The Japanese-American Officer Who Helped Take Down and Then Rebuild Japan

Born in Seattle in 1920, Harry Fukuhara was fully bicultural, bilingual, and binational. When I first met Harry Fukuhara, in 1994, he was orchestrating a Tokyo press conference for Japanese Foreign Ministry officials, former Jewish refugees from the Holocaust, and veterans of the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The groups were there to commemorate the[…]

An Immigrant Family that Bridged Japanese and American Worlds in Hawaii

How siblings torn between two sides of the Pacific forged identities in the aftermath of war. I still remember them at the dining table after dinner each night in our Honolulu home. Three elegant sisters, styled out of Vogue magazine, their jet black hair in neat chignons and pixie haircuts, each savoring a cigarette and lingering over[…]

The ‘Good War’: Concentration Camps and Japanese America

Exploring current struggles of memory and history within and beyond the Japanese American community. For many Americans, World War II has become entrenched, solidly and nostalgically, in the national narrative as “The Good War” fought by “The Greatest Generation.” Increasingly, and disturbingly, this formulation appears to have won acceptance even by an American minority group[…]

The Late Medieval Japanese Invasion of Korea, 1592-1598

The conflict would not only have devastating consequences for all concerned but permanently sour relations between Japan and Korea. Introduction The two Japanese invasions of Korea between 1592 and 1598 CE, otherwise known as the ‘Imjin Wars’, saw Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598 CE), the Japanese military leader, put into reality his long-held plan to invade China[…]

Medieval Japan’s Itsukushima Shinto Shrine

Traditionally founded in the 6th century CE, the present layout of buildings dates to the 12th century CE. Introduction Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto shrine on the island of the same name, also known as Miyajima, located in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. Traditionally founded in the 6th century CE, the present layout of buildings dates[…]

The Architecture of Medieval Japan’s Himeji Castle

The castle is the largest and best-preserved samurai fortification in the country. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Himeji Castle, located in the town of Himeji in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan, was built on a natural hilltop between 1581 and 1609 CE. The complex is composed of a maze-like arrangement of fortified buildings, walls, and gates,[…]

The Tokugawa Shogunate: Autocratic Rule in Early Modern Japan

After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, central authority fell to Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the Shogunate began. Introduction The Tokugawa Shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa Bakufu (徳川幕府) and the Edo Bakufu (江戸幕府), was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867.[3] The head of government was the shōgun,[4] and each was a member of the Tokugawa clan.[5] The Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo[…]