Rank #1: Episode 146 - The Birth of the Samurai, Part 1
This week, we'll be starting a short series about the advent of the samurai class. First, what came before the samurai, and why did Japan's emperors decide to devolve more and more power to provincial warriors?
Rank #2: Episode 301 - Stand Up For Your Rights, Part 1
While the Meiji Restoration was going on, where was everybody else? We'll start trying to answer that question today with a look at an uprising in 1866 in the region of Shindatsu.
Rank #3: Episode 117 - The Fall of the Samurai, Part 1
This week, we're starting our new longest ever series on the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate and the birth of modern Japan. This week, we're taking a look at the political situation in the Tokugawa period -- how was the country carved up by Tokugawa Ieyasu? Who ruled what, and what kind of implications did that have in terms of establishing a secure and stable nation?
Rank #4: Episode 290 - What Goes Up, Part 1
This week, we turn our attention to the 1980s. Japan and the United States find their relationship wracked by increasing tensions over political and economic relations, and turn to the solution of an agreement designed to ease the pressure of Japan's economic growth. The result? Japan's infamous Bubble Era!
Rank #5: Episode 273 - The House of Cards, Part 1
This week we start a multipart series on the Muromachi period and the reign of the Ashikaga family. How did they come to power? Why is their government generally described as so weak? And how, despite that weak government, did they win a 60 year war for control of Japan?
Rank #6: Episode 183 - Lifting the Lost, Part 1
This week, we turn our attention to the US Occupation of Japan. When did Americans first start thinking seriously about taking Japan over and remaking its whole society?
Rank #7: Episode 251 - Homosexuality in Japan
This week, we take a look at the history of gay and lesbian relationships in Japan. How has the social position of homosexuality changed over time in Japanese history? What evidence can we use to "read out" the history of a non-mainstream culture?
Rank #8: Episode 272 - I am the Law!
This week we cover the life and career of the legendary judge Oka Tadasuke, who rose from minor samurai to the rank of daimyo and a major position in the bakufu -- only to become a legendary figure. Who is he? How did he rise so high? And what can he tell us about the role of judges and bureaucrats in Japanese society more generally?
Rank #9: Episode 258 - The City that Never Sleeps, Part 1
This week, we start a look at the history of the city of Tokyo. How did the frontier fishing village of Edo go from backwater nowhere to the heart of the nation in only a few short generations?
Rank #10: Episode 300 - The 300th Episode!
It's a shame you can't embed gifs in the episode descriptions, because otherwise this would just be the Ron Paul It's Happening! gif.
Thank you all for enjoying the show; it would not be what it is without you.
Rank #11: Episode 226 - The Measure of an Emperor, Part 1
Today, we dive into the boyhood of Emperor Hirohito. What's it like growing up always knowing that your life is a political tool? How do you process your middle school principal killing himself in a show of loyalty to your grandfather?
Rank #12: Episode 210 - The Scourge of the Gods, Part 1
This week: where did the Mongol Empire come from, and who was in charge when they decided to come after Japan? Also, why is the Kamakura shogunate the most convoluted form of government in a history of convoluted governments?
Rank #13: Episode 280 - The Fool of Owari, Part 1
Apologies for the delayed publication, all! Slight technical hiccup on my end.
This week, we turn to the life and legacy of the first of Japan's three unifiers: the warlord Oda Nobunaga, who expanded his domains from part of a backwater province to 1/3rd of all Japan in just a few decades. Who were the Oda? Where did they come from? And how did Nobunaga go from a nobody to a major force in Japanese politics in just a few years?
Rank #14: Episode 234 - The Oldest Profession
Note: Since this week we're talking about the sex trade, I've taken the precaution of giving this episode an explicit tag. However, it does not include any more language than usual; it's just a precaution because iTunes can get pretty finicky about this stuff.
So with that in mind, let's get down and dirty into the world of prostitution!
Rank #15: Episode 270 - A Brief and Fleeting Dream
This week, we cover the life and work of one of Japan's most famous authors: the 11th century courtier Murasaki Shikibu. Why do we know so little about who she was? What inspired her to write Genji? Why do I dislike her work so viscerally? And how did it become so famous?
Rank #16: Episode 194 - Fist of Legend, Part 1
This week: where do Japan's traditional martial arts come from?
Rank #17: Episode 163 - The Maelstrom, Part 1
This week, we're turning our attention to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. In our first episode, we'll introduce our stage -- Manchuria -- and our players -- Russia and Japan.
Rank #18: Episode 278 - The Men Who Stayed Behind
This week we investigate the role of Japan in laying the groundwork for Vietnam's wars against France and the United States. How did Japan's occupation of Indochina create the groundwork for the Viet Minh? And why did some Japanese soldiers, given the choice to return home in defeat or stay behind and fight on behalf of a country other than their own, take up the Vietnamese cause?
Rank #19: Episode 252 - The beautiful Island, Part 1
This week, we start a history of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. How did Japan come to conquer the island, and what did its conquest entail for the Japanese and for the inhabitants?
Rank #20: Episode 6 - A New Order
This week we will cover the structure of the Kamakura bakufu, the Hojo triumph over the Mongols, the fall of the Hojo, and their replacement by the Ashikaga family. We'll also cover some cultural developments in the fields of Buddhism and Noh theater.
Intrigue! Backstabbing! Performance Art! All the makings of an exciting show!