What Became of the Samurai in Modern Japan?
Sunday, January 12, 2014 - 2:00pm

Ken Ruoff, Professor of History and Director of the

Center for Japanese Studies at Portland State University

presents a public lecture at the Portland Art Museum

What Became of the Samurai in Modern Japan


January 12th, 2014

2:00 p.m.

Portland Art Museum

Free for museum members; $20 non-members, $17 students and seniors. Tickets include access to Samurai! Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection and other special and general


In this lecture, Dr. Ruoff will examine information on the samurai including: a brief civil war in 1867–68 symbolically restored the emperor to power, and ended centuries of samurai rule in Japan. While the daimyo, or provincial warlords, were allowed to retain some personal land and wealth, the vast majority of the samurai class found themselves with no land, no income, and no official status. Professor Ruoff turns his attention to the fate of the samurai in a century of upheaval as Japan modernized, became an imperial power, and emerged as a peaceful economic superpower in the postwar years.


The Japanese translation of Ruoff's first book, The People's Emperor, was awarded the Osaragi Jirõ Prize for Commentary, Japan's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.  His most recent book, Imperial Japan at its Zenith, was awarded the 2012 Frances Fuller Victor Award for Nonfiction.