This podcast, assembled by a former PhD student in History at the University of Washington, covers the entire span of Japanese history. Each week we'll tackle a new topic, ranging from prehistoric Japan to the modern day.
Episode 411 - If You Can't Do the Time...
33:47This week, we're taking a quick detour into Isaac trolling fans of Michel Foucault-er, the Edo period criminal justice system. How did this system operate, and what considerations are responsible for its approach to justice? Show notes here.
Episode 410 - A Man of His Times
32:48This week: Isaac spends 30 minutes unpacking the 400+ page ramblings of a cranky retiree who died about 200 years ago, but whose polemics against his own society have a remarkable amount to teach us about one of the most important moments in Japanese history. Show notes here.
Episode 409 - The Contenders, Part 4
37:55How did it all go so very wrong? Show notes here.
Episode 408 - The Contenders, Part 3
36:21In just three years, Ozawa Ichiro managed to guide the DPJ from defeat to one of the most smashing victories in Japan's political history. How did he do it? And why, despite the fact that he was the one who set the stage for this victory, did he never end up serving as the prime minister in the aftermath? Show notes here.
Episode 407 - The Contenders, Part 2
34:33This week, the DPJ's good fortune--in the form of the hilariously politically inept Prime Minister Mori Yoshihiro--turns to disaster, as he is replaced by the charismatic Koizumi Junichiro. Facing a revived LDP, the DPJ will turn to one of the most singular (and divisive) figures in modern Japanese politics: Ozawa Ichiro. Show notes here.
Episode 406 - The Contenders, Part 1
37:48This week, we're beginning a four-part retrospective on the rise and fall of Japan's most successful postwar opposition party: The Democratic Party of Japan, or DPJ. This week: how did two veterans of the tumultuous politics of the early 1990s come together to found this scrappy little party, and what forces led to the DPJ becoming the largest of Japan's opposition parties? Show notes here.
Episode 405 - The Road Not Taken
43:18This week, we're talking about one of the last attempts to save the Tokugawa shogunate: the Tenpo Reforms of the 1840s, and their chief architect, the hard-partying Mizuno Tadakuni. What did he see as the most pressing problems Japan faced? How did he try to solve them? And how did this final attempt to salvage Tokugawa rule fail so badly? Show notes here.
Episode 404 - The Hesperia Incident
37:54This week, we're taking a closer look at the unequal treaty system of the 1800s by exploring one of its crappier (!) consequences: a diplomatic incident over cholera quarantines and extraterritorial laws surrounding a small German freighter called the Hesperia. Show notes here.
Episode 403 - Yet Shall He Find a Thousand Troubles
37:43This week, we're discussing Japan's reckoning with its wartime past through the lens of the nation's self-appointed conscience: the historian Ienaga Saburo, who spent 30 years locked in legal battles with the government over what could and could not be included in history textbooks. Show notes here.
Episode 402 - The Friendly Skies
33:46This week, we're covering the bizarre history of a hijacking attempt from 1970. What led nine young men to seize control of JAL Flight 351, and why in the hell did they think that, of all places to take the plane, North Korea was the one to pick? Show notes here.