Category Archives: History

Bad and Wrong History Lessons: Pirates vs. Samurai

There’s nothing complicated about the system I have here: I write articles based on what I feel like talking about. If I’ve been thinking about writing, you get an article on that; if I’ve been watching anime that’s what I … Continue reading

Posted in History, Japan | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Nanami and the Five Whys

One of the best things about teaching in Japan was that most of my students were quite young. Most of them hadn’t developed the reserve that Japanese people are known for, and once they got to know you they were … Continue reading

Posted in History, Japan | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Watson Watches: Rose of Versailles

Welcome to the sixth and final main article of Watson Watches (the Retro Edition)! For anyone who’s just joined us and has no idea what’s happening, this is the follow-up to a series of interview-style articles published in 2014. The … Continue reading

Posted in Anime, History | Tagged , | 3 Comments

An Artillery Battery in Action

I read a lot. (Does that surprise anyone?) And most of the fiction I read is either fantasy, sci-fi, historical, or some combination of the above. All of those genres frequently involve armed conflict, and military action is one of … Continue reading

Posted in History, Military | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

European History 101

I’ve talked a lot about Japanese history, but I haven’t touched on European history much. Obviously this needs to be corrected. European history over the last few thousand years is a very complex subject, and there are a lot of … Continue reading

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Nuking Hurricanes

You can just imagine the scene, can’t you? An office somewhere in Washington, lit by fluorescent lights, several tired and dispirited men sitting around a table strewn with papers. On the wall, the latest satellite photos are tacked up to … Continue reading

Posted in History | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Guns of the Samurai

When people think about historical Japan, samurai and their swords come immediately to mind. Perhaps we have images of masterless ronin wandering the lands and getting into thrilling adventures, or maybe we envision the noble families and their loyal retainers. … Continue reading

Posted in History, Japan, Military | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Four Horsemen of the Wehrpocalypse

The Second World War has had a big effect on our collective cultural worldview. Even now, more than 70 years after it ended, a surprisingly large number of people are still obsessing over it and going over every last detail. … Continue reading

Posted in History, Military | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

The Katana

If there’s one thing everyone knows about Japanese history, it’s the katana. Samurai and their swords are perhaps the most iconic image of Edo-period Japan in our mass media consciousness, and they get used whenever a piece of fiction wants … Continue reading

Posted in History, Japan, Military | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Japanese Castles

Ever since I arrived in Japan I was interested in Japanese castles. They look quite different to the stone fortifications my Euro-centric upbringing made me consider normal, and it took me a while to realise that it was because they … Continue reading

Posted in History, Japan, Military | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments