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Omura Masujiro

大村益次郎 村田蔵六
alternative words: Masujiro Omura, Murata Rokuzo, Oomura Masujiro
keywords: famous person, meiji revolution, military man
related topics: Meiji revolution , Choshu domain , Edo shogunate , Boshin war , Rangaku , Ronin , Yamagata Aritomo
related web sites:
explanation: Born in 1824 in a doctor family of Choshu domain. After having studied medicine and rangaku at school of Ogata Koan in Osaka, he opened a cabinet in his homeland. He was called by Uwajima domain to translate western military books, then became rangaku teacher of Edo shogunate. Wining a good reputation, he was called by Choshu domain to implement a western style army and participated to Choshu war and Boshin war. He was assassinated in 1869 by ronin unhappy with his reform.


alternative words: Demon, Fiend
keywords: buddhism, mystery, religion
related topics: Buddhism , Onmyodo , Nara period , Heian period , Setsubun
related web sites: , , ,
explanation: Initially it designated spiritual and neutral beings like gods or death's souls. Under the influence of Buddhism in Nara period, it became awful creatures who fill the hell, then everything of demoniac and harmful even in the current world. Finally when the society became unsecured at the end of Heian period, it designated brigands or bandits. Oni is frequently represented with 2 horns and tiger's fur because Oni's gate should be bull-tiger direction (ushi-tora), i.e. north-east according to Onmyodo.

Onin war

alternative words: Onin rebellion, Onin no ran, Ouinin war, Ounin no ran
keywords: war
related topics: Muromachi shogunate , Muromachi period , Sengoku period , Ashikaga Yoshimasa
related web sites: , ,
explanation: Civil war in Muromachi period between 1467 and 1477. Initially provoked by a succession problem of shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, it became a war between 2 great samurai clans, Ouchi and Hosokawa. The consequence of this trouble is: in the center, Kyoto being totally devastated, Muromachi shogunate had lost political powers, while in the provinces, new samurai families anchored to the lands had emerged. But soon they began to fight mutually too and this led to a new war period, Sengokujidai.


陰陽道 陰陽道
alternative words: Onmyo-do, Onmyo do, Onmyoudo, Onmyou-do, Onmyou do
keywords: china, mystery, ninja, philosophy, religion
related topics: In-yo go-gyo setsu , Abe no Seimei , Heian period , Ninjutsu , Oni , Fusui
related web sites: ,
explanation: Astrology of Chinese origin. It interprets every human activity and fate with an astrology based on Inyo gogyo setsu It had been introduced into Japan in the 7th century by Buddhist priests, but unable to build complex astrological apparatus, only the divination branch had known a significant development. After Heian period, it has been degenerated to simple popular superstitions. Abeno Seimei (921-1005) is the most famous specialist of this discipline.


女方 女形
alternative words: Onna gata
keywords: kabuki, theater
related topics: Kabuki , Edo period
related web sites: ,
explanation: Initially Kabuki had been played only by females (Onna kabuki). After a ban to turn to female actors in 1629, at the beginning of Edo period, Kabuki has been used to be played only by men. The female role played by a man is called "Onnagata". Bando Tamasaburo is the most famous actor of this discipline. The term is also used in other dramas in Japan such as "Shingeki".

Ono no komachi

alternative words: Onono Komachi, Ono Komachi, Komachi ono
keywords: artist, famous person, poesy
related topics: Heian period , Ki no Tsurayuki , Waka
related web sites: , ,
explanation: Famous female poet of Heian period. She was ranked among the 6 best Waka poet (Rokkasen) by Ki no Tsurayuki, another famous poet. According to a legend, she would have born in Akita prefecture as daughter of a local official and been sent to Kyoto at the age of 13. Thanks to her beauty and intelligence, she became famous and attracted many wooers but finally returned back to Akita and died there. Excepting for about one hundred poems, her real life remains mysterious.


折紙 折り紙
alternative words: Folded paper, Art of folding paper
keywords: art, game
related web sites:
explanation: Art or technique to fold papers to construct different objects or animals. Contrary to what people might imagine, origami as an entertainment art had not developed in the ancient times though there existed folded papers used in festivals or religious ceremonies, because the paper was a valuable object. Origami has really begun to develop since Meiji era when it was introduced to schools and kindergartens as an educational materials.

Osechi ryori

お節料理 御節料理 節会料理
alternative words: Osechi ryouri, Osechiryori, Osechiryouri, Sechie ryori, New year cooking, New year dish
keywords: food
related topics: Sekku , New year , Mochi , Ozoni
related web sites: , ,
explanation: Initially it designated special dishes prepared for 5 sekku but now it designates food assortments prepared for new year and packed into lacquered boxes (jubako). The content varies from region to region but mostly it contains: kuromame (stewed black soybeans), kazunoko (salted herring roe), kamaboko (broiled fish paste), datemaki (sweet omelet made with mashed shrimp), broiled shrimp and sea bream. It has a good preservation property and is eaten with ozoni soup.

Otomo no Yakamochi

大伴家持 家持
alternative words: Otomono Yakamochi, Ootomo no Yakamochi, Otomo Yakamochi, Yakamochi
keywords: artist, famous person, poesy, statesman, writer
related topics: Nara period , Manyoshu , Waka , Kokushi
related web sites: ,
explanation: Waka poet and statesman of Nara period, born as a son of the prestigious Otomo family around 618. During his stay as provincial governor (Kokushi) in different regions, he made many waka poems. In 682, due to a putsch of Hikami no Kawatsugi, he lost job but soon pardoned and became a minister (Chunagon). After his death in 785, he lost again his honor due to an assassination of Fujiwara no Tanetsugu. Yakamochi is well known as one of the major contributors of Manyo anthology.

Oyama Iwao

alternative words: Ooyama Iwao, Iwao Oyama, Iwao Ooyama, Marshal Oyama
keywords: military man, russia
related topics: Seinan war , Satsuma domain , Choshu domain , Sino-Japanese war , Russo-Japanese war , Kodama Gentaro , Genro
related web sites:
explanation: Born in 1842 in a samurai family of Satsuma domain. In 1868, he participated to Boshin war as chief of cannoneers. After Seinan war, he shared the power inside Japanese army with Yamagata Aritomo of Choshu domain and became the first army minister in 1885. During Sino Japanese war of 1895, he commanded the 2d army to occupy Liaodong Peninsula. During Russo Japanese war of 1905, he won the Battle of Mukden as the supreme commander of Japanese Manchurian army. He died in 1916.

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