I started my little photography blog 5 years ago while I was a law student.  I could never have dreamed it would become a full-time job (yes, I did become a lawyer but I started earning far more from my blog than I could have as an attorney, so I don’t practice law anymore).  I recorded a 35-minute audio podcast with my wife about how exactly we got started that you can listen to here.  I’ve gotten tons of emails from readers who have told me they really appreciated that episode.


What happened was that the Samurai, the warrior class in Japan, had been used to fighting by standing up in front of their armies and making a graceful speech, the other opposing Samurai made an answering graceful speech, and then they had one-on-one combat. The Samurai discovered that the peasants with their guns would shoot the Samurai while the Samurai were making their graceful speeches. So the Samurai realized that guns were a danger because they were such an equalizer. The Samurai first restricted the licensing of gun factories to a hundred factories, and then they licensed fewer factories, and then they said that only three factories could repair guns, and then they said that those three factories could make only a hundred guns a year, then ten guns a year, then three guns a year, until by the 1840s when Commodore Perry came to Japan, Japan no longer had any guns. That represents the loss of a very powerful technology.
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