Tag Archives: Asahi Shimbun

today’s holiday: Yaya Matsuri (2015)


Yaya Matsuri (2015)

The Yaya Matsuri, held in Owase, Japan, during the first week in February, features mikoshi (portable shrines) carried through the streets by groups of young men who meet and deliberately crash into each other. The festival takes its name from their shouts—”Yaya! Yaya!”—as they run into one another. Several special events, including dances, are held during the five-day festival. On the last night, there is a ceremony at the Owase Shrine to determine who will participate in the festival the next year. More… Discuss

Today’s Birthday: Chiune Sugihara (1900)


Today’s Birthday

Chiune Sugihara (1900)

A Japanese diplomat, Sugihara was sent to Kaunas, Lithuania, in the early days of World War II. There, in direct violation of his orders from Tokyo, the consul began issuing transit visas for fleeing Jews. Without such visas, the refugees would not have been permitted to leave the country. In little over a month, he wrote thousands of visas, continuing even as the train removing him from his consulate post pulled out of the station. How did the Japanese government react to his insubordination? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Japan’s Meiji Constitution Goes into Effect (1890)


Japan’s Meiji Constitution Goes into Effect (1890)

In the mid-19th century, Japan was forced to end its isolation by signing a series of unequal treaties that gave Western nations special privileges in Japan. The unpopular Tokugawa shogunate collapsed soon after and, in 1868, the boy emperor Meiji was “restored” to power. The Meiji constitution defined Japan as a capable, modern nation deserving of Western respect while preserving its own power. What did Ito Hirobumi, who drafted the Meiji constitution, do to prepare himself for the task? More… Discuss