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In Little Need of Divine Intervention: Takezaki Suenaga's Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan (Translation with Interpretive Essay)

113 DivineIntervention
Translated by Thomas D. CONLAN
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In Little Need of Divine Intervention presents a fundamental revision of the thirteenth-century Mongol Invasions of Japan by revealing that the warriors of medieval Japan were capable of fighting the Mongols to a standstill without the aid of any divine winds or kamikaze. Conlan's interpretation of the invasions is supplemented with translations of the picture scrolls commissioned by Takezaki Suenaga, a warrior who fought against the Mongols. In addition, translations of nearly seventy administrative documents are provided, thereby enabling students of Japanese history reconstruct the invasions using contemporary sources. A rare copy of Takezaki Suenaga's Scrolls, reproduced in full, reveals hitherto unknown missing scenes. Furthermore, the scrolls' images can be now read in tandem with its narrative passages, translated in English for the first time.  This monograph will prove to be of great interest for students and scholars of medieval Japanese history, warrior culture, and the nature of Japan in an East Asian context. | 320 pages

Please note that the entire book was intentionally printed from back to front, so that the reproduced scrolls unfold in Japanese order, from right to left. Thus the book's spine is on the right.


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Part 1. The Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan
  • Part 2. Records of the Invasions
  • Part 3. In Little Need of Diving Intervention
  • Appendices
  • Bibliography
  • Index: Selected Names and Regional Bakufu Institutions

  • "Will undoubtedly become the standard work on this topic." — Journal of Japanese Studies
  • "Conlan's book is a most welcome and outstanding contribution to our knowledge of medieval Japan, written in a highly readable style, and providing us with well-organized evidence and thoughtful interpretation of an event abounding in relevant domestic and international implications." — Monumenta Nipponica
  • "The Mongol Invasions Scroll by Takezaki Suenaga is a well-known and invaluable historical source on the two Mongol invasions in the late thirteenth century. Thomas Conlan's book . . . offers the first full translation of the text in English [with a] good overall summary of the present state of studies on the scrolls, both in history and in art history. The essay provides firm background knowledge and hence prepares the reader to better understand the historical context. In the final, interpretive essay, Conlan addresses some long-debated issues concerning the Mongol Invasions. [He] presents a vivid and detailed picture of the number of Japanese and Mongol troops and their tactics ... [His] reconstruction of the battles poses an important argument which calls for further examination by scholars not only of Japanese history, but of Chinese, Korean and Mongol histories. [This is] undoubtedly an important work that should prove to be of great interest to scholars of political, military, cultural and religious history. Provides the groundwork to begin the study of an extremely important event in medieval Japanese history and will inspire scholars of various disciplines to engage in further debate over this event." — Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 

  • Thomas CONLAN is Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College. He has recently published The Nature of Warfare in Fourteenth Century Japan, in the Summer 1999 issue of the Journal of Japanese Studies, and is currently preparing a monograph about warfare in fourteenth-century Japan for publication. Current research topics include the judicial role of violence, and the political role of Esoteric Buddhism.

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