Jolyon Thomas

Jolyon Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD from Princeton University, an MA from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and a BA from Grinnell College. His first book, Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan, was published by University of Hawai‘i Press in 2012. His second book, Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan, is forthcoming from University of Chicago Press in April 2019. With the generous support of a Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership/Social Science Research Council Abe Fellowship, he is now working on a third book, tentatively titled Difficult Subjects: Debating Religion and Public Education in Japan and the United States


Scroll down for the latest tweets, video, and other web content.




Coming soon from University of Chicago Press! (April 2019)

Coming soon from University of Chicago Press! (April 2019)

Available from University of Hawaii Press!

Available from University of Hawaii Press!



A playlist of videos about my forthcoming book Faking Liberties. Background stories, overviews, and major themes and arguments.

I talked with Pause & Select about my work on manga, anime, and religion.


Coming soon! A conversation at the new podcast Japan on the Record on why defenders of Kondō Marie might miss the point when they talk about her method as representing Shintō or animism. Stay tuned…

Jolyon Thomas, interview with Tristan Grunow, The Meiji at 150 Podcast, podcast audio, February 22, 2019.

Jolyon Thomas, interview with Kristian Peterson, New Books in Religion Podcast, podcast audio, September 6, 2014.


Courses in Fall 2019:

The Religion of Anime (lecture) MW 5–6; recitations F; film screenings TBA

Asian Religions in the Global Imagination (seminar) T 6–9