Tale of Ronin





The Purple Robe Incident: the Shogunate vs the Imperial Court

The Imperial Court of Japan lost most of its authority during the Warring States period. When Japan was unified under the Tokugawa Shogunate, the bakufu took steps to consolidate power. One threat it sought to address was the power of Buddhist temples. In 1627, the Emperor’s historical relationship with Buddhist temples brought the Imperial Court…

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An ink style digital artwork of multiple Japanese military men riding horses and holding their katana's above their heads. One notable man has a unique helmet that represents his role as the Shogun.

The Shogun: Japan’s Military Takeover

The word “Shogun” comes from the Japanese word “Seii Taishogun”, which roughly translates to “barbarian-quelling general”. These military dictators reigned over Japan from 1192 to 1868. Historically, the Shogun was legally under the control of the Emperor and had limited authority over the military forces in Japan. However, due to the increasingly feudal development of…

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An ink style artwork of several robed samurai in the middle of a fight. One with long hair stands out in the middle, holding his katana above his head.

Miyamoto Musashi: The Undefeated Swordsman

Miyamoto Musashi is perhaps the most famous swordsman in Japanese history. He is still revered as a master of martial arts. Musashi wrote “The Book of Five Rings,” a classic text on kenjutsu, martial arts, strategy, and philosophy, which is still in print over 400 years later. Born in 1584, Musashi showed a talent for…

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An ink style digital artwork of a woman in robes standing in front of a Japanese style temple or building.

Miko: Japanese Shrine Maidens

A miko, also known as a shrine maiden, is a woman who serves the Shinto kami. Their origins date back to the prehistoric Jomon period (approximately 10,500 BCE-300 BCE) in Japan. The responsibilities and requirements to become a miko have gone through many changes over the years. However, their traditional red hakama, white kosode, and…

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Izanami and Izanagi: Shinto’s Creation Story

Most belief systems have a creation myth, and Shinto, Japan’s native belief system, is no exception. The Shinto creation myth focuses on Izanami-no-Mikoto and Izanagi-no-Mikoto, a pair of brother and sister kami who appeared after heaven and earth separated from chaos. They created the Japanese islands using a jeweled spear to stir the ocean. Izanami…

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