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.)

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 …

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The World of Taira no Kiyomori

As a big fan of Japanese television, I have watched more than a historic drama or two. It is a rather Japanese style to introduce historic dramas by showing the films of historic places as they look today along with artifacts and scrolls. Think Ken Burns and The Civil War, if you are American. The …

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Samurai Armor of the Yamabuki era

Some people find ancient Japanese armor fascinating. In Cold Rain, Yamabuki finds an armor maker to repair a gash to her chest protector. Japanese armor was solid, but unlike the kind of armor seen in The Game of Thrones, it was not plate. Part of it was made of steel pieces called kozane and other …

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