Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #japanesehistory

Most recents (7)

As much as today's assassination attempt on the former PM Abe Shinzō is a horrible and shocking event, what it certainly is not is "unprecedented in Japanese history". 🇯🇵🧵#JapaneseHistory #日本歴史
Leaving aside the frequent assassinations during the revolutionary period of the 19th century Japan and focusing only on the 20th century, Japan has seen its fair share of political assassinations. #JapaneseHistory
In fact, Japan's very first Prime Minister, Itō Hirobumi, was assassinated. This former samurai of the Chōshū domain was shot at the Harbin railway station on 26 October 1909. #JapaneseHistory
Read 23 tweets
Alright, let's do this. The thread is #FridayNightHistory, the topic is the Inada clan of Awaji, and the sometimes bloody loose ends that happen when one era and system gives way to another. #japanesehistory #Meiji150

(cw for mention of seppuku)
But first: #FridayNightHistory is made possible by *you*,as is my writing, my art, my history education efforts, my epic threads. You can support me by signing up at for as low as $1/month. In the face of 3 years' underemployment, every bit goes a long way
Okay. So...eras and systems. It's tempting when we talk about shift from 1 era to another- like what came after the "fall" of the late Western Roman Empire in 476- to think that it's like flipping a light switch. It really isn't anything like that. There are lots of "loose ends"
Read 38 tweets
#thread So this is another of my favorite local stories from Sendai, which I call "The Kids Find Bishamonten a Home." Intersection of military history, #japanesehistory, and folklore, in this story from the part of Sendai where I attended school.
Once upon a time, Date Masamune was laying siege to Kitanome Castle, in Miyagi County of Mutsu Province, where he was expanding his power northward from his original lands on the southern side of Mutsu.
The castle, held by Kurino Daizen, was shrouded in black fog and difficult to see, much less attack. Word had it that this was because Bishamonten, guardian deity of the castle, was protecting it.

(Bishamonten, at right, as depicted by an artist in 1866)
Read 15 tweets
On request from a follower, here is another thread about ONI ICHIMONJI, the flute that appeared in yesterday's thread about Katsumata Yazaemon the Kitsune-slayer. (Pictured: A transverse flute of Oni-Ichimonji's type) #japanesehistory #musichistory #tohoku
Okay, so to begin, I should say that this primarily is the version of the story I learned from Sendai folklorist Mihara Ryokichi, supplemented by other bits and pieces I've accumulated over the years to round things out.
Our story begins in the 10th century (yes, the 10th century), in Kyoto, the imperial capital. Minamoto no Hiromasa, a court noble, went to the Suzaku Gate every night to play his flute.
Read 12 tweets
Gather round, friends, it's time for another Friday night history #thread! We're looking at a warrior named Katsumata Yazaemon, a real figure in #japanesehistory who blurs the lines between folklore and the hist. record. He was called Kitsunetori: The Kitsune-Slayer. #tohoku
So here's the thing. Katsumata Yazaemon was a real person. We know that he was a foot soldier expected to carry a musket to battle. We know that he was born in Kita Gojuuninmachi, on the north bank of the Hirose River in what's now solidly downtown Sendai.
We know he lived in the Kansei era-- late 18th to early 19th century. We know he drew about 5 koku (5 bales of rice) income per year for his hereditary duty as a foot soldier.

But that's pretty much all we can verify by documentary evidence.

Beyond there, we have legend.
Read 22 tweets
#Thread My talk last night with @OutlawHistorian has inspired me, so-- here is a #japanesehistory thread about ashigaru, as an introduction for those who haven't heard the term before.

This is a beloved topic of mine, because as you'll see, it's a grey area in Japanese history.
So. "Samurai" is a catch-all term used more in the west than in Japanese. These terms vary, but the short answer is that samurai were low ranking members of the warrior caste, and warriors in general were called bushi. All samurai are bushi, but only some bushi are samurai.
Ashigaru 足軽 is spelled "foot-light." Different clans and regions used terms differently, of course, but generally speaking, ashigaru are a gray area. They were part of feudal armies and part of lordly retinues in the Edo period (1600-1868), but were they bushi?

Read 12 tweets

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