history

Weapons, drugs and racism among 15 things a minor could buy in Showa Japan

History in Japan is divided into the eras over which certain emperors reign. For example, now we are in the 27th year of the Heisei Era under Emperor Akihito. Before 1989, Japan was in the Showa Era, which began in late 1926.

Japan went through a series of major social changes during this period, which runs right through World War II and the saw the growth of the bubble economy. Fans of history are probably familiar with the political and business aspects of these changes, but not as much is seen of daily life in Japan during this tumultuous time.

So, here’s a little look at what things were like back then in a list of 15 things that a child could purchase during the Showa Period. Cue the Breaking Bad steel guitar riff.

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Bamiyan Buddhas destroyed by Taliban reborn via Chinese couple, projection mapping

The giant stone Buddhas at Bamiyan were the tallest in the world at 55 and 38 meters (180 and 125 feet) in height. From their cliffside alcove, they watched a millennium and a half pass in Afghanistan, resisting the degenerative influence of time and the introduction of Islam, until religious fanaticism in the form of the Taliban and a great deal of explosives finally brought them down.

Their loss was a cultural and artistic tragedy, but this week the Buddhas were reborn through the magic of 3-D projection mapping and the efforts of a civilian Chinese couple.

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Upcoming photo book captures the postwar journey of recovery for Nagoya

A new photo book titled Nagoya in the Showa Era: Showa Years 20-40 (昭和の名古屋 昭和20~40年代) captures all of the struggles and efforts to rebuild the city, which is the capital of Aichi Prefecture, between 1945-1965. If you or someone you know has a connection to Nagoya, this book may provide an interesting and relevant glimpse into the past.

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Samurai fashion guide – Should you wear your sword blade-up or blade-down?

In any situation, it’s important to dress appropriately. It can be tough to get all the little details just right, though, especially when dealing with articles of clothing you don’t have occasion to use very often. If you’re still a student, for example, you might have trouble tying a nice, crisp knot in your necktie, and even if you’re an adult working in a suit-and-tie business environment, you might not know all the finer points for more formal accessorizing, such as where to position a tie bar or the proper way to fold a pocket square.

Or, if you’re going to meet up with your fellow samurai, should your sword point upwards or downwards?

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Wouldn’t it be great to travel back in time to feudal Japan? Eh, probably not, reveals poll

We are pretty lucky to be living in the 21st century with all the mod-cons at our fingertips. Spare a thought for poor Saburo, a character in the TV drama series Nobunaga Concerto based on the manga by Ayumi Ishii, where he finds himself traveling back in time.

The series is a comical depiction of what happens when Saburo jumps from the present day to Japan’s feudal era, but if we all suddenly found ourselves without the modern conveniences we love, would we really be laughing? Probably not, as revealed by a poll of what viewers would hate if they found themselves sent back in time.

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You won’t believe your eyes! Old opthalmologist’s shop in Taiwan is now an ice cream shop

One of the best things about taking a holiday abroad is basking in the glory of all the historical architecture of the area. Another amazing thing about it is eating delicious food and buying tons of yummy goodies to bring home. So if you’re thinking of visiting Taiwan any time soon, you’d be crazy to pass up an opportunity to visit this olde-world opthalmologist’s shop that’s been turned into a swanky ice cream, cake and sweets shop!

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Century-old cosplay photo exists for a reason as bizarre as its dog vs. monkey sumo match

With the rise of otaku culture Japan is in its golden age of anime events, which means that cosplay is bigger than ever. But it turns out that even before there were Internet forums, prop suppliers, and even dedicated themed cosplay photo studio complexes, people in Japan were dressing up in fantasy costumes and posing for the camera.

As a matter of fact, this photo from more than a century ago shows that the roots of cosplay predate Japanese animation itself. But with no anime conventions or social media outlets through which to show off their outfits, why did this group bother? Suffice to say the reason for this photo shoot is about as unexpected as the costumed scene itself: a giant monkey about to sumo wrestle a biped dog.

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Women, gamers, and foreigners all show up to be samurai for a day at Sengoku battle reenactment

Some people in Japan have no more than a passing interest in the country’s long and fascinating history, which is at least partly the fault of how the subject is taught in schools. Many history classes place a heavy emphasis on memorization of the exact dates and years of important events, leaving less time for studying the people and motivations behind them.

There’s been a recent surge in history buffs, though, especially in regards to the Sengoku, or Warring States, period which lasted from the mid 15th century until the very start of the 17th century. But it’s not crusty old historians leading this charge, as a recent samurai battle reenactment had women making up some 40 percent of the volunteers, whose ranks were also bolstered by video gamers and foreign residents of Japan.

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Tokaido ukiyoe series by Hiroshige now free to share, we celebrate with five favourites

Lovers of Japanese art and history will be familiar with the world-famous set of ukiyo-e woodblock prints known as “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido.” Created in the 1800s by famed artist Utagawa Hiroshige, the collection is a series of landscape paintings from each of the post stations on the ancient coastal walking route from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto and is frequently praised for the way it captures the spirit and essence of old Japan.

While the masterful works have garnered fans around the world, when it comes to sharing the images online, things haven’t been so easy. Now, limitations have been lifted and the beautiful series is free to share without copyright restrictions. What better way to celebrate the good news than to share some of the best with you, our dear readers?

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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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