‘Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Samurai!’ seminar 15 August

We had a good turnout on a wintery evening for this interesting event is co-sponsored with the Historical Studies Program at Monash University.

Professor David Howell (Harvard University) spoke in detail of how social mobility worked in the Tokugawa Period with reference to social status and political alliances. 

Dr. Adam Clulow of SOPHIS introduces Professor Howell
Professor Howell brings us the Sakamoto latte!
Many students were highly versed in samurai history through their experience in role playing video games.


Abstract:  Who wouldn’t want to be a samurai? Many people in Tokugawa Japan (1603–1868) desperately coveted samurai status, but there were also plenty of good reasons not to be a warrior.  David L. Howell is Professor of Japanese History at Harvard University and Editor of the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. He received his B.A. from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and Ph.D. in History from Princeton University. He taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Princeton before joining the Harvard faculty in 2010. Howell is the author of Capitalism from Within: Economy, Society, and the State in a Japanese Fishery (1995) and Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan (2005) as well as numerous articles.