Richard J. Samuels

RICHARD J. SAMUELS is Ford International Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for International Studies. He is also the Founding Director of the MIT Japan Program. In 2005 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2011 he received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, an Imperial decoration awarded by the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Prime Minister.

Professor Samuels has served as Head of the MIT Department of Political Science, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Japan of the National Research Council, and as Chairman of the Japan-US Friendship Commission, an independent Federal grant-making agency that supports Japanese studies and policy-oriented research in the United States.  He has spent more than a decade doing field research in Japan and Europe and is one of only three scholars (Japanese or foreign) to have produced more than one scholarly monograph recognized by the Nippon Foundation as one of the top “one hundred books for understanding contemporary Japan.”

Cornell University Press has just published his book about the political and economic effects of Japan’s March 2011 catastrophes: 3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan.

Dr. Samuels’ previous book, Securing Japan: Tokyo’s Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia, was named one of the five finalists for the 2008 Lionel Gelber Prize for the best book in international affairs.  Another, Machiavelli’s Children: Leaders and Their Legacies in Italy and Japan, a comparative political and economic history of political leadership in Italy and Japan, won the 2003 Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies and the 2004 Jervis-Schroeder Prize for the best book in International History and Politics, awarded by the International History and Politics section of the American Political Science Association.

His 1994 study, “Rich Nation, Strong Army”: National Security and the Technological Transformation of Japan won the 1996 John Whitney Hall Prize of the Association of Asian Studies and the 1996 Arisawa Memorial Prize of the Association of American University Presses. His book, The Business of the Japanese State: Energy Markets in Comparative and Historical Perspective received the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize in 1988. In 1983, Princeton University Press published his Politics of Regional Policy in Japan.

His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, International Security, Foreign Policy, Washington Quarterly, International Organization, The Journal of Modern Italian Studies, The National Interest, The Journal of Japanese Studies, Daedalus, and other scholarly journals.

Dr. Samuels received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980 and a gold whistle for a decade of service from the Massachusetts State Referee Committee of the US Soccer Federation in 2009.



Selected Articles

  • Richard J. Samuels, "A Question for Asia: Is Japan Back?" The National Interest, May 28, 2014.
  • Eric Heginbotham, Ely Ratner, and Richard J. Samuels, "How Japan is Changing—and What It Means for the United States," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 90, No 5, September-October 2011.
  • Richard J. Samuels, “Kidnapping Politics in East Asia,” Journal of East Asian Studies, Volume 10, No.3 (November 2010).
  • Samuels, Richard J. and Robert Madsen, “Japan, LLP” The National Interest, No. 107, May/June 2010, pp. 48-56.
  • Richard J. Samuels, “Wing Walking: The US-Japan Alliance,” Global Asia, Vol. 4 No.1, Spring 2009.
  • Samuels, Richard J. and J. Patrick Boyd, “Prosperity’s Children: Generational Change and Japan’s Future Leadership,” Asia Policy, Number 6 (July 2008), pp.15-51.
  • Richard J. Samuels,  "New Fighting Power!': Japan's Growing Maritime Capabilities and East Asian Security." International Security Vol. 32, No. 3 Winter 2007/2008, pp. 84-112.
  • Eric Heginbotham and Richard J. Samuels, " Japan's Dual Hedge, " Foreign Affairs Vol 81 No. 5 (September/October 2002) pp. 110-121.
  • Richard J. Samuels, " Leadership and Political Change in Japan: The Case of the Second Rincho," Journal of Japanese Studies 29:1 (2003) pp 1-31.