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This 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 J…
 
This 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? https://…
 
This 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. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/historyofjapan/Episode_404__mixdown.mp3 Sources Johnst…
 
This 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. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/historyofjapan/Episode_403_mixdo…
 
This 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? https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/historyofjapan/Episode_402_mixdown.mp3 Sources Takazawa, Koji. Destin…
 
This week, we’re tackling the history of kamishibai, a form of street theater that was once big business but has since faded into obscurity. Where did it come from, and why–after it was killed off by TV and movies–is it worth remembering today? https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/historyofjapan/Episode_401_mixdown.mp3 Sources Yasuda, Tsuneo “The Paci…
 
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