the imperial household

YOI Fan Rec Friday

Thank you for all your recs this week, I’m so excited to read (and reread) them all! 

Rec’d by anonymous:
The Unknown Unknown
by opalish, Teen, 7.4k
Yuuri never meant to become a supervillain. These things just happen to him. 

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Rec’d by anonymous:
by simplydrasticvoldy, Mature, 2.4k (WIP)
Versace-clad, Gucci shades atop his head, his silver-hair fringe always on fleek, Victor Nikiforov has never been a slob in his life.Naturally, one doesn’t expect him to be drunk off his ass, half-covered in chipotle sauce the moment he first locks his eyes with the new, endearingly oblivious neighbour Katsuki Yuuri.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
by Linisy, Mature, 26k (WIP)
For the past two years, Yuuri has been endlessly tormented by malevolent spirits. Just as he finds himself at the end of his rope, he meets Victor, an enigmatic man who possesses the ability to relieve him.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
My Boy Builds Coffins
by ken_ichijouji (dommific), Explicit, 9.5k (WIP)
Yuuri’s always dealt with a lot of (pun not intentional) grief about the family business, so much so he’s given up on making many friends or finding romance.But during one morning Starbucks rush, he meets a light-haired, blue-eyed man in dark colors and manicured nails who just might prove him wrong that no one will be able to get past his job.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
And Miles to Go Before I Sleep
by Orchids_and_Fictional_Cities, Mature, 10k (WIP) 
Katsuki Yuuri has been cursed to spread misery and grief to those who dare to come close to him. Viktor Nikiforov has been sentenced to wander the earth, unable to die, granting wishes to mortals in the hopes that one of them might give his life meaning in exchange.They meet in a tempest of April snow. (Mod note: can I just say that the art in this fit is incredible, wow!)

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Rec’d by anonymous:
cadillacs in our dreams
by neuroticmango, Gen, 5.9k (WIP)
The role of Japan’s Imperial Family is purely ceremonial nowadays, but that doesn’t stop the Imperial Household Agency from making archaic decisions affecting Katsuki Yuuri’s dime a dozen life.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
To the Moon
by JMonCheri, Teen, 21k ***Major Character Death
Viktor Nikiforov’s last, literal dying wish is to get a gold medal. Yuri and Otabek figured it would be an easy goal to accomplish, until they figure out that Nikiforov was an Olympic figure skating champion with already a truck ton of other golden medals.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
Pigeon Alley
by DiAnna44, Teen, 31k
What’s meant to be will always find a way. Victor and Yuuri? They’re meant to be.

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Rec’d by @littleladykokomos:
The Blue Rose
by shadhahvar, Teen, 72k (WIP) ***Graphic depictions of violence
It all started with a rose. Victor’s playful request from the Feltsman Troupe leader, Yakov, was a familiar refrain every time he was off negotiating for contracts in the Southern Cities. He’d never once returned with a blue rose.Until Yakov returned home half frozen one winter night on the back of a strange black pony, clutching a blue rose in hand. The rose’s owner had made one infuriated demand of the troupe leader: a life for a life. Now Victor will accept the geas on the rose and face down the Beast in his castle, even if it cuts him off from most his old life. Yet both Beauty and Beast may find there’s more to magic, enchantment, and love than either of them knew.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
of poodles and human babies by thishasbeencary, Teen, 5.5k (WIP)
Logically, Viktor knows that an animal for a gift is a Bad Idea. Okay? He knows. He’s heard the talks about how people might not commit to something they didn’t pick out, they won’t be planned in advance to have the time and commitment to it, they wouldn’t be able to cover the costs… The list went on and on, and Viktor knew that that list existed, so he wasn’t going to do it. He wouldn’t get Yuuri a puppy for his birthday.

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Rec’d by anonymous, @omgkatsudonplease, and @vityanikiforova:
Raison d'Être by cutesudon (elfoftheforest), Explicit, 12k
President Nikiforov of Russia has a few weaknesses: premium rye vodka, an attention span of 30 minutes, and a torrid love affair with the Japanese Prime Minister.

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Rec’d by anonymous and anonymous:
Soon We’ll Be Found by lilithsins, Explicit, 130k (WIP)
When Yuuri’s life is unintentionally turned upside down, he and Viktor are thrown onto a path in their relationship that neither of them could have foreseen. The future is a vast, uncertain cavern before them, and if they’re going to get through it, they’re going to have to lean on each other, to trust each other more than they ever have before… …and it isn’t always going to be easy.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
Dissonance by Mats, Explicit, 71k
Yuuri takes it for granted that Viktor will always meet him where he is. So when his coach and lifelong idol suddenly plants a very public kiss on him at the Cup of China, Yuuri takes it as a signal that his and Viktor’s relationship is about to undergo a major (and welcomed) change. But he may be wrong, and that might change everything, too. Viktor has a strategy. Had a strategy. But he got too ahead of himself and deviated from the plan… and it blew up in his face spectacularly, just like he knew it would. Now he’s back to square one and although he’s committed to starting over and doing it right this time, he can’t shake the feeling that he’s always only one misstep away from watching it all fall apart again.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
counterclockwise by viktyuuri (Empress_Arisu), Teen, 6.9k (WIP)
Life after retirement, Yuuri thinks, is quite a nice change of pace. Although, not so much when he finds himself thrust back into the past. In which married husbands Viktor and Yuuri somehow end up 5 years in the past without knowing how or why.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
Katsudon for Gold by cROAissant (RoamingShadow), Gen, 4.5k
Somewhere along the road, “I might never like you” morphed into “I would die for this child”, and Yuri Plisetsky would be six feet under before Victor fucking Nikiforov would lay his thirsty hands on his precious student.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
Gololyeditsa by QueenSabriel, Mature, 22k (Read the tags!)
While on a road trip to Moscow the trio finds themselves in an abandoned Soviet mining town, but something they brought with them will not let them leave.

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Rec’d by @kawaiiusagi2:
Gubraithian Fire by IdunAurora, Teen, 39k (WIP)
Seven years have passed since the end of the Second Wizarding War, and with the world turning a little brighter in the aftermath, the wizarding world has grown a little closer. Mahoutokoro might be the logical school of choice if you live in Japan, and Uagadou if you live anywhere in Africa, but if Hogwarts just so happens to have a more intriguing curriculum, why not go there instead, now that they actually accept students from outside the UK and Ireland? With worry gnawing in the back of his mind and his heart attempting to hammer itself through his rib-cage, Viktor plunges himself into studies, Quidditch, too many towers, friendship, and… wait, who’s that guy with black hair and glasses that suddenly set the world aflame by breathing in his general direction?

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Rec’d by anonymous:
He never ceases to surprise me by Farato, Gen, 660 words
Victor want’s to surprise Yuuri, so he settles with something he knews Yuuri loves.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
Treasure by m00n_rabbit, Teen, 25k (WIP)
Yuuri is a disgraced knight looking for a way to redeem himself. Victor is a cursed prince living alone in an enchanted castle. The dragon complicates things.

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Rec’d by @ms-cocoa:
Yuri, the Vampire Slayer by Wynn, Teen, 20k (WIP)
One month after the death of his Watcher, Yakov Feltsman, sixteen-year old Yuri Plisetsky struggles to deal with the grief he feels at Yakov’s death as well as the burden he bears at being a vampire slayer, particularly keeping his secret from his best friend, Otabek Altin. Yuri’s brother, Viktor, struggles as well, having traded ballet and the Bolshoi for lawnmowers and suburbia following the death of their mother two years prior. Into both of their lives walks Yuuri Katsuki, a walking knot of contradictions, with his ugly tie and slicked back hair, bearing the news that he, now, is Yuri’s new Watcher.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
Anteros by nanotrance, Explicit, 5.6k
“Like what you see?” he said, propping his chin on one hand, the other ghosting across his angled leg to draw attention to the fluid curve of his calf. Victor’s eyes, pupils blown wide, followed loyally. God, he could get used to this. “Well? You are going to answer me, right?” “Yes, yes, it’s amazing, you’re amazing—” Words tumbled from Victor’s mouth without reserve until Yuuri’s entire body flushed. “That’s enough,” he said, lifting a foot to gently close Victor’s jaw with the toe of a shoe. “I changed my mind. Show me how quiet you can be. Can you do that? Can you be good for me?”

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Rec’d by anonymous and anonymous:
let it burn fast by jjdez, Teen, 13k (WIP)
Yuuri doubles over in laughter, effectively cutting off the man next to him. Victor looks down at the sticky countertop with red cheeks. “No, wait,” he gasps. “I’m s–sorry. I’m not laughing at you, I swear.” Yuuri wipes at his eyes before continuing. “It’s just, I’ve been asked to go home with so many sleazy old men tonight and the one man I would actually go home with just asked me to get out of here for milkshakes. I was just surprised, is all,” he looks at Victor with an unbelievably fond smile.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
Dreams and Reality by mitsui_tsuru, Not Rated, 5.7k (WIP)
The journey this time, he might have to do it alone. But as Yuuri begin to realize, he might never was…

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Rec’d by @domokunrainbowkinz :
First Born by RoseusJaeger, Teen, 4k (WIP)
Victor Nikiforov is a lonely wizard who just wants a companion. Feeling he should find an excuse to retire from skating, Victor offers to heal Katsuki Yuuri’s ailing mother in exchange for his first born child.However… Yuuri turns out to be just as gay as he is and is now on a mission to find a woman to that will agree to help Yuuri keep his promise. (Mod note: I am grateful to live in an area that is not affected by the wildfire, thank you for your concern! <3)

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Rec’d by anonymous:
Twitter War by KasumiChou, Gen, 21k (WIP)
Victor wakes up one morning to find that he lovely, beautiful fiancé, Yuuri Katsuki, had gone on a twitter rant the night before. A twitter rant about how wonderful he was. God, he was head-over-heels for this man.

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Rec’d by @mmeishi:
we’re after the same rainbows by missmichellebelle, Gen, 16k (WIP)
Summer camp is supposed to be sleeping bags under the stars, ghost stories around a campfire, overturned canoes in the lake, hikes that last all day, and friendships that last for a lifetime. Summer camp is not supposed to be finding your best friend and falling in love with him, but the summer after Yuuri turns 12, that’s what it becomes.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
under the starry sky i sing my love for you by vityuu (nanahoney), Gen, 1k
“And look - that’s the Little Dipper.”
“Where?” Yuuri squinted his eyes at the sky, shuffling about on the blanket they were laying on. Viktor was pointing somewhere up in the sky, at a patch of stars, that twinkled above them, but the more Yuuri squinted, less he could see what Victor was getting at.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
learn to love the skies I’m under by LinneaKou, Mature, 11k (WIP)
The day after the Sochi GPF banquet, Katsuki Yuuri disappears without a trace. The day after the Sochi GPF banquet, Viktor Nikiforov finds a stray poodle and takes it home with him.These two events are, oddly enough, connected.

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Rec’d by @frozencalamari:
Where the Cliff Greets the Sea by RobotSquid, Mature, 31k (WIP)
For years, Victor and his crew of pirates have been the bane of the coast, unmatched and elusive. With little left to satisfy him, he visits the small seaside town of Hasetsu, drawn by its simple charms. Yuuri lives a quiet life sewing and tailoring dresses with the unattainable dream of designing gowns of his own. Victor sees him working through the window of the dress shop, and decides to stay.

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Rec’d by anonymous:
Bad Apple by Multiple_Universes, Mature, 83k (WIP)
An AU were Yuuri is a very sarcastic bad boy and Victor is his very flustered and innocent coach.

Thank you for all your recs! ₍₍ (̨̡ ‾᷄♡‾᷅ )̧̢ ₎₎

The amazing “YOI Fan Rec Friday” banner was created by @omgkatsudonplease! I love them a lot, check out their blog!


I’ve been passing time by reading some different 漫画 so I thought I’d start posting the vocab from them

单独 dāndú alone, by oneself

任务 rènwu  mission, assignment, task, duty

顺利 shùnlì smoothly, without a hitch

菜鸟 càiniǎo (colloquial) somebody new to a particular subject, rookie

智能 zhìnéng able, intelligent

识别 shíbié to distinguish, to discern

系统 xìtǒng system

启动 qǐdòng to start (a machine), to launch (an operation)

出示 chūshì to show, to display

指纹 zhǐwén fingerprint

验证 yànzhèng to inspect and verify

身份 shēnfèn identity

组 zǔ classifier for sets, series

联邦调查局 liánbāngdiàochájú Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

特工 tègōng secret service, secret service agent

觊觎 jìyú to covet, to long for

师兄弟 shīxiōngdì fellow apprentices

工具箱 gōngjùxiāng toolbox

嘲笑 cháoxiào to jeer at, to ridicule

史上 shǐshàng in history

诞生 dànshēng to be born

王朝 wángcháo dynasty

祭祀 jìsì to offer sacrifices to the gods or ancestors

大典 dàdiǎn ceremony

交加 jiāojiā to occur at the same time (of two things)

倾盆 qīngpén a downpour, rain bucketing down

天际 tiānjì horizon

渔民 yúmín fisherman, fisherfolk

打捞 dǎlāo to dredge, to fish out (person/object from the sea)

刀枪不入 dāo qiāng bù rù (idiom) impervious to sword or spear, untouchable, invulnerable 

侵 qīn to invade, to encroach

众生 zhòngshēng all living things

惶恐 huángkǒng terrified

纷纷 fēnfēn one after another, in succession 

猜测 cāicè to guess, to conjecture

赐予 cìyǔ to grant, to bestow

凡间 fánjiān the secular world

朝廷 cháotíng court, imperial household, dynasty

巡游 xúnyóu to cruise, to patrol

星辰 xīngchén stars

祭奠 jìdiàn to offer sacrifices (to one’s ancestors)

恩赐 ēncì favor, to give charity to somebody out of pity

祈福 qífú to pray for blessings

上苍 shàngcāng heaven

祈祷 qídǎo to pray

佑 yòu to assist, to protect

国泰民安 guó tài mín ān (idiom) the country prospers, the people at peace; peace and prosperity

富庶 fùshù populous and affluent

四方 sìfāng everywhere, in all directions

持续 chíxù to continue, to persist

万岁 wànsuì Long live (the king, the revolution, etc.)

降 xiáng to surrender, to capitulate

罪 zuì blame, crime, guilt, fault, sin

On April 21, 1770, the youngest Archduchess left her family home forever. The moment came when she was to bid farewell to her mother. They had become particularly close in the last few months because the Empress had decided to keep Antoine constantly at her side, day and night, in order not to lose the opportunity to instruct the little bride in her duties of her new state in life. There was profuse weeping, not only on the part of the mother and her child, but the members of the imperial household, both servants and courtiers mourned the loss of their Archduchess, as did the citizens of Vienna. She knelt for her mother’s blessing. In the future she would see her sister Mimi and her brothers Joseph and Max; she would never see her mother or her other siblings again.

Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars: Her Life, Her Times, Her Legacy - Elena Maria Vidal

a vermilion bird

summary: They represent all the virtues, Kaname thinks he remembers reading. Justice and kindness, loyalty and honesty. They won’t stand to be around a person found wanting. They won’t visit impure or unhappy places.

pairing: tanatsu


Kaname wakes up to a tapping on his bedroom window. When he lifts his head, groggily, and squints through the dark, it’s to find Natsume’s face peering at him from the other side of the glass. For a moment or two, Kaname is suspended uncomprehendingly in something of a liminal space – and then, a heartbeat later, he makes sense of what he’s seeing and shoots upright, scrambling across the room.

“What are you doing here?” Kaname asks, once he’s slid the window open and warm summer night air has had a chance to stretch its languid fingers inside. He’s rubbing sleep from his eyes, more awake with every second, and the massive creature Natsume is riding on becomes less and less defined as he does. Still, Kaname says, “Hello, Ponta.”

Before the yokai can get a word in edgewise, Natsume says, “Come with me. I want to show you something.”

His tawny hair is tousled, and his face is chapped pink from flying too fast against the wind, and his clothes are more ruffled than Kaname’s pajamas probably are – but his eyes are impossibly bright in the moonlight, and the curve of his smile is wide and infectious, and when he puts out his hand, Kaname takes it.

(When he puts out his hand, there’s nothing else in the world Kaname can think of to do but take it.)

“Just let me get my shoes,” he says.

Keep reading

Anna Alexandrovna Vyrubova (1884-1964), born Taneyeva, was a plain young woman when she was first introduced and later taken under special care of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. Till this day the historians are not unified in their view of Anna. Some portray her as extremely naive and stupid, others maintain she was wickedly clever and an excellent actress. Whatever her true nature, Anna was always fiercely loyal to the last Imperial family, who all doted on her in return. After the Revolution of 1917 Anna was separated from what was left of Imperial Household and held in the St. Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. After her interrogations brought no fruit, she was released and went into semi-hiding, finally settling down in Finland near Helsinki. She took vows as a Russian Orthodox nun, but was permitted to live in a private home due to her physical disabilities (result of her injuries from a train crash during the war). She is buried at Hietaniemi cemetery, her tombstone bearing both her given name and the name she took as a nun - Maria.

7/19/17 recs

1. Zanka by rinsled05 || Rated E, 7.4k (WIP)

Aoyagi’s lips parted in a sigh, and for a brief second, Viktor saw a wistful expression beneath the fine-edged veneer – fleeting and transient as a cherry blossom in bloom. There was so much unspoken that Viktor wanted, now more than ever, to take the man with him. Bring him home and far away from this glittering world of luxury and waste.

Victuuri historical AU in 1800s, Edo, Japan. Yuuri is Aoyagi, a high-ranking male courtesan, and Viktor falls hopelessly in love.

  • I’m usually iffy about aus like this, but I’ve enjoyed the author’s other works so I gave it a try. Yuuri is sort of a caged bird in this, but the attraction between him and Victor is palpable, and there is a hope for the future and a hope for his eventual freedom. Worth a try, I suppose.

2. Raison d'Être by cutesudon (elfoftheforest) || Rated E, 11.9k (WIP series)

1. reason or justification for existence; the thing that is most important to someone or something; the sole or ultimate purpose of someone.

President Nikiforov of Russia has a few weaknesses: premium rye vodka, an attention span of 30 minutes, and a torrid love affair with the Japanese Prime Minister.

  • As it says on the tin, a political AU which Yuuri and Victor are simply in too high positions to conceive being together. It’s off to a really good start, and I look forward to how the series plays out, because there’s so much you can do with aus of this nature. 

3. cadillacs in our dreams by neuroticmango || Rated G, 5.9k (WIP)

The role of Japan’s Imperial Family is purely ceremonial nowadays, but that doesn’t stop the Imperial Household Agency from making archaic decisions affecting Katsuki Yuuri’s dime a dozen life.

“Me?” Yuuri asks incredulously. “The Emperor wants to adopt me?”

“As you are well aware, the Imperial family is experiencing a succession crisis…”

“No, I am not aware? Because my entire life consists of ice skating and ballet and sometimes school?”

“…the Katsuki family is a former Princely House of the Blood until sixty years ago, and you happen to be the best candidate we have in becoming the crown prince.”

“I can’t lead a group project at school to save my life - to save my grades, even! The Emperor can’t possibly think I’ll be suitable to rule the entire country of Japan!”

As it turns out, the Emperor can do whatever he wanted. He was the Emperor, after all.

AKA where various people say ‘really yuuri, get a grip on yourself’ on a regular basis.

  • Interesting premise off to an ordinary start. Yet, I have high hopes for this au to see what kind of changes the beginning has on Yuuri and his eventual relationships with other skaters. 

What is the meaning of Okinawa within the larger frame of East Asian politics, and why has it proved such a thorn in Tokyo’s and Washington’s sides? The island is the largest of the Ryukyu chain, a broken necklace of coral reefs and rugged, volcanic islets that curves for some 700 miles across the East China Sea, from just below the tip of Kyushu in the north to Yonaguni in the far south, from which on a clear day one can see Taiwan. The Ryukyus were settled by the same mix of seafaring peoples that populated the southern islands of Japan, and the languages have a common parent-stock. Okinawa itself is about 70 miles long, and rarely more than seven miles wide; it lies in the typhoon path, some 400 miles from the coast of China’s Fujian Province, 800 miles south of Tokyo, roughly on the latitude of the Florida Keys. Granite slopes, green with sub-tropical vegetation, rise from clear seas; there are spectacular natural anchorages. The soil is poor, and what little cultivable land there is yields a hard living. Yet for centuries the island thrived as a way-station for maritime trade along the eastern Pacific. Intrepid Okinawan mariners ventured down to Indo-China and up to the Yellow Sea.

Envoys from the Ming Emperor had first reached Okinawa in 1372, and actively encouraged the island’s trade. Ryukyuan leaders thenceforth participated in the rituals of the Chinese tribute system: travelling every two years to the Imperial court to make their kowtows, and be royally fêted in return, while taking advantage of the many opportunities for informal trading along the way. Tributary gifts were supposed to be native produce, but an exception was made for the Ryukyu Kingdom, which had so few resources of its own—sulphur, copper, shells—yet could offer such dazzling luxury imports. The warehouses in the harbour town of Naha stored rare timber, spices, incense, ivory and sugar from the Indies and beyond; swords, textiles, ceramics, Buddhist texts and bronzes from Korea or Japan to be shipped to China; brocades, medicinal herbs and minted coins going the other way.

The sailors brought stringed instruments and dances from Malacca and the Indies which the islanders adapted to their own legends. Ryukyuan masonry became a high art, the heavy local stone carved into sturdy yet graceful ramparts and bridges. Above the harbour, the palace complex of Shuri Castle commanded a panoramic view over the ocean and the distant islands. Its steep stone walls and ceremonial gateways enclosed lacquered reception halls, gardens, shrines and the private apartments of the king, his wives, courtiers and concubines. The leading English-language historian of the island, George Kerr, has described the sophisticated society created by a population of perhaps 100,000:

It was a toy state, with its dignified kings, its sententious and learned prime ministers, its councils and its numerous bureaus, its organization of temples and shrines and its classical school, its grades in court rank and its codes of law, all developed in an effort to emulate great China. [26]

The Ryukyu Kingdom’s trade with Japan—the only power in the region to defy Imperial China—was supervised on the Shogun’s behalf by the Daimyo of Satsuma in southern Kyushu. This involved a second set of tributary relations. In the 1590s, the King of Ryukyu politely declined to support Hideyoshi’s planned assault on Korea and China. As a reprimand, the Daimyo launched a hundred-strong armada of war junks against the island in 1609. His forces looted Shuri Castle and took King Sho Nei prisoner. The terms of his ransom were an annual tribute, amounting to nearly a quarter of the tiny kingdom’s revenue, to be paid in perpetuity to the daimyo of Satsuma. In addition he would henceforth control all the Ryukyu Kingdom’s overseas trade—and, after 1634, exploit it freely to circumvent the Tokugawa Shogunate’s seclusion edicts, which closed off trade to the rest of Japan. The Ryukyuans turned to Peking for help, but the enfeebled and embattled late Ming court felt neither obliged nor able to inconvenience itself for a subordinate state. [27] Ryukyuan merchant shipping declined, weakened not only by Japanese rake-offs and the disruptive effects of the Manchu take-over in China, but by European penetration of the East China Sea, bringing with it missionaries, guns and demands for trade.

By the early 1800s, Western interests—American, Russian, British, French—were converging on Japan, hoping to prise open its ports by diplomacy or force. The Ryukyu Kingdom was an obvious—and defenceless—launch pad for such an attack. In 1853 Commodore Perry dropped anchor in Naha, hoping to establish a military base. The White House thought it would be ‘inconvenient and expensive’ to maintain such an outpost, however, and the Commodore sailed on to Edo and a larger prize, having granted the little state recognition with the 1854 Ryukyu Kingom–United States Friendship Treaty. From Japan’s vantage point, too, securing Okinawa was the rational first step in a modernizing imperialist expansion that would soon encompass Formosa and Korea. Within five years of the Meiji Restoration, Tokyo had asserted its sovereignty over the Ryukyus and—through a show of arms on Formosa—extorted recognition of this from China. When Shuri demurred, a garrison force was dispatched to the island and a powerful Home Ministry bureau opened there. In 1879 the now-powerless Ryukyuan throne was abolished and an Okinawan Prefecture established, under the command of a Tokyo-appointed Governor. The deposed king was held under restraint in Tokyo until his death in 1902. [28]

Imperial rule brought a levelling down for Okinawans as the local aristocracy was displaced by arrogant officials from the north. Land reform in the early 1900s abolished the communal village-allocation system in favour of private ownership, creating tens of thousands of landless labourers. Sugar-cane plantations, run by a monopoly corporation whose principal shareholders were the Imperial Household and the Mitsui and Mitsubishi Companies, came to dominate the local economy. Japanese modes of dress and speech were made compulsory; state Shinto and the Emperor cult were imposed; portraits of the Emperor and Empress hung in every public building. Eventually, in 1920, Ryukyuan representation in the Diet was put on the same footing as that of the rest of the country. Okinawans suffered severely during the inter-war period and Great Depression, which has passed into memory as the time of sotetsu jigoku or cycad hell, when people were reduced to eating the fruit or bark of the cycad, a palm-like but toxic tree. They played little role, however, in the militarization drive of the 1930s or invasion of China in 1937. The minimum height and weight requirements for the Imperial forces were above the average for Ryukyuan males, and during the Second World War they were largely confined to the labour corps. [29]

Facing defeat, Hirohito ‘sacrificed’ Okinawa in a bid to preserve the Emperor System and the home islands, while treating for surrender terms. The Allied land assault was launched in April 1945: the ancient walls of Shuri Castle were subjected to continuous bombardment from air and sea for sixty days, while half a million US troops poured onto the island, five times the size of the defending force. To the Imperial Japanese Army, distraught Okinawans were either a nuisance—competing for scarce resources, hindering troop movements—or a threat, suspected of spying because of the incomprehensible dialect they spoke. In the most extreme cases, grenades were distributed and the people were called upon to sacrifice themselves in ‘collective suicides’. At the same time, many trying to hide in the island’s caves were incinerated by American flame-throwers. More than 200,000 people, half of them civilians, died in the rain of fire and steel. After the cynical nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had secured an already prostrate Japan’s unconditional surrender, Okinawa became ‘an immense, neglected military dump’:

Towns and villages were rubble heaps; tens of thousands lived in caves, tombs, lean-to shacks, or relief camps … Farmers became air-base labourers; fishermen became truck-drivers; the old aristocracy disappeared. Cast-off GI clothing, American soft drinks, cigarettes and canned goods supplied a new luxury trade for a totally impoverished people. [30]

The memory of 1945 is seared into Okinawan identity and has shaped responses to the security agenda foisted upon the island ever since. Their outrage is especially stirred by attempts to sanitize history, as happened under Koizumi, by deleting from school textbooks their memories of the compulsory mass suicides under the bayonets of the Imperial Army, and the final orders from Tokyo to abandon all thought of survival. They learned, and refuse to forget, that neither the Japanese nor the American armed forces were there for their defence.

—  Gavan McCormack, ‘Obama vs Okinawa’.  New Left Review 64, July-August 2010

Where the Road Ends is the Beginning - Daifuku Week (Noragami, Kofuku, Daikoku)

Kofuku says it was ‘love at first sight’ for her with Daikoku, but how did their lives together begin? I’d like to think it was during the Genpei Wars of Japan, the conflict between the Taira and the Minamoto, two dominant samurai clans of imperial lineage.

So some headcanon pics and a fic for Day 1 of daifukuweek​ . 

[ Where the Road Ends is the Beginning ]

His horse laboured through the mud. Cold rain beat down upon the warrior, seeping through his armour and chilling him to the bone. That, and the thought of his comrades left behind, hurt more deeply than his wounds.

He had wanted to stay and fight to the finish, and had only been able to tear himself away when Lord Tadanori issued a direct command for him to leave. Your valour is unquestioned, Tadanori had told him, gripping his shoulders. But someone must go swiftly and warn our forces in Yashima - the Imperial Household must flee. As one of his former bodyguards, His Majesty will be comforted by your presence.

The Emperor was only a child of six after all, with eyes darkened from crying, eyes that had seen too much.

Keep reading


Even in the 21st century, countries like England or Japan have an imperial household. It’s called… what was it called? Oh yeah, Constitutional Monarchy. Although the monarchy is reduced to a ceremonial role, the royal family is loved and respected by its citizens. They are the master of the palace. But what about our palace? I’m sorry to say, but the imperial household is no more. The Korean palace is just a sad, empty space where human spirit is nowhere to be found.

So why don’t we let our imagination run wild? Let’s pretend there’s a charming prince living in the Gyeongbok Palace, and all the girls in Korea are in love with him. How about that?

It’s already Girls’ Day in Japan, so here’s a list of the components of the components of a full hina doll set, along with a picture. (Most modern sets only include the odairi-sama (emperor and empress dolls), which are considered essential, or the odairi-sama and ladies-in-waiting; full sets take up a lot of space and are extremely expensive.) I’ve listed the dolls on each tier from left to right. If you see anything that should be added or changed, please let me know. :-)

First Tier: Odairi-sama (The Emperor and Empress)

  • Obina: This doll, also known as the emperor, is placed on the left side of the platform in the Kanto area (the area surrounding Tokyo), and the right side of the platform in the Kansai area (the area of western Honshu that includes Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe). He is dressed in a Heian Era court outfit and holds a ritual baton.
  • Mebina:This doll, the empress, is placed on the right side of the platform in the Kanto area , and the left side of the platform in the Kansai area. She is dressed in a multilayered outfit called junihitoe and holds a fan.
  • The dolls are usually placed in front of a golden folding screen. 
  • Accessories such as lamps and sanbo kazari (peach branches in vases) are usually displayed on this tier as well. Basic hina sets usually include these accessories along with the emperor and empress dolls.

Second Tier: San-nin Kanjo (The Three Ladies-in-Waiting)

  • Nagae no Choshi: This lady-in-waiting holds a long-handled ladle for serving sake. She is usually standing.
  • Sanpo: A seated lady-in-waiting with a cup of sake
  • Kuwae no Choshi: This doll is a backup sake bearer. Like the Nagae no Choshi doll, she is usually standing.
  • Trays with mochi called takatsuki are usually placed on either side of the Sanpo doll. Due to space constraints in modern Japanese homes, these are often the only other dolls displayed with the emperor and empress dolls.

Third Tier: Court Musicians

  • Taiko Drummer: This musician holds a small drum. He is usually sitting.
  • Otsuzumi Drummer: This musician holds a large drum. He is usually standing.
  • Kotsuzumi Drummer: This one holds a small hand drum. He is usually standing.
  • Flute Player: This one holds a traditional Japanese flute (fue or yokobue. He is usually sitting.
  • Utaikata (Singer): This doll, which is usually standing, holds a flat fan.

Fourth Tier: Ministers

  • Minister of the Right: This minister is usually portrayed as a young man. He usually sits next to a miniature cherry tree (if the guard dolls are not included in a hina doll set).
  • Minister of the Left: This minister is usually portrayed as an older man. He usually sits next to a mandarin orange tree (if the guard dolls are not included) .
  • Additionally, trays with colorful diamond-shaped mochi, hishimochi are displayed between the two ministers.

Fifth Tier: Imperial Guards

  • Sad Drinker: This doll sits next to a miniature cherry tree in a full hina doll set.
  • Angry Drinker
  • Merry Drinker: This doll sits next to a mandarin orange tree in a full hina doll set.

Sixth Tier: Imperial Household Items

  • This tier contains items used within the imperial household, such as lacquered boxes, calligraphy sets, sewing kits, kitchenware, and braziers.

Seventh Tier: Items for Traveling

  • This tier contains travel items, such as lacquered boxes and oxcarts.
Augustus and Livia: Married January 17th, 38 BC

On this day, 2055 years ago, Augustus married Livia Drusilla
Sources agree that he fell in love with her instantly and she attained unprecedented status ruling alongside him. Livia was instrumental in promoting Augustus’s moral reforms and statues/reliefs depicting Livia and Augustus as deities/personified virtues of Augustus’s Rome are prominent in Augustan propaganda. Livia and Augustus presented their harmonious marriage and the imperial household as an ideal for the citizens of Rome to emulate.

Suetonius says that Augustus and Livia “fell in love instantly”, that he “loved and esteemed her to the end without a rival” and that Augustus’s last words were for Livia to remember their marriage forever (he died “amidst the kisses of Livia”- in Livia’s arms)

Other Augustus and Livia anecdotes, in no particular order:
• Livia ranked among Augustus’s chief advisors though she also controlled business interests, properties, and clients of her own.
• In fact, Ovid commented that Livia was so busy and involved in state affairs that she barely had time to put her makeup on
• Livia dedicated a temple to Concordia in honor of her marriage with Augustus
• Augustus had to get special permission from the senate to marry Livia as soon as he did, waiving the traditional 10-month waiting period 
• Roman wives traditionally didn’t go on military campaigns with their husbands, but Livia went with Augustus to Spain and Gaul in 27-26 BC and on many of his other travels. As was often the case, Augustus was sick for at least a year during this expedition - luckily, Livia was present to take devoted care of him.
• Augustus had a frail constitution and supposedly Livia cared for him through his various ailments with teas and herbal medicines
• Livia’s influence over Augustus and their rushed, almost scandalous marriage was recognized by the senate who were skeptical at the idea of Augustus urging them to ‘guide and command their wives’ 
• In his will, Augustus granted Livia the title of Augusta, adopting her formally into his family, giving her his own rank, and allowing her to maintain status and power
• Augustus, in his conversations with Livia, always read from notecards, “for fear of saying too much or too little if he spoke offhand”
• Augustus married Livia when he was young, and they never had any biological children. Despite the fact Augustus needed an heir, he defied Roman custom by remaining married to her for 51 years (until his death)
• Augustus wrote to Livia often when they were apart, referring to her as “My Dear Livia” 
• Livia kept and meticulously organized all the letters Augustus sent to her- In an argument with Tiberius after Augustus’s death, Livia pulled out letters Augustus had written her over 10 years ago where he’d complained about Tiberius.
• Even in the smallest ways, Livia worked to continue Augustus’s legacy after his death, for example: Providing aid and encouragement directly to the people and soldiers fighting a fire that had occurred at the temple of Vesta, “as had been [Augustus’s] way when he was alive”  

Furisode. Mid-Showa period (1940-1960), Japan.  The Kimono Gallery.  A large furisode featuring yuzen-dyed phoenix motifs with additional painted and metallic couching highlights. Five family crests. Secondary red lining, which along with the main outer garment are padded at the hems. On the lower left front of the kimono is an artist or studio ‘seal’ (see gallery detail image), white on red): such 'signature’ seals are rare on kimonos, and tend to be present on more upscale garments. In Japan, the mythical Phoenix was adopted as a symbol of the imperial household, particularly the empress. This mythical bird represents fire, the sun, justice, obedience, fidelity. The peony is the rose without thorns, and so embodies romance and love, and is regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage as well. The depiction of a phoenix with flowering peonies is a decorative motif that dates to at least the eighth century in China.

Rasputin Murdered

The corpse of Rasputin, with the fatal bullet wound clearly visible on his forehead.

December 31 1916, Petrograd [St. Petersburg]–Few figures from the First World War have more myths surrounding them than that shadowy figure, Rasputin.  A self-proclaimed mystic healer, Rasputin had served the Imperial family since 1907, and was highly valued by the Czarina for the effect he seemed to have on the hemophiliac Czarevich Alexei.  After the Czar left for Stavka in 1915, the Czarina was left in charge of the Imperial household and thus had considerable authority over the government.  With the war going poorly and inflation soaring, the German-born Czarina was an easy target of discontent, and much of the blame was also placed at the feet of Rasputin.  Although his influence over Russian governance (and the allegation that he was having an affair with the Czarina) has been greatly exaggerated over the years, many leading Russians at the time thought him to be the root of the country’s wartime failings.  Kerensky gave a speech in November in which he called the government a bunch of “cowards” and “assassins” “guided by the contemptible Rasputin!”

By the end of 1916, Prince Felix Yusupov (descended from Nogai royalty) decided that speeches were not enough, and planned to kill Rasputin, inviting him to his house on the night of December 30.  The usual account of the murder is Yusupov’s, and is not considered to be very reliable.  The oft-repeated story that Rasputin was poisoned, beaten, shot, and then drowned is almost certainly an exaggeration, concocted by Yusupov to make Rasputin seem like an otherworldly villain.  In actuality, Rasputin was most likely shot twice in the torso, beaten, and then killed by a shot to the forehead, before his (by now quite dead) body was thrown into the Neva in the wee hours of December 31.

It is possible that British intelligence may have had some role in the murder, as well; one of Yusupov’s close friends was British agent Oswald Rayner.  There are many indications he was present that night, and some evidence to suggest that he fired the fatal bullet.  Whether there was any larger British involvement in the murder is unknown.

Yusupov’s involvement was soon uncovered, and he was exiled to his estate in southern Russia.  After the February Revolution, Yusupov left for France, where he remained until his death in 1967.  In 1932, he and his wife Irina successfully sued MGM for libel, as their movie Rasputin and the Empress’ clear analogue for Irina was seduced by Irina in the film.  This resulted in the now-common disclaimer seen in films and television shows that “No identification with actual persons (living or deceased) is intended or should be inferred.”

Today in 1915: Congressman Indicted for Inciting Peace Strikes in Munitions Factories
Today in 1914:  Churchill Proposes Attacks in German Bight, Gallipoli

Today in 1914 will be replaced by a new Today in 1916 feature, beginning tomorrow.

Painted scroll. Mid-18th century, Japan, by artist Ito Jakuchu. In 1765 the artist gave this and other paintings to the Shokokuji Monastery in Kyoto and then they were given to the Imperial Household in 1889.

Yi Woo was born in Unhyeon Palace to Prince Gang, the fifth son of Emperor Gojong of Korea. At the age of 5, Yi was adopted by his deceased uncle Prince Jun’s household as the heir of that branch of the Imperial Household with the title of Prince Wu. He was sent to Japan for education in 1917. He resisted attempts by the Japanese government to eliminate his Korean heritage, and chose to marry the daughter of Korean Marquis Park Yeong-hyo instead of marrying a Japanese Princess like many other Korean nobles had done at the time. He was perceived to have handsome features. Yi served in the Japanese Army in China, but there were many claims that he was heavily involved in Chinese and particularly Korean resistance groups. Some also claimed he fathered an illegitimate child with the daughter of Korean resistance leader General Yu Dong-ryul. There is little evidence to suggest these claims, but his involvement with anti-Japanese movements is generally recognized popularly today.

Toward the end of the war, Yi served with the Japanese Army in Hiroshima. He was killed as the result of the dropping of the first atomic bomb. He now rests in peace in Hongneung Imperial tomb in Korea.

Yabusame (horseback archery) of the Takeda ryu at Samukawa jinja, Samukawa, Kanagawa.

Each year in September around the 20th at Samukawa jinja Miyayama, Samukawamachi, Koza County, Kanagawa Prefecture, the Takeda ryu holds it’s annual yabusame ceremony. 

Takeda ryu dates back to the 8th century and practises the same methods and rituals as established in the 12th century by Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first Shõgun

The yabusame ritual is quite exhilarating to watch. It is definitely action packed and the audience gets involved right from the start cheering on the archers and applauding when their shots are successful.

The event starts with a dedication to the kami and a ritual purification of the course, then follows a procession of all the archers, the overseers, and all the attendants. A test run of the course may take place and then the actual shooting begins with up to ten archers shooting at three targets spaced at 65 metres apart. The course is 218 metres long. Each archer gallops along the course and fires his arrows at the three targets, this takes about 15 seconds each time when the horses are galloping at full speed.

At first, larger targets made of paper are fired at, and then smaller clay targets are introduced at the last part of the ritual which is called kyosha. This part of the ritual is actually a competition between the archers and it is at this stage that it gets very exciting. The audience soon starts cheering on their favourite archers. 

The smaller targets in the kyosha competition are round and 17 centimetres across. They are called san-sun no komato. They consist of two clay bowls which are glued together. There is colourful confetti inside the clay targets, and when the target is hit, the clay breaks and the confetti sprays out giving an explosive effect. The best archer is decided based on his performance.

At the close of the ritual, the archers and the attendants are served Omiki (sacred Japanese liquor).

This ritual is a must see for anyone interested in Japanese martial arts, and mounted archery in particular. 


Yabusame, a tradition stretching back over 1,000 years, is a ceremony held to rid the area (surrounding villages and farms) of evil “spirits.” The 29th emperor of Japan, Kinmei, first performed this ceremony in about 530 C.E. when he fired arrows from horseback at three targets which represented the Sankan (the three Korean countries of the time). 

Archery and its accessories - bows, arrows, and quivers - have for centuries been firmly associated with Amaterasu-omikami, the most important Shintõ god of Japan, and also said to be directly linked in lineage to the Imperial Household of Japan and the Emperor, who are considered descendants of the kami themselves. As such, the bow and arrow is the symbol of the imperial household and the sacred symbols of the descendants of the sun goddess Amaterasu-omikami. In the ancient text the Nihon shoki it states that, “Amaterasu-omikami slung a thousand-arrow quiver and a five-hundred arrow quiver over her back and brandished her bow upwards.”

It is said in Japan that the bow is not so much a weapon as an instrument of magical sound which reaches into the world of spirits. The strumming sound of the bow in conjunction with specially designed “singing” arrows are used to call the kami. The bow is considered a torimono - a type of spiritual conductor - which can call upon the kami. It is even recorded that Minamoto no Yoshiie cured emperor Horikawa with “three demon-chasing twangs of his bow.”

When the arrow is shot, it announces to the kami that a rite is about to take place and that their presence is required. 

At Shintõ shrines across Japan one can see hamayumi (evil-dispelling bows) and hamaya (evil-dispelling arrows) which are potent symbols of sacred power for many people today.

© James Kemlo

Old Pine Tree and Peacock, c. 1759–1761
J. Rōshō kujaku zu
c. 1759–1761 (Hōreki 9–11)
142.5 x 79.7 cm
Signature: “Made by Layman Jakuchū”
Seals: (Top, square intaglio), “Jokin”
(Bottom, round relief), “Jakuchū koji”

from Itō Jakuchū, Colorful Realm of Living Beings, set of 30 vertical hanging scrolls, c. 1757–1766, Sannomaru Shōzōkan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections), The Imperial Household Agency, Tokyo


In a series such as Colorful Realm, which depicts the most prevalent bird-and-flower subjects in East Asia, the inclusion of a peacock is not at all surprising. Although not native to Japan, the peacock was significant in Buddhist iconography as the steed of Mahamayuri, the Peacock King (J. Kujaku myō’ō).1 In continental symbolism the bird was associated with culture and the nine virtues in the Chinese classic Book of Changes (C. Yijing). In Chinese paintings and craft objects such as lacquerware, peacocks were commonly paired with peonies to convey auspicious messages for the acquisition of culture and prosperity. The present work was most likely modeled upon works by Jakuchū’s contemporary Oka Minzan (1734–1806) and other members of the Shen Nanpin school.
A comparison with works from China and the Shen Nanpin school, however, underscores Jakuchū’s transformation of subjects through the intensification of painting technique and coloration. Old Pine Tree and Peacock incorporates the same sophisticated layering of pigments that generates unique chromatic effects throughout Colorful Realm. Organic-green pigment and carbon-black sumi combine with light green on the underside of the silk to imbue the clusters of pine needles with a sense of spatial depth. Carefully drawn lines in shell-white pigment (gofun) and a verso application of the same pigment and ochre yellow (ōdo) produce the lacelike feathering of the peacock. Malachite green (rokushō) shades the underside of the peony leaves, and red brown (taisha), the reverse side of the pine trunk. These applications instill subtle hues and sheens into their respective surfaces.
Two aspects of Old Pine Tree and Peacock render it unusual among the scrolls of Colorful Realm. The first involves the use of gold paint for the distinctive eye patterns at the tips of the peacock’s fanlike plumage. Despite being generally extravagant with expensive pigments throughout the series, Jakuchū used gold paint only twice (here and Old Pine Tree and Cockatoos). He quite likely found gold unappealing, not only for its matte quality but also for its inability to convey the varying degrees of transparency he so prized. Close observation reveals his attempts to apply the gold as thinly as possible. He also applied an underlayer of cinnabar (shinsha), most likely in an effort to replicate the techniques of traditional Buddhist painting, in which red lead pigment was often used as a foundation for gold paint in order to generate a reddish-gold hue.
The second unusual aspect of the scroll is its use of heavy outlines for the large peony flowers gathered below. Also found in Peonies and Small Birds, these outlines convey a stiff, hardened appearance uncharacteristic of the painter’s general approach to form in his polychrome works. The outlines, however, could reflect Jakuchū’s reliance on painting manuals with printed woodblocks, in which case the outlines generated by key blocks would have been directly transferred to the paintings. Alternatively, they could suggest the influence of pattern-transfer techniques in textile decoration, or simply be an attempt to imbue the floral motifs here with coloristic and technical diversity.
1 For more on the Peacock King, see Masuki Ryūsuke, Kujaku myō’ō zō, vol. 508 of Nihon no bijutsu (Tokyo, 2008).