Josef Vissarionovich Djugashvili, born in December 1878 in Georgia, assumed the name Stalin (man of steel) in his 30s. Growing up the poor, only child of a shoemaker and laundress, he attended a Georgian Orthodox seminary as a young man. Inspired by the works of Karl Marx, he became a political organizer for the Bolshevik […]
At midnight on December 31, bells in Japan’s Buddhist temples ring 108 times to symbolize 108 human sins and remove 108 worldly desires. At the Japanese New Year (正月) a special selection of dishes is prepared. Called osechi-ryōri (御節料理) these dishes consist of boiled seaweed, fish cakes, sweet potato with chestnut, burdock root, soybeans and rice cakes. Similar to the Western custom of […]
Source: 10 Horrifying Demons and Spirits from Japanese Folklore | Mental Floss Oni(鬼) variously translated as demons, devils, ogres or trolls) are popular characters in Japanese art, literature and theater. Hairy, multi-colored humanoid creatures, dressed in tiger skin loincloths, Oni are frequently depicted with claws and horns. Often carrying iron clubs, Oni are considered to be invincible. Yurei(幽霊) […]
The American military tune “Taps,” sounded at dusk by bugle or trumpet, is also played at military funerals. Like its German and Imperial Japanese counterparts, it evokes melancholy and tribute to valorous fallen comrades.
In 12th Century Japan, Buddhist monks originated a paper drama storytelling technique called Kamishibai (紙芝居) to draw moral lessons. Kamishibai experienced a revival in the 1920s when storyteller bicyclists travelled about Japan setting up small stages to perform for children. During WWII the militaristic government transformed the medium into a propaganda tool for adults as well as children. Unlike American […]
Following the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, the U.S. Congress authorized the use of many federal lands for additional parks and monuments.
From 1868-1945 Kimigayo was the national anthem of the Japanese Empire proclaiming the rule of the Emperor for a 10,000 years. Following WWII, although the Emperor was retained as a figurehead, Japan became a parliamentary democracy and the anthem (now proclaiming a 10,000 year reign for Japan) was retained.
The feminist poet Akiko Yosano wrote thousands of poems and translated Japanese classics into modern Japanese. Her social commentary (As a Human and as a Woman; Going through Turbulent Times) promoted female education and was critical of growing Japanese militarism. Full of water […]
Shortly after the USA defeated Spain and annexed the Philippines, Filipino revolutionaries fought to gain independence. Casualties were estimated at 34,000–1,000,000. While both sides undoubtably committed some atrocities, American troops burned entire villages to the ground, placed many civilians in concentration camps and employed torture (notably, water boarding). Many Americans, including Mark Twain and William Jennings Bryan, opposed […]