An island country in the western Pacific, located east of the Asian mainland.

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510 views

During the Sengoku-jidai, what were shinobi (aka ninja) used for?

During the Japan Sengoku-jidai, several clans of shinobi were recruited by various war lords to help their military campaigns. What were they primarily used for? Was it covert espionage, ...
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569 views

Could rōnin become a samurai again

Once the samurai lost his master he becomes a rōnin. Could he become a samurai again by acquiring another master?
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3k views

Were there reasons for Japan to go to war with US aside from US owning Philippines?

Right after the Spanish-American War in 1898, the US acquired the Philippines from Spain. At that time, local leaders desired Philippines independence. The Philippines-American War was fought around ...
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4answers
2k views

Why has there only been one dynasty in the history of Japan?

I'm kinda surprised that there's been only one dynasty (Yamato) in Japan up until now, unlike China with one group wiping out another group and starting a new dynasty constantly. Looking at Wikipedia'...
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6answers
18k views

Were there Samurai equivalents in Korea or China?

Considering that the Samurai class had its distant roots in Chinese political structure, did China or Korea have a similar warrior class?
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3answers
446 views

Why did Ieyasu Tokugawa oppose Hideyoshi's plan for expansion?

When Hideyoshi wanted to invade Korea, the Tokugawa clan noticeably stayed out of the conflict. What were the reasons for them doing so?
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2answers
238 views

What were contemporary Japanese views on the Taiping Rebellion and Heavenly Kingdom?

In the 1850's and 60's, the Taiping Rebellion broke out in China, observed by both the Tokugawa Bakufu and subsequently the Meiji Imperial government. Some 200 years earlier, Japan had suffered its ...
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3answers
4k views

Why did Japanese samurai disembowel themselves?

Japanese samurais were known to commit ritual suicide by stabbing themselves in the belly. Why? Why not hang themselves? Cut their own throats? Does Japanese culture view disembowelment differently ...
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4answers
2k views

Why did Hideyoshi invade Korea?

Hideyoshi launched the invasion of Korea in 1592, with the aim of conquering Korea first and using it as a base for eventual conquest of China. As things turned out, although the superior Japanese ...
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1answer
311 views

Before the imposition of Sakoku, did any Japanese people travel to Africa, the Middle East or Europe?

There are many accounts of Europeans who travelled to the Far East, as they called it. There were some Chinese people who made the opposite journey, did anyone from Japan do it? If they returned to ...
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2answers
763 views

What other war crimes trials besides Nuremberg were held after WWII?

Why were the Nuremberg trials after WWII for the Germans only? The same charges used against the the Germans could be easily extended to the Japanese or possibly Italians. They have committed as much ...
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2answers
1k views

What does this Samurai crest mean?

Some years ago I was given something that I believe is called, in Japanese, a jubako. It's a multi-layered box and on the inside of the lid it features this crest: When searching for information on ...
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1answer
1k views

How did schoolgirls dress in Japan in the 1930s/40s?

I'm writing a graphic novel with a segment in 1930's and 40's Japan. I've looked around but haven't been able to find any specific answers. How would teenage schoolgirls have dressed at that time?
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1answer
603 views

What are the origins of the Shinto religion?

Shinto's recorded history is typically dated to the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, but most sources suggest that oral traditions go back much further than this. What evidence is there to support this - ...
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1answer
180 views

What time period did these notes come from?

This may be a bit broad of a question, but as I was going through some old things I found some Japanese monitary bills in varying currencies from I'm guessing around WWII, but I'm not sure. I cannt ...
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3answers
345 views

Was there a Japanese Exchange, à la Columbian Exchange?

After the European (re-)discovery of the Americas, there was a widespread transfer of animals, plants, culture, human populations, communicable diseases, technology and ideas between the Americas and ...
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1answer
254 views

Were there any naval engagements during the Mongol invasions of Japan?

During the 13th century, the Yuan empire made two invasion attempts at Japan, in the battles of Bun'ei and Kōan. In both cases, the samurai defenders fought the Mongols off their beachheads, and the ...
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1answer
117 views

How was the lower chamber of the Japanese Imperial Diet elected under the Meiji constitution?

During the period 1868-1945, Japan was ruled under the "constitution of the empire of Japan" better known as the "Meiji constitution". Under this constitution, the Imperial Diet was the legislature ...
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2answers
818 views

Did Perry's Black Ships attack Edo harbour during his expedition to Japan?

Matthew C. Perry commanded the U.S. Navy expedition that forced Japan to abandon its policy of isolation, triggering the eventual overthrow of the Shogunate's and the Meiji Restoration. Perry arrived ...
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1answer
715 views

What kind of wood was the standard decking for Aircraft Carriers in World War 2?

I know that both Japan and the United States used wooden decks on their WWII Aircraft Carriers. Was there a specific, "ideal" standard type of wood that was utilized by either country? If so, what ...
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1answer
157 views

When did wheel-mounted water-carrying fire-fighting machines first appear in Japan?

When did wheel-mounted water-carrying fire-fighting machines first appear in Japan? I am curious about the date, and maybe some history about whether it was invented or imported, and by whom if ...
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1answer
576 views

Who started the “katana is the soul of the Samurai” meme?

Samurai used to be defined by their ability to use horses and bows in the early history of Japan. This moved to using the sword, first tachi then katana. Within the Tokugawa period, the katana ...
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2answers
780 views

What were Chiang Kai-shek's biggest strategic blunders during the Second Sino-Japanese war?

Just as it is often said that Operation Barbarossa is Hitler's biggest strategic blunder (either the whole thing, its timing or execution), what were Chiang Kai-shek's biggest strategic blunders in ...
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1answer
395 views

Evidence of cross contamination between Japanese and Western sword fighting styles?

Are there any documented cases of cross pollination between western sword fighting techniques and Japanese ones? Such cross contamination could have happened during the Sengoku-jidai. This period ...
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2answers
225 views

When did English become a major subject in Japanese schools?

I used to think older Japanese people wouldn't have studied English at school, and recently came across someone who thought likewise (link available on request). A middle-aged Japanese person told me ...
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3answers
187 views

Where can I find digitised versions of Japanese war documents in original Japanese?

I was wondering where can I find digitised versions of Japanese war documents in original Japanese? I can read Japanese but I cannot seem to find any primary sources that relate to the Japanese army ...
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964 views

What was the argument for the Japanese pursuing the Northern Expansion Doctrine during WWII?

The Northern Expansion Doctrine was the idea that Japan should pursue its imperialist objectives through Siberia, which was diametrically opposed by the Southern Expansion Doctrine which was the idea ...
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97 views

How were people outcasted in 17th century Japan? [closed]

I am currently writing a story themed with revenge and isolation. The two main characters are a teenage girl living in an ordinary 17th-century Japanese village and an elf man with no memories, who ...
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0answers
373 views

Who deposited German fuel drums on a Japanese air base in the Kuriles in 1943?

The Imperial Japanese Navy operated two all-weather, heated, lit runways on Matsuwa Island in the Kurile island chain. This island is littered with German fuel drums manufactured in 1943. It also ...
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1answer
468 views

To what extent did the CPC avoid fighting with the Japanese?

There's general agreement that the Japanese invasion of China benefited the CPC by interrupting the civil war, forcing the KMT to fight the Japanese instead of continuing the CPC purge, which they ...
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2answers
3k views

Were the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary? [closed]

The United States bombed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Before the Japanese could surrender, they bombed Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The two bombs killed over 200,000 people, most of them civilians. ...
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1answer
217 views

When would the Japanese have been able to recognize their archipelago?

After watching Bill Wurtz's History of Japan video, it got me wondering. At 4:38, it brings up the Dutch bringing geography to Japan (obviously, this is a humorous video, so I'm sure this is ...
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4answers
859 views

Was the death toll in the atomic bombing of Japanese territory greater than was expected by the US?

It is known that the US tried to justify their atomic bombing of Japanese cities by claiming they were aimed at military targets such as a plant and a bridge. Yet the bombs destroyed much more than ...
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2answers
764 views

Was the attack on Pearl Harbor totally unexpected?

According to "British Intelligence in the Second World War: Security and Counter-Intelligence", by Francis Harry Hinsley and C.A.G. Simkins, Tricycle, a British double agent, complained that the FBI ...
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2answers
676 views

Why did Japan take so long to attack Wuhan?

On December 13, 1937 Japan captured Nanjing; from there they could have continued up the Yangtze to attack Wuhan, then the second most populous Chinese city and de facto wartime capital. But ground ...
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1answer
311 views

When did private fighting become a capital offense in Japan?

In "Might Makes Right: Just war and just warfare in early medieval Japan", Karl Friday mentions that bushi (warriors) who violated decrees banning fighting were exiled or imprisoned under pre-Edo ...
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1answer
209 views

Did Jiang Baili receive a sword from Emperor Meiji for graduating first of his class?

Jiang Baili was a famous Chinese military trainer who attended the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. Some sources, including the Wikipedia article, claims that he graduated top of the class and that ...
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2answers
1k views

Did the Japanese try to start peace negotiations while in a position of strength in WWII?

As I understand it, the Japanese plan for the Pacific War was to grab a bunch of territory, then negotiate peace from a position of strength. Did the Japanese ever try to start those peace ...
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3answers
495 views

Organized and intentional suicide attacks during military conflicts

First of all I want to make it clear that we're not speaking about terrorist attacks here. This question is strictly dedicated to war operations, in a dictionary meaning. Also this question is about ...
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1answer
385 views

What were the Japanese defenses for an allied invasion of Kyushu?

At Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and other island bases of the Japanese forces, the Japanese created a network of deep tunnels and bunkers that made US attempts to evict Japanese forces extremely difficult, time ...
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1answer
689 views

What is the best way to describe the form of Japanese government during the years before and during world war 2?

Prior to the great depression, how much political power did the military, the emperor, and the prime minister of Japan have? Is it a form of monarchy, or does it resemble a military dictatorship? Did ...
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2answers
678 views

How much of a role did Sakamoto Ryoma play in overthrowing the Shogunate?

Sakamoto Ryoma is often portrayed in the Japanese media for his role in attempting to overthrow the shogunate during the Bakumatsu period. Since he was assassinated when he was still very young, the ...
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3answers
337 views

How did Japan successfully conquer Vietnam (Southeast Asia) in WW2?

I've read the obvious wiki article (which is rather small), but did not really find an answer. At the end of the article, it says: To prepare for an invasion of the Dutch East Indies, some 140,000 ...
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1answer
1k views

What were the main clans of the sengoku period?

I'm looking for some kind of authoritative list of the main clans operating during the sengoku period, if possible with each clan's kamon but most importantly which geographical areas they controlled. ...
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4answers
121k views

Did the fights in the Ip Man movie series actually occur in real life? [closed]

In a series of movies called Ip Man 1 and 2, based in WW2, a Wing Chun martial arts master called Ip Man fought with a Japanese general and a western boxer named Twister. Did these events actually ...
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3answers
1k views

Why did the offices of Shogun and Emperor never merge?

The position of Emperor of Japan was, as I understand it, strictly hereditary, due to the necessity that the Emperor 'descend' from Amaterasu. Thus, the Shogun was not eligible to be Emperor, and ...
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2answers
406 views

During the Second World War, did the Germans expect that Japan would declare war on Russia?

As I understand it, Germany did not make war with America on the condition that Japan joined the war against Russia. Was this because they thought that Japan would attack Russia anyway? If so, what ...
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1answer
688 views

When did Japan and the Three Kingdoms of Korea first meet?

Wikipedia claims that Japan and the Three Kingdoms of Korea started having close relationships at the end of the 4th century, during the Kofun period. However the article doesn't provide any sources ...
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1answer
488 views

What precipitated the Meiji restoration?

What other factors, apart from Commander Perry arriving at Edo, precipitated the Meiji restoration?
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1answer
216 views

What evidence exists to say whether or not FDR was planning to use the Atomic Bomb just as Truman did?

Are there any letters, autobiographies, or testimony from FDR's administration to say that he was definitely planning to use the Atomic Bomb against Japan? Conversely, is there any evidence that he ...