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The Nihonbashi district was a major mercantile center during the Edo period: its early development is largely credited to the Mitsui family, who based their wholesaling business in Nihonbashi and developed Japan's first department store, Mitsukoshi, there. The Edo-era fish market formerly in Nihonbashi was the predecessor of today's Tsukiji fish market. In later years, Nihonbashi emerged as Tokyo's (and Japan's) predominant financial district.
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9 weeks ago by josephaleo
Satsuma was one of the main provinces that rose in opposition to the Tokugawa shogunate in the mid 19th century. Because of this, the oligarchy that came into power after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 had a strong representation from the Satsuma province, with leaders such as Ōkubo Toshimichi and Saigō Takamori taking up key government positions.
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9 weeks ago by josephaleo
Asakusa (浅草 shallow grass) is a district in Taitō, Tokyo, Japan, famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. There are several other temples in Asakusa, as well as various festivals, such as the Sanja Matsuri.
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9 weeks ago by josephaleo
Ginza was built upon a former swamp that was filled in during the 16th century. The name Ginza comes after the establishment of a silver-coin mint established there in 1612, during the Edo period.

After a devastating fire in 1872 burned down most of the area, the Meiji government designated the Ginza area as a "model of modernization." The government planned the construction of fireproof brick buildings and larger, better streets connecting Shimbashi Station all the way to the foreign concession in Tsukiji.

Designs for the area were provided by the Irish-born architect Thomas Waters; the Bureau of Construction of the Ministry of Finance was in charge of construction. In the following year, a Western-style shopping promenade on the street from the Shinbashi bridge to the Kyōbashi bridge in the southwestern part of Chūō with two- and three-story Georgian brick buildings was completed.

These "bricktown" buildings were initially offered for sale and later were leased, but the high rent prevented many of them from being permanently occupied. Moreover, the construction was not adapted to the climate, and the bold design contrasted the traditional Japanese notion of home construction. The new Ginza was not popular with visiting foreigners, who were looking for a more Edo-styled city. Isabella Bird visited in 1878 and in 1880 implied that Ginza was less like an Oriental city than like the outskirts of Chicago or Melbourne. Philip Terry, the English writer of tour guides, likened it to Broadway, not in a positive sense.

Nevertheless, the area flourished as a symbol of "civilization and enlightenment" thanks to the presence of newspapers and magazine companies, which helped spread the latest trends of the day. The area was also known for its window displays, an example of modern marketing techniques. Everyone visited so the custom of "killing time in Ginza" developed strongly between the two world wars.

Most of these European-style buildings disappeared, but some older buildings still remain, most famously the Wakō building with the now-iconic Hattori Clock Tower. The building and the clock tower were originally built by Kintarō Hattori, the founder of Seiko.

Its recent history has seen it as a prominent outpost of Western luxury shops. Ginza is a popular destination on weekends, when the main north-south artery is closed to traffic since the 1960s, under governor Ryokichi Minobe.
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9 weeks ago by josephaleo
Heian Period
The Heian period (平安時代 Heian jidai) is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. It is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, Taoism and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is also considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, a powerful aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family. Many emperors actually had mothers from the Fujiwara family. Heian (平安) means "peace" in Japanese.
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9 weeks ago by josephaleo
Sengoku Period
The Sengoku period (戦国時代 Sengoku Jidai, "Age of Warring States"; c. 1467 – c. 1603) is a period in Japanese history marked by social upheaval, political intrigue and near-constant military conflict. Japanese historians named it after the otherwise unrelated Warring States period in China. It was initiated by the Ōnin War, which collapsed the Japanese feudal system under the Ashikaga shogunate, and came to an end when the system was re-established under the Tokugawa shogunate by Tokugawa Ieyasu.
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9 weeks ago by josephaleo
Azuchi-Momoyama Period
The Azuchi–Momoyama period (安土桃山時代 Azuchi–Momoyama jidai) is the final phase of the Sengoku period (戦国時代 Sengoku jidai) in Japan. These years of political unification led to the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate. It spans the years from c. 1573 to 1600, during which time Oda Nobunaga and his successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, imposed order upon the chaos that had pervaded since the collapse of the Ashikaga shogunate. Although a start date of 1573 is often given, this period in broader terms begins with Nobunaga's entry into Kyoto in 1568, when he led his army to the imperial capital in order to install Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the 15th – and ultimately final – shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate. The era lasts until the coming to power of Tokugawa Ieyasu after his victory over supporters of the Toyotomi clan at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. During this period, a short but spectacular epoch, Japanese society and culture underwent the transition from the medieval era to the early modern era. The name of this period is taken from two castles: Nobunaga's Azuchi Castle (in Azuchi, Shiga) and Hideyoshi's Momoyama Castle (also known as Fushimi Castle, in Kyoto). Shokuhō period (織豊時代 Shokuhō jidai), a term used in some Japanese-only texts, is abridged from the surnames of the period's two leaders (in the on-reading): Shoku (織) for Oda (織田) plus Hō (豊) for Toyotomi (豊臣).
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9 weeks ago by josephaleo
Edo Period
The Edo period (江戸時代 Edo jidai) or Tokugawa period (徳川時代) is the period between 1603 and 1868 in the history of Japan, when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional daimyō. The period was characterized by economic growth, strict social order, isolationist foreign policies, a stable population, "no more wars", and popular enjoyment of arts and culture. The shogunate was officially established in Edo on March 24, 1603, by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The period came to an end with the Meiji Restoration on May 3, 1868, after the fall of Edo.
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9 weeks ago by josephaleo
Shishi (志士), sometimes known as Ishin Shishi (維新志士), were a group of Japanese political activists of the late Edo period. The term shishi translates as "men of high purpose". While it is usually applied to the anti-shogunate, pro-sonnō jōi (尊皇攘夷; "Revere the Emperor, Expel the Barbarian[s]") samurai primarily from the southwestern clans of Satsuma, Chōshū, and Tosa, the term shishi is also used by some with reference to supporters of the shogunate who held similar sonnō jōi views.
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9 weeks ago by josephaleo
Samurai Archives Japanese History Forum
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9 weeks ago by josephaleo

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