Kings in All but Name: The Ōuchi and the Age of Yamaguchi 1408-1551

Part of the 2017 One Asia Forum Talk Series
with speaker Professor Tom Conlan (Princeton University)


Event Details

Start: 21 September 2017 4:00 pm
End: 21 September 2017 6:00 pm
Venue: Room 604, Asian Centre


Japan during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was not a politically divided and isolated land, but rather an integrated and segmented polity, with two complementary capitals at Kyoto and at Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi, a trade entrepôt, was the territory of the Ōuchi, a prominent warrior family who claimed descent from Korean kings, and who controlled the sea lanes and strategic ports of western Japan. The Ōuchi created a distinct polity that served as the core of Japanese culture, politics and economy through 1551, when the penultimate Ōuchi lord Yoshitaka was overthrown, and Japan was plunged into decades of civil war, resulting in the eclipse of western Japan.


About the speaker:

Thomas Conlan, Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Princeton University, researches medieval Japanese history, focusing on Japan from the twelfth through the sixteenth centuries. He is interested in how warfare and ritual practices shaped the politics, culture and society of medieval Japan.  Monographs include From Sovereign to Symbol: An Age of Ritual Determinism (2011), Weapons & Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior (2008), State of War: The Violent Order of Fourteenth-Century Japan (2003), and In Little Need of Divine Intervention (2001). Currently he is working on a manuscript, “Kings in All but Name,” which explores how the Ōuchi created a distinct trading state that served as the political, economic and cultural core of Japan during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries