Japanese History is more exciting than a fiction book

In fact, at times Japanese history seems like a fiction book! I'm sure, however, you have all heard the famous line that truth is stranger than fiction. In this case, not only stranger but much more exciting!

All history?

I'm not going to attempt to give a complete history of the country here. I'm not a historian, and even if I were, covering everything would take a much larger website than this one. I will, however, pick out some of the more important—and more exciting—people and events and write short introductions to them.

Exciting and useful

Not only is the history of the land of the rising sun exciting, but it can be handy to know. I can't tell you how many friends I've made and how many conversations I've been able to start with Japanese people just by mentioning some historic event or person. Most people never expect foreigners to know about the history of their country, so it helps open them up (in my experience), makes them view you a little more favorably, and provides some great conversation—good practice for your Japanese too.

First up, let's dive into one of my favorite periods, the warring states period (sengoku jidai / 戦国時代).

The Warring-States Period

This period is generally considered to have covered the 16th century. It was a rough time. The central government had collapsed and warlords from all over the country battled for control of the country. In short, it was a period of civil war. But it's not all bad. Hard times make hard men, and this period gave birth to three men who restored order and united Japan.

Another interesting part of Japanese History is the people. Most people with only a passing interest in Japan probably are not aware of that many historic figures, so let's start with one everyone knows: Hirohito.

Emperors with two names

Did you know Japanese emperors have two names? One is the name they use in life, the other becomes their name once they die. In the article linked above I talk about this by way of Emperor Hirohito and someone by the name of Emperor Showa.

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