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Sometimes you just have to take advantage of a cheap joke about a silly number to take a look at the history of drug policy in Japan. So today, we’ll be exploring the rich history of illegal drugs, addiction, and government attempts to regulate or combat drug use in Japan. Sources Jennings, John M. “The Opium Empire: Japan and the East Asian Drug T…
 
For our final episode of 2021, we’re looking at the origin of one of Japan’s most famous pieces of literature: the war epic known as the Heike Monogatari, or Tale of Heike. How did a story about a single conflict in Japanese history become one of the best known chronicles in the entirety of Japan’s history, and what did the story tap into to attain…
 
This week, we have a biography of one of the rare women of medieval Japan who was prominent not just because of her relationship to men, but because of her attainments in her own right. It’s the tale of Japan’s first female Zen master, Mugai Nyodai. Sources Ruch, Barbara. “The Other Side of Culture in Medieval Japan.” Cambridge History of Japan Vol…
 
This week: how did the overseas slave trade from Japan continue despite a Portuguese ban? How was the trade finally ended? And what can we learn from this dark history? Sources De Sousa, Lucio. The Portuguese Slave Trade in Early Modern Japan: Merchants, Jesuits, and Japanese, Chinese and Korean Slaves. Nelson, Thomas. “Slavery in Medieval Japan.” …
 
This week, we’re beginning a two-part history on the pre-modern slave trade in Japan. Slavery existed in Japan before the written record, so what did it look like? How did the slave system operate? And what changed when European merchants came to Japan in the mid-1500s? Sources De Sousa, Lucio. The Portuguese Slave Trade in Early Modern Japan: Merc…
 
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