454 episodes

This podcast, assembled by a former PhD student in History at the University of Washington, covers the entire span of Japanese history. Each week we'll tackle a new topic, ranging from prehistoric Japan to the modern day.

History of Japan Isaac Meyer

    • History
    • 4.8 • 84 Ratings

This podcast, assembled by a former PhD student in History at the University of Washington, covers the entire span of Japanese history. Each week we'll tackle a new topic, ranging from prehistoric Japan to the modern day.

    Episode 449 - The Tastemaker

    Episode 449 - The Tastemaker

    This week: the career and legacy of the most influential Japanese poet you've probably never heard of, Fujiwara no Teika. Teika's views on poetry and literature have shaped how we read those genres down to the present day, so how did he develop such authority in the field?
    Show notes here.

    • 35 min
    Episode 448 - Abe, Part 5

    Episode 448 - Abe, Part 5

    This week, a current events episode on the leadup and immediate aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Note: this episode is intended to be a continuation of Episode 364 (our last episode on Abe). 
    Show notes here.

    • 36 min
    Episode 447 - On a Summer Night, The First Thought of Sleep

    Episode 447 - On a Summer Night, The First Thought of Sleep

    This week, we're taking a look at the legacy of one of Japan's most influential poets: Ki no Tsurayuki. His poems may not quite be the popular phenomenon they once were, but his views about how poetry works have always been influential, and shaped how we think about poetry down to this day.
    Show notes here. 

    • 35 min
    Episode 446 - In Days of Old, There Was a Man

    Episode 446 - In Days of Old, There Was a Man

    This week, we're unpacking a rather odd classic of Japanese literature: the Ise Monogatari, a collection of short tales that are probably about a famously seductive aristocrat, but which were in large part not written by him--and which have oddly political meanings given their often lascivious nature. What are the tales about? And what can we glean from reading them today?
    Show notes here.

    • 37 min
    Episode 445 - A Bowl for a Coin

    Episode 445 - A Bowl for a Coin

    This week: we tend to think of tea in terms of the tea ceremony and fancy culture, but what about lowbrows like me who like to drink our tea bottled from a vending machine? This week we'll be looking at tea as a commodity, and how it became a staple of Japan's consumer culture.
    Show notes here.

    • 37 min
    Episode 444 - The Crysanthemum Taboo

    Episode 444 - The Crysanthemum Taboo

    This week: how did a spate of right wing violence in the early years of the 1960s help to fundamentally reshape public discourse around the emperor (and thus around politics and history more generally) up to the present day? And what does all of this have to do with one of the most bizarre short stories that has ever been published?
    Show notes here.

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
84 Ratings

84 Ratings

LUFC_Seb ,

An imperious historical presenter

Isaac was fantastic on Netflix’s Age of Samurai docuseries, so I searched him up and was very glad to find this podcast - I’ve only listened to one so far, but I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to trawling through this considerable back catalogue! He is a brilliant presenter of historical material and I wish him well in all his future endeavours - especially in getting another Netflix series about Japanese history on the cards!

Merrabau ,

Great Podcast

One of the best starting places for in-depth history of Japan. I love the way that it covers a broad amount of topics and isn’t just focused on a list of dates with kings and such, instead willing to go into some of the smaller stories. That being said the weekly book recommendations is really hurting my bank at the moment.

melonfann ,

Fantastic

I had to take a module on Japanese history at university and - though interested in Japan - I struggled to engage with the material and methods of historical analysis (I’m no historian!). This podcast really enriched my studies and helped me perform much better in the exams by introducing me to many primary material tidbits and less-discussed events that add dimension to textbook history. Amazing resource.

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