Detail of woodcut of a samurai warrior by Toyokuni
YPM catalog no. ANT.206758
A pair of bronze hares.
YPM catalog nos. ANT. 241844 and ANT. 241845
After Commodore Perry’s opening of Japan to the West in 1854, vast
changes occurred in the Japanese economy and society. Political
upheavals brought in new leadership who adopted policies intended to
westernize the country.
The samurai, the ancient warrior class that accounted for about 6% of the male population, were stripped of their status and no longer allowed to carry their twin swords. More importantly, they lost their hereditary stipends.