During the 16th century, Japan underwent a military revolution, characterized by the deployment of large armies, the introduction of firearms and an eventual shift towards fighting on foot. This study encapsulates these great changes through an exploration of the experience on the ground at three key battles, Uedahara (1548), Mikata ga Hara (1573) and Nagashino (1575), in which two very different types of warrior were pitted against each other. On one side were samurai, the elite aristocratic knights whose status was proclaimed by the possession and use of a horse. On the other side were the foot soldiers known as ashigaru, lower-class warriors who were initially attendants to the samurai but who joined the armies in increasing numbers, attracted by loot and glory. These two types of warrior battled for dominance across the period, changing and adapting their tactics as time went on.
In this title, the development of the conflicts between samurai and ashigaru is explored across three key battles, where highly trained elite mounted samurai of the Takeda clan faced ashigaru at very different stages in their development. The profound and irreversible changes that took place as the conflicts progressed are analysed in detail, culminating in the eventual incorporation of the ashigaru as the lowest ranks of the samurai class in within the standing army of Tokugawa Japan.
Country of Publication:
03 December 2019
Introduction / The opposing sides / Combat 1 / Combat 2 / Combat 3 / Analysis / Aftermath / Bibliography / Index
Stephen Turnbull is one of the world's leading English-language authorities on samurai culture. Having lectured in East Asian Studies and Theology he is now retired and is an Honorary Lecturer at Leeds, a Research Associate at SOAS and Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at Akita International University. He has published more than 70 books and many journal articles. He is currently working on a major project tracing the historical evolution of the ninja as a cultural phenomenon. He is based in West Yorkshire, UK. Johnny Shumate began his career in 1987 after graduating from Austin Peay State University. Most of his work is rendered in Adobe Photoshop using a Cintiq monitor. His greatest influences are Angus McBride, Don Troiani and Edouard Detaille. He works as a freelance illustrator and lives in Tennessee.