The Year was 1588

“My pig wife.”   “My stupid son.” People said these things not because they believed them but because they were respectful of the gods. You did not praise your loved ones for fear of offending the gods, for fear of arousing the gods’ jealousy. But new father Toyotomi Hideyoshi, 52, and one of the greatest warlords…

The Year was 2017

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, is a cinematic success. But there have been real life wonder women throughout our history. Some were samurai. Tomoe Gozen (c.1157-1247) became an excellent archer and sword handler. In one battle, she threw herself upon an enemy leader and decapitated him. “Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka [Minamoto] sent…

The year was 1962

With fear in his heart, Nobuo Fujita, carrying an ancient samurai sword, was bravely going to face his fate. He expected the worst – imprisonment. He was coming from Japan, headed for Oregon. What had he done? It had been 20 years earlier… On Sept. 9, 1942, Fujita and his co-pilot, Okuda Shoji, had taken…

The year was 1189

Japan’s greatest samurai, not yet 30, was on the run with his young wife and his baby son, his death ordered by the very brother he had made Shogun. How had this happened? Yoritomo, now shogun, was the older half-brother, and Yoshitsune was of the brilliant young general. They were the feared Minamoto. There had…

The year was 1598

Fortunes were being dreamed of. And made! The Dutch wanted in. The Spanish and the Portuguese had been sailing to Japan for 50 years, spreading their mix of trade and religion. Mostly religion. The Dutch, hating the Spanish for occupying their country and trying to kill all non-Catholics, wanted nothing to do with spreading any…