Samurai and the Warrior Culture of Japan, 471–1877: A Sourcebook

Hackett Publishing

Edited and Translated, with an Introduction, by Thomas Donald Conlan

In addition to providing excerpts from classic tales of Japan’s warrior past, this volume draws on a wide range of lesser-known but revealing sources—including sword inscriptions, edicts, orders, petitions, and letters—to expand and deepen our understanding of the samurai, from the order’s origins in the fifth century to its abolition in the nineteenth. Taken together with Thomas Donald Conlan's contextualizing introductions and notes, these sources provide a rare window into the experiences, ideals, and daily lives of these now-sentimentalized warriors. Numerous illustrations, a glossary of terms, and a substantial bibliography further enhance the value of this book to students, scholars, and anyone interested in learning more about the samurai.


"This sourcebook provides, for the first time in English, translations of the key primary sources for the study of the history of the samurai across all eras of Japanese history. Conlan has framed these sources with compelling historical analysis, making the book required reading not only for students of the warrior class but for everyone interested in the broad sweep of Japanese history. This is an astounding resource."
—Morgan Pitelka, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Conlan is to be commended for putting together this volume. Samurai and the Warrior Culture of Japan smartly complements earlier, well-used anthologies but also forges in new directions—delving deeply into documentary sources, in particular—immeasurably enriching the resources available to teachers of pre-modern Japanese history and promising to become a mainstay in the classroom."
—David Spafford, University of Pennsylvania

About the Author:

Thomas Donald Conlan is Professor of East Asian Studies and History, Princeton University.

Area of Interest
Art History
Constitutional History
Criminality and Criminal Justice
Cultural History
Foreign Relations
Legal History
Military History
Social History
War & Society
6th through 14th Centuries
15th & 16th Centuries
17th & 18th Centuries
19th Century