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Web Video / history of japan

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how about sunrise land?

"japan is an island by the sea filled with volcanoes and it's beautiful!"
— The first lines from the video, and just the tip of the iceberg.

A video made by bill wurtz, which basically abridges the history of Japan from 40,000 years ago to the present day into a surreal nine-minute-long video. Watch it here. Be prepared for absolute weirdness.

Followed up a year later in 2017 with a 20-minute video that examines the history of the entire world, i guess.

knock knock, it's tropes:

  • all lowercase letters: Why, yes! Standard for Bill Wurtz.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The attack on Pearl Harbor served only to anger the United States and brought them into World War II and kick both Germany and Japans' asses.
  • Blatant Lies: The states of Choshu and Satsuma are able to overthrow the shogunate with almost very little outside help (quick flash of British flag).
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: When mentioning the cultural innovations of the Heian period, Bill mentions "monkey fun", an overly literal translation of sarugaku. Sarugaku was a form of light entertainment, and while some might have had animal acts, singers, jugglers, acrobats and dancers were far more common. A better translation might have been "circus shows" or "variety shows". But then again, it wouldn't have been nearly as funny.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When talking about the United States and their Gunboat Diplomacy:
    "knock knock. it's the united states. with huge boats. with guns. gunboats."
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: There is a quick flash of "vote now on your phones", but it doesn't last very long.
    "vote now on your phones!"
    (Two bars rise from the bottom of the screen until they reach the top)
    "and everyone voted so hard that the palace caught on fire and burned down."
  • Bring It: After the Mongols invade China.
    Mongols: we've invaded china.
    Narrator: ...said the mongols.
    Mongols: please respect us, or else we might invade you as well.
    Japanese: (draw swords) okay.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": Once the Russians were done building their railroad in Manchuria they would downgrade the shit-ton of soldiers supervising it to a FUCK-ton.
    "did i say downgrade? i meant upgrade."
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Runs rampant within this video, but here are just four examples:
    • 1:
      "in the year -40,000 it was here, and you could walk to it, and some people walked to it."
    • 2:
      "open the country. stop having it be closed."
    • 3:
      "breaking news: the mongols have invaded china. 'we've invaded china,' said the mongols."
    • 4:
      "correction: rich important people hired samurai. poor people who could not afford to hire samurai did not hire samurai."
  • Eagleland: With Gunboat Diplomacy:
    "knock knock. it's the united states. with huge boats. with guns. gunboats."
  • Embarrassing Nickname: China used to call Japan wa (or "dwarf"). Or as Bill puts it, "dipshit".
  • The Empire: The rise of Imperial Japan is attributed here as stemming from Japan's desire to emulate its successful western contemporaries. And do you know what was especially Western in that age? Conquering stuff.
  • Enemy Mine: Subverted. America helps Britain in World War II because they're "good friends" and stops helping Japan because "their friends and our friends are not friends… plus they're planning on invading the entire ocean".
  • Everything Except Most Things: Everyone was hiring samurai! Correction 
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Especially when it comes to protecting your shit from criminals, and you're rich and important enough to hire one.
  • Funny Background Event: There are brief flashes of other notes and jokes that can fly by pretty quickly if you're not paying attention.
    • "and they did some rapes!" shows up thrice.
    • When the first image of Tokugawa Ieyasu shows up, as the narrator states he's the richest and most powerful magistrate, a picture of a young Donald Trump appears in transparency.
  • GIS Syndrome: Played for Laughs, especially alongside the simplistic drawings made by Wurtz himself.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: The United States:
    "knock knock. it's the united states. with huge boats. with guns. gunboats."
  • I Know You Know I Know: Exaggerated in the run-up to World War I:
    "the next thing on their list is this part of china [Qingdao] and lots of tiny islands. All that stuff belongs to germany, which just had war declared on by britain, because britain was friends with belgium, which was being trespassed in order to get to france to kick france's ass, because france is friends with russia, who was getting ready to kick austria's ass because austria was getting ready to kick serbia's ass, because someone from serbia shot the leader of austria's ass... or, actually, he shot him in the head. and britain is currently friends with japan, so you know what that means... (Beat) duh, japan should take the islands! note "
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: When Europe arrives the first time around, they are here to sell clocks, and guns, and j e s u s!
  • Lemony Narrator: bill wurtz is absolutely ridiculous in his narration. He still gets the point across.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • "and they did some rapes."note 
  • Motor Mouth: Necessary when you want to tell several millennia worth of history in nine minutes.
  • Mood Whiplash: Done twice in a row. When the USA drops its nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the music completely goes silent for a few moments, emphasizing the seriousness of this event. Then Japan raises a flag saying "you win".
  • Mundane Made Awesome: It's the actual history of Japan condensed into a nine-minute video full of off-the-wall humor that still manages to convey most of the facts there.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Japan technically participated in World War I, so it gets to join the League of Nations along with everyone else. Of course, in the painting shown of the Paris Peace Conference that officially ended the war, Japan's representative is half-obscured by the edge of the picture.
  • No Ending: After getting to modern-day Japan, there's a brief jingle that says "bye", and the video abruptly stops.
  • No, You: When Japan raises concerns about Russia suddenly amassing a huge garrison at Manchuria:
    Japan: could you maybe chill?
    Russia: how about maybe you chill?
  • Puppet King: The emperor, once the first shogunate is formed. The shogunate still allows the emperor to have nice things and live in the palace at Kyoto, but the shogun in Edo holds all the real power.
  • Regent for Life: The council Toyotomi Hideyoshi assigns to look after his five-year-old son.
    Yeah, Right. it's not gonna be this kid. it's gonna be one of Us. cuz we're grownups.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: In history form!
  • Running Gag:
    • "knock knock, it's [X]."
    • "they made a new [X] that was pretty western."
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • During the Mongols' invasion of Japan, the Mongols somehow manage to die in a tornadonote  twice.
    • Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeats Akechi Mitsuhide after the latter killed Oda Nobunaga, finishes Nobunaga's work in unifying Japan under a single authority, and decides he's going to invade Korea, and then hopefully China. He fails. And also dies.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Mongols and Toyotomi Hideyoshi both get killed in their respective failed invasions. Toyotomi had it even harder since Tokugawa Ieyasu proceeds to take over the country soon after he dies, overruling any power that the heir Toyotomi Hideyori was supposed to inherit.
  • Shown Their Work: The video is surprisingly well-researched, despite being what it is.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Two of the cheeriest jingles in the video are those announcing the start of World Wars I and II.
  • Strongly Worded Letter: The League of Nations' memo upon Japan invading Manchuria.
    "no, don't do that, if you're in the league of nations you're not supposed to take over the world!"
  • Succession Crisis: The Ōnin War makes an appearance. The shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa needs an heir. Usually it's the shogun's kid, but the shogun doesn't have a kid. So he tries to get his brother Yoshimi to quit being a monk and be the next shogun. Yoshimi says okay, but then the shogun has a kid, Yoshihisa. Bill Wurtz then says, "vote now on your phones" to pick between Yoshimi and Yoshihisa, and the palace burns down due to phone-in voters voting so hard. invoked
  • Weather of War: Two "tornadoes"note  foil the Mongols' attempted invasion of Japan.

but everything's still pretty cool i guess — b y e!


Video Example(s):


history of japan

Commodore Matthew Perry sails to Japan on a "diplomatic" mission to open its ports to trade with the United States. And by diplomatic, it involved threats to bombard Edo (now Tokyo) with their modernized fleet if the shogunate refuses to end their "sakoku" policy. Russia and the United Kingdom were also allowed to trade with Japan as well.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (34 votes)

Example of:

Main / GunboatDiplomacy

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