Mark Ravina


Department of History

Office: Bowden 306

Phone: (404) 727-4025



Mark Ravina, Professor, (A.B., Columbia University, 1983; M.A., Stanford University, 1988; Ph.D., 1991).

My specialty is Japanese history, especially eighteenth and nineteenth-century politics, but my broader methodological interest is in the transnational and international dimension of state-building. I’m currently working on a history of the Meiji Restoration for Oxford University Press entitled Japan’s Nineteenth Century Revolution: A Transnational History of the Meiji Restoration. I have recently delivered papers on that project at Stanford University and at the Kyoto University Institute for Research in Humanities, where I was a visiting professor in fall 2012. My early work on that topic, based on a paper I delivered at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study was published as "State-Making in Global Context: Japan in a World of Nation-States." In The Teleology of the Modern Nation-State, edited by Joshua Fogel, 87-104. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

I’ve also begun exploring digital humanities (DH), especially the use of quantitative methods in the humanities. For my research and teaching in exploratory data analysis (EDA), DH, and statistics see my personal page (link below).

In 2004 I published a biography of Saigō Takamori entitled The Last Samurai (John Wiley & Sons). Saigō was the inspiration for the character Katsumoto in the Tom Cruise film, also entitled The Last Samurai. I had begun working on the book independently of the movie, but the Warner Brothers film sparked a surge of interest in Saigō and I appeared as a "guest expert" on CNN and on two History Channel programs: "History vs. Hollywood" and "The Samurai." The Last Samurai has been translated into Chinese, Russian, and Polish.

My first book was Land and Lordship in Early Modern Japan (Stanford, 1999), also published in Japanese translation as Meikun no satetsu (NTT shuppan 2004).

My other recent publications include:

         2010. "The Apocryphal Suicide of Saigō Takamori: Samurai, Seppuku and the Politics of Legend." Journal of Asian Studies 69 (3): 691–721.

         2010. "Kindaika, kindaisei to meikunzō no saikentō: Uesugi Yōzan o chūshin ni." Rekishi hyōron 717 (1): 37-50.

         2010. "Confucian banking: the community granary (shasō) in rhetoric and practice." In Economic thought in early modern Japan, edited by Bettina Gramlich-Oka and Gregory Smits, 179-204. Leiden, The Netherlands and Boston: Brill.

         2009. "Introduction: Conceptualizing the Korean Wave." Southeast Review of Asian Studies 31: 3-9.

HIST 260 website

For additional, up-to-date information, see my home page.

My Curriculum Vitae


  • BA, Columbia University, 1983.
  • MA, Stanford University, 1988.
  • PhD, Stanford University, 1991.


  • Early Modern and Modern Japan and East Asia

Current Graduate Students