This joint Princeton/Kyoto website reproduces 56 documents of the Suruga Date document collection. The Date are well known because their northern branch gained great power, with one of their members, Date Masamune (1567-1636), becoming one of the most famous warlords in Japanese history. The Date of Suruga, a province located approximately 90 miles to the west of present-day Tokyo, never did gain such power, although one document (Imagawa Yasunori letter (shojō), doc.42) does reveal their receipt of lands in the north. Nevertheless, they reveal the remarkable actions of Date Kagemune, a local warrior, who found himself at the epicenter of a chaotic civil war. His military documents reveal a series of conflicts culminating in the decisive battle of Satta Pass in the twelfth month of 1351, resulting in the victory of the first Ashikaga shogun Takauji over his rebellious brother Tadayoshi. Kagemune personally received a signed document from Takauji, titles, and rewards, which his descendants maintained for centuries. The final record translated for this website dates from 1467, the date of the onset of the Ōnin War, but many Suruga Date records survive into the Early Modern Tokugawa era (1600-1867).

The documents can be viewed either according to their current order of preservation, or chronologically by clicking on the "sort by" function to the left. Also on the upper right, certain aspects of groups of documents are explained, and an animated map depicted Kagemune’s battles in the 1350s.


These documents were made available thanks to the support of Yoshikawa Shinji, Iwasaki Naoko, Kido Hironari and the faculty and staff of Kyoto University, its Library, and Museum. The students of Thomas Conlan’s EAS 525, Kevin Woolsey and Masha Slautina, translated these documents over the course of the Fall 2021 semester. The research and scholarship of Imaoka Norikazu was consulted. Ben Johnson of Princeton's McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning designed and created this website and Lance Herrington of Princeton's McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning animated “The Battles of Date Kagemune." For errors or infelicities, please contact Thomas Conlan (tconlan@princeton.edu).