The Twillight of the Samurai: a historian of the Faculty of Arts launched his new book

Alumni Further Education Public

On Tuesday, 28 May, the University Café Družba hosted the book launch of The Twilight of the Samurai by Dr. Roman Kodet from the Department of Historical Sciences, organized by the Faculty of Philosophy of WBU.

A new publication published by Epocha Publishing House, The Twilight of the Samurai, subtitled War, Superpowers, Revolution and the Emergence of Modern Japan (1850-1880), presents a turbulent period in Japanese history when the island empire opened up to the world and embarked on a complex path of modernisation. The author's newly introduced work builds on his previous publications, The Samurai Wars (2015) and The Story of the Samurai (2018), which presented the history and world of warriors in ancient Japan. In nearly eight hundred pages, he presents a turbulent period of Japanese history in an international context. His research, spanning more than a decade, has included studies in archives and other institutions in Japan, Great Britain, France, Germany Austria, and other countries. The result is an extensive and graphically exceptional publication that represents an exceptional result of research at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of WBU.

About the author

PhDr. Roman Kodet, Ph.D. (*1981)

He studied history-general history at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, where he defended his dissertation on the relations between Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire at the Institute of World History in 2012. Since 2009, he has been working at the Department of Historical Sciences at the Faculty of Arts of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, where he founded the Centre for Japanese Studies in spring 2018. His professional activities focus on the history of Japan and international relations in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He is the author of the monographs War of the Samurai (2015, Miroslav Ivanov Prize) and Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire before World War I (2015). His greatest literary success was achieved with his extensive synthesis The Story of the Samurai (2018), for which he received the Miroslav Ivanov Prize. He also regularly contributes scholarly and popular studies to Czech and international periodicals. As an editor, he contributes to the international journal West Bohemian Historical Review. As part of his professional activities, he regularly visits Japan, where he has established successful cooperation with a number of outstanding experts and institutions.


For many centuries, the Land of the Rising Sun has been dominated by members of the military class - the samurai. Under their rule, Japan has enjoyed a period of prosperity, internal stability and peace since the early 17th century. All this has come at the cost of isolating the country from the 'corrupting' influence of foreigners from the West and military dictatorship on the domestic scene. Since the early 19th century, however, the interest of the 'southern barbarians' in the Japanese islands has steadily increased. After 1854, Japan had to open its ports to European and American vessels and subsequently establish official relations with the Western powers. This clash with a completely different culture destabilised the Tokugawa shogunate's system of military rule, which was shaken at its very foundations. What followed was a period of two decades of internal and external conflict that changed Japan irrevocably. In the face of the Western threat, the military proved incapable of effectively defending the country and became an anachronism with the emergence of modern institutions and armed forces. After years of upheaval, assassinations, wars and revolution, the samurai suddenly became a thing of the past, and Japan set out to meet the modern world. The planned publication will offer a first look at this complex and turbulent process in the English language. It will open up a whole new world of Japan at the end of the samurai era in the so-called Meiji Restoration, which marked a major turning point in the history of the entire Far East.



Faculty of Arts

Roman Kodet

29. 05. 2024