In 1943 a new volcano arose in Hokkaido. The Japanese government managed to keep it a secret for several years.
In 1968 a North Korean black ops assassination team got within 100 metres of the South Korean president’s house. South Korea formed a team of petty criminals and teenagers to return the favour, but after three years of training they mutinied.
On June 25, 1900, tens of thousands of important historical manuscripts were found in a secret room within the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in Dunhuang, China, where they had been hidden for nearly a millennium.
Underneath Beijing is a vast network of tunnels built during the Cold War to shelter three million people during a nuclear attack.
Proto-Indo-European is thought to be the ancestor language of English, Latin, Greek, French, Russian, Urdu, Sanskrit, Farsi, and dozens of others. But what did it sound like?
The Hindu hymn Vishnu Sahasranāma lists one thousand different names for the god Vishnu. A surprising amount are about his bellybutton.
Vietnamese puppetry uses an ingenious method to hide the puppeteers’ controls: they put them underwater.
Every six months the Tonlé Sap River reverses direction.
We know how Chinese was pronounced 1400 years ago thanks to the world’s oldest surviving rhyming dictionary.
At the emotional climax of a Kabuki play, performers will strike a stylised pose to drive home the drama of the moment.
Buddhism was made the state religion of Silla (a kingdom in early Korea) because a court official planned his own martyrdom.
The Emei music frog of China advertises the size and suitability of their underground burrow through the acoustic properties of their croaks.
In 1958 Mao Zedong declared war on sparrows. Although he won that battle, China lost the war.
Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee in the world because of a crisis in 1970s East Germany.
When a samurai received a new katana, the sharpness of the sword could be tested by attacking a random civilian or (after that was banned) by slicing a criminal or corpse.