Building BridgesThis blog and this author seek to build cultural bridges with Japan and the people in it across geographic and linguistic barriers alike. By creating bonds, we can build a brighter future for everyone.
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Tag Archives: history
From a festival in Kyoto. Kyoto literally means “capitol” and was once the long-time capital of Japan. To this day, it remains a great cultural epicenter.
What’s Wrong With Ritual? In doing a little research on the history of the yari, the Japanese word for “spear,” I came across a mention that battles in early Japan, circa 700 A.D., were highly ritualized affairs with lone warriors … Continue reading
A Rose By Any Other Name What’s in a name? Today’s subject isn’t any particular place name; it is a term used for famous places as described in an essay on viewing Japanese prints, like ukiyo-e. There is, after all, … Continue reading
Losing The Plot So, I was reading another article in the Japan Times, this time on a playwright who is doing a play that examines the origin myth of the Japanese imperial line (which would be the Yamato line, for … Continue reading
Warrior Monks Although the word sohei is usually translated as warrior monks, the hei part fits “soldier” much better. These are monk-soldiers, but as English has no such term, warrior monks will generally do. The image above is a procession … Continue reading
A Bit Of Useful History Following the Genpei War (the subject of The Tale of Genji), which gave rise to the Bafuku (government said to be run out of a general’s tent rather than a palace), the Imperial line was subject … Continue reading
芸者 (げいしゃ、geisha) Let’s start with a bang: Geisha is a gender-neutral term in the original Japanese. This word is actually quite simple, combining 芸 (“gei,” lit. performance) with 者 (“sha,” lit. “person who does ___”). Thus, the word itself suggests a … Continue reading
Sun Tzu, Adopted Guru of Japan One rather interesting footnote of Chinese history is that the land where Sun Tzu is said to have hailed, the state of Wu, was more or less the eastern tip of China, the closest … Continue reading
Origin In Japanese, 服 (fuku) simply means clothing. In the case of an individual set of clothes, we may safely read this as outfit. Sailor Fuku = sailor outfit. The “sailor outfit” came to Japan in the early 1920’s. Although … Continue reading