Legacies of Samurai Culture
When people think of the samurai they imagine fearless warriors skilled in the martial arts. But that's just one side. In this episode, we look at how elite samurai promoted artisanal culture and works of art even outside Edo (old Tokyo) and Kyoto. We trace their footsteps in Kyushu, Ishikawa Prefecture, Yamagata Prefecture and Aomori Prefecture.

Kaga Yuzen dyeing and gold leaf (Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture)

The Kaga domain governed Kanazawa City for around 300 years during samurai rule. The domain lords were deeply knowledgeable on matters of art and craft. They brought in the finest craftsmen from Edo and Kyoto to create works of art and also train local craftsmen. Kaga Yuzen, a unique dyeing method, and exquisite gold leaf are just a few of the crafts that Kanazawa cultivated. We tour various workshops.

Shogi pieces (Tendo, Yamagata Prefecture)

Shogi is Japan's answer to chess with 2 players facing off. About 90% of Shogi's wooden pieces are carved in Tendo City. We introduce the samurai connection to Shogi, observe a craftsman's excellent skill, and visit an annual Shogi festival.

Apples (Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture)

The apple trees of Aomori were first planted with seedlings imported from the United States in the 1870s. Nowadays, over 100,000 crates go through Hirosaki City's market at harvest time. How were the samurai involved in Aomori's apple production? We delve into the secret behind it.