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South Korea Unveils Secret Talks on Comfort Women Accord with Japan (News)

Seoul, Dec. 27 (Jiji Press)—A South Korean task force released on Wednesday a report elaborating on the contents of secret high-level talks between the South Korean and Japanese governments on the bilateral accord to resolve the issue of so-called comfort women. The accord, announced on December 28, 2015, was wrapped up largely in the secret talks, the task force of the Foreign Ministry said, a…

Nakasone Attempted to Broker China-South Korea Rapprochement (News)

Tokyo, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)—Then Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro attempted to mediate the normalization of diplomatic ties between China and South Korea when he met in 1986 with Hu Yaobang, the Communist Party of China's leader at the time, according to Japanese diplomatic documents released on Wednesday. But Hu showed a negative attitude toward the proposed rapprochement with Seoul d…

The Secret Alliance with Japan Shattered by the Russian RevolutionVassili Molodiakov

The Russian Revolution of 1917 changed the world. One of its little-known consequences was the destruction of a newly minted alliance with Japan, which could have changed the balance of power in Asia. It was also the closest diplomatic relationship the two countries had ever enjoyed. This article, first written for the centenary of the July 1916 treaty, looks at how it came to be signed.

Shedding Light on “Formosa’s Betrayal”: Kabira Chōsei on George Kerr and Taiwanese History

Soon after World War II ended, the February 28 Incident rocked the island of Taiwan. The diplomat and scholar George Kerr explored this bloody chapter in Taiwanese history in his book Formosa Betrayed. We spoke with Kabira Chōsei, an Okinawan broadcaster raised in Taiwan under Japanese rule, about George Kerr—who taught him English in his school days—and his take on Taiwan’s past and present.

Sakamoto Ryōma: The Samurai Who Dreamed of a Modern Japan

Sakamoto Ryōma is one of Japan’s favorite historical figures and was a central mover in efforts to overthrow the shogunate 150 years ago. He was killed at the age of 31, however, and so did not live to see his efforts to modernize the country bear fruit. In this article we look at the life and enduring popular appeal of a low-ranking samurai who became influential at the highest level.

Hideyoshi’s Rare Letter to Concubine Chacha Found in Hyōgo (News)

Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, July 7 (Jiji Press)—A rare letter that Japanese warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–98) wrote to his concubine Chacha, or Yodo-dono, has been found in Toyooka, Hyōgo Prefecture. The letter written by Hideyoshi himself to Chacha is on display at Hyōgo Prefectural Museum in Himeji. (© Jiji) The letter shows Hideyoshi's concern for Chacha, who had run a high temperature,…

Nishioka Fumio: An Armorer Bringing National Treasures Back to Life

Traditional Japanese armor combines a diverse set of different crafts and skills, including lacquer, leather, and textile work. Professional armor restorer Nishioka Fumio is one of the few people in Japan with all these skills at his command. We spoke to him about his work restoring some of the masterpieces of Japanese armor to their former glory.

Siebold: A German Naturalist in Nineteenth-Century Nagasaki

One of the most beloved figures in the history of nineteenth-century Japan was not a Japanese at all but a German: the Bavarian-born doctor and biologist Philipp Franz von Siebold. During his years as a doctor at the Dutch trading post in Nagasaki, Siebold built up a huge collection of Japanese animals, plants, artworks, and maps. These allowed him to write some of the most influential early modern works on Japan—and led to his deportation from Japan on suspicion of spying.

Five Japanese EmperorsNippon.com Staff

Japan’s imperial system extends back through the nation’s recorded history and into legendary prehistory. Emperors rarely ruled directly, but have often been influential in politics. They also play a priestly role in Shintō, and are traditionally considered to descend in a direct line from the sun goddess Amaterasu. Japan’s fabled first-ever emperor founded the country in 660 BC, according …

Behind the Scenes of Obama’s Hiroshima VisitJulian Ryall

Barack Obama’s May 27 visit to Hiroshima brought together a president and a survivor of the 1945 atomic bomb in an image of compassion that went around the world. We talked to the documentary film producer who shed light on Mori Shigeaki’s work.

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