Talk about Japan

Let's learn English while cultivating the understanding of Japan.


This site was prepared with the people of Ibaraki in mind. It is my hope that this site may be used by learners of English and by foreigners who reside in the prefecture.

Ibaraki prefecture is one of the under-appreciated prefectures of Japan. It is often thought of as a backward area consisting of paddy fields and an uneducated public…but is it really?

The truth is that Ibaraki is the hub of Japanese culture and its present existence.There are numerous heroes and people of extreme historical importance in Ibaraki, but I am using just four examples on this site.

The first person I chose is Okakura Kakuzō (1863-1913), whose contributions are widely recognized in the field of Japanese art. However, he stands out in world history as a great thinker with an unbeatable charisma. He has direct connections with Indian historical figures such as Vivekananda (1863-1902), Tagore (1861-1941), Rash Bose (1886-1945) and Candra Bose (1897-1945).

The second person is Ono Tomogorō (1817-1898). He was a technocrat of Bakumatsu and Meiji. He was a mathematician, navigator, and diplomat. He worked in the fields of ship-building,  railway-building and salt refinement. He was a true scientist and engineer, and had strong influence on the scientific and technological foundation of Ibaraki. He is also responsible for the establishment of the southern Japanese territories through his explorations of the Ogasawara Islands.

The third person is Aizawa Seishisai (1781-1863). He is an almost forgotten figure of Mitogaku, which is central to Kokugaku. Kokugaku was an intellectual movement that involved the deciphering of classical Japanese literature. This was accomplished using the knowledge of the Sanskrit phonology. Without Kokugaku scholars, even the Manyoshu would not be accessible to us.  The scholars of Mitogaku compiled the Dai Nihon-shi, a history of Japan written by Japanese. Mitogaku is responsible for the honorable high spirit of the people of Ibaraki, who are hard working, respectful, dedicated, and highly ethical.

The last person is Mamiya Rinzō (1775-1844) who is a well known cartographer. He also had a vast knowledge of geography and astronomy.

Finally, by connecting these people to Pal (1886-1963) and Jayewaldene (1906-1996), I would like to elucidate how Japan could withstand foreign invasion for so long.



This site is for Japanese adult students of the English language. It provides some interesting topics for discussion. The materials are carefully selected so that students’ minds will be stimulated, and to increase their desire to communicate with others and facilitate discussion.

The site does not intend in any way to express the author’s personal political views or opinions.





Hyotan Hitachi City Now

新 郷土日立歴史、日立市教育委員会、志田諄一編、いばらき印刷、2007 (東海村立図書館 L213)