Online dictionary of history and traditions in Japan: Geisha,Gekokujo,Gempei gassen,General Nogi,Genji,Genji monogatari,Genji monogatari emaki,Genro,Gishiwajinden,Go

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Geisha

geishya geigi geiko
alternative words: Geigi, Geiko, Geishas, Geisha girl
keywords: artist, music
related topics: Edo period , Meiji period
explanation: Traditional entertainers who offer music, dance and companionship in private restaurants and banquets. Professional entertainers without prostitution appeared during Edo period, both women and men. The latter was called "Taikomochi" i.e. "drum holder". During Meiji period, the profession of geish was prosperous but known some abuse: young girls were bought to form geisha. After WWII, because of the police control, the number of geisha has considerably declined.

Gekokujo

gekokujyou
keywords: law
related topics: Nanbokucho period , Muromachi period , Sengoku period
explanation: Initially all the samurai leaders had stemmed from aristocrats. From Nanbokucho disturbance in early 14th century, Japan plunged into a long civil war until the late 16 century. During this period, many farmers were part time warriors and talented people could become a leader of troops without consideration of social rank. This situation pushed ambitious to betray their boss to become themselves seigniors. This lawless state in Japan was called Gekokujo, i.e. "lower (rank) beats upper (rank)"

Gempei gassen

gennpeigassenn gennpeinosourann
alternative words: Genpei gassen, Gempei war, Genpei war, Gempei disturbance, Genpei disturbance, Gempei no soran, Genpei no soran
keywords: war
related topics: Heian period , Genji , Heishi , Minamoto no Yoritomo , Heike monogatari , Battle of Dannoura
related web sites: http://www.mugen-sys.co.jp/Kurashiki/Fujito/ , http://www.anjaweb.com/~genpei/history.html
explanation: War between 2 big rival of samurai clans, Genji and Heishi in the late Heian period. In a broader sense, it includes Hogen and Heiji disturbances but in a narrow sense, it began in 1180 when Minamoto no Yoritomo revolted at Ishibashiyama after a demand of prince Mochihito to punish Heishi. After the loss of Fujigawa battle, Heika gave up capital Kyoto and retreated in western Japan, their power base. Then they lost Ichinotani and Yashima battles and ended in Dannoura battle in 1185.

General Nogi

nogimaresuke nogitaishyou
alternative words: Nogi Maresuke, Maresuke Nogi, Nogi
keywords: famous person, military man, russia
related topics: Sino-Japanese war , Russo-Japanese war , Boshin war , Edo shogunate , Meiji period , Emperor Meiji , Seinan war
related web sites: http://member.nifty.ne.jp/chohu/nogi.htm , http://www.tk.xaxon.ne.jp/~amajun/photo/akasaka/ , http://www.niji.or.jp/home/nkym/h2.htm
explanation: Japanese general, born in 1849 in Yamaguchi prefecture. After having participated to Boshin war against Edo shogunate in 1868, he studied military tactics in Prussia. Once retreated and become a farmer, he was called again to participated in Sino-Japanese war. During Russo-Japanese war, he commanded the 3th army to capture Port Arthur. Though he was not clever tactician, his fighting sprit formed the base of Japanese military doctrine. He committed suicide in 1912 after the death of Emperor Meiji.

Genji

gennji minamotoshi
alternative words: Gen ji, Gennji, Genji family, Genji clan, Minamoto shi, Minamoto, Minamoto family, Minamoto clan
keywords: family
related topics: Minamoto no Yoritomo , Minamoto no Yoshitsune , Kamakura shogunate , Heishi , Heian period , Gempei gassen
explanation: Prestigious samurai family stemmed from the 56th Emperor, Seiwa-tenno (850-880). Their power base was located in the eastern Japan where horse riding culture had been mostly developed. Minamoto no Yoritomo who opened Kamakura shogunate is the most famous member of this family. After the assassination of his son, Sanetomo, the main branch had extinguished, but many collateral families like Nitta, Otomo, Ashikaga had flourished all over Japan.

Genji monogatari

gennjimonogatari
alternative words: Tale of Genji, Tale of Hikaru Genji, Genji-monogatari, Genjimonogatari
keywords: book
related topics: Heian period , Genji monogatari emaki
related web sites: http://www.nijl.ac.jp/personal/ito/ , http://www.sainet.or.jp/~eshibuya/ , http://home.inet-osaka.or.jp/~spring/ , http://www.genji.co.jp , http://www.genji-daigaku.com
explanation: Written by a court lady of Heian period, Murasaki Shikibu at the beginning of the 11th century, it is the oldest existent Japanese roman. Composed of 54 volumes, it relates love stories of a Japanese prince Hikaru Genji and is considered one of the greatest classics of Japanese literature. There exists also series of pictures on this roman, Genji monogatari emaki (picture scrolls of Genji's tale), dated also from Heian period and its scene is used on the new bank note of 2000 yens.

Genji monogatari emaki

gennjimonogatariemaki
alternative words: Genjimonogatari emaki, Genjimonogatariemaki, Tale of Genji scroll
keywords: art, book
related topics: Genji monogatari , Heian period
related web sites: http://herakles.lib.kyushu-u.ac.jp/nara/genji/txt/f001.htm , http://www.cjn.or.jp/tokugawa/room6-j.html
explanation: Scroll book based on the 11th century novel, Genji monogatari and created in 12th century. It contains texts and images of the novel's famous scenes drawn on luxurious paper. The picture might be drawn by an official painter, Fujiwara no Takayoshi and is using typical Japanese painting technique of Heian period (Yamatoe): the houses are transparent excepting for pillars (yatai fukinuke) while the characters have thin eyes and a hook nose (hikime kagihana). It remains only 13 volumes among 54.

Genro

gennrou
keywords: meiji revolution, title
related topics: Meiji revolution , Meiji period , Ito Hirobumi , Yamagata Aritomo , Oyama Iwao , Saionji Kinmochi
explanation: Literally "original elders", they come from the most important contributors of Meiji revolution still alive after the promulgation of Meiji constitution. Though, they owned no legal base, they were acting as tutors of the current politicians and charged with designating the next prim minister. Ito Hirobumi, Kuroda Kiyotaka, Yamagata Aritomo, Oyama Iwao, Saionji Kinmochi, Katsura Taro, Saigo Koremichi, Inoue Kaoru and Matsukata Masayoshi are traditionally called "Genro".

Gishiwajinden

gishiwajinndenn
alternative words: Gishi wajinden
keywords: book
related topics: Himiko , Yamataikoku
related web sites: http://www.g-hopper.ne.jp/bunn/gisi/gisi.html , http://www.max.hi-ho.ne.jp/m-kat/gisi/
explanation: Gishi wajinden is the chapter dedicated to Japan among eastern barbarians, of a Chinese geography and history book, Sangokushi, edited by Chinju at the end of 3th century. It was the first foreign book which described Japan with enough details (circa 2000 Chinese characters) to understand customs, specialties and politically structure of the epoch, so its documental value is huge. It mentioned Yamataikoku reigned by Queen Himiko as Japan's political center but its locality remains mysterious.

Go

igo kidou
alternative words: Igo, Kido, Kidou, Kidoo, Go play, Go game
keywords: game
related topics: Shogi
related web sites: http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp , http://www.pandanet.co.jp
explanation: Oriental game which consists of putting black and white stones one after another on a checkerboard in order to gain the maximum of territory. Though originated from China, Japan has surpassed her level during Edo period because of an apparition of professional players: they were paid by shogun for life and could consequently spend their whole time to study its strategy. The most famous school was Honinbo.

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