Japan

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.

Woman samurai archer riding and shooting

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 …

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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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Usagi Yojimbo -- Rabbit Bodyguard Japan

Usagi Yojimbo — Rabbit Bodyguard

My kendo teacher told me about a wonderful comic book series by Stan Sasaki called Usagi Yojimbo, literally “rabbit bodyguard.” Set in the 1600, about 400 years after Yamabuki, it is a wonderful world invented by Sasaki, filled with animals who inhabit a Tokugawa Japan. Usagi is a samurai and a fighter, but he is …

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