Ken Ruoff, Ulrich Hardt win 2012 Oregon Book Awards
Author: University Communications, Graduate School of Education
Posted: April 24, 2012

Portland State University professors Ken Ruoff and Ulrich Hardt have won 2012 Oregon Book Awards honoring the finest work by Oregon writers. 

The awards were announced April 23 at a ceremony at the Gerding Theater in Portland. 

Ruoff (pictured left), a Portland State history professor who directs the university’s Center for Japanese Studies, won the Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction for his book, "Imperial Japan at its Zenith" (Cornell University Press), explaining how Japan’s cult of the emperor fueled support for the militarism that set the stage for World War II.

"The award is representative of the strengths that Portland State University has in Japanese Studies and in History," Ruoff said.

His book reveals new details that challenge the conventional wisdom that the Japanese people were unaware of their nation’s march toward war. The year before Pearl Harbor, for example, Japan honored Emperor Hirohito with elaborate celebrations and staged events that traced back imperial rule 2,600 years to the first emperor, who was descended from a sun goddess according to Japanese myth. His previous book, “The People’s Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy, 1945-1995” was awarded Japan’s literary equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. 

Hardt, (pictured left) emeritus professor in the Graduate School of Education, won the Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award in recognition of his contributions to the Oregon literary community. As a member and past president of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, Hardt has edited the peer-reviewed Oregon English Journal for 25 years. Journal topics include educational, literary and global issues for all educator levels, elementary through college.

Also for 25 years, Hardt has directed the Oregon Writing Festival, which brings about 1,000 students in grades 4-12 to the PSU campus each spring. The festival recognizes and encourages the efforts of Oregon students and teachers to improve writing.