We’ve just moved to a neighborhood in a suburb of Nagoya, Japan.  I don’t have the Internet or a TV.  I’m using an iPhone for emergency purposes – Wikipedia and email.

This situation is giving me lots of time to feel lonely and a bit sorry for myself.

Instead of making chocolate chip cookies or eating more mochi, I’ve decided to do a bit of research.  That’s what historians do.

If you want to read about Japanese cities in Lonely Planet, you can read about Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.  Not much about Nagoya.  This is true, even though Nagoya is the 3rd largest income producing city in Japan. Cars!  Lots of them.

Ok.  I can see your eyes glazing over.  Who cares about an industrial city in the center of Japan.  Where are the geisha, the temples, the anime and the Asahi beer?

Historically, something important went on in this area.  The three biggest, baddest leaders of the 16th century (1540-1600) were Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu.  These three boys, known as the ‘great unifiers,’ were born in this area (Reischauer. East Asia-The Great Tradition. 585).  They built castles, murdered their brothers and their uncles and fought with a brutality that would shock a character from George R. R. Martin‘s “Game of Thrones.”  Ultimately, the combined efforts of these three men took a divided Japan into an era of peace and prosperity and made Japan ready for modernization in the late 19th century.

The stories of these three men of Nagoya are the stuff of great novels and samurai films.  Shakespeare in Japan. (a story to be continued…)

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