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

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Why did Uesugi Kenshin never marry? Was it common practice for Japanese Buddhists of the time?

It seems that the famed Sengoku-era lord Uesugi Kenshin never married anybody in his life because he was a devout Buddhist. This seems highly unusual, considering Japanese Buddhists at that time seem ...
21
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6answers
3k views

By mid-1945, was Japan capable of maintaining the war even in the absence of further direct American attacks? [closed]

The USA went to a great effort to defeat Japan, but do historians regard it as necessary? For example if the USA had just kept the naval action going to the extent of cutting of all shipping to ...
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2answers
293 views

Did land based airpower give the Americans a decisive advantage at the Battle of Midway?

This question was inspired by another (on a different SE site) about the Avalon Hill board game. As told in many American history books, the battle of Midway featured four Japanese heavy carriers vs. ...
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1answer
443 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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1answer
329 views

Who was the first military force to use teppo (guns) in mass battles during the Sengoku-jidai?

Oda clan used guns to great efficency against the Takeda clan but which warlord (or faction) used them for the first time? I seem to recall that some of the sohei order had access to firearms and ...
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1answer
186 views

What did the Japanese believe about the USA capability of making/using additional atomic bombs?

Clearly the Japanese believed that if they did not surrender another atomic bomb would be used on them. However how soon did they believed this would happen? And how many atomic bombs did they ...
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5answers
739 views

Why were the 8th Route Army better at fighting the Japanese than the Nationalists were?

Numerous sources have noted the (Communist) 8th Route Army's effectiveness in its resistance against Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) occupation; British, American observers, even Japanese commanders have ...
19
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2answers
901 views

Why did Meiji consider switching from Japanese to English?

During the Meiji restoration, the Emperor sought to switch Japan's national language from Japanese to English. Why was that? Why, ultimately, was it unsuccessful? The Role of English and Other ...
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4answers
4k views

Why did the Japanese expect the United States navy would attack the Home Islands?

Kantai Kessen, the Japanese naval strategy for a Pacific war, amounted to (simplified) "The American fleet will cross the Pacific to attack Japan. At that time, we will engage and defeat them." ...
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13answers
13k views

Did Imperial Japan choose to ally with Nazi Germany because of ideological similarity?

There are certain similarities that can be drawn between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Both were dictatorships, both believed in racism (though against different people), and both were wanting to ...
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5answers
7k views

Did a Kamikaze ever impact the hull of a ship, as opposed to the deck?

All kamikaze videos I've seen show the plane dive bombing into the deck of a ship. The photos I've seen also appear to always show a burning deck or tower. What I want to know is, did any kamikaze ...
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2answers
116 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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1answer
141 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
432 views

Why were women excluded from the succession line in the Meiji constitution?

Article 2 of the Meiji consitution (full text here) says: The Imperial Throne shall be succeeded to by Imperial male descendants, according to the provisions of the Imperial House Law. A ...
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12answers
18k views

Why didn't Imperial Japan attack the Soviet Union during World War 2?

Japan and the Soviet Union shared a common border in Manchuria and the German invasion of the Soviet Union weakened the Soviets greatly. In view of the advantages to Japan in seeing the Soviet Union ...
3
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1answer
199 views

How was Takeda defeated at the Battle of Nagashino?

The 1575 Battle of Nagashino resulted in the eventual end of the Takenda clan during the sengoku jidai in Japan. In the movie "Kagemusha", the Takeda cavalry charges guns and is devastated. The ...
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0answers
77 views

How many samurai warriors were there during the Sengoku period?

I was trying to estimate the number of warriors who were part of the samurai class. I am mainly interested in the 16th and 17th centuries. Trying to search for that, I came across this. It states ...
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4answers
638 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 ...
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3answers
13k views

Does Japan have the legal right to have its own army or navy?

After WW2 Japan capitulated and was disarmed. And as I know Japan was not able to have its own army, and its boundary would be protected by the United States. So, does Japan have the legal right to ...
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9answers
17k views

Why didn't Japanese infantrymen and samurai use shields?

Shields were considered useful in Europe until the development of full plate armor. Despite the fact that they never had anything comparable to plate armor, shield use was apparently abandoned by the ...
11
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2answers
704 views

Were there any pilots that declined to carry out the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Were there any pilots that refused (or politely declined) to take part in the operations of "Fat Man" and "Little Boy," knowing the destruction these would cause? Similarly, were there any scientists ...
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10answers
7k views

Why, in the US, is Japanese brutality ignored compared with the Nazi brutality in WW2?

Instead of accepting too much of what I have read in my textbooks, I have read up a bit about WW2 on my own and have always pondered, why in the USA is the brutality and actions of the Japanese during ...
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2answers
807 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
191 views

Were the Axis Powers really obligated to attack USSR and USA? [duplicate]

EDIT: I don't think it's a duplicate of this. That question asks why attack USSR while still fighting Britain (and I think the OP has a misunderstanding there because the Battle of Britain was already ...
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2answers
236 views

At what age did samurai children start going into battles in the Sengoku era?

Exactly as the title says, from what age did a child of a samurai start to join his father in battles? I suspect it is when the child was considered an adult, but what age was considered an adult ...
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10answers
9k views

Why did Hitler declare war on the USA?

Since there had not been any offensives launched by either side against the other, why declare war just because Japan had attacked the USA?
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4answers
16k views

Why didn't the US choose to demolish Tokyo with an atom bomb?

Tokyo was Japan's capital. Why didn't the US choose Tokyo to demolish with Atom Bomb? Bonus Question: What factors decided to bring Hiroshima and Nagasaki on table?
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1answer
307 views

Did Japan make a contribution to World War II way out of proportion to its estimated relative GDP? [closed]

I was surprised to read these 1938 figures (admittedly estimates) of 1938 GDP for the major combatants of World War II. In round figures, the U.S. had $85 billion, the Germans $42 billion, Britain ...
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4answers
9k views

How many lives were estimated to have been saved by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs?

**President Truman in a August 9, 1945 radio address to the American people, outlined the reasons why we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (and later Nagasaki) I realize the tragic significance ...
23
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1answer
12k views

Did the United States have a third atomic bomb to drop on Japan?

On 15 August, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan announced its surrender to the United States, signing the instrument of surrender on 2 September, officially ending the war. The question ...
3
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2answers
632 views

Why would staff officers carry swords during combat, in World War II?

I realise one purpose as ceremonial, as depicted in Lieutenant General Hatazō Adachi's surrender (eg this picture), but when Isoroku Yamamoto was killed, his white-gloved hand [was still] ...
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3answers
234 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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0answers
176 views

How important were “columnar” strategies in Japan's invasion of China?

In trying to invade a large country like China, there are at least two main strategies 1) a narrow "columnar" strategy, usually based along an artery such as the Yangtze River that provides a natural ...
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1answer
746 views

Why do the Japanese sing Ode to Joy during the Japanese New Year?

During the New Years, the Japanese have a curious custom where they perform Beethoven's 9th symphony. This has produced some stunning sights on youtube But there's nothing particularly festive or New ...
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2answers
159 views

how could japan recover very fast their economy eventhough the two bombs were dropped? [closed]

I tried to search for this question alot but I didn"t find anything so I said to ask my question here maybe someone knows how to answer it!!
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2answers
574 views

Were crossbows used by the Japanese?

Were crossbows used in any significant way by the Japanese? If so, what period and how were they fielded? I found some very brief references: Jonathan Clements' "A Brief History of the Samurai" ...
11
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2answers
424 views

What changed Japanese attitude to POWs in inter-war period?

I have read this excellent answer in which @Semaphore provides sources confirming that German defenders of Tsingtao were treated very well during World War I, which even lead to some tradition in ...
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3answers
4k views

Did a Japanese medieval castle withstand US battleship fire during the Pacific War?

I have overheard the story from an US soldier that during the Pacific War the Japanese mounted a defense in an old medieval castle. The Americans asked for support from a battleship. The battleship ...
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4answers
583 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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2answers
97 views

Did the University of California and University of Geneva award honorary degrees to Inazo Nitobe?

According to Inazo Nitobe (author of "Bushido: The Soul of Japan") timelines written in Japanese, he was awarded honorary degrees from "University of California" (Kariforunia Daigaku, カリフォルニア大学) in ...
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8answers
9k views

What do the modern Japanese people think about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Japan has been an ally of the USA for a long time now. On the other hand, every year they observe Hiroshima Day. Moreover, Japanese people visit Yasukuni Shrine. Then what is the catch?
8
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2answers
396 views

Where did the so-called “Jap Skulls” end up?

I have read that there was a disturbingly common practice of American soldiers in the Pacific theater of WWII to take the skulls of dead Japanese soldiers as trophies to take home, give to ...
8
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1answer
749 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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3answers
7k views

Meaning of samurai crest / symbol

I would like to ask you all to explain the meaning of the 8-th symbol in this picture*: I would like to also know what are those symbols? Thank you very much. * Source: ...
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2answers
248 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 ...
15
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1answer
450 views

Why didn't Japan expand into Ezo?

Throughout the first millenium of Japanese history (and before that even) the Japanese rather steadily expanded up Honshu. Once they had taken the whole of Honshu however they seemed largely to stop. ...
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1answer
3k views

Why haven't Russia and Japan signed a peace treaty after WW2?

I have read that Russia and Japan, which had been fighting long before World War I, are still at war, at least technically, since they have not signed a peace treaty at the conclusion of World War II. ...
3
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1answer
156 views

What killed Takeda Shingen?

What killed Takeda Shingen? A sniper's bullet? Illness? Old wounds? A combination of the above? Why is the cause of his death shrouded in mystery? Did the Takeda try and keep his death secret or ...
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2answers
442 views

Why today's Japan celebrates Western New Year but China still celebrates Chinese New Year?

Before Meiji Restoration, Japan used Chinese calendar and celebrated Chinese New Year just as China did. Nowadays, both Japan and China have adopted Western calendar. However, Japan celebrates ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...