Heian Japan

The Heian Period of Japan was from 794 to 1185 CE. The events of the Yamabuki books take place toward the end of the period, in the years running up to the Genpei War. (More on Heian Japan on Wikipedia.)

Japanese Ox Cart

Ox Cart of Japan in the Heian Period

First Class Travel in the Days of Yamabuki The ox can hardly be seen, but it is at the front. The royal personage(s) would sit inside on cushions as they were taken from place to place at a stately pace.

Japanese bell

Telling time in Heian Japan

Japan during the Heian period— 794-1185 C.E., when the Tales of Yamabuki as well as The Tale of Genji are set—had no mechanical clocks. Nevertheless, to run society, people needed to know the time of day, the season, the month, and the day.

The Ruins of the Taka Compound

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 …

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zatoichi dance scene

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 …

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Will a Long Sword Best a Shorter Sword? The "Nodachi" double-length sword.

Will a Long Sword Best a Shorter Sword? The “Nodachi” double-length sword.

In Kurosawa’s film Seven Samurai, Toshiro Mifune plays the character Kikuchiyo, the seventh (and odd-ball member) of the seven samurai. For those not familiar with the film, the concept is that seven unemployed samurai (sometimes called ronin, literally “man of the wave”) are hired by a group of hapless farmers to protect the farmers’ village …

Will a Long Sword Best a Shorter Sword? The “Nodachi” double-length sword. Read More »

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