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 →
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 →
An Inspired Map of 12th century Akitsushima -- Japan Yamabuki travels from the Taka compound to the capital of Heian-kyo Readers of today have asked for a map of Yamabuki's world. However, a 21st century map based on satellite positioning would show a universe totally at odds with what Yamabuki would likely have known.... Continue Reading →
The magic of the seasons translates into the magic of the castle in all the times of the year. Truly a treasure.
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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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... Continue Reading →
The third book of the Sword of the Taka Samurai series is Cold Trail and is expected to be released by the end of July, 2015. Originally the six books of the series were all expect to be straightforward reads of 20,000 to 40,000 words, each. As the draft for the "uhr" Cold Heart rose... Continue Reading →
Old swords are rare, even in a country as obsessed with them as Japan. Giving Up the Gun, Japan's Reversion to the Sword, 1543-1879, traces the significance of the sword in Japanese society. Many of us picture Japan as a country of swords-only, but that was not always so. Films such as Ran show samurai... Continue Reading →
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... Continue Reading →
Some people find ancient Japanese armor fascinating. In Cold Heart, 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 were made of steel pieces called kozane and other... Continue Reading →