The Ruins of the Taka Compound

Many have searched for the ruins of the Taka compound that existed 850 years ago in ancient O-Utsumi prefecture--the alleged site is shown in this photo. But there is no trace of the clan. Not even the footings of the giant estate houses that overlook Great Bay. No trace of the gardens and orchards where... Continue Reading →

Cold Heart Release

Cold Heart is with my editor, Laura Lis Scott, for final revisions. It is my longest Yamabuki book to date—longer than the first three combined—over 80,000 words long. The first chapter is succinct and sets the tone and premise: the supernatural—which Yamabuki of course scoffs at—will play a central role in this story, and as always, the... Continue Reading →

Music to Write By. Samurai Stories

Some writers like to immerse themselves in the place and setting of the action. We put on our music and takes us to another world. Music helps the author visualize place, mood and setting. And it is not just in samurai novels.Some of my readers have asked me to name a few of the soundtracks... Continue Reading →

Dancing in Samurai Film

Painting the life of the common people in a world where the major daily chore was finding enough food, can lead readers to think they are indeed being presented with a bleak world. And yet, the Japanese culture has always been one of songs and dance and laughter. Some genre readers are excited by the... Continue Reading →

Dancing in Samurai Film

Painting the life of the common people in a world where the major daily chore was finding enough food, can lead readers to think they are indeed being presented with a bleak world. And yet, the Japanese culture has always been one of songs and dance and laughter. Some genre readers are excited by the swordplay, but wonder why... Continue Reading →

Archery and War

Hazard Sensei used to say that archery was the prefered method of fighting in old Japan. Swords were too personal. Too in close. Too involved with the opponent. Archery was "better." In fact, the old Japanese root word for "war" is said to come from something approximate to "archery exchange." As I draw to a... Continue Reading →

Matsue Castle: Still original, now a treasure

The magic of the seasons translates into the magic of the castle in all the times of the year. Truly a treasure.

San'in Monogatari

On May 15, 2015, Matsue Castle was deemed a National Treasure!

It was already Important Cultural Property and one of the twelve remaining original castles of Japan, noted especially for the atmosphere within from its wooden floors, pillars, and stairs, steep and uneven with the same character they had when the castle was completed back in 1611. It is now the fifth castle around Japan to enjoy this status, one that a dedicated citizens’ group had long been working to achieve. Matsue Castle has a history of relying on its citizens, as it was only due to the citizens’ insistence and fundraising to purchase it from the government that it was saved from being burned down during the Meiji Period, when many castles were deemed unnecessary by the Westernizing government and subsequently torn down (only to be rebuilt in concrete years later). The black castle, affectionately nicknamed Chidori-jo (Plover Castle)…

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