The Entire History of Japan in 9 Quirky Minutes

If you peruse our col­lec­tion of Free Online His­to­ry Cours­es, you’ll find plen­ty of enrich­ing his­to­ry cours­es from top-notch uni­ver­si­ties, all pre­sent­ed in a fair­ly con­ven­tion­al style. And cer­tain­ly noth­ing like the short his­to­ry les­son you’ll find above. Cre­at­ed by Amer­i­can musi­cian and video blog­ger Bill Wurtz, this “His­to­ry of Japan” walks idio­syn­crat­i­cal­ly through 40,000 years of his­to­ry in 9 min­utes, cov­er­ing the rise of tech­nol­o­gy and reli­gion, the influ­ence of Chi­na on Japan’s lan­guage and brand of bud­dhism, the rise of the samu­rai, the coun­try’s vexed rela­tion­ship with the West, the bomb­ing of Nagasa­ki and Hiroshi­ma, and more. Released in Feb­ru­ary, the video has already clocked more than 17 mil­lion views on YouTube–pretty good con­sid­er­ing that Wurtz cre­at­ed the video as “a pro­to­type to see if I could do a long video in the first place.” In a recent Q & A, Wurtz sug­gest­ed that he may well try to revive anoth­er project he’s been work­ing on–a His­to­ry of the Unit­ed States. Stay tuned for that.

You can read a script for the His­to­ry of Japan video here.

Note: The Great Cours­es is now offer­ing a 30-Day Free Tri­al, giv­ing you access to a video library of great cours­esIf you’re not famil­iar with them, The Great Cours­es trav­els across the US, record­ing great pro­fes­sors lec­tur­ing on top­ics that will appeal to any life­long learn­er. If you’re inter­est­ed in stream­ing their cours­es online–whenever you want and how­ev­er much you want–get details on their a 30-Day Free Tri­al here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Online His­to­ry Cours­es

Ear­ly Japan­ese Ani­ma­tions: The Ori­gins of Ani­me (1917–1931)

1850s Japan Comes to Life in 3D, Col­or Pho­tos: See the Stereo­scop­ic Pho­tog­ra­phy of T. Ena­mi

Learn Japan­ese Free

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.