History Japanese history: articles, news, and comments

Discussion in 'All Things Japanese' started by thomas, May 2, 2018.

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  1. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    I would like to use this thread to post links to articles and news relating to Japanese history. Please feel free to post any interesting material. Any language,* any historical period and topic welcome!

    * If your resource is not in English, please provide an English synopsis.

    First article below (more to follow):

    150 years since the Edo Castle surrender

    What’s done is done. But what if a historic negotiation over the surrender of Edo Castle between Saigo Takamori, who led the Imperial forces during the fall of Edo, and Katsu Kaishu, the shogunate’s army minister, had fallen through 150 years ago? The surrender of the fort, or the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate, which opened the door to Japan’s modernization, might not have happened, and what is now the nation’s capital could have gone up in flames. Edo, renamed Tokyo in September 1868, was controlled by the shogunate for 260 years, but it fell to the alliance of Satsuma and Choshu forces supportive of the formation of a new government under the restored Imperial rule of Emperor Meiji. One of the central conditions for the peaceful handover, which saved Edo and its population of more than 1 million from war, was to spare the life of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the 15th and last shogun. Emperor Meiji moved from Kyoto to his new residence in the castle, which today is part of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

    With the help of photographs taken by Yokoyama Matsusaburo about 150 years ago, offered by the Edo-Tokyo Museum, and current images of the capital captured around the palace and its environs, the history of Edo Castle is revealed. [...]


    Source: 150 years since the Edo Castle surrender | The Japan Times

    The juxtaposition of old photographies of Edo Castle taken 150 years ago and modern shots by Miura Yoshiaki is fascinating.
     
  2. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    Sensational finding in a private home in Hiroshima:

    Siege of Osaka shown in great detail in late 17th century maps

    Source: Siege of Osaka shown in great detail in late 17th century maps:The Asahi Shimbun

    battle-of-osaka.jpg
     
  3. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    An ink stone found in 2003 proves that writing was more common in the Yayoi period than previously believed:

    2,000-year-old tool offers new proof of Japan’s earliest writing

    Source: 2,000-year-old tool offers new proof of Japan’s earliest writing:The Asahi Shimbun

    inkstone-fukuoka.jpg inkstone.jpg
    Images: Asahi Shimbun
     
  4. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    A Jomon-era painted fragment (~4,300 B.C.E.) found in Hokkaido hints at spiritual practises:

    kikonai.jpg
    Photo: Yoshinori Toyomane

    Painted stone finding gives clues to ancient spiritual culture

    The first piece of stone painted with a human face dating from the Jomon Pottery Culture (c. 8000 B.C.-300 B.C.) has been found here and hailed as a very important discovery. “The find is extremely precious in that it could help ascertain what the spiritual culture in the mid-Jomon period was like,” said Yasushi Kosugi, a Jomon culture professor at Hokkaido University. The Hokkaido Archaeological Operations Center said Nov. 29 that the stone fragment from the latter half of the mid-Jomon period (4,300 years ago) was unearthed on Oct. 19 from 50 centimeters beneath the ground where a pit house used to stand. The discovery location is part of the Koren five archaeological sites in Kikonai.

    Measuring 12 to 13 cm per side and 1.4 cm thick, the stone, flattened with a whetstone or other tools, is shaped like an inverted triangle. While a horizontal line is drawn near the top side with a black pigment, an ellipse that apparently represents an eye and lines forming eyebrows and the nose are also painted on it.
    Although how the stone piece was actually used remains unclear, experts said the object may have been used for religious services and other purposes in ancient times. A painting of a human body drawn with pigments at the lower part of the earthenware unearthed at the Todonomiya archaeological site in Nagano Prefecture is known to have been made during the Jomon Pottery Culture, but no face drawings have previously been found across Japan, according to center officials.

    Painted stone finding gives clues to ancient spiritual culture:The Asahi Shimbun
     
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  5. Lomaster

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    As someone interested in Japanese history i find this thread a nice addition to the forum. Keep them coming, Thomas!
     
  6. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist
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    That is clearly the underside of a slightly burnt slice of pizza. Nice try, archaeologists!
     
  7. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    Thank you, more to come!

    Now that's going to turn culinary history upside down! :emoji_astonished:

    Next one: a well-preserved piece of armour was found in Kyushu.

    cuirass-kyushu.jpg
    Image: Asahi Shimbun

    Ancient tomb containing splendid armor found in Kyushu

    SHIBUSHI, Kagoshima Prefecture--Workers paving a farm road here stumbled on a 1,500-year-old underground tomb containing a large stone coffin, human remains and armor in remarkable condition. The remains are likely of a local chieftain while the cuirass, a type of breastplate known as “
    tanko,” is believed to have been a gift from the Yamato imperial court in current Nara Prefecture in appreciation of the leader’s cooperation, the education board of Shibushi city said Jan. 24.

    The tunnel-tomb was unearthed during farm road paving work in December.
    “It was likely built for a powerful leader in the local region who was directly connected with the Yamato imperial court,” said Tatsuya Hashimoto, a professor of archaeology at the Kagoshima University Museum.

    The grave, which is from the Kofun Period (late third to seventh centuries), is one of the largest tunnel-tombs in the Osumi region in eastern Kagoshima Prefecture. It boasts a vertical shaft that is 2.6 meters long, 1.8 meters wide and 1.6 meters deep. The burial chamber is 2.6 meters long, 1.9 meters wide and 90 centimeters high.

    This type of construction is unique to the southern Kyushu region. The site has been named the No. 3 Harada Chikashiki Yokoanabo (Harada underground tunnel-tomb). The skeletal remains are those of a 170-centimeter-tall adult male.
    A sword, its scabbard and other items were also found in the pumice stone coffin measuring 2.4 meters. It is 60 cm wide and 50 cm tall.

    The tanko is in near-immaculate condition and was standing beside the coffin. The armor measures 35 cm by 40 cm. More than 20 burial accessories, such as an iron arrowhead, spear and iron ax were discovered.
    The tomb features more grave accessories than any other tunnel-tombs in the Osumi region, according to the education board.

    Source: Ancient tomb containing splendid armor found in Kyushu:The Asahi Shimbun

    Related links:
     
  8. Lomaster

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    Now that my perception of archeology is messed up after nice gaijin's notice, i had no doubt about a well-preserved pie found in Kyushu
    [​IMG]
     
  9. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    An ancient palace dating back to the Nara period beside Yoshinogawa river in Nara Prefecture has currently been unearthed, possibly the main building of the Yoshino no Miya detached palace frequented by Emperor Shomu.

    miyataki.jpg

    Ruins of ancient palace likely found beside river in Nara

    [...] a mysterious ancient palace was likely situated just beside the beautiful Yoshinogawa river during the Nara Period (710-784), possibly for the waterfront view afforded, according to new findings. Ruins of a large building dating to the first half of the eighth century have recently been unearthed only 20 meters from the Yoshinogawa, which winds its way between mountains in southern Nara Prefecture. The structure discovered at the
    Miyataki archaeological site here boasts special designs unique to emperors’ palaces, increasing the possibility that the find was the main building of the Yoshino no Miya detached palace, which records say Shomu (701-756) and other emperors frequented. Archaeologists are currently making eager efforts to unlock the mystery of why the detached palace was built so close to the river.

    Source: Ruins of ancient palace likely found beside river in Nara:The Asahi Shimbun

     
  10. mdchachi

    mdchachi Moderator
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    That's very cool.

    Rivers move over time. Maybe it wasn't so close 1200 years ago.
     
  11. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    Possibly. Or:

    “Putting priority on viewing magnificent views up close, it the palace was likely constructed by the river,” said Watanabe, the deputy director-general of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.

    Another interesting one: the oldest blade in Japan has been found in an attic.

    Rusty sword in attic found to be one of oldest blades in
    Japan


    kasuga-sword.jpg
    Photo credit: Kenta Sujino

    One of the oldest Japanese swords in existence has been recognized as a treasure at a shrine here after being found in an attic decades ago. When the rusty sword was cleaned and sharpened, it was discovered to be from the 12th century, making it one of Japan's most time-honored weapons, an official of Kasuga Taisha shrine announced Jan. 22.

    The discovery means it is a museum piece that will be carefully studied to shed further light on the history of the Japanese sword. It appears that the “heirloom,” which was made in the Heian Period (794-1185) for a samurai and initially passed down through his family, was presented to the shrine sometime from the Nanboku-cho Period (1336-1392) to the 14th or 15th century, or the early Muromachi Period (1338-1573). The curved 82.4 centimeter-long sword, without the creator’s name inscribed, is a “kohoki.”

    The kohoki sword is one of 12 blades that were housed in the attic repository of Kasuga Taisha shrine and was originally discovered in 1939. The shrine discovered its real value after whetting the blades from fiscal 2016 to mark its 60th Shikinen Zotai, a traditional ceremony of shrine building restoration held once every 20 years.

    Before it was sharpened, the kohoki sword was covered in rust. Part of the name derives from the Hoki Domain (today's Tottori Prefecture) where a series of kohoki as well as other swords were crafted. [...]


    Source: Rusty sword in attic found to be one of oldest blades in Japan:The Asahi Shimbun
     
  12. thomas

    thomas Unswerving cyclist
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    A little update on the Siege of Osaka maps:

    Rare illustration of Siege of Osaka in 1614 to get digital treatment

    osaka-map-toppan.jpg

    Photo credit: Toppan

    Historians and printing experts are to collaborate to digitally restore in full colour rare and faded illustrations of the Siege of Osaka during the winter military campaign of 1614 that helped change the course of Japanese history. The project, announced July 3 by Toppan Printing Co., will be undertaken in collaboration with historians from the Tokugawa Art Museum in Nagoya, Tokyo University of the Arts and Yoshihiro Senda, a professor of archaeology at Nara University. The artwork concerns a pair of folding screens in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum in the capital's Ueno district. They depict the first of two military campaigns that ended in 1615, where forces led by Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) wiped out the Toyotomi clan after it attempted to subvert the Tokugawa Shogunate that unified Japan in 1603.

    The illustrations are thought to be copies produced later during the Edo Period (1603-1817) based on an original painting from an earlier period. They are the only known illustrations of the winter campaign that provide a historical reference on the battle formations and what Osaka Castle looked like before the outer moats were filled with debris after the siege. Many depictions of the summer campaign survived, but the original screens of the winter campaign are presumed lost.


    Source: Rare illustration of Siege of Osaka in 1614 to get digital treatment:The Asahi Shimbun
     

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