History P11 - Prelude to the Sengoku
In this episode of our Introduction to Japanese History series, we look at the 15th century and the build up to the Onin war, and what would ultimately lead to the age of the country at war - the Sengoku period.
Intro to Japanese History P12 - The Early Sengoku Period
After the Onin war in the mid-late 15th century, the centralized power of the Ashikaga Shogunate collapsed, leaving the field open to anyone ambitious and powerful enough to make a grab for power. During the first half of the Sengoku period (approximately 1477-1560) there was massive consolidation as daimyo across Japan solidified their power bases and battled for land and resources. The lack of central government left individual clans to fend for themselves, and in the ensuing chaos many would rise and fall in epic battles that anyone familiar with the pop-culture representations of the Samurai in Movies and Anime would recognize.
Intro to Japanese History P13 - Sengoku Daimyo Who's Who
For the 13th episode of our Introduction to Japanese History series, we present a "Who's Who" of Daimyo of the later Sengoku period. We cover the big names of the Sengoku, the Daimyo that anyone who has an interest in the Samurai would have heard of, and is a primer for those who are new to the Samurai. Introduced in this podcast are Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin, and others.
Intro to Japanese History P14 - The Wars of Oda Nobunaga
From the 1550's until his death in 1582, Oda Nobunaga was involved in constant warfare. One by one, the major Daimyo of his era - the Imagawa, the Takeda, the Asai and Asakura and others - fell before his armies. This episode, we give a concise history of Nobunaga's ambition to unify the country under his rule, from the pivotal battle of Okehazama that first put him on the national stage, to his betrayal at the hands of Akechi Mitsuhide.
Intro to Japanese History P15 - Tokugawa & Toyotomi Unification
For our final Introduction to Japanese History series podcast, we cover the last part of the Sengoku period. We start with the assassination of Oda Nobunaga by Akechi Mitsuhide in Kyoto while all of his other generals are scattered about the country. Toyotomi (Hashiba) Hideyoshi gets back to Kyoto first and avenges Nobunaga's death, and the unification of Japan continues under him, and then ultimately under Tokugawa Ieyasu. We cover the events and battles of this period, as well as answer some listener Q&A about the Sengoku period.
Bibliography and recommended reading:
Aikens, C. Prehistory of Japan (Studies in Archaeology)
Academic Pr, September 1982 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0120452804
Arnesen, Peter. The Medieval Japanese Daimyo: The Ouchi Family's Rule of Suo and Nagato
Yale University Press (1979) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/B000PSGVY6
Barnes, Gina. The Rise of Civilization in East Asia
Thames & Hudson, July 1, 1999 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0500279748
Batten, Bruce. Gateway to Japan: Hakata in War And Peace, 500-1300
Univ of Hawaii Press, March 2006 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0824830296
Berry, Mary E. Hideyoshi (Harvard East Asian Monographs) Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University (January 1, 1989) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0674390261
Brown, Delmer (Editor). The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol. 1: Ancient Japan
Cambridge University Press, July 30, 1993 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0521223520
Brownlee, John. Crisis as Reinforcement of the Imperial Institution. The Case of the Jokyu Incident, 1221
Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Summer, 1975), pp. 193-201 http://www.jstor.org/pss/2383842
Conlan, Thomas. Friday, Carl. Currents in Medieval Japanese History: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey P. Mass
Figueroa Press (September 1, 2009) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/1932800522
Conlan, Thomas. In Little Need of Divine Intervention: Takezaki Suenaga's Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan
Cornell Univ East Asia Program (August 2002) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/188544513X
Durston, Diane. Old Kyoto: The Updated Guide to Traditional Shops, Restaurants, and Inns Kodansha USA; 2 edition (April 1, 2005) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/4770029942
Edwards, Walter. Event and Process in the Founding of Japan: The Horserider Theory in Archeological Perspective
Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Summer, 1983), pp. 265-295 http://www.jstor.org/pss/132294
Farris, William Wayne. Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan's Military, 500-1300
Harvard University Asia Center, April 15, 1996 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/067438704X
Friday, Karl. Hired Swords: The Rise of Private Warrior Power in Early Japan
Stanford University Press, March 1, 1996 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0804726965
Friday, Karl. Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan (Warfare and History)
Routledge; New edition edition (December 29, 2003) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0415329639
Friday, Karl. Teeth and Claws. Provincial Warriors and the Heian Court
Monumenta Nipponica Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer, 1988), pp. 153-185 http://www.jstor.org/pss/2384742
Grossberg, Kenneth. From Feudal Chieftain to Secular Monarch: The Development of Shogunal Power in Early Muromachi Japan
Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Spring, 1976), pp. 29-49 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2384184
Grossberg, Kenneth. Japan's Renaissance - The Politics of the Muromachi Bakufu
Cornell University, New York, 2001 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/1885445083
Hall, John W. Government and Local Power in Japan 500-1700: A Study Based on Bizen Province
ACLS Humanities E-Book, August 1, 2008 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/1597405957
Hudson, Mark. Ruins of Identity: Ethnogenesis in the Japanese Islands
Univ of Hawaii Press, March 2006 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0824821564
Ikegami, Eiko. Bonds of Civility: Aesthetic Networks and the Political Origins of Japanese Culture
Cambridge University Press, February 28, 2005 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0521601150
Imamura, Keiji. Prehistoric Japan: New Perspectives On Insular East Asia
Routledge, October 24, 1996 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/1857286170
Lamers, Jeroen. Japonius Tyrannus: The Japanese Warlord Oda Nobunaga Reconsidered Hotei Publishing (November 2001) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/9074822223
Mass, Jeffrey (Ed). Court and Bakufu in Japan: Essays in Kamakura History
Stanford University Press (January 1, 1995) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0804724733
Mass, Jeffrey. Yoritomo and the Founding of the First Bakufu: The Origins of Dual Government in Japan
Stanford University Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2000) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0804735913
Mass, Jeffrey. Lordship and Inheritance in Early Medieval Japan: A Study of the Kamakura Soryo System
ACLS Humanities E-Book (August 1, 2008) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/1597405981
Mason, Penelope. History of Japanese Art
Published jointly by Prentice Hall and Harry N. Abrams, Inc. October 4, 2004 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0131176013
McCullough, Helen. The Tale of the Heike
Stanford University Press; 1st edition (March 1, 1990) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0804718032
Mishima, Yukio. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Vintage; Trade Paperback Edition edition (October 4, 1994) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0679752706
Mishima, Yukio. Patriotism
New Directions; Second Edition edition (February 24, 2010) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0811218546
Morillo, Stephen. Guns and Government: A Comparative Study of Europe and Japan Journal of World History, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring, 1995), pp. 75-106 http://www.jstor.org/pss/20078620
Morris, Ivan. The Nobility of Failure: Tragic Heroes in the History of Japan
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (September 1, 1988) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0374521204
Neilson, David Society at War: Eyewitness Accounts of Sixteenth Century Japan PhD Dissertation University of Oregon, 2007 http://gradworks.umi.com/32/85/3285619.html
Ooms, Herman. Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient Japan: The Tenmu Dynasty, 650-800
Univ of Hawaii Press, October 2008 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0824832353
Sansom, George. A History of Japan to 1334
Stanford University Press, 1958 http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0804705232
Souryi, Pierre. The World Turned Upside Down: Medieval Japanese Society (Asia Perspectives: History, Society, and Culture)
Columbia University Press (August 27, 2003) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/0231118430
Toby, Ronald. Review: Rescuing the Nation from History: The State of the State in Early Modern Japan Monumenta Nipponica Vol. 56, No. 2 (Summer, 2001), pp. 197-237 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2668408
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Yamamura, Kozo. Imatani, Akira. Not for Lack of Will or Wile: Yoshimitsu's Failure to Supplant the Imperial Lineage
Journal of Japanese Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 (Winter, 1992), pp. 45-78 http://www.jstor.org/stable/132707
Yoshikawa, Eiji. Taiko: An Epic Novel of War and Glory in Feudal Japan Kodansha Amer Inc; 1st edition (September 1992) http://astore.amazon.com/samurai-20/detail/4770026099
Zollner, Reinhard. Review: The Sun Also Rises. Go-Daigo in Revolt
Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Winter, 1998), pp. 517-527 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2385743