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Japanese Historical Anime Streaming Videos List

■Learning Japanese History Through Streaming Video Anime in Chronological Order


In Japan, the study of "history" begins in the sixth grade of elementary school. As students progress to junior high and high school, the curriculum becomes more detailed.


It is common for foreign tourists to encounter groups of Japanese elementary school students in places like Kyoto, Nara, and Kamakura. This is often because sixth graders go on "Syugaku-Ryokou", which are school-sponsored trips that combine hands-on history learning and memory-making.


The original article🇯🇵 was written for elementary school students and their parents who are preparing for entrance exams to private junior high schools in Japan.

However, I believe it contains useful information for overseas readers interested in Japanese history and anime, so I will translate🇺🇸 and introduce it with some additional notes.


But, please note that I am not familiar with other countries with the subscription video services, viewing options, or pricing systems available abroad, so please check and decide for yourself.


Below is the translation of the original article.


■A Study Cycle Prioritizing Interest and Engagement

For children who struggle with group learning in a standardized school setting or are not motivated by textbook-based study, I believe the first step is to "spark their interest."


In my approach to junior high school entrance exam studies for my children, I followed this cycle:


  1. Capture the child's interest through anime, manga, games, or play-related activities.

  2. Deepen their learning by having them experience what they got hooked on.

  3. Connect this to exam-oriented output like workbooks and problem sets.

  4. Expand their knowledge and reinforce it by linking it to memories in other fields.


We actively used subscription streaming videos from services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, and PPV/rental viewing as the initial trigger to pique interest.

These were particularly useful during summer breaks during the COVID-19 pandemic and as a break when motivation for studying was low.


Especially for my daughter, who is in the gray zone of learning disabilities, reading textbooks and understanding content accurately was difficult, so she wasn't a fan of reading books. Therefore, she had significantly less foundational knowledge at the start of her exam studies compared to her brothers, who were enthusiastic about internet searches and Manga.


However, she found it easier to absorb information through videos and movies with sound and movement. So, during the summer break of her sixth grade, we binge-watched Historical Anime in chronological order to help her grasp the overall flow of historical periods.


Here is the list of historical anime streaming videos we watched with her, arranged in chronological order:

■Japanese Historical Anime Streaming Videos List


*Rating Information: We watched all of these as a family. Some households might be concerned about violent or sexual content, or children who are sensitive to scenes with blood. Therefore, I have included rating information.

*The Titles: are linked to their official websites (if an English version of the official site is available, I have prioritized that link).

*Streaming Site: Please check the current streaming site information yourself (for reference, I have included links to the Amazon Prime Video Japan site for works available in Japan).

*Original Japanese Title: If the official English title is unknown, I have included the original Japanese title with the Romanized reading.


 

[Jomon-Era] -B.C.11000 🍖


Doraemon: Shin Nobita no Nippon Tanjou (Movie: 1 hour 43 minutes) ★All Ages

  • Set in Japan 70,000 years ago, before humans lived there, it depicts the interaction and adventure of Nobita and his friends with Kukuru, a boy who came from the Chinese continent.


[Yayoi / Nara-Era] B.C.500-A.D.794 🌾


Hi no Tori: Reimei-hen, Taiyo-hen (TV Series: 13 episodes) ★All Ages

  • This is an anime series by NHK based on Osamu Tezuka's classic work. The story follows the immortal bird Phoenix and spans human history and the Earth.

  • The Chapter: Dawn(Reimei-hen) features Himiko from the Yayoi period.

  • The Chapter: Sun(Taiyo-hen) is set against the background of cultural influx and Buddhism in the Nara-Asuka period.


The anime movie set in the Nara period, "The Phoenix: Chapter of Ho-o", is not available for streaming. You might have to look for it in Japanese rental video stores.

"The Phoenix: Space" has also been adapted into an anime movie "PHOENIX: REMINISCENCE OF FLOWER" released on November 3, 2023.


[Heian-Period] 794-1185 ⛩


Heike Monogatari (Series: 11 episodes) ★13+

  • The story depicts the rise and fall of the Heike clan at the end of the Heian period from the perspective of a young biwa player, Biwa, showcasing the historical transition from aristocratic to samurai society.


[Kamakura-Period] 1185-1333 🏹


アンゴルモア元寇合戦記 (=Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion)

Angolmois: Genkou Kassen-ki (Series: 12 episodes) ★13+

  • This story focused on the Mongol invasions at the end of the Kamakura period. It depicts the battle on Tsushima Island between the former retainer Kuchii Jinzaburou and the Mongol forces. There is a decapitation scene in part, is suitable for older viewers due to the historical accuracy and intense scenes. Original author: Takagi Nanahiko


[Nanbokuchou / Muromachi-Period] 1333-1467 👺


Unfortunately, there are very few anime set in the Nanbokuchou/Muromachi period. Classic works like "一休さん/IKKYU-SAN", "Phoenix: Strange Beings", and sequels to "The Heike Story" like "INU-OH" are some examples, though not extensively watched in our household.

"Princess Mononoke" is also set in this era, but it is not suitable for studying history.


Currently serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump, 逃げ上手の若君/Nige-jouzu-no-Wakagimi" by Yusei Matsui is set in the period from the fall of the Kamakura shogunate to the Nanboku-cho period. It tells the story of Tokiyuki Hojo, a surviving member of the Hojo clan, and his battles (or rather, games of tag) with Ashikaga Takauji. The anime adaptation has been announced, and I have high hopes for it. (premiering on July 6, 2024).


[Sengoku-Era / Aduchi-Momoyama-Period] 1467-1603 🗡


Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga (Series: 12 episodes) ★7+

  • This gag anime has historical figures like Oda Nobunaga reincarnated as dogs in modern Japan. It includes many "Sengoku" era tidbits and is surprisingly educational despite its comedic nature. However, You might end up remembering the names of the warlords as dog breeds... 😅


[Edo-Period] 1603-1868 🌊


SARUSUBERI~Miss HOKUSAI~

Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai (Movie: 90 minutes) ★All Ages

  • The story of Oei, daughter of Katsushika Hokusai, depicts life in Edo and her relationship with her father and neighbors of Edo Town through beautiful seasonal changes.


[Meiji-Period] 1868-1912 🏭

Golden Kamuy (Series: 49 episodes, Seasons 1-4) ★16+

*The production of the 5th/ final Seasons has been decided

  • Set mainly in Hokkaido at the end of the Meiji period, this series revolves around the search for hidden Ainu gold. It's highly informative about Ainu culture and survival techniques, though it contains violent and adult scenes, so it's recommended that parents preview it first.

[Taisyo-Period] 1912-1926 👗


Although the Taisho period was so short, there are many works set in the Taisho period, such as "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba", and "My Happy Marriage", which often have strong fantasy elements.

"はいからさんが通る/Haikara-san ga Toru the movie"," which is nostalgic for middle-aged Japanese people, had a new theatrical version released in 2017 (I haven't seen it)


[Showa-Period] 1926-1989 🗼

Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni (Movie: 2 hours 9 minutes) ★13+

  • The story of Suzu, a girl who grows up in Hiroshima and survives through the wartime and postwar period. The work is rich in depictions of the ingenuity with which people survived during food shortages during wartime, as well as the marriage circumstances of the time. There are many emotionally rich and memorable scenes, and it seems to have left a lasting impression on my daughter.


 

Watching these historical anime together as a family during free time helped our children better understand their textbooks and study materials.

As parents, you could reference scenes from these shows to help explain historical concepts to your kids.


Oops!


Remember, even though some works are quite faithful to historical facts, they are still primarily fiction and fantasy. It’s important to verify accurate information from textbooks and reference books after watching and remind children not to use the anime content directly in their tests.


Watching fantasy works can still help children gain interest and understand the atmosphere and lifestyle of different historical periods, aiding their comprehension.

During hot summer days, I recommend studying in a cool room with the air conditioning on, enjoying this approach to exam preparation.


 

📝ChatGPT's Note


Syugaku-Ryokou (修学旅行): These are educational trips conducted by Japanese elementary and junior high schools. Students visit historical and cultural sites to gain firsthand learning experiences that go beyond textbook knowledge.

Entrance Exams for Private Junior High Schools: In Japan, many elementary school students prepare for entrance exams to private junior high schools. These exams are highly competitive, and families often begin preparation early.

Gray Zone of Learning Disabilities: This term refers to children who do not have a diagnosed learning disability but still face significant learning challenges. Special strategies are often needed to help these children succeed in their studies.

Historical Periods of Japan: Japan’s history is divided into several distinct periods:

  • Jomon Period: c. 11,000 BCE – c. 300 BCE

  • Yayoi Period: c. 300 BCE – c. 300 CE

  • Nara Period: 710 – 794

  • Heian Period: 794 – 1185

  • Kamakura Period: 1185 – 1333

  • Nanbokucho Period: 1336 – 1392

  • Muromachi Period: 1336 – 1573

  • Azuchi-Momoyama Period: 1573 – 1603

  • Edo Period: 1603 – 1868

  • Meiji Period: 1868 – 1912

  • Taisho Period: 1912 – 1926

  • Showa Period: 1926 – 1989

Cultural Context of Anime: Anime is a significant cultural product in Japan, encompassing various genres and themes. It is used not only for entertainment but also as an educational tool and a means of learning about history.

Age Ratings and Content of Anime: The article includes notes on age ratings and content warnings for the anime listed. Some anime contain violent or sexual scenes, so it's essential to check these details before viewing.

 

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