Thomas Conlan

Professor of Medieval Japanese History
Director of the East Asian Studies Program
Office Phone
207 Jones Hall
Office Hours
Tuesday: 12:15 pm-1:15 pm

Or by appointment

  • Ph.D. in History, Stanford University
  • M.A. in History, Stanford University
  • B.A. in History and Japanese with highest honors, University of Michigan, Phi Beta Kappa
Tom Conlan

Thomas Conlan, Professor of East Asian Studies and History, is interested in the political, social and intellectual transformations of Japan from the eleventh through the sixteenth centuries. Majoring in Japanese and History at the University of Michigan, he attended graduate school at Stanford University. Professor Conlan’s first published work, In Little Need of Divine Intervention: Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan, introduced an important picture scroll depicting the Mongol invasions of Japan. His next monograph, State of War: The Violent Order of Fourteenth Century Japan, based on his Ph.D. dissertation, revealed how warfare transformed the social, political, and intellectual matrix of fourteenth-century Japan. He then wrote a general history of the samurai, entitled Weapons and Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior, 1200-1877, which was revised and reprinted as Samurai Warrior Weapons and Fighting Techniques. He also completed a translation of Samurai and the Warrior Culture of Japan: A Sourcebook 471-1877.  In his From Sovereign to Symbol: An Age of Ritual Determinism in Fourteenth Century Japan, Professor Conlan analyzed the nature of political thought in medieval Japan.  Finally in his most recent monograph, Kings in All but Name: The Lost History of Ōuchi Rule in Japan 1350-1569 (Oxford, 2024), Conlan provides a new understanding of premodern Japanese history, showing that it was a multiethnic state, economically based on mining and trade.