Academic Publications


Kings in All but Name: The Lost History of Ōuchi Rule in Japan, 1350-1569New York: Oxford University Press, January 24, 2024.

Samurai and the Warrior Culture of Japan, 471-1877: A Sourcebook. Hackett Publishing Company, March 2022 (e-book) July 2022 (printed version).

From Sovereign to Symbol: An Age of Ritual Determinism in Fourteenth-Century Japan. New York: Oxford University Press, October 2011.

Weapons and the Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior, 1200-1877.  New York: Amber Press, August 2008. Second revised edition, Samurai Weapons and Fighting TechniquesFebruary 2022. Translated into Japanese as Zusetsu Sengoku Jidai: Buki Bōgu Senjutsu Hyakka (図説 戦国時代 武器・防具・戦術百科). Tokyo: Hara Shobō 2013. Also translated into French, German, Spanish, Hungarian, Russian and Portuguese.

State of War: The Violent Order of Fourteenth-Century Japan. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies, December 2003.

In Little Need of Divine Intervention: Takezaki Suenaga’s Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan. Ithaca: Cornell University East Asia Program, August 2001. Third revised printing, 2009.

Published Articles

The Gods are Watching: Talsimans, Oaths, and Political Allegiance in Medieval JapanIn Medieval Worlds: Oaths in Premodern Japan and Premodern Europe, vol. 19 (2023), pp. 40-64.

Hikari to yami o koete—Nihon chūseishi no tenbō. In Horikawa Yasufumi and Xiaolong Huang eds., Kaigai no Nihon chūseishi kenkyū (Benseisha, 2023), pp. 18-26.

Chūsei no kassen: Dono yō ni okonaware, ika ni henka shita no ka. In Uejima Susumu et. al., eds., Ronten Nihon Shigaku. (Minerva shobō, 2022), pp. 140-41.

Warfare in Japan, 1200-1550.  Anne Curry and David A. Graff, eds. The Cambridge History of War, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020), pp. 523-53.

Ōuchi Yoshitaka no sento keikaku (Ōuchi Yoshitaka’s Plan to Move the Capital). Yamaguchi ken chihōshi kenkyū 123 (June 2020), pp. 14-28.

The ‘Ōnin War’ as Fulfillment of Prophecy. The Journal of Japanese Studies 46.1 (Winter 2020), pp. 31-60 (PDF version)

The Rise of Warriors During the Warring States Period. Japan: Past and Present, published by the Axel and Margarate Ax:son Johnson Foundation. (Stockholm, January 2020), pp. 314-27.

When Men Become Gods: Apotheosis, Sacred Space, and Political Authority in Japan 1486-1599. Quaestiones Medii Aevi Novae 2016, pp. 89-106.

Baishōron Introduction. Royall Tyler, trans. Fourteenth-Century Voices II: From Baishoron to Nantaiheiki. (Middleton, DE: Blue Tongue Books, 2016), pp. 17-28.

The Failed Attempt to Move the Emperor to Yamaguchi and the Fall of the Ōuchi. Japanese Studies 35.2 (September 2015), pp. 1-19.

Myth, Memory and the Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan. Elizabeth Lillehoj, ed. Archaism and Antiquarianism in Korean and Japanese Art (Chicago: Center for the Art of East Asia, University of Chicago and Art Media Resources, 2013), pp. 54-73.

Shiryō shōkai: Yoshida Kanemigi ga utsushita Ōuchi keizu. (The Ōuchi genealogy copied by Yoshida Kanemigi). Yamaguchi kenshi kenkyū 21 (March 2013), pp. 65-70.

Ema : une famille samouraï. Les Grands Dossiers des sciences Humaines, “La guerre, des origines à nos jours,” hors-série Histoire n° 1 (Novembre-Décembre 2012), pp. 52-55.

Medieval Warfare. Karl Friday, ed. Japan Emerging: Introductory Essays on Premodern History (Westview Press, 2012), pp. 244-53.

The Two Paths of Writing and Warring in Medieval Japan. Taiwan Journal of East Asian Studies 8.1 (June 2011), pp. 85-127.

The Ashikaga Shogunate, Mongol Invasions, and Nanbokuchō Wars. Gordon Martel, ed. The Encyclopedia of War (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011).

Instruments of Change: Organizational Technology and the Consolidation of Regional Power in Japan 1333-1600. John Ferejohn and Frances Rosenbluth eds., War and State Building in Medieval Japan (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010), pp. 124-58.

Traces of the Past: Documents, Literacy and Liturgy in Medieval Japan. Gordon Berger, Andrew Goble, Lorraine Harrington, G. Cameron Hurst III, eds., Currents in Medieval Japanese History: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey P. Mass (University of Southern California East Asian Studies Center: Figueroa Press, 2009), pp. 19-50.

Thicker than Blood: The Social and Political Significance of Wet Nurses in Japan, 950-1330Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 65.1 (June 2005), pp. 159-205.

The Culture of Force and Farce: Fourteenth-Century Japanese Warfare. Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies Occasional Papers in Japanese Studies. No. 2000-01 (January 2000). 

The Nature of Warfare in Fourteenth-Century Japan: The Record of Nomoto Tomoyuki. The Journal of Japanese Studies 25.2 (Summer 1999), pp. 299-330.

On the Nature of Warfare in the Fourteenth Century (Nanbokuchōki kassen no ikkōsatsu), in Ōyama Kyōhei sensei taikan kinen ronshūkai, ed., Nihon shakai no shiteki kōzō kodai chūsei (Kyoto: Shibunkaku, 1997), pp. 417-39.

Largesse and the Limits of Loyalty in the Fourteenth Century, in Mass, ed., The Origins of Japan’s Medieval World (Stanford University Press, 1997), pp. 39-64.



From Ad Hoc to Ongoing: The Mongol Invasions and the Institutionalization of Authority in Japan
Presented at the one-day conference “The Mongols from the Margins: New Perspectives on Central Asians in World History.”

Karofsky Faculty Encore Lecture: The History You Do Not Know: My Journey to Medieval Japan.
Professor Conlan describes his journey to medieval Japan, explores the wonder of the past, and urges those who study history to follow the evidence — especially when it upends cherished assumptions.
Listen to this podcast | Download from iTunes U 

Japanese Scrolls Project
The scrolls illustrate the valor and travails of a Japanese warrior named Takezaki Suenaga, who fought during the Mongol invasions of 1274 and 1281. Suenaga commissioned the original scroll to chronicle his deeds and to give praise to his commanders, and the gods, for his success in both campaigns.  This podcast contains interviews with  Tom Conlan and Multimedia Designer Kevin Travers discussing the development of the scrolls project.
View the site or View this enhanced podcast in iTunes

Review Articles

Layered Sovereignties and Contested Seas: Recent Histories of Maritime Japan. The Journal of Asian Studies 76.2 (May 2017), pp. 518-29.   doi:10.1017/S0021911817000250
Maiden Voyage: The Senzaimaru and the Creation of Modern Sino-Japanese Relations. By Joshua Fogel . Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014. Empires on the Waterfront: Japan's Ports and Power, 1858–1899. By Catherine L. Phipps. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015. Lords of the Sea: Pirates, Violence, and Commerce in Late Medieval Japan. By Peter D. Shapinsky . Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014. Defensive Positions: The Politics of Maritime Security in Tokugawa Japan. By Noell Wilson. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015.


Book Reviews

Randall Sasaki. The Origins of the Lost Fleet of the Mongol Empire. (Texas A&M University Press, 2015). The Historian 79.4 (Winter 2017), pp. 879-81.

Morgan Pitelka. Spectacular Accumulation: Material Culture, Tokugawa Ieyasu and Samurai Sociability. (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2016). American Historical Review 122.3 (June, 2017), pp. 819-20.    

Kuroda Hideo. Kokuhō Jingoji Sanzō to wa Nanika 国宝神護寺三像とは何か (Tokyo: Kadokawa sensho, 2012). International Journal of Asian Studies 13.2 (July 2016), pp. 267-70. pdf

Asuka Sango. The Halo of Golden Light: Imperial Authority and Buddhist Ritual in Heian Japan (Honolulu: ‘University of Hawai‘i Press, 2015). Journal of Japanese Studies 42.2 (2016), pp. 393-97. 

David Lurie. Realms of Literacy: Early Japan and the History of Writing (East Asian Monographs, number 335. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011). American Historical Review 117.4 (October 2012), p. 1203.

Lori Meeks. Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern Japan  (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2010). The Journal of Asian Studies 70.3 (August 2011), pp. 844-46.

Judith Fröhlich. Rulers, Peasants and the Use of the Written Word in Medieval Japan (New York: Peter Lang, 2007). Monumenta Nipponica 63.1 (Spring 2008), pp. 161-63.

Mikael S. Adolphson. The Teeth and Claws of the Buddha: Monastic Warriors and Sōhei in Japanese History (Honolulu: Univeristy of Hawai’i Press, 2007). Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 68.1 (June 2008), pp. 182-89.

Mikael Adolphson, Edward Kamens, and Stacie Matsumoto, eds. Heian Japan: Centers and Peripheries (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007). The Journal of Japanese Studies 34.2 (Summer 2008), pp. 467-71.

Olaf G. Liden, Tanegashima: The Arrival of Europe in Japan (Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, 2002). Monumenta Nipponica 58.3 (Autumn 2003), pp. 412-14.

Lee Butler, Emperor and Aristocracy in Japan, 1467-1680 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2002). The Journal of Asian Studies 62.4 (November 2003), pp. 1239-40.

G. C. Hurst, Armed Martial Arts of Japan (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998). Monumenta Nipponica 54.1 (Spring 1999), pp. 162-65.