Battle of Sekigahara: a war set in stone

Mar 19, 2016

Battle of Sekigahara: a war set in stone

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The open valley basins of Gifu Prefecture at the very center of Honshu, where the town of Sekigahara lies, were easily co-opted as theaters of war. It's no coincidence, given the martial history of the region, that the town of Seki was once known ...

Hasekura Tsunenaga's portrait has a tale to tell

Mar 12, 2014

Hasekura Tsunenaga's portrait has a tale to tell

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History is littered with grand projects and dashed expectations that are no less intriguing than its moments of triumph and heroism. A large portrait in oils of a splendidly attired, mid-ranking samurai posing regally in a Roman palace in the early 1600s bears witness ...

Camera artist casts new light on Jomon millennia

Sep 28, 2013

Camera artist casts new light on Jomon millennia

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The Jomon Period of Japanese history is so shrouded in the mists of time that any bid to fathom its secrets stretches even the usual bounds of prehistoric archeology. Yet as amateurs and experts alike have continued unearthing examples of Jomon pottery and stone ...

'A person and a possession': Japanese women in history

/ Mar 3, 2013

'A person and a possession': Japanese women in history

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SELLING WOMEN: Prostitution, Markets and the Household in Early Modern Japan, by Amy Stanley. University of California Press, 2012, 282 pp., $49.95 (hardcover) In the vast cultural landscape, Japan fascinates the mainstream with manga and anime, the martial arts, Zen and kimono. Of course, ...