Thirteenth-century Japan has this in common with early 19th-century Japan: a land culture paying scant heed to the sea until the sea, as though in outrage, rises up and compels attention.

The dominant features of 13th-century Japan are Zen Buddhism and the newly empowered samurai; of early 19th-century Japan, Confucianism and sakoku — the country closed to the outside world. In the earlier period, only fishermen and pirates are afloat; in the later, them and the occasional castaway.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.