Japan Explained

Japan Explained

Japan Explained is a podcast about diverse aspects of Japanese Culture. I am tired of hearing the same old myths about Japan and I hope you are too.

Episodes

November 21, 2022 43 min

Saigo Takamori, the Great Saigo or the Last Samurai is the ideal Japanese man and one of Japan's most beloved historical characters. In popular imagination, Saigo is THE perfect samurai. His image is so heavily embellished that it is sometimes hard to see where reality meets fiction. But let's try to separate them anyway. 

Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support

Cover art: @justlavi

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Happy Halloween everyone!

We started this October with kitsune, and I thought it would be great to finish it with tanuki. So let's see how tanuki and kitsune influenced each other, what tanuki has to do with the 150th anniversary of Japan Railways and how this powerful yokai ended up as a chubby sake-loving goody of today.

Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support

More info on https://japanexplained.com/tanuki/

Cove...

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October 3, 2022 39 min

Kitsune – Japanese foxes, who are they? Multi-tailed shapeshifters, companions of the god Inari, animals that bring good luck or beasts that inflict madness?

Let's find out!

Bonus episode: https://www.patreon.com/posts/72879450

Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support

More info on https://japanexplained.com/kitsune/

Cover art: @justlavi

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September 5, 2022 26 min

This time let's have a look at the Japanese art of flower arrangement also known as Ikebana. When did the first flower compositions appear in Japan? How did it evolve into complex art with sets of rules and artistic competitions? And which styles of ikebana are there to try your hands on? Let's figure it out.

 

More info on https://japanexplained.com/ikebana/

Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support

Cover art: ...

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To help me break down the many myths about sake, this time I am joined by Dick Stegewerns, the founder of Yoigokochi Sake Importers. We talked about how sake came to Europe and America, how to choose and drink sake, what are the similarities between sake and other alcoholic beverages, how come sake is still mostly produced in tiny breweries, and which sake can be rightfully called the most unusual.

More info on https://japanexplai...

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Continuing to uncover the truth about sake, let's see how this beverage is made, which types of sake you can find in the shop and how to drink it properly. Or maybe there are no rules at all?

More info on https://japanexplained.com/sake/

Bonus episode: https://www.patreon.com/posts/66208266

Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support

Instagram: @japanexplained

Cover design: @justlavi

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Few things in Japanese culture are covered by so many myths as sake. For example, sake is not rice vodka and not even rice wine, but in essence it is rice beer. And it is far from being the most popular alcoholic drink in Japan.

Starting the 3 part series on sake, let's look into the past, present and future of this traditional Japanese beverage.

More info on https://japanexplained.com/sake/

Bonus episode: https://www.patreon.c...

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This time let's take a look at different types of travellers using the road in the 17th-19th centuries. From foreigners who loved Tokaido to an elephant who absolutely hated the journey, there is a full range of opinions about travelling in Japan and the Tokaido road in particular. And that's exactly what we need to understand the life of this famous road.

More info on https://japanexplained.com/tokaido/

Support the show: h...

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March 7, 2022 33 min

Have you ever heard about Tokaido? If you live in Japan, I bet yes. If you’ve ever visited, I’m positive you took Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. And if you love art, you’ve probably seen some of the prints from the Tokaido series by Hiroshige.

Tokaido road has a history of more than 1000 years, and this time I suggest diving into it together.

More info on https://japanexplained.com/tokaido/

Support the show: htt...

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February 16, 2022 30 min

You asked for it, so this time let's look deep into the bowl of ramen and try to figure out why Japan (and now the whole world) is absolutely obsessed with this seemingly simple dish.

More info on https://japanexplained.com/ramen/

Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support

Bonus Episode on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/posts/61675837

Instagram: @japanexplained

Cover design: @justlavi

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In the previous episode, we looked at the origins of ukiyo-e, the development of printing techniques and the classical period in the history of ukiyo-e. We followed the works of a few brilliant artists such as Harunobu, Sharaku and Utamaro and ended up in the late 18th century.

So definitely check it out if you haven’t listened to it yet.

This time let’s look at ukiyo-e in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Lots of things are going...

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This time let's talk about art. And speaking of Japanese art, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? I bet most of us thought of ukiyo-e. These colourful prints represent Japan to the world, but what do we know about them? Not much. What is ukiyo? When did these prints appear? Who made them? Were they always as expensive as now?

Let's follow the history of ukiyo-e and find the answers.

More info on https://japanex...

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October 20, 2021 26 min
Why do people go to karaoke? Why in the West people prefer karaoke bars while the East is all about karaoke boxes? Was karaoke really invented in Japan? How old is it? Why karaoke songs sound so different from the original ones? The list goes on and on. My friends asked me so many questions about karaoke that I decided to make an episode about it to answer them all at once. More info on https://japanexplained.com/karaoke/ Suppo...
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September 29, 2021 24 min

This time let's talk about Japanese curry that has a rather short 150-year long history yet managed to become one of the national dishes of Japan. Let's see how it climbed to fame and how many varieties of the dish we have now in case you want to cook one.

More info on https://japanexplained.com/japanesecurry/ Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support Bonus Article on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/posts/japan...

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Perry promised to come back the next year. And so he did. Now, let's check out what happened next.

More info on https://japanexplained.com/kurofune/ Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support Instagram: @japanexplained Cover design: @justlavi

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In 1853 Commodore Perry came to the shores of Japan and "opened" it to the world. Or did he?

Let's see what actually happened when four black ships appeared one summer day near the shore of Uraga.

More info on https://japanexplained.com/kurofune/ Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support Instagram: @japanexplained Cover design: @justlavi

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In the second part of Yokai Explained, I'll tell you how strict censorship made yokai superstars of the Edo period, which Japanese monster made a big fuss in 19th century London and New York and why in the 21st century we are still fascinated by yokai, creating more and more of them all the time.

More info on https://japanexplained.com/yokai/ Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support Bonus Episode on Patreon: https:...

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We all love something cooling during the summer heat. And what can be more refreshing than a spooky story that makes you shiver.

But sorry, I can't handle scary stories. They are, well, scary. Japanese people, on the other hand, are really good at making and retelling them.

So this time let me introduce you to the Japanese monsters - yokai, and help you understand how they came to life and what turned them into Pokemon.

More in...

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April 30, 2021 21 min

You voted for it, so today I'll look into a long history of nabe hot pot cuisine in Japan, millions of its seasonal and regional varieties and give you a few tips on picking the best pot for your nabe (spoiler alert: you can use pretty much anything).

More info on https://japanexplained.com/nabe/ Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support Instagram: @japanexplained Cover design: @justlavi

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The second part of Michizane's story starts with his exile to the island of Kyushu, where he dies. And then the unexpected happens...

More info on https://japanexplained.com/sugawaramichizane/ Support the show: https://japanexplained.com/#support Bonus Article on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/posts/sugawara-places-50621270 Instagram: @japanexplained Cover design: @justlavi

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