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Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Samurai

October 9, 2012 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor

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David Howell Professor of Japanese History, Harvard University

Who wouldn't want to be a samurai? Many people in Tokugawa Japan (1603-1868) indeed coveted samurai status, but there were also good reasons not to be a warrior. This talk will introduce some of them, and along the way it will also address the surprisingly difficult problem of pinning down the definition of “samurai”: who was a “real” samurai, and who was a pretender? Thinking about the nature of the samurai will help to explain how the Tokugawa status order maintained its integrity over time.

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History Department, Center for East Asian Studies
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