Last week, we asked TW Facebook followers for their top to-dos on their post-COVID-19 wish list. Many are dreaming to go out with their friends and family, but there’s a possibility that reunions will have to wait for a few more weeks. On our end, we’ve been missing our coffee runs between meetings. Not only are they a chance to fuel up on caffeine, but they allow for a little walk outside and quiet time.
Inspired by our love for local coffee shops, we thought this week’s question to readers should be something along the lines of a coffee date: “What Japanese historical figure (living or deceased) would you like to have coffee with?” While it might certainly be hard to pick a favorite, a lot of you, 76 to be exact, did!
5. Political Leaders
Quite a few would take this opportunity as a chance to ask questions to some of Japan’s most important political leaders, past and present. PM Abe was of course on the list “to ask him how come it took so long to get my abenomasks.” From a more historical aspect, others wanted to meet with former PM Ito Hirobumi, Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken to discuss the Meiji Restoration.
4. War Heroes
Toyotomi Hideyoshi, as he “recognized the subversive threat of Western religion that preceded most invasion at that time.” Samurai are iconic figures of Japan and along with about half a dozen other war heroes, many of you want to know more about what was going on in times past. Among all the answers related to Japanese history, we noticed a particular love for the Sengoku period. Answers include the unforgettable 47 ronin, daimyo Takeda Shingen, the aforementioned Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Date Masamune, Oda Nobunaga and the often-overlooked female samurai Ginchiyo Tachibana.
There were certainly a few mentions of iconic literary, musical and visual artists among the answers. We can only imagine what a coffee date with Mishima Yukio or Haruki Murakami would be.
“Murukami: not coffee but with some nice scotch”
Among your answers, we also found a few mentions of singer-songwriter Itsuwa Mayumi, poet Masaoka Shiki, actor Toshiro Mifune, best known for his performance in Kurosawa’s Rashomon and author Natsume Soseki: “Would be so interesting to talk to. I like the sensitive view he had of the world and life in a moment of change.”
2. Cultural Pioneers
In addition to artists, there were also a few mentions of what we’re calling “cultural pioneers.” These figures are not necessarily artists but instead contributed significantly to Japanese culture with their work and remained relevant many years or centuries later. There were mentions of Sen no Rikyu, the father of traditional tea ceremony, Sei Shonagon, author of The Pillow Book and director Akira Kurosawa, to name a few.
1. Pop Culture Personalities
Without a doubt, the most popular people you would like to sit down for a cup of joe with are some of Japan’s most well-known pop culture figures. There were a few mentions of the late Ken Shimura, Seiji from the garage rock trio Guitar Wolf and Japanese character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. After all, these are the people that are contributing to the global sharing of Japanese entertainment and we’re sure that there are many more to add to the list.
If you could sit down with any Japanese historical figure, who would it be?
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