Nicholas Anderson on the latest data on Japan's Warring-States Period

December 20, 2022

Professor Nicholas Anderson

Professor Nicholas Anderson

Nicholas Anderson, Assistant Professor of International Affairs and Associate Director of the Master of Arts International Affairs program, has published an article after analyzing 2,889 battles that happened in Japan during its Warring-States period, from 1467 to 1600 AD. The dataset contains fifteen variables covering various features of the battles, including the date, location, participants, initiators, and victors, among others.

Existing work on the Warring States is sparse, despite the existence of many organized military forces with complex relationships in the period.  After the archipelago descended into chaos, Anderson writes that "the actors that emerged, their various forms of interaction, and the eventual unification of the archipelago by the late sixteenth century may hold important lessons for our understanding of the central problem of international relations—cooperation and conflict in the absence of centralized authority."

Prior studies often focused on key individuals, or included only a broad survey of the period. According to the article, this lack of attention "truncates our understanding of early modern conflict and warfare and contributes to a broader Western- and Euro-centrism in much quantitative international relations data and research (Griffiths and Butcher Citation2013, 751–755)". Anderson writes that this dataset can be used to "examine foundational issues in international security studies research, such as the causes of war, wartime alliance formation, the drivers of victory and defeat in battle, and the relationship between geography and war."

The data can also "add nuance to existing debates over the 'puzzle of peace' in pre- and early modern East Asia (Kang Citation2010), showing that any peace that may have existed between states and empires certainly did not preclude conflict within them." To read Dr. Anderson's full article, visit its page on Taylor & Francis Online