Tale of Ronin


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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Ink style artwork of a Japanese Shinto priest standing in robes with a hat, and holding a stick with paper attached to the end.

Harae: Japanese Purification Ritual

Harae is the general term for ritual purification in Shinto, which is one of the four essential elements of a Shinto ceremony. Harae rites have been practiced for centuries. The aim of harae rites is to purify pollution or wrongdoing (tsumi) and impurity (kegare) from the body. These encompass not only guilt but also negative …

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A stylized, ink painting like, piece of concept artwork. It depicts a man dressed in Japanese edo-period style clothing, with a long stick, standing with the sky behind him.

Shugendo: Japan’s Ancient Tradition of Mountain Asceticism

Shugendo is a religion that originates between the late Heian (794–1185) and Kamakura (1185–1333) periods. This ancient ascetic tradition flourished at a time when Buddhism was being imported from China. Combined with the appreciation for art in the Japanese imperial court, the arrival of organized religion and literacy allowed Shugendo to make its mark. The …

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Religion in Edo Period Japan

The Edo Period in Japan was a time of great religious and social change. The Tokugawa Bakufu, the military government established by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603, brought an end to the strife of the Warring States period and ushered in a new era of peace and stability. This period saw the continued practice of Shintoism, …

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An image showing two silhouettes of daimyo, Japanese lords, flanking a field of fighting men.

Daimyo: The Feudal Lords of Japan

The Edo period in Japan was characterized by a strict feudal system in which daimyo, or regional lords, were given control over vast areas of land. Daimyo were expected to oversee their territory and keep the peace, but they had to abide by edicts issued by the shogunate. They were given the authority to create …

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