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History Japanese history and archaeology: articles, news, and comments

thomas

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A painting of a ghost that Kudoji Temple (久渡寺) in Hirosaki has owned for over 200 years has been confirmed to be an authentic work of Maruyama Ōkyo (圓山應舉, 1733-1795), a famous naturalist painter renowned (and criticised) for his realistic depictions.

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Kenpon Bokuga Tansai Hangonko no Zu” (ink drawing on silk canvas with light coloring, ghost appearing from incense, 1781)

This is the first “Yurei Zu” (ghost painting) in Japan confirmed to be an original by Okyo, a popular and influential painter from the Edo Period (1603-1867), according to a member of the city’s cultural property committee that studied it and attested to the work's authenticity. It was previously believed that the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive of the University of California Berkeley possessed the only ghost painting done by Okyo. The board of education designated it as a tangible cultural property of the city on May 20, after it received the committee’s report. The ghost painting is called “Kenpon Bokuga Tansai Hangonko no Zu” (ink drawing on silk canvas with light coloring, ghost appearing from incense), and dates to around 1781. According to the committee member, the illustration included in the box for the ghost painting, and the writing on the box lid, read “Okyo’s work” and “Morioka Shuzen (1735-1785), Hirosaki Domain’s chief retainer, donated it to Kudoji temple in 1784.” The committee confirmed the background information by studying gravestones and family registers of deaths that remained in the city. The ghost paintings owned by Kudoji temple and the Berkeley art museum are similar in composition and were created around the same time, officials said. By comparison, officials said it is “not inferior at all” to the other painting when it comes to the depictions of hair, drawn with fine lines, and the costumes. It is believed that Morioka Shuzen, who lost his wife and his mistress in succession, asked Okyo to commemorate them in art. Kudoji temple opens the ghost painting to the public on May 18 in the old calendar every year. The board of education wants to increase the opportunities to show it to the public now that it has been designated a tangible cultural property, an official said.

 

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Giant Gion Festival float destroyed in 1864 fire being rebuilt in Kyoto for 2022 parade debut​


The rebuilt Takayama float is about 7.6 meters tall, 6.4 meters long and 4.3 meters wide, and weighs more than 10 metric tons. The float's main platform features figures of three deities in hawking poses. Some of the essential components including the four wheels came from other floats, and were installed after being repaired. Gion Festival's 34 floats, including Takayama, are classified into five types. Takayama is one of the largest floats of its type, which are pulled with ropes and feature a pine tree on the main platform. Takayama was heavily damaged by strong wind and rain in 1826, and could not be included in the Gion Festival parade from the following year. Most of the float was then destroyed in a massive fire in 1864 caused by the Kinmon incident (禁門の変, Kinmon no Hen, "Forbidden Gate Incident" or "Imperial Palace Gate Incident"), also known as the Hamaguri Gate Rebellion (蛤御門の変, Hamaguri Gomon no Hen, "Hamaguri Imperial Gate Incident"), a rebellion against the Tokugawa shogunate in Japan that took place on 20 August 1864. The deity figures escaped the blaze, and have been enshrined at a meeting place during the festival ever since.


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Photo credit: Mainichi/Kazuki Yamazaki
 
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Great thread

Didnt read all the posts here, is there some brief explanation or link about Japan history and relationship with other countries, preferencially Asia like China, Korea etc?

Or another thread already addressing it, anything

Thanks in advance
 

mdchachi

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Great thread

Didnt read all the posts here, is there some brief explanation or link about Japan history and relationship with other countries, preferencially Asia like China, Korea etc?

Or another thread already addressing it, anything

Thanks in advance
Try using the search field to search for site content with key words. There are tens of thousands of posts in here.
 

thomas

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Great thread

Didnt read all the posts here, is there some brief explanation or link about Japan history and relationship with other countries, preferencially Asia like China, Korea etc?

Or another thread already addressing it, anything

Or just post a new thread, we’ll be glad to answer your questions. :)
 

thomas

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An interesting piece on war technology: rare photos of rocket tests related to the Shusui fighter project were found in a Yokosuka home after 75 years.

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The Shusui was a rocket-powered interceptor aircraft developed to help reverse Japan's waning fortunes late in World War II. The Shusui was based on the Messerschmidt Me163, which saw active duty in the last days of the war over the skies of Germany.

However, rare images of the facility that worked to develop the plane closely modeled on the German Messerschmitt Me 163B Komet aircraft recently emerged. Among other things, they depict the engine testing site run by the Imperial Japanese Army at what is now Matsusho High School here. Nine photos show a building at the test ground, the fighter’s rocket engine and key personnel involved in the project. One expert hailed the previously undisclosed materials as a “historic find.” Work on the Shusui started in August 1944 based on designs from the German military. It was viewed as a means of slowing down strategic bombing runs by U.S. B-29 Superfortress aircraft. The Navy and Army were responsible for the development of the body and the rocket engine, respectively. The Shusui was supposed to reach an altitude of 10,000 meters in three and a half minutes at a maximum speed of 900 kph, and was deemed to be the final hand to be played by the Japanese military to defend the archipelago. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. in Nagoya was responsible for designing the prototype. Increasingly intensified air raids forced the company to relocate its rocket engine development team to the experimental facility in Matsumoto in March 1945. The first trial flight took place in July 1945 but failed. In the end, the Shusui project never got off the ground. The recently discovered photos were among items kept by Keisuke Hirata, an engineer with officer rank who was involved in the development. The images remained with his family in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, after his death.

Source:
More:


 

thomas

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And another piece of war, or rather post-war, history: Hiroaki Takazawa, associate professor at Nihon University College of Industrial Technology, has found official U.S. documents describing how the American military scattered the cremated remains of wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and six other executed Class-A war criminals in the Pacific Ocean.

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It is the first time that details over the final disposition of the Class A criminals' final disposition have been found in official documents. While speculation and hearsay had circulated that their remains were scattered in the Pacific Ocean or Tokyo Bay, there had never been any official documents to back the claims. Tojo was among 28 Class A war criminals comprising Japanese political and military leaders who were indicted for crimes against peace after World War II. Seven, including the former premier, were hanged. [ ... ]

"If the remains were returned to nature, that is better than being abandoned somewhere else," said Hidetoshi Tojo, 48, great-grandchild of the executed former prime minister. "I had no idea (what happened to the remains) as there was somehow no talk about it," he said. "It is disappointing that we cannot pinpoint the location in the Pacific. It was made difficult to know the exact location by scattering them in the sea, and it is my understanding that the U.S. military was making a thorough effort to ensure that they not be deified." Yoshinobu Higurashi, professor at Teikyo University, said the U.S. military scattered the remains in the ocean to prevent the deification of war criminals, just as the remains of executed criminals of Nazi Germany convicted at the Nuremberg trials were dispersed in a river.



This is the website of Tojo Hidetoshi, Tojo Hideki's great-grandson:

 

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A historic sword made by the Kyoto master swordsmith Takai Echizen Kami Minamoto Nobuyoshi was returned to Aoi-Asojinja shrine in Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto Prefecture, after extensive restoration.

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Photo credit: Yoshiki Yashiro

A crowdfunding campaign by the shrine led to donations far exceeding its initial goals, allowing for restoration of more than one damaged sword. A ceremony was held June 16 to mark the return of the 60-centimeter sword created by master Kyoto swordsmith Takai Echizen Kami Minamoto Nobuyoshi. The words “Aoi Daimyojin,” a past name of the shrine, are etched into the blade. The sword was presented to Aoi-Asojinja over 350 years ago by retainers of the feudal lord of the Sagara clan on his behalf. When the shrine began its crowdfunding campaign last August, it set an initial goal of raising 5 million yen ($45,000). But that figure was reached just 90 minutes or so after the campaign began. Over the course of a month, 35 million yen was donated to the shrine. Swordsmith Shota Kimura and his family members began restoration work on the sword last October. “I had never seen anything like it in all my time as a swordsmith,” Kimura recalled thinking when he first set eyes on the damaged blade. “It was so badly rusted.”

 

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Extensive ruins have been excavated at the site of the former Heijokyu imperial palace in Nara.

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Photo credit: Takuya Tanabe

It believes the structure was the centre piece of a residence for emperors and crown princes during the late eighth century. One expert said the building was likely a residence for female Emperor Koken (718-770). Archaeologists began examining a roughly 924-square-meter plot in the northern Toin district in March, according to the institute. Toin is located in the eastern part of the Heijokyu palace, the nerve centre of politics during the Nara Period (710-784). They unearthed ruins of a rectangular-shaped structure, which spans 27 meters in an east-west direction and 12 meters in a north-south direction. Also found were 50 pits dug in the ground to place pillars into them. The holes are lined up about 3 meters apart. The building, supported by pillars placed in a grid-like formation, likely served as a living space, according to the institute. The researchers concluded that the structure stood there between 749 and 770 during the Nara Period, based on the characteristics of a pattern on roof tiles found in the pits.

Source: http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14385163

 

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A letter written by Toyotomi Hideyoshi was discovered at Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto.

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A letter sealed with red wax penned by feudal warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) expressing gratitude for his mother's recovery from illness was found at Kiyomizudera temple here, a World Heritage site in the city's Higashiyama Ward. Although the Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo made a copy of the document in or after 1886, the original letter went missing at some point. It was rediscovered while the officials were sorting through 194 old documents at the temple, officials said July 7. They said the "shuinjo" letter was written on a sheet of traditional Japanese Otaka-danshi paper measuring 62 centimeters by 44 cm. It was stamped with Hideyoshi's red seal, meaning he penned it himself. The letter was written on March 10, 1589. According to Teruhisa Sakai, the temple's curator, Hideyoshi wrote that his wish for the recovery of his mother, Omandokoro, from illness had been granted. He also notified the addressee that a gift of rice was on its way as reward and to build a temple. Historians said Hideyoshi may have donated 300 tons of rice. "It (the letter) can be utilized to verify the dates of when other letters were written, based on the quality of the paper, the shape of the red seal and other factors," Sakai said. Two more letters associated with Hideyoshi were also found. In another red-sealed letter, he extends his gratitude to Kiyomizudera for giving him two sets of "yukata" light summer kimono when the warlord visited the Arima onsen hot spring resort in present-day Kobe for health treatment.

Source: Original letter from warlord Hideyoshi found in Kyoto
 
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