Tuesday, June 27, 2023

ブラタモリ (BURATAMORI) Japanese History Lessons

ブラタモリ(BURATAMORI) is an NHK program where sunglass wearing ,TV celebrity, TAMORI and his assistant (who changes every couple of years, and is a young lady announcer) walk around towns in Japan discussing what part it played in history and how it may have geologically formed, and other pertinent information. I see it as a domestic tourism boaster for the towns mentioned. I usually find it interesting. 

Many towns were formed by a Daimyo, a powerful local ruler, Shogun or such significant figures. They always talk about the figure, but I find it difficult to keep in my mind the point in history they are talking about, as they say start of Edo, rather than 1603.  To make it easier to follow, I have started studying the relevant Japanese history, as this is taught at school here, and without it, you miss cultural  references everyone else knows. Who the main powerful figures were, in what era. 

 A recent episode about the Japanese JAXA Rocket Base on the island Tanegashima, went on about 1543, when Portuguese introduced guns to Japan there, and later, their manufacture, and of course, another domestic battle, or two.  

Last weekends BURATAMORI #239 was at the location of  関ヶ原の戦い (Sekigahara no tatakai) , the Sekigahara Battle. Unsurprisingly it was at Sekigahara in Gifu.

This was the biggest battle in Feudal Japan with around 7,500 soldiers each side, in the middle of the country, as the Tokugawa army from the east, clashed with the Ishaida western army.  Each army was composed of various helping clans. 

The battle field was in a valley on a main route east to west, and the show looked at all the significant locations, conveniently marked with flags for tourists.  

The battle was over in a few hours, with one of Ishaida's support clans swapping to the Tokugawa side part way. The Ishaida family and supporting clans were mostly executed in the period following and the resulting Tokugawa Shogun started the Edo period of history and ruled for 260 years, 1603 till 1868.

This book has helped a bit, but when you need details, I end up in Wikipedia. It isn't consistent with dates and the many many figures mentioned need additional info.  I write additional notes with dates in my copy. So, Siege of Osaka was June 1615, when Tokugawa attacked Osaka Castle to destroy the remaining Toyotomi clan. 

This makes BURATAMORI more understandable.

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