history

Nightingale floors: The samurai intruder alarm system Japan’s had for centuries

For centuries, Japan has taken pride in the talents of its craftsmen, carpenters and woodworkers included. Because of that, you might be surprised to find that some Japanese castles have extremely creaky wooden floors that screech and groan with each step.

How could such slipshod construction have been considered acceptable for some of the most powerful figures in Japanese history? The answer is that the sounds weren’t just tolerated, but desired, as the noise-producing floors functioned as Japan’s earliest automated intruder alarm.

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Samurai and swimsuit models? New TV show offers both in one sexily convenient place 【Photos】

When I first told people I was moving to Japan, many of them immediately said, “Ah, you’re moving there because you like Japanese girls, aren’t you?” And while it’s true that after arriving in the country I did meet, start dating, and am now married to one of the locals, my attraction to Japanese culture and history played a bigger part in my moving across the Pacific.

Of course, there’s no law that says your loves of history and beautiful women have to be mutually exclusive, which is why a new TV series is set to premier that features sexy models stripping off samurai armor to reveal their swimsuit-clothed bodies.

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They just don’t make Japanese food delivery people like they used to

Times always change. New things come and old things fade away. Depending on your age and location you may have some fond memory of milk being delivered by a horse-drawn carriage or going to a so-called “vi-dee-oh store” to rent a moving picture etched onto some weird magnetic tape or disc.

And some Japanese people may reminisce about the Showa period of Japan when food delivery men would ride around on bicycles carrying an absurd amount of food on a single shoulder.

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Nine things that may shatter your dreams of living in Kyoto

Kyoto now welcomes 50 million tourists a year who come to experience Japan’s traditional culture and architecture, plus catch a glimpse of the city’s famed geisha. But, as anyone who lives in a tourist hot spot knows, living there is not the same as a short visit.

As such, the following is a list of some of the things that Kyoto locals probably have the urge to remind tourists of from time to time, so allow us to shatter your illusions with some of the realities that come with living in Japan’s ancient capital.

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How to armor yourself in the event of a sudden attack: A guide for samurai beginners and pros

An online retailer specializing in ancient Japanese armor, helmets, and horse harnesses has been getting a lot of clicks recently for their detailed, illustrated instructions about how to rapidly equip yourself (and your horse!) with armor in a pinch. Both novice and advanced warriors are sure to learn a thing or two from this handy step-by-step guide–take a look, and you’ll never be unprepared in the event of a stealthy ninja attack again!

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The times they are a-changin': Snapshots of Tokyo 50 years ago vs. today【Photos】

Once upon a time, Tokyo was nowhere near the sprawling megalopolis that it is today. Long ago, it wasn’t a sure thing that the small fishing village known as Edo would someday become one of the most bustling cities in the world.

But let’s skip Tokyo’s early years and fast-forward to a slightly more recent age. Ever wondered what the city looked like half a century ago, before the towering skyscrapers and iconic neon lights? Today, we are proud to present a visual comparison of Tokyo, 50 years ago versus the modern day!

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Chinese flag found at underwater wreckage of Japanese war ship

The depths of the ocean are very mysterious, what with all the weird fish and sea creatures, shipwrecks and maybe even sunken treasure down there. It’s no wonder scuba diving is such a popular activity, since you never know just what you’ll come across.

Last weekend, some Japanese divers off the coast of Palau thought they knew what they were going to see when they dove to the underwater grave of a Japanese warship. However, they were surprised to discover something new and peculiar at the site: a Chinese flag. Hm, that wasn’t there last time…

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Japanese “History Geek Girls” snapping up copies of mega-popular book about Japanese swords

I think we can all agree that it doesn’t take much to convince people that Japanese swords are all-around pretty cool. The sweet, curved blade of the katana just has a natural artistic beauty, plus we hear they’re pretty good at slicing fruit.

But apparently Japanese teen and 20-something boys these days just aren’t that into it. Girls, on the other hand, seem to be driving a renewed interest in the historical weapons, if sales of a new series of books are any indication.

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Strapped for cash, 1,400-year-old Kyoto shrine leasing part of its grounds for condo development

One of the things that makes Japan such a compelling place is the country’s long cultural history. The upkeep of centuries-old buildings can be extremely expensive, however, especially since traditional Japanese architecture is mainly wood, reed, and paper, which aren’t exactly the sturdiest building materials.

As we’ve seen before, sometimes even sites of historical significance can struggle to make ends meet, and Kyoto’s famous Shimogamo Shrine is no exception. That’s why in order to raise the funds it needs, the institution, which was founded some 1,400 years ago, is planning to lease a section of its grounds for the construction of a condominium complex.

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Shipwreck of massive Japanese battleship discovered after more than 70 years 【Video】

No one would blame Paul Allen if, having reached the age of 62, he decided to relax and take life easy. After co-founding Microsoft and becoming one of the wealthiest people on the planet, most of us would feel we’d earned a little break.

Allen, though, continues to take on new projects. Owner in whole or part of three professional sports teams, Allen is also major philanthropist who makes donations to further medicine, science, and ecological conservation.

He also owns the 15th largest yacht in the world, the Octopus. While it’s luxuriously appointed, the ship also takes part in humanitarian and research missions, with its latest accomplishment being the discovery of the sunken Japanese battleship Musashi.

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10 things you probably didn’t know about Pearl Harbor

The surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 marked the day the United States entered World War II. Over three thousand Americans lost their lives in the attack and in 1962 the USS Arizona Memorial was constructed over the sunken battle ship USS Arizona to remember those who lost their lives that day.

But you already know that. This article will tell you some other things about Pearl Harbor that you may not know.

Join us after the jump as RocketNews24 visits Pearl Harbor and helps you bone up on your WWII trivia.

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Iwate Prefecture’s recruitment poster for the Japan Self-Defence Force is kind of confusing

The Japan Self-Defence Forces are the unified military forces of Japan, established after the Second World War. Recruits are tasked with maintaining the security of the nation and, occasionally, with international peacekeeping for the UN.

Recently, however, this recruitment poster for the JSDF in Iwate Prefecture has been raising netizens’ eyebrows online for, well, a number of reasons, but they might not be what you were expecting…

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Utsurobune: The UFO (unidentified floating object) of 19th Century Japan

The image above is one of many illustrations of the Utsurobune no Banjo incident that happened in Japan in the early 19th century. Although there are various accounts of the event, it is believed by many to have been an encounter with extraterrestrials, and not just because the vessel fishermen found in the ocean looks like a flying saucer.

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Mr. Sato visits the Retro Space Saka Hall, full of syringes, Mediocrity, and bittersweet memories

While visiting the city of Sapporo, our adventurous reporter Mr. Sato stumbled upon this bizarre looking complex called the Retro Space Saka Hall. The whole place looked incredibly sketchy, but that was right up his alley.

Little did he know, however, that this dingy-looking industrial complex nestled in snow would almost move him to tears.

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February 22 is Ninja Day, as these cosplaying civil servants at Koka City Hall just reminded us

Are you feeling bummed out that February’s two most high-profile holidays, namely Twin Tail Day and Valentine’s Day, are both already over and done with? Cheer up! While it may not necessarily tug at the heartstrings like February 2 and 14, what’s arguably the coolest holiday of the month is coming up this weekend.

That’s because February 22 is officially Ninja Day, and one town in Japan is helping people get into the spirit with a bit of shinobi-style cosplay at its city hall.

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Japanese granny attempts to trash treasure trove of old photographs, is thwarted by grandkids

Some people like to live a minimalist lifestyle – keeping the bare minimum of possessions and even living in tiny houses to help stave off clutter. But the vast majority of people who’ve lived a long, full life tend to have stores of secret treasures stacked up that can still be both fascinating and valuable today. When one Twitter user caught their grandma in the act of throwing away a box of old postcards and photos, they rugby tackled the old dear (erm, figuratively) to prevent her from trashing some priceless artefacts of the past. Join us after the jump for a good gander at granny’s box of memories!

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The City of Angels is now the City of Samurai with Los Angeles museum’s awesome armor exhibition

Like clockwork, every winter I get a serious bout of home-sickness. It’s usually triggered by a call or email from someone back home telling me about taking a drive with the top down, watching football on ordinary broadcast TV, going out for some Vietnamese sandwiches, or one of the other things I miss about life in Los Angeles.

“But,” I remind myself, “Japan has lots of cool things too! Where else can you go to the museum and see massive collections of samurai armor, huh?”

Oh, right now you can do that at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art? Touché, L.A.

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We visit the Guinness World Record-holding oldest hotel in the world – established 705 A.D.!

Keiunkan Inn in Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture is famous for holding the Guinness World Record for being “The oldest hotel in the world”. Established in 705 A.D., it boasts such notable former guests as daimyo Takeda Shingen, shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and numerous emperors of Japan.

The inn itself is located in the southern alps of Yamanashi Prefecture, nestled in lush valleys in the very heart of nature. It’s the perfect location for escaping from the hustle and bustle of city life. What’s more, the inn is built upon prime hot springs ground, which means guests are able to enjoy numerous open-air and communal hot spring baths. Each room’s shower, bath and sink facilities are fed by pure hot spring water, which is neither treated nor heated by any artificial means. In fact, except for the toilets, the entire inn uses the hot springs water in its daily running, which makes it a very special and luxurious place to visit.

Our reporter, Yoshio, decided to book a stay in “the oldest hotel in the world” in order to share his experiences with the good readers of RocketNews24. Read on for many, many gorgeous photos of his trip!

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Historical Japanese swords turn into hot and battle-hardened Blade Boys in new mobile game

These days, one of the quickest and most popular methods for stocking a video game with a cast of attractive anime-style characters is to pick a class of item and anthropomorphize the heck out of it. There’s currently no hotter mobile game than Kantai Collection, in which players command a fleet of pretty girls who’re all modeled after World War II-era Japanese warships. If naval history isn’t your thing, you can also find titles featuring comely cars and moe mushrooms.

There’s a new entry in the subgenre though, and judging from its all-pretty boy roster of characters, it’s been designed with female otaku gamers in mind. As such, it’s no surprise that the men of Touken Ranbu are all based on something long and hard…plus sharp, as they’re all anthropomorphized swords.

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Edo era Samurai were pretty gay

Recently a Japanese TV program highlighted an interesting bit of historical trivia: The most common type of revenge killing in the Edo period was between gay lovers. It’s a statistic that shocked many viewers in modern Japan, but there is ample evidence to support that a whole lot of gay sex was going on in the country from between 1400 and 1900.

It was at first a playful fancy of the ruling classes but then grew into a cold yet efficiently run military system of battlefield man-pleasuring. However, as we can see from the previously mentioned little factoid, once guys start letting emotions get involved, the whole thing starts to fall apart.

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