CJS Director Ken Ruoff Wins Oregon Book Award

Portland State University professor Ken Ruoff has won a 2012 Oregon Book Award honoring the finest work by Oregon writers.   The awards were announced April 23 at a ceremony at the Gerding Theater in Portland.

Ruoff, 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. 



Professor Ken Ruoff's book named finalist for Oregon Book Award

CJS Director and Professor Ken Ruoff’s book Imperial Japan at its Zenith: The Wartime Celebration of the Empire’s 2600th Anniversary has been named a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards sponsored by the Literary Arts organization.  Winners will be announced at the Annual Oregon Book Awards Banquet on 23 April 2012.

Ruoff stressed, “I am privileged to work with superb scholar-teachers here at PSU in the areas of Japanese Studies, East Asian Studies, and History, which has positively influenced my own scholarship and teaching.” Ruoff is professor in the history of modern Japan and also directs the Center for Japanese Studies. 

Dr. Ruoff is no stranger to literary awards.  In 2004, the Japanese translation of his first book, The People’s Emperor: Democracy and the Japanese Monarchy, 1945-1995, was awarded Japan’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize (the Jiro Osaragi Prize for the best book published in the social sciences the previous year) and became a best seller.   His new book is also available in Japanese translation in the mass-market Asahi sensho series.


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