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History and Historical Figures

Enter The Bubishi - Part 1- Introduction & Origins
By Victor Smith and Christopher Caile

It was an obscure martial arts text, but it was the prized possession of many early pioneers of modern karate, something so secret that it was shown only to the most trusted students.

Enter The Bubishi - Part 2 - The Text & Its Impact On Okinawa
By Victor Smith and Christopher Caile

It was an obscure martial arts text, but it was the prized possession of many early pioneers of modern karate, something so secret that it was shown only to the most trusted students.

Sakamoto Ryoma ? The Indispensable 'Nobody'
By Romulus Hillsborough

Although virtually unknown in the west, this Japanese heroic figure helped mold a modern Japan out of the fragmented cloth of feudal tradition.

Katsu Kaishu: The Man Who Saved Early Modern Japan
By Romulus Hillsborough

This consummate samurai was among the most remarkable of the numerous heroes of the Meiji Restoration.

Yoshida Shoin: The Archetype of Japanese Revolutionaries
By Romulus Hillsborough

He was the principal intellectual protagonist of the Meiji Restoration of 1868 who helped guide Japan into the modern era.

A visit to the "Samurai Castle" - Himejijo
By Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.

What makes Himejijo unique is that the castle is an authentic example of Edo period castle architecture and as such, it gives insight into Edo period military thinking, and the way of life of the warrior class of the time.

Matsumoto Castle - Pride of the City: Part 1
By Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.

While Japan?s historic Matsumoto Castle is not as well known as several others it is unique in that it was never attacked or destroyed and thus remains in its original structure.

Matsumoto Castle - Pride of the City: Part 2
By Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.

Having to fight and defend against Japanese firearms had a dramatic effect on the design and structure of this samurai castle.

The Day I Met Bruce Lee
By Bonnie Devet

I feel I had met the true Lee?someone with the power to unite the disparate, the desperate, the divergent, and the dissimilar...the real heritage and influence of this martial arts star.

In the Footsteps of the Samurai: Walking the Nakasendo
By Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.

An account of the author?s expedition along the famous foot path that in Samurai Japan connected the two great centers of Japanese power, culture and civilization.

In the Footsteps of the Samurai: Walking the Nakasendo Part 2
By Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.

Further adventures along the famous foot path that in Samurai Japan connected the two great centers of Japanese power, culture and civilization.

The Samurai, the Ship, and the Golden Gate
By Romulus Hillsborough

In March 1860 a group of Japanese Samurai arrived in San Francisco Bay in a tiny armed schooner, the Kanrin Maru, commanded by Katsu Kaishu in advance of an official delegation. What they experienced was a shock to their cultural experience.

Ghosts of the Samurai - A visit to Matsue
By Deborah Klens-Bigman

Japan is a 21st century country, and yet, one does not have to go far to find the ghosts of another Japan?an old graveyard behind a wooden temple, a Shinto shrine surrounded by dark greenery set back from a noisy street.

Tracing Samurai Culture in Kanazawa
By Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.

Unlike some Japanese cities that have spectacular historic castles that dominate the city view, Kanazawa hides it historic sites. If you search, however, you can find old samurai-class houses from the Edo period (1603-1867) and the walled Nagamachi district where old earthen walls shielding the homes behind them.

Ryukyu Money 1600-1870
By

Early Ryukyuan coinage used in trade and commerce.

Exploring the "Old Way" of Kuman
By Deborah Klens-Bigman

Here is another chapter in my travels around Japan, this time to Kumano on the Kii Peninsula south of Osaka. This entire area was once crisscrossed by a network of paths that linked three great Shinto shrines to each other and the coast. Shrine pilgrimage to this area has existed since at least the 10th century. In particular, the shrines became a site of major pilgrimage by a series of politically powerful ex-emperors.

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