Introduction ......................2 1: A History of Japan ........6
Early Japan ............................ 7 The Rise of the Samurai ...... 8 The Gempei War ................10 The Early Shoguns ..............11 Sengoku: The Country At War ..........12 The Last Shogunate ............28 History In The Game ..........29 The Daimyo In Shogun: Total War ............................30 2: The Samurai ........................34 Bushido: The Way of the Warrior......35 Arms & Armour ................39 Samurai Armies ..................46 Army units ..........................50 Castles & Siege Warfare ....56 Artillery In Japan ................57 Naval Forces In Japan ........58 Strategic Units In Shogun: Total War ............................58

4: Three Samurai Campaigns ..............................79
A Tactical Revolution ..........79 The Battles of Oda Nobunaga, 1560-1575 ..........................81 The Battles of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, 1582-1590 ........87 The Battles of Tokugawa Ieyasu, 1564-1600 ..........................92

5: The Mongols ............99
Who were the Mongols?......99 Temujin ..............................100 Kublai Khan ......................104 The Invasion of Japan ........107 The Mongol Army ............111 Mongol Military Units in Shogun: Total War ..........................116 Mongol Battles in Shogun: Total War ..........................118 The Campaign of Kublai Khan, 1274 ..................................119


3: THE LAND OF THE DAIMYO ..................................62
Rebellions, Peasant Revolts & Ronin ................65 Military Buildings in Shogun: Total War ..........................68 New Buildings for the Mongol Invasion Edition ................76 New Units for the Mongol Invasion Edition ................77


“If you know your enemy and know yourself, you will not be imperilled by a hundred battles. If you do not know the others but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one. If you do not know the enemy and do not know yourselves you will be in danger in every battle.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War Shogun: Total War™ — The Mongol Invasion is set in the Sengoku period of Japanese history. Now, unless you’re a Japanese historian and recognise that this means “The Country at War”, that probably doesn’t mean very much to you. By the time you’re playing the game (and if you’ve read at least some of this manual), you will realise that this is one of the most dramatic and exciting times in the history of Japan. In fact, it’s one of the most dramatic and exciting periods of history anywhere in the world! “Act after having made assessments. The one who first knows the measure of far and near wins — this is the rule of armed struggle” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War In the space of a little of over one hundred years, samurai armies fought for control of Japan. They were lead by the daimyo, a group of hugely powerful warlords who would have been kings and princes in their own right anywhere else in the world. Some of the daimyo were undoubtedly heroes, and some were undoubtedly utter monsters, but all of them were vastly ambitious! You’re about to be pitched into the middle of this epic struggle between the daimyo. The prize is to become shogun, the military ruler of Japan, and the controller of the nation’s destiny. The shogun is a more powerful man than the Emperor himself. The reward is tremendous, but the price of failure is death for you and your adopted clan! “To perceive victory when it is known to all is not really skilful… It does not take much strength to lift a hair, it does not take sharp eyes to see the sun and moon, it does not take sharp ears to hear the thunderclap.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War History and warfare doesn’t happen by accident. You’ll understand the game much better if you read at least some of this manual. You don’t have to remember everything (there’s no test on this stuff, we promise), but if you do know why daimyo A hates daimyo B but is willing to do a deal with clan C, you’ll have a lot more fun while you’re playing. At the very least, it’ll explain who all these people are, and who knows, it might even help you win Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion! Think like a daimyo, and you’ll win like a daimyo!


The Art of War So trust no one. and most especially his book. Having done all that he could as a commander. He is supposed to have written his book for Helü. Naturally. the women were far from being any kind of soldiers (much less good ones) and disobeyed all of Sun Tzu’s orders. the Chinese author of The Art of War.C. The Art of War Sun Tzu was a contemporary of the great philosopher Confucius. Keep your friends close… but remember to keep your enemies closer still! So who was Sun Tzu? All through the Shogun: Total War game and this manual. and then watched for vulnerability in their opponents. The story goes that Sun Tzu claimed he could train anyone to obey military orders. He ruled part of the lower Yangtze Valley and was locked in constant warfare with the rival kingdom of Yue. you will triumph and end up as the new shogun! “When on surrounded ground. and lived around 500 B. So why was a Chinese writer who’d been dead for centuries so important to the samurai? “In ancient times skilful warriors first made themselves invincible. other than repeating the tale of how Sun Tzu convinced his king that he knew how to train soldiers. As you’ll see later. and so the King challenged him to turn the court concubines into soldiers. as once orders have been clearly explained it is the duty of the soldiers to obey! 3 .C. Sun Tzu was therefore quite familiar with warfare in all its forms. this is a similar state of affairs to the Sengoku period in Japan. If you do the same and follow his principles of warfare. fight. the King of Wu during 514-496 B. China was being torn apart by a series of wars as lesser states fought for dominance.” — Sun Tzu. Other than that. plot. During his life. you’ll find references to — and quotes from — Sun Tzu. which is roughly the modern Shandong province in Eastern China. The Art of War The game has been designed and programmed to think like the daimyo and follow the ideas of Sun Tzu. Biographies from as little as 300 years after he was alive don’t include much more definite information than that. None of these states recognised the central authority of the Zhou Imperial dynasty any more.“Those who know when to fight and when not to fight are victorious. The Art of War. with equally disastrous results. When on deadly ground.” — Sun Tzu. he ordered that the leading concubines should be put to death. He explained his instructions carefully and patiently and tried again.” — Sun Tzu. in the kingdom of Qi. little is known about Sun Tzu’s life.

Although a study of warfare. Thereby you can be the controllers of your opponent’s fate…” — Sun Tzu. It’s the ruler’s job to find the best general. and then let him get on with winning the war. All at once the rest of the concubines suddenly discovered that they could. he should reject further interference from his sovereign. Its aims are invincibility. even to the point of formlessness. but they also brought their own unique Japanese perspective to the principles of warfare. The Art of War Shogun: Total War uses the strategies and lessons found in The Art of War as a major part of game play. The game has been programmed to follow Sun Tzu’s precepts because the daimyo and their samurai did so too. Sun Tzu replied that once a general is directing his troops. Be extremely mysterious. And although he was rather put out by the death of his favourite courtesans. He was obviously a clever man. The Art of War applies to situations on every level from the interpersonal to the international. a clear thinker and someone with practical military experience. and told Sun Tzu that he really did believe he could train troops using his methods. What is even more remarkable is that The Art of War achieves all it sets out to do! It lays strategy in such a clear and wise fashion that at times it almost seems too straightforward and obvious — almost too simple — to be right. the wars would have been over very quickly. victory without battle and unassailable strength through understanding every aspect of conflict. obey any orders to the letter. Had only one of the great daimyo warlords read and learned from Sun Tzu. However. is more than just a “how to win” handbook on Chinese warfare. The samurai took Sun Tzu’s book and used its wisdom in their many wars. In the process they gave warfare a character all their own: 4 . The Art of War was one of the many books that arrived from the mainland and was seized upon by the Japanese for its good sense and usefulness. Over the centuries. however. the Japanese have had a long tradition of taking the best and most useful ideas from Chinese culture while managing to keep their independence. The Art of War.The King wasn’t very happy about the idea his two favourite concubines being executed. Sun Tzu took his accumulated knowledge of how to fight wars and applied careful thought to the problems that he had found. the King of Wu recognised that Sun Tzu knew what he was talking about… What is known for certain about Sun Tzu comes from his key work on the theory and practice of warfare. oddly enough. “Be extremely subtle. even to the point of soundlessness. This is a remarkable set of claims for any book. The women were put to death. they had all learned from the same master of strategy. His book. The product of all his thought was the earliest book in the whole world on what might be termed the philosophy and practice of warfare. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why the Sengoku period was as violent as it became.

The Book of Five Rings.” — Miyamoto Musashi. and when he was read assiduously by the samurai. 5 . It is still considered essential reading by modern military strategists. and Sun Tzu remains as relevant today as he was when he first formulated his thoughts.“Cutting down the enemy is the Way of strategy. the problems confronting military commanders have not. and has been read by great commanders the world over. The Wind Book Sun Tzu would not necessarily have approved of Musashi’s apparently simplistic attitude at all! Although times and weaponry have changed over the centuries. Even today. The Art of War remains one of the definitive guides to warfare. and there is no need for many refinements of it.

along with an equal appetite for sake. the Japanese have a creation myth that makes them the children of the gods. Susano-o used both to lure the serpent into a trap.” From almost the first moment of Japanese history. The two then descended and raised the spear as the centre pole of their house. the jewels from the necklace and the ‘Cloud Cluster Sword’ to make his task easier. so it is imperative to examine it. The current Emperor is seen as a lineal descendant of this first Emperor. who had caused his mother. The Art of War “There is a time and place for the use of weapons. but like all families they had problems. who was the first earthly Emperor of Japan. was given to fits of temper. a date which is still celebrated with a public holiday in Japan.1: A History of Japan “Military action is important to the nation — it is the ground of death and life. their other son. The Book of Five Rings. His violent behaviour included throwing thunderbolts across the sky. The throne eventually passed to his grandson. With the Sun Goddess in hiding. the Fire God. The serpent had a taste for young maidens and this. The sight of her own beautiful reflection in a mirror and a necklace of precious jewels eventually tricked Amateratsu into coming out of her hiding place… Susano-o did eventually make amends by slaying a great serpent with eight heads and tails.” — Miyamoto Musashi. 6 . the Sun Goddess. Susano-o. Ninigi. He took the throne in 660BC on 11 February. Jimmu. forcing her to hide in a cave. then slew it once it was drunk! In hacking it to pieces. The Ground Book Like many peoples. Amateratsu sent her grandson. These gifts from heaven became the Japanese Crown Jewels. the world was plunged into darkness. The Japanese home islands were created when the gods Izanagi and Izanami stood on the bridge of heaven and stirred the waters of the Earth with a spear. Their first-born was Amateratsu. Amateratsu inherited the earth and in time. She gave him three gifts. This was the Ame no murakomo no tsurugi or “Cloud Cluster Sword. he discovered a sword embedded in its tail which he then he gave to Amateratsu. they had god-sized problems: Izanagi slew his second child. Izanami. The drops of water from the spear tip gathered together and became the Japanese home islands. Izanami fled into the Underworld in grief at this killing. to rule Japan. Izanagi and Izanami had children. Being gods. As the first born child. the path of survival and destruction.” — Sun Tzu. and a sword with mystical powers at that. the mirror. there was a sword. enormous pain when he was born. and he even threw a dead horse at Amateratsu.

The original inhabitants of Japan were the Ainu. iron. The Art of War More realistically but a lot less romantically — archaeology has revealed that there have been humans in Japan for around 100. Chinese writing. Japan’s position off the mainland gave two benefits: culture. Although the Yamato came to rule all of Japan. 7 . Amateratsu. The Yamato also imported a religion too: Buddhism appeared in Japan about 100 years later. but the voyage to Japan was just difficult enough to help keep out unwanted ideas and influences. Thanks to the relative ease of travel and trade from the kingdom of Paekche in southern Korea. a group unrelated to the Mongolian people who arrived and gradually drove them out until the Ainu remained only on the island of Hokkaido. literature and philosophy came into the Yamato lands. has a worthwhile death. Sujin was the first Emperor to appoint four generals to deal with rebels in his realm. The Yamato regime even adopted Chinese script for its documents. The incoming people were split up along tribal and clan lines. Each general was given the title of shogun (which can be translated as “Commander in Chief” at this point in history). The Yamato chieftains also consolidated their power by making an early form of Shinto the general religion of the country. Early Japan “In ancient times skilful warriors first made themselves invincible. They were becoming symbols of power rather than the wielders of power. the Yamato government was strongly based on the Chinese system: there were eight carefully graded ranks of court official and a great council. the Dajokan. He is the prototype of later samurai heroes: a skilled and noble warrior harried and hunted down by his many enemies who — although he comes to a tragic end. That said.000 years. After all. Yamato Sujin is a figure partly of myth and partly of history. The nation at this time was composed of many clans. by the 9th century the Emperors were actually pulling back from the day-to-day business of ruling a country. and then watched for vulnerability in their opponents.In around 200BC. Everything was controlled from the capital — Nara in Yamato province after 710AD — while Kyoto became the Imperial home and remained so until 1868. technology and ideas could be brought into the country. rebellion against the descendant of a god is not as easy to contemplate as fighting another warlord! During the early period of Yamato rule the influence of the mainland began to be felt in Japanese culture. but over the course of time the Yamato clan came to dominate from its central position on the Kanto plain. and the first dependable records in Japanese history date to around 430AD.” — Sun Tzu. The Yamato (named for their home province in central Honshu) were one clan amongst many – but they claimed the right to rule because they were descended directly from the Sun Goddess. Emperor Sujin and his son Prince Yamato (later Emperor Keiko) are the agents of an important change in Japanese history. of which the strongest was the Imperial Yamato family. ruled through local governors.

a noble or a warlord.As the Emperors retired from government. Although some of these samurai were from humble families. the clans that prospered could trace their ancestors back for centuries. the loyalties of the samurai shifted. Many peasants and lesser landholders were only too happy to hand over their property to these estates to escape from the heavy taxes levied on them! The Rise of the Samurai “Generally speaking. Land ownership started shifting to great estates: nobles who held government offices were given tax-free hereditary estates as payments. Michinaga. Among these clans of aristocratic samurai were the Minamoto in the east and the Taira in the south west of Japan. but with the shift in power to mighty landowners. the samurai were coming to prominence as more than just another group of fighting men. the Fujiwara were changing the way that Japan was governed. this service was to the Emperor. fighting against bandits. rebellious locals and other great landlords. the samurai were the leaders of common foot soldiers. And like the knights. control passed to the court officials. The Fujiwara also made sure that family members filled all the important jobs at court and in the general administration of the country. Michinaga’s dictatorship is one of the classical ages of Japanese literature. The samurai came to serve the great lords. but they no longer ruled the country.” — Miyamoto Musashi. Fujiwara Motosune was announced as the kampuku — a “civil dictator” — in 884. The Emperors continued to reign. to be samurai also implied a degree of service to a superior. 8 . At the same time. however. The Ground Book At around the same time. a Fujiwara prince. In 858AD. Like the medieval knights of Europe. leaving its Chinese-dominated roots behind. In the case of the samurai. often to some (minor) Imperial relative banished from Court to seek his fortune elsewhere. for example. and he was followed a century later by the cleverest of the Fujiwara. The central government became corrupt and weak. The Book of Five Rings. became the regent for his one-year-old grandson (having made sure that his daughter had married into the Imperial family). The Imperial government found samurai incredibly useful in putting down rebellions. the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. Like the knights it was possible to win promotion to the ranks of the samurai. He made sure that five successive Emperors married one of his daughters. The word samurai had its roots in the verb “to serve”. Eventually. thus making sure of the family position at Court! The Fujiwara period was a time when Japanese culture came into its own. particularly the Fujiwara family. Yoshifusa.

Sotuku’s samurai were defeated. Tameyoshi’s son (and Yoshitomi’s brother). All in all. in 1159-60. the civil war that followed was a straightforward fight between the Taira and the Minamoto. Nijo. and then lured them into a counter-attack that failed when Minamoto Yorimasa refused to join in because he could not violate his duty to the Emperor. but chose death instead. Their leader. Taira Kiyomori. the samurai began to interfere in government politics. He became one of the first samurai to kill himself by cutting open his own stomach in an act of hara-kiri. There were two ex-Emperors at the Imperial Court and new Emperor Konoe was a sickly child. not the Fujiwara court officials.” — Yamamoto Tsunenori. being resolved. There were. was the ex-Emperor Toba and he insisted that another one of his sons should be the new Emperor. The Taira and Minamoto clans divided by personal loyalties. Japan was going to learn what it was like to be ruled by the sword from this time on. died in 1156 and both the Emperor Sotoku and Emperor Go-Shirakawa summoned their supporters to the capital. who had always done so in the past. The only important Taira samurai to support Sotuku was so unpopular among his kinsmen that his execution was a forgone conclusion. It means nothing more than this. Yoshitomo in an act of loyalty to the new regime. Tametomo. Ha Gakure (Hidden Leaves) At the Battle of Hogen. All these deaths helped the Taira clan rise rapidly to power in the Imperial Court. Emperor Go-Shirakawa decided that he had had enough of ruling and abdicated in favour of his son. Toba. and therefore Go-Shirakawa dutifully ascended the throne. however. His father. It’s worth considering all the political and military action that happened over the next decades. declared that he was now Prime Minister and began a policy of making sure that Imperial wives and concubines came from the Taira clan. It means to see things through. The surviving Minamoto were pursued and slaughtered without mercy. This time. the Minamoto didn’t take much persuading. This means choosing death whenever there is a choice between life and death. The Minamoto family had backed Sotuku in greater strength and their clan leader. The Taira attacked the Minamoto headquarters.No longer content to merely serve and fight. however. Although the war seemed to go well initially for the Minamoto. was deliberately maimed and exiled. Minamoto Tameyoshi was put to death on the orders of his son. well. When Konoe was poisoned the Fujiwara clan backed ex-Emperor Sotoku. but the important point was that it was the samurai that were to decide the course of Imperial politics. Emperor Go-Shirakawa had an expectation that the defeated samurai would pay the price for their defiance. because it set the pattern for later Japanese history: a pattern of ruthless power politics with the winner taking all and losers. still members of the Minamoto clan at court. 9 . literally losing their heads! In 1155 there was a crisis in the Imperial succession. Once he was secure. and the Fujiwara clan persuaded them that revenge was a very good idea. events soon turned against them. however. “The Way of the warrior is death. took a leaf out of the Fujiwara book.

Can an army be made like this swift snake? It can. One of them. As an aside. In 1180 his grandson (via his daughter). culminating in 1185 with the Battle of Dano-Ura. but this time they were supported by the sohei. but to no avail. He was still a child and the symbol of Taira and Imperial legitimacy. Kiyomori. the Minamoto and Fujiwara opposed the Taira. warrior monks from the temples of Nara and Kyoto. Tomonaga didn’t escape execution. Yoshimoto did this. and thus an important element of the Taira claim to rule Japan.” — Sun Tzu. The sea is supposed to have run red with blood during the battle as the Minamoto smashed the Taira army. the Taira were initially successful. taken when he thought he had outrun his pursuers. He had beaten his samurai rivals and the Fujiwara. even though his father had already killed him. 10 . Tomonaga. it was just a replica. Again. The Gempei War would last for five years. His body was dug up and beheaded too! The Gempei War “A good army should be like a swift snake that counters with its tail when someone strikes at its head. it’s worth remembering that the Emperors were. and his deeply symbolic replica of the Ame no murakomo no tsurugi. for all the clans who were seeking to control them. Emperor Antoku. the “Cloud Cluster Sword” that the Sun Goddess herself had given the original Emperor was lost overboard too. was so badly wounded that he begged his father to kill him so that the others could flee with more speed. took the throne. Both the Taira and Minamoto clans boarded fleets of warships and sailed into the Straits of Shimonoseki. Even people who dislike one another will help the others out of trouble if they are in the same boat. counters with its head when its tail is struck. Taira Kiyomori literally beheaded the Minamoto clan. In the middle of the Taira fleet was the Emperor Antoku. The seemingly odd name of the war comes from the Chinese pronunciation of ideographs in the Taira and Minamoto clan names. If this seems odd. The Art of War Taira Kiyomori was seemingly unassailable. In 1183 the course of the war began to swing towards the Minamoto. defeating the Minamoto army at the battles of Uji and Ishibashiyama. What happened at the Battle of Dano-Ura was virtually a land battle fought from ship to ship. Emperor Antoku was drowned. and counters with both when someone strikes it in the middle.Minamoto Yoshitomo fled with three of his sons. He was caught and murdered in his bath. these warrior monks (who despite being monks were actually often fanatically brave fighters) intervened at several critical points in Japanese history. however. hadn’t quite killed all the Minamoto and in 20 years the survivors had become strong enough to challenge him once again. Once again. but the symbolic damage done was almost as bad as if the original had gone. the direct descendants of the Sun Goddess and as important for their symbolism as such as for any earthly power that came through controlling them. You’ll see in a moment that groups of monks came to be a considerable problem for later warlords. They won a series of brilliant victories. Fortunately.

The first of the true shoguns had arrived. only protecting the people to the benefit of the ruler as well. however. Yoritomo took the title and office of seiitaishogun (usually shortened to shogun). The new Hojo rulers. The Ashikaga shoguns were never able to control these daimyo. not on Imperial family connections. The Emperor was forced into retirement. The “Wars between the Courts” dragged on for 56 years as Go-Daigo and his heirs fought against the Ashikaga shoguns and their emperors. He too died. while a third person with actual power really ran the country! The Hojo knew that power meant more than any title. Real power had passed from the shogun to the other great samurai families who had become a class of hereditary feudal lords called daimyo. but he was frustrated in this when his vassals the Ashikaga rebelled. the Hojo were able organise Japanese resistance to two invasions by Kublai Khan. 11 . the Hojo clan replaced the Minamoto family. the ruler of the Mongols. but their rule was not to go unchallenged. With their puppet branch of the Yamato family now seen as the rightful Emperors. The Art of War His military victory secured. Yoshimasa. thus rendering valuable service to the country. His power was based on his armies. however. and was followed by his (even) younger brother. however. Yoritomo also moved the centre of power to Kamakura on the Kanto plain (near modern T okyo). and this failure was to lead to a century of terrible violence. They were unable to resist when Emperor Go-Daigo brought about a restoration of Imperial power in 1333. they appointed a series of puppets to the role. In 1441 the shogun Ashigaka Yoshinori was assassinated and was followed by his eight-year-old son. retreats without avoiding blame.The Early Shoguns “Thus one advances without seeking glory. symbolic Emperor. including even young children! The Hojo ruled as shikken. becoming just a symbol. The 1281 expedition was finally destroyed by the kamikaze. Eventually. Minamoto Yoritomo did not bother with any of the political manoeuvring at the Imperial Court that the Taira and the Fujiwara had tried. They did it through a clever series of murders and conspiracies that killed every Minamoto heir and many of their supporters. The Ashikaga drove Emperor Go-Daigo from Kyoto and set up yet another Emperor under their direct control. The old Imperial Court was ignored and became largely irrelevant to the running of the country. In 1392. the divine wind that saved Japan. Go-Daigo did try to do away with the shogunate. In 1274 and 1281. never bothered becoming shoguns. or regents. an Ashikaga ambassador convinced the enemy (and true) Emperor to abdicate and give up the Crown Jewels and other Imperial regalia. the Ashigaka shoguns now came into their own. This arrangement worked well enough for the Hojo to hold on to power until 1333.” — Sun Tzu. Even though he lasted for 30 years as shogun. the “commander-in-chief for suppressing barbarians”. Instead. which meant that there was a figurehead shogun nominally ruling for a distant. however. Beating the Mongols. Yoshimasa couldn’t — or more correctly wouldn’t — halt the decline of his family fortunes. had weakened Hojo resources and power slipped away from the clan.

Instead. of great art and literary works and. The Ikki and The Ashigaru “Using order to deal with the disorderly. other forces were on the move. for example. The Art of War The daimyo weren’t alone in aspiring to something better. By the early years of the 15th century the traditionally docile peasantry had reached the end of its patience. Ashikaga Yoshimasa. Expensive pastimes and refined tastes need money to pay for them. they are then able to strive for victory. such as flower-viewing parties! This is hardly what you would expect of a “Barbariansubduing Commander in Chief”. Japanese peasants were unlikely to be murdered. By and large — and unlike European peasants of the same era — Japanese peasants were usually safe from the armies that tramped across their fields. 12 . This is the period of Shogun: Total War. The word daimyo can be translated as “one who aspires to something better” and aspirations to power were not noticeable by their absence among the daimyo! All the daimyo were ambitious and the greatest of them certainly nurtured dreams of replacing the Ashikaga shogunate. because the Ashikaga were no longer capable of effective government. using calm to deal with the clamorous. While the Ashikaga shoguns became more interested in the intricacies of the tea ceremony and poetry. they had another problem: the shogun’s taxmen. This is quite understandable. is mastering the heart. which translates as “The Country at War”. and the Ashikaga’s tax collectors raised that money with consummate efficiency. The great landowners and the greatest of the samurai had become one and the same thing. they took up to seventy percent of harvests in taxes! In return. At times. Apart from having crops damaged or stolen. The Art of War The time from 1477 to 1615 is called the Sengoku Period. who had little reason to respect the feeble authority of such a shogun. incidentally. plunge them into a deadly situation and then they will live. The Ashikaga period was one of great refinement of manners. marked the rise of Buddhism as a political force. they didn’t have to worry about war destroying their lives. They were the daimyo. These men owned huge tracts of land and commanded armies that would have been the envy of kings. tried to abdicate as shogun and pawned his armour to pay for his expensive pastimes. the peasants got nothing. When people fall into danger.” — Sun Tzu. and it was not the sort of behaviour that was going to keep control of increasingly belligerent daimyo.” — Sun Tzu.Sengoku: The Country At War “Confront your troops with annihilation and then they will survive. raped or impressed into in one army or another.

There had always been the ji-samurai. The ji-samurai worked the land. and these were easy to obtain. or “the low oppress the high” by Japanese historians. It’s also worth noting that the ashigaru and the Ikki were a definite change in the social pattern of Japan. the very liege-lords to whom they should have been loyal to the point of death. and in the warfare of the time. and their morale was not that of the true samurai. These leagues were a genuine expression of popular discontent and gave rise to a series of revolts: in 1428 a rising in Kyoto triggered further revolts throughout Japan. In 1441 the ikki returned to Kyoto again. the Ashikaga shogunate cancelled the peasants’ debts to the moneylenders and pawnbrokers (which undoubtedly did nothing for the shogun’s standing with the same moneylenders and pawnbrokers he needed to finance his own loans!) and set the pattern for future behaviour by the Ikki. And it wasn’t just the peasants on the bottom rung of society who were suffering. 1457 and 1461. without fear of danger. This protection came in return for handing over all their lands to the daimyo’s clan. even if their discipline left a lot to be desired. driven there by high taxes and endless debts. After a week of violence. and what gave was the patience of the people. This trend was to culminate during the Sengoku period with vassals overthrowing established warrior clans. the ashigaru were notorious for looting (seeing this as a “perk” of their job and extra pay). or being driven to seek the protection of the daimyo. a class of “gentleman farmers” in between samurai who did nothing but fight and the peasants who did nothing but work the land. Like the lesser peasantry.This wasn’t a situation that was likely to make the peasants feel well disposed towards their masters. but also went to war during campaign seasons. In 1457. The Art of War The other escape for a peasant from the oppressive taxman was to run away and join one or other of the many clan armies under a daimyo. they too were being squeezed out of existence by taxes. virtually besieging the city in an outburst of rioting and arson. They mark the start of a trend called gekokujo. The possibility of elevation from the ranks of peasantry was slight but it was there and there was always booty to be taken. These peasant soldiers the ashigaru (or “light feet”. From the start. They came back to Kyoto in 1447. as the word directly translates) were a useful asset to a good commander. the Ikki even managed to defeat an army of 800 samurai who had been sent against them! “The Way means inducing the people to have the same aim as the leadership. Something had to give. of course. But in the wars that followed every daimyo made extensive use of ashigaru troops to support their samurai warriors — they became an indispensable and relatively cheap source of military might. The ji-samurai and the peasants came together in mutual defence leagues or ikki. Thanks to years of warfare Japan was a country awash with weapons. so that they will share death and share life. 13 . All that he needed was armour and weaponry. 1451.” — Sun Tzu.

For example. Yoshihisa. The Art of War 14 . called the “Red Monk” thanks to his terrible temper and membership of the priesthood. to be his heir. was born. Yoshihisa. the Yamana and Hosokawa clans were looking for an excuse to fight each other.000 men. these are enormous numbers. The Art of War With the start of the Onin War in 1467 the “Country at War” becomes more than just a phrase. So called because the fighting began in the first year of the period of Onin. The Onin War “Act after having made calculations. take them by confusion. decided to support the infant heir. The War began when the shogun. Just to add fuel to the fire and make the struggle even more bitter and personal. the current shogun’s brother. make it look as if you are going to go a long way. Yoshimi. as Yamana Sozen was the father-in-law of Hosokawa Katsumoto. Yoshimasa — the same shogun who had tried to pawn his armour to pay for his tea ceremonies — proclaimed his brother. the Ashikaga shogun was in no position to dictate terms to the daimyo when he had to give way to mere rebellious peasants. The numbers involved are interesting. Draw them in with the prospect of gain. He even dragged Yoshimi out of a monastery to do it! A year later. while the Hosokawa forces numbered some 85. make it look as if you are going just a short distance.000 men on each side. and show just how wealthy Japan was at this time. The situation was ripe for trouble. Compared to European armies of the same time. The Yamana gathered 80. “When you are going to attack nearby. Hosokawa Katsumoto threw his clan behind Yoshimi.” — Sun Tzu. While all this was happening. Yoshimasa changed his mind when his first son. when you are going to attack far away. during the Wars of the Roses in England — a civil war on the other side of the world that was happening at this time — the armies raised rarely numbered more than about 10-12. The one who first knows the measure of far and near wins — this is the rule of armed struggle. and these were considered large by English standards. especially when it is remembered that these are clan not national armies.But clearly.” — Sun Tzu. They had spent long years as rivals. the capital was still the most magnificent city in Japan. the two leaders were related. Yamana Sozen. The two sides gathered their armies in Kyoto. and that trouble wasn’t long in coming. Even after the Ikki-inspired rioting of the previous decades. it was almost inevitable that each family would choose to back a different side. with all these troubles and changes in the “natural order” of the Japanese social hierarchy. With two candidates to be the next shogun.000 samurai and other soldiers. the war was different because nearly all the fighting happened within the city of Kyoto itself.

Founded in the 13th century. The Ikko-Ikki “When the speed of rushing water reaches the point where it can move boulders. In Kaga province. this is the force of momentum. In Yamashiro province. Ouchi Masahiro. In 1486 they set up a provisional government in Yamashiro. or wouldn’t stop them. warfare spilled over into the rest of the country. however. the peasantry and ji-samurai had enough and finally revolted. The war went on and on. however. other than to kill some of the other clan. When the speed of a hawk is such that it can strike its prey and kill. the Hatakeyama clan split into two parts that fought each other to a standstill. So it is with successful warriors. Eventually. which gave them secular power. Neither clan had achieved its aims. and a rebel would inevitably lose support. Yamana Sozen and Hosokawa Katsumoto both died in 1473. some ten years after the fighting had begun! Kyoto was now looted as the mobs moved in to take what was left. as neither side could actually work out a way of stopping the fighting. however. After all.000 Yamana men marching on Kyoto. In 1485. The fighting in Kyoto. not just an armed mob. The Ikki were becoming a coherent force. Unlike other — rather more aristocratic — Buddhist sects. eventually burned his section of Kyoto and left. The side that struck first ran the risk of being called rebels by the weak shogunate. Ashikaga Yoshimasa can only be described as having a “passing acquaintance” with reality.” — Sun Tzu. 15 . This stalemate. it is precision. The Art of War Although the fighting in Kyoto was over. the tension grew too great. a Hosokawa mansion mysteriously burnt to the ground. the Ikko made every effort to appeal to the common people. Then Hosokawa troops attacked a Yamana food supply line. things went even further. During all of this the shogun did nothing. and the war still dragged on. the Ikko were a sect of Amida Buddhists who drew most of their support from the peasantry. however. could quite bring itself to start the war. The Onin War — and the shogun’s lack of any response — effectively “sanctioned” private wars between the daimyo. however. With another 20. which now spread until no part of the country was untouched by violence. had serious consequences throughout Japan. While Kyoto was wrecked. Everyone else fled Kyoto and the armies took over. one of the Yamana generals. the Yamana lost heart as the label of “rebel” was at last having some effect. They set up their own army and forced the clan armies out of the province. he spent his time on poetry readings and other high cultural events and in planning the Ginkaku-ji. who was going to stop them? The shogun certainly couldn’t. The daimyo could see that they were now free to settle any dispute at the point of a sword. was to have serious consequences. It was 1477. The two sides settled down behind hasty barricades and began static warfare of raids and counter-raids. He certainly didn’t seem to care what was happening to Japan. It didn’t take much longer for the serious fighting to begin and by July 1467 — after two months fighting — the northern parts of Kyoto were in ruins. Eventually.Neither side. a Silver Pavilion to rival the Golden Pavilion that his grandfather had built.

In 1488 the Ikko-ikki revolted. managed to wipe each other out. the Ikko began evolving into the Ikko-ikki. no matter how that survival was secured. The story of Ise Shinkuro is a good example of the kind of thing that was happening. The Shiba and Isshiki. Togashi Maschika. The central government had effectively vanished.Perhaps foolishly.” In 1496. The Imperial Yamato family was virtually bankrupt and couldn’t even pay for the funeral of Emperor Go-Tsuchi-Mikado in 1501. the rise of the Ikko-ikki was part of the process of gekokujo: “the low oppress the high. the Ikko-ikki began building a fortified “cathedral” as a headquarters at the mouth of the Yodo River. 16 . The coronation of Emperor Go-Nara had to wait for 20 years until the Ikki (of all people) gave the Imperial family enough money to pay for the ceremony. They chose the site for the Ishiyama Hongan-ji well. The war was almost Darwinian: the survival of the fittest was all that counted. As with the Ikki. Included in his army. as well as the Hatakeyama from Yamashiro and even the previously mighty Yamana clan had. Before his death. other daimyo took the opportunity to settle old scores — and gain territory at the expense of their neighbours. The last battles of the Sengoku period would be fought here a hundred years later… Overthrow and Treachery “Use humility to make the enemy haughty. The Ashikaga shogunate was equally poor. and was reduced to selling his autograph. Togashi Maschika had made a rod for his own back. one of the prominent lords of Kaga province. They weren’t the only people to suffer. enlisted their help. The Art of War As the Onin War spread. Cause division among them. Osaka Castle was to be built at the same spot when they were eventually defeated. Convinced by their leaders that paradise was the reward for death in battle the Ikko-ikki let nothing daunt them. And not all of the clans survived in the years that followed. by 1500. Tire them by flight. attack and make your move when they do not expect it. Go-Nara lived in a wooden hut.” — Sun Tzu. When they are unprepared. a force of fanatical holy warriors. The greater the odds against them. expelled him from Kaga. One family lost rather more than might be expected given the reverence towards them that had been customary. The daimyo were free to wage any wars they wanted or could afford. The lesser samurai families were quite free to dream of greater power and steal land from each other as well. the more the Ikko-ikki fought like fiends. and took control of the province.

Shinkuro took it upon himself to deal with Chacha and forced him to commit suicide. The Hojo had. He waited until the Uesugi family were occupied with their own problems then managed to seize their castle at Edo. and he lost no time in changing his name to Hojo Soun (he had also decided to take a Buddhist name at the same time). Ujiyasu. within the space of three generations he and his family had carved themselves out a significant domain. and gave him control of Odowara. been rulers of Japan hundreds of years earlier. They returned to the same place and fought all over again in 1554. The Warring Clans: Shifting Fortunes The Uesugi clan was also busy with its other struggles. Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen fought a series of battles on the Kawanakajima plain in Shinano province in 1553. The two sides were well matched. continued his struggles against the Uesugi and defeated them in 1542 at Kawagoe Castle. and then moved out onto the Kanto plain. 1556.” — Motto on the war banner of Takeda Shingen (1521-1573) 17 . was actually adopted into the struggling clan around 1552. attack like fire.The Rise of a Samurai Ise Shinkuro was a fairly obscure samurai. In heaven and earth I alone am to be revered. He then moved to secure the Sagami and Musashi provinces. A deer hunt gave him the opportunity to have a neighbour assassinated. still as a wood. the lands of the Murakami Yoshikiyo — it was the Murakami clan that asked Uesugi Kenshin for help and started his long rivalry with Shingen. They did it through treachery and violence against their “betters”. in particular. Soun’s son. but he spent most of his time fighting against the Takeda clan and. Takeda Shingen was in the process of absorbing Shinano. “Steady as a mountain. Their most famous general. The point of this account is that Hojo Soun (or Ise Shinkuro as he had been) had come from nowhere and. but he refused. Takeda Shingen. Ashikaga Chacha had been ordered to join the priesthood by the shogun. but Shinkuro — or Hojo Soun as he now was — had no connection with the original family at all until he married off a son to a distant descendent of the “real” Hojo! Hojo Soun now decided to expand his lands. Uesugi Kenshin. something that could never have happened if the Ashikaga shogunate had been doing its job. At much the same time. 1555. of course. 1557 and 1563. Shinkuro’s reward was Izu province. swift as the wind. treating the battles almost as rituals. until he chose to get involved in the affairs of the Ashikaga clan. the old Imperial capital (and now the site of Tokyo). but their battles were a little strange. Ujitsuna and grandson. He managed to mount some raids against the (new) Hojo clan.

aided by exiled courtiers from Kyoto. Unfortunately for him. into capturing a castle on the island of Miyajima. their gatekeepers and their servants. who had more troops. The Art of War This shifting pattern of rivalries and alliances was typical of the times. first you must know about their defending generals. Ouchi Yoshitaki killed himself. Just to make sure that his warning was right. As a result. only to find that their allies had become just as great a threat. A wise man always took precautions against assassination. However. By the Sengoku period. Ouchi Yoshitaki took over. even if he didn’t plot the deaths of his rivals and superiors. Samurai warfare had always used dirty tricks. his two chief retainers Mori Motonari and Sue Harukata warned him that he was risking everything by this attitude and that his domain was ripe for a coup under the command of some ambitious samurai. Trapped and apparently friendless. and his son Yoshioki was equally warlike. the clans who had behaved in this fashion were widely regarded as out-and-out villains. “When you want to attack an army. had access to some of the best spies and assassins from any period of history anywhere in the world — the ninja. The battle that followed ended with the defeated and demoralised Sue forces killing themselves en masse. 18 . of course. once there.” — Sun Tzu. after 1543 Yoshitaki worked out that warfare was a little too dangerous. his numbers were less important because he was trapped on the island. The family prospered until Masahiro’s grandson. In 1555 he managed to lure Sue Harukata. especially the sections that dealt with the use of spies and assassins. Mori Motonari felt it was duty to avenge his former master. One clan would ally with another against the threat from a third. such as the Gempei War. and took to a life of culture. assassination and outright treachery but during earlier conflicts. The new daimyo had read Sun Tzu and taken his work seriously. Have your spies find all this out. or that previously loyal underlings were now more dangerous than any external threat.Ouchi Masahiro had managed to outlive his Yamana sponsors and gain his clan substantial power. though. but he took his time. Sue Harukata rebelled. the Mori clan rose to become the mightiest clan in Western Japan. With Yamaguchi as a secure and rich home territory. The daimyo. their visitors. A quick murder was as acceptable as winning a battle. however. besiege a city or kill a person. This wasn’t the end of the matter. all was fair in love and war.

Learning to use an arquebus takes days. and Christianity. But gunpowder hadn’t really “arrived” in Japanese warfare until now. Given the skills of Japanese sword smiths and armourers. Rather than using a flint to strike a spark and set off the gunpowder. Training a man as an archer takes years of dedicated work and some basic skill. Gunpowder weapons weren’t a complete mystery to the samurai. and the Mongols had used primitive hand grenades against the samurai in 1274. The Europeans brought two major cultural items with them: effective gunpowder weaponry. Arquebuses were light enough to be used by one man and relatively safe at least when compared to earlier types of firearms — they didn’t have quite the tendency to explode in the user’s face that earlier guns had! The arquebus did have a slow rate of fire on the battlefield. or that it was adopted enthusiastically by the daimyo for their armies. a burning cord was used to fire the weapon. the gun becomes useless. it would take time before someone would work out how to use a substantial force of arquebusiers in an effective fashion. The Ground Book In the middle of all this strife. The ashigaru were a pool of soldiers in every army ready and waiting for an easy-to-use missile weapon. it’s hardly surprising that it took little time before the arquebus was being produced in Japan. Europeans arrived in Japan when a group of Portuguese traders landed near Kyushu in around 1543. but it did have one massive advantage that was recognised in Japan as quickly as it had been spotted in Europe.Firepower “[The gun] is the supreme weapon on the field before the ranks clash. 19 . They almost certainly knew about Chinese handguns. We’ll return to the influence of Christianity slightly later in this account. although everyone could see that the arquebus was a useful weapon. and almost anyone can be drilled to use it. but once swords are crossed. at most. However. The Book of Five Rings. The guns that the Portuguese brought to Japan were arquebuses or matchlocks.” — Miyamoto Musashi.

In 1551. we can attain power and for ourselves or our lord. while taking Kyoto and becoming a family of new shoguns was undoubtedly tempting for the Hojo. Tokugawa Ieyasu. invite his rivals to invade. As you’ll see. Tokugawa Ieyasu (fighting for the Imagawa) took the frontier fort at Marune and all that stood between the Imagawa’s 25. It’s now time to consider the Oda clan. Imagawa Yoshimoto was one daimyo with an ambition to be shogun. though. or enjoining battle with large numbers.The Three Rivals: Oda Nobunaga. The Ground Book 20 . in their case) during the Sengoku period.” — Miyamoto Musashi. it was these three men who were to decide the fate of Japan. The Book of Five Rings. For the moment. another one of those small samurai families who had gained control of a province (Owari. Owari. He changes his abode and goes by circuitous routes so that people cannot anticipate him. was in the service of the Imagawa clan — although. The first daimyo to leave his home domain would. any attempt to do so would invite trouble. one of which just happened to be Oda Nobunaga’s home. The Art of War One of the problems with the collapse of any centralised Ashikaga authority was that. who was to prove a superb general. In 1558. he was a hostage against his family’s good behaviour. and in 1560 he marched towards Kyoto. Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu “The general changes his actions and revises his plans so that people will not recognise them. technically. in effect. At the same time. another young samurai. the campaign went well for the Imagawa. Initially. the ruthless Oda Nobunaga became head of the clan.” — Sun Tzu.000 men and victory was Nobunaga and his small army of 2000 soldiers. he gained the services of an ashigaru called Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This is the virtue of strategy. Between him and his target lay three provinces. there were others who had designs on Kyoto. “By victory gained in crossing swords with individuals. Takeda and Uesugi clans. taking advantage of the fact that the Hojo and Uesugi were busy fighting each other.

a one-time oil merchant turned daimyo in Mino province. He had also married himself.Despite the odds. Nobunaga decided to attack. but the new arrangement gave Nobunaga all the power he needed. Yoshitatsu. as he was rather fond of torturing people in general and boiling people in particular! However. Yoshiaki was in danger from the pair. and a valuable symbol for that very reason. He had been freed from his obligation to the Imagawa clan by Yoshimoto’s death. Yoshimoto was killed. who eventually killed him so that they could install his much younger cousin as an even more controllable puppet. had been the previous shogun. Oda Nobunaga was now a real power in the land and now the new liege of Tokugawa Ieyasu. There were dynastic reasons why the Oda family would have been unacceptable as shoguns in their own right. Nobunaga ruled as the real power behind the throne of a ceremonial commander-in-chief of a ceremonial Emperor. After a brilliant bit of trickery. and was completely under the control of a couple of malicious Christian courtiers Miyoshi Chokei and Matsunaga Hisahide. 21 . he came to a suitably bad end when his own son. Yoshiteru. He carried out this task in 1564. and in 1567. but he waited and secured alliances with his neighbours by marrying off his daughter and his younger sister. but managed to escape and take refuge with Nobunaga. and only realised at the last minute that the samurai who were attacking weren’t part of his own force who were the worse for drink. His brother. The temptation to march on Kyoto must have been there for Nobunaga as well. in turn. Toshimasa was widely regarded as a completely bad lot. he got one. That he should think his own samurai were so drunk as to fight amongst themselves doesn’t say a lot for the level of control he had over his men! However. He. All Nobunaga needed was a good excuse to march on the capital. to the daughter of another neighbour. died of leprosy. killed him and took control. but not before Nobunaga had (conveniently) declared war to avenge the rather nasty Toshimasa who was. Oda Nobunaga entered Kyoto in November 1568 with Ashikaga Yoshiaki as his own puppet shogun. This rather feeble excuse was all he needed to brush the Saito clan aside so that his route to Kyoto and the shogunate was open. his father-in-law. Ashikaga Yoshiaki was the heir to the shogunate. after all. Toyotomi Hideyoshi was given the job of destroying the last of the Saito clan. The Battle of Okehazama lasted minutes rather than hours. Saito Toshimasa. he managed to convince Yoshimoto that his army was camped in one place then ambushed the main Imagawa force in a gorge.

declared for the Asakura clan. Ieyasu was despatched to crush the Ikko-ikki (in 1563) and had a narrow escape in doing so when two bullets penetrated his armour but didn’t go through his robe underneath! Nobunaga’s next — successful — proxy campaign was against Miyoshi Chokei and Matsunaga Hisahide who were defeated at the Battle of Sakai in 1567. he fell upon the Asakura in Echizen province. he did support Jesuit missionaries in Japan. He chose to leave the castle and met the Takeda army in the snow at Mikata-ga-hara. This in itself is a sign that samurai politics had moved on a little from the dog-eat-dog days.” — Sun Tzu. but was forced to retreat when his own brother-in-law. Nobunaga was quite powerful and secure enough to give them all the authority they needed. Ieyasu was faced with a simple choice: stay where he was and fail in his duty to prevent Shingen reaching Kyoto. The Art of War The remainder of Nobunaga’s life was a succession of campaigns to secure his control of the country. At one point. his general Tokugawa Ieyasu was now facing both the Hojo army and Takeda Shingen. so he attacked! His men surrounded Enryaku-ji and killed everyone — man. even if the ruler says there is to be no battle. and both sides eventually withdrew. he had two fine lieutenants in Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Nobunaga appeared to be encircled. Christianity — or perhaps the dedicated Jesuit missionaries who were preaching Christianity — appealed to the samurai and from this point Christian samurai were not unusual. While his forces won the day. If the laws of war indicate defeat it is appropriate not to fight. Hideyoshi and Ieyasu would have been busily plotting against Nobunaga and each other… Now. Nobunaga returned later in 1570 and won an indecisive victory at the Battle of Anegawa. woman and child — they found in or near the monastery. Nobunaga was now free to turn against his other enemies. Shingen went home and never got to Kyoto. Ieyasu returned to Hamamatsu Castle with his job of delaying Shingen achieved. but also Ikko from Ishiyama Hongan-ji and sohei (warrior monks) from Enryaku-ji near the capital. a stretch of open moors near the Magome River. or fight. they didn’t completely crush the Asakura and Asai. In addition. even if the ruler wants war. “When the laws of war indicate certain victory it is surely appropriate to do battle. however. This battle is noteworthy because of the large numbers of Christian samurai on both sides (they took Mass together before the fighting). Troubles now multiplied for Nobunaga and he found he was facing not only the Asakura and Asai army. Asai Nagamasa. Although Oda Nobunaga never became a Christian. In this. In 1570. 22 .Nobunaga: Consolidation and Treachery Nobunaga spent the rest of his life in crushing his remaining rivals. undoubtedly because of their political usefulness against troublesome Buddhist sects. but Takeda Shingen moved against his forces in 1572. almost trapping Tokugawa Ieyasu in Hamamatsu Castle. Wholesale persecution of Christians still lay in the future. The battle was indecisive.

as it turned out. Ieyasu and. T oyotomi Hideyoshi had been making steady progress. at its head. Mori Motonari was dead. Even the castle’s defenders left their walls and fell on the rear of the Takeda army. and a sign of where the true power in Japan now lay. While all this was happening. this time into Mikawa province. with stout stone defences and loopholes for gunners. It was also revolutionary for the way its design took firearms into account. Nobunaga organised his 3000 best shots into a single unit and placed them in three lines behind a palisade of stakes. The victory was complete. instead of the 2000 that normally formed his bodyguard. but the Oda defenders put up a gallant resistance. He continued his campaign against the Ikko-ikki. In 1575 Takeda Katsuyori surrounded Nagashino Castle with his army. because a true samurai never thinks of them at any time!” — Remark attributed to a Takeda retainer It took two more years before the defeat of the Takeda clan was secured. The warrior fanatics had at last been broken as a power. ruled a rich domain of ten provinces. Nobunaga saw that the relief expedition would be a chance to crush the Takeda clan. Nobunaga responded by sending an army with T oyotomi Hideyoshi. It was colossal. 23 . even building warships with iron plate armour (!) for use against them at one point. and had besieged their castle at Takamtsu — even the course of the nearby river was altered so that the place would flood! The entire Mori clan gathered to try and lift the siege. Nobunaga was left in Kyoto with only 100 men to guard him. Nobunaga now turned eastwards towards the Mori clan. This loss was a disaster for the Takeda clan as Shingen’s son. his ashigaru general. they were torn to pieces by volley after volley. another of his samurai generals. Nobunaga also started to build a castle at Azuchi on Lake Biwa near Kyoto. Uesugi Kenshin is said to have wept over the loss of so noble an enemy. intent on taking Kyoto for himself. In the fighting that followed. Nobunaga’s army now turned its full power towards the Mori. and Akechi Mitsuhide. Nobunaga was suspected of having used ninja to remove another rival. but he was never to threaten Nobunaga seriously again and was killed in 1582. Nobunaga’s other soldiers cut down the Takeda men that survived the gunfire. It was to prove a dreadful error. and he was right. It was not to be. Mori T erumoto. One (probably untrue) version of the events around Kenshin’s death is recounted in the section about ninja later in this manual. and Hideyoshi summoned reinforcements when he realised what he was facing. was not the man his father had been. “A true samurai cannot possibly forget his wife and family when he goes into battle. It would be another three centuries before such armour plate was used in the West. as he had broken through Nobunaga’s naval blockade of the Ikko-ikki at Ishiyama Hongan-ji. he was wounded by a bullet and died later. Katsuyori. too many Oda warriors were sent out to support his army. Katsuyori Takeda managed to escape the carnage. but his grandson. The Battle of Nagashino that followed was a triumph for Oda Nobunaga and for the arquebus. T erumoto had been asking for trouble. The Ikko were surrounded and in 1580 were forced to give in. Although nothing has ever been proved.Shingen came on again in spring 1573. Kenshin himself was to die under somewhat mysterious circumstances in 1582. As the Takeda clan charged across the waterlogged battlefield.

peasants and ji-samurai would leave the fields to fight. There were also Nobunaga’s other generals to consider too. or to make sure that they backed the winning side! 24 . on the other hand. All they had to do was fight for their overlord. But he changed Japan. the three might well have won. had failed in his campaign against the Mori. By far the most dangerous threat came from Shibata Katsuie.Akechi Mitsuhide. His humble ashigaru beginnings made him popular among his own ashigaru soldiers and he was a singularly able commander. but on 21 June 1582. men fought or they farmed. Oda Nobutaka and Takigawa Kazumasu. Takigawa Kazumasu and Ikeda Nobuteru with equally good claims to Nobunaga’s power! Warfare was the only likely result of all this. He died thanks to the weapon with which he had transformed the battlefield: the arquebus.” Toyotomi Hideyoshi was now the “official” avenger of Nobunaga and in a very strong position. Apart from Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Art of War When news of Akechi Mitsuhide’s treachery reached Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He had been the “Thirteen Day Shogun. But days later. Under Nobunaga. Hideyoshi attacked and Mitsuhide fled. Nobunaga was a ruthless man — his sole idea of victory was the extermination of the enemy. Although it probably wasn’t Mitsuhide’s doing. Nobutaka — were not too keen on seeing Hideyoshi in control of the clan. A puppet with a powerful man behind him was a very traditional way of taking power. He was captured by plunder-seeking peasants and beaten to death rather than dying beneath a samurai’s sword. and had suffered Nobunaga’s scorn because of this and much else. either for a chance to take the prize.” — Sun Tzu. At one time. the magnificent Azuchi Castle burned down. The Thirteen Day Shogun “The individual without a strategy who takes his enemies lightly will inevitably end up as a captive of another. He was marching near Kyoto at the time that Nobunaga was almost unguarded. Katsuie had actually tried to attack Akechi Mitsuhide. Niwa Nagahide. Ieyasu and the others were waiting too. there were Shibata Katsuie. but had arrived too late to share in the credit of defeating him. The next months presented Hideyoshi with a difficult series of campaigns. Tokugawa Ieyasu had vanished into hiding. Quite why he turned his troops around and attacked Nobunaga’s mansion in Kyoto has never been explained. Naturally. the Akechi shogunate was over. Mitsuhide was following the time-honoured precedent of slaughtering every one of Nobunaga’s relatives and supporters that he could reach. despite — or perhaps because of — Hideyoshi’s suggestion that Nobunaga’s one year old grandson should be the new clan leader. Had Katsuie managed to co-ordinate his actions with those of his allies. The samurai and the ashigaru became warrior classes who didn’t have to return to the land when it was time to gather the harvest. Nobunaga was shot down on the orders of his own general. In the meantime. he immediately negotiated a peace treaty with the Mori clan and then marched on Kyoto. the surviving relatives of Oda Nobunaga — in particular his third son. Even by the standards of his age. His military improvements altered the way wars were fought.

and the important clans in Nobunaga’s old holdings divided between them. The Shibata general. for example. could not last forever… With Ieyasu now an ally. and they were pursued back to the gates of Katsuie’s castle. 25 . After all. A Practical Arrangement In the end. Ieyasu sat down to count almost 2500 heads taken from an enemy army of around 9000 soldiers. Both sides looked for allies. he was likely to kill everyone whether they resisted fiercely or not. made a serious error of judgement when (having failed to learn the lessons of the Battle of Nagashino) he attacked arquebus-armed troops in a strong defensive position. Nobutaka was surrounded in the Oda clan’s Gifu Castle and begged for mercy. Ieyasu submitted to the authority of Hideyoshi. Shibata Katsuie was able to send out troops thanks to the thawing snow. Recognising that his war against Hideyoshi was lost. Hideyoshi did something rather remarkable: he spared Nobutaka’s life and took hostages to ensure his future good behaviour. however. there was little point in not fighting to the bitter end. The resulting Battle of Shizugatake in 1583 was a disaster for the Shibata forces. Nobutaka’s father. His decision was supremely practical. In the just-gone old days. With two such able commanders. although there was much fighting. Katusuie took his own life and burned his fortress. Sakuma Morimasa. and Oda Nobutaka now repaid Hideyoshi’s mercy with rebellion.Katsuie. While the Shibata lands were still snowed under. When facing Nobunaga. stalemate was the inevitable result. Nobunaga’s greatest supporters and his greatest generals. When he heard the news. however. Nobunaga. the two men were unbeatable. the older man. The stage was set for the confrontation between Hideyoshi and Ieyasu. would have killed every enemy within reach and spent time hunting down those out of reach! Hideyoshi then split Takigawa Kazumasu’s forces by bribing a key garrison and even captured Kazumasu himself. Oda Nobutaka saw the writing on the wall and took his own life too. That he managed this as quickly as he did is a tribute not only to his military skills. Together.” — Sun Tzu. but also to his political skills. was not blessed with wise allies. This gave Hideyoshi the chance to divide and conquer his opponents. such as at the bloody Battle of Nagakute in 1584. Nobutaka decided to attack. When the battle was over. but the battle decided nothing. “Those who come seeking peace without a treaty are plotting. At this point. His army’s losses were around 600 men. Hideyoshi was in a position to conquer the rest of Japan. and Hideyoshi. The Art of War By this point.

he managed to add the armies of his enemies to his own forces and grow stronger over time. The only people who would be allowed to carry weapons from now on would be warriors. having secured their loyalty. was more political (or just plain cunning). The story of this expedition is outside the scope of both Shogun: Total War and this manual. however. which started in 1588. Of these. He also had plans for the conquest of China. He also took hostages. He left them in charge of their lands. The Final Struggle “Those whose words are humble while they increase war preparations are going to attack. but he didn’t kill off entire clans. Those whose words are strong and who advance aggressively are going to retreat. Tokugawa troops had taken no part in the fighting on the mainland.557. He also organised the most important social change to take place in Japan: “The Great Sword Hunt”. Maeda Toshiie. Oddly. Hideyoshi didn’t need to take all of a clan’s landholdings. but his Korean War ended in strategic failure for the samurai. And this. not the value of his domains. was his annual revenue. but he had enough of his old political skill left to appoint five regents to rule in his infant son’s name. and Hideyoshi obviously wanted them united behind his clan. letting them keep some of their holdings (but he did need some conquered lands to use as rewards for his own loyal followers). all weapons in the hands of the peasantry were taken away and melted down for use in the construction of Hideyoshi’s Great Buddha. ashigaru soldiers (some weapons) and samurai (the only people who could carry two swords as a badge of rank) now became a fixed feature of the social landscape. Hideyoshi was dying. and the social distinctions between unarmed peasants (completely unarmed). because he had changed the way that samurai were rewarded for their conduct in battle. Toyotomi Hideyori was only five years old when his regency council took over. Also. now staggeringly rich by any standards: his revenue from his lands was 2. He was generous towards his enemies. Simply put. As a result. He built Osaka Castle on the site of the old Ikko fortress of Ishiyama Hongan-ji. Mori Terumoto and Uesugi Kagaktasu. The Art of War In 1598.Hideyoshi.” — Sun Tzu. rather than handing out captured lands. The others were Ukita Hideie. They failed to carve out a mainland empire. remember.000 koku — a koku being the quantity of rice needed to feed one man for one year. he paid his men in gold! Hideyoshi was now master of Japan and now free to pursue other aims. These were the most important daimyo in Japan. but they did have the satisfaction of bringing back considerable loot. 26 . the most important was Tokugawa Ieyasu.

however. Whatever the Way. In the early part of the day. He also had one other piece of luck. Tokugawa Ieyasu must have known that he would be the undisputed ruler of Japan. The Fire Book Ieyasu had other plans. according to whether or not they are in rhythm. it was against his “own” side. Ieyasu had no desire to be seen as the one starting any war. Ieyasu made sure the whole lot found its way into his armoury. a bureaucrat called Ishida Mitsunari. The Art of War By mid-afternoon. “When the terrain has impassable ravines.“Speed is not a part of the true Way of strategy. Both armies were soaked through and neither side could see the other because of the dense fog. Will Adams. mud-soaked brawl. Speed implies that things seem fast or slow. the fog lifted and the battle commenced as one huge. The daimyo that survived — and had sense enough to submit — prospered or suffered in direct relationship to their allegiances at the battle. in damp and miserable conditions. The Western Army. From this day on. or virtually blundered into each other in the fog. In 1600. I keep away from them. and once battle was joined. For myself. When he did move. I keep my face to these so that the enemy has his back to them. most of Hideyoshi’s old supporters chose him as the natural military successor. the master of strategy does not appear fast. On the other hand. The Book of Five Rings. so that the enemy is near them. but the opposition to him came from a courtier outside the regency. Ishida’s challenge was over. his cargo of guns. ammunition and good quality European gunpowder was far more useful. 27 . In the meantime. Ishida’s followers — usually referred to as the Western Army in accounts of the period — eventually made their move. prisons. Fortunately for Ieyasu. Ieyasu was again counting the heads of his defeated enemies. Unfortunately for them. at a narrow pass at Sekigahara on 21 October 1600. The two sides met. the “significant players” slowly declared for one side or another. you should leave quickly and not get near them. The Western army was beaten. Kobayakawa Hideaki made no effort to move against the Eastern. Although he hadn’t secured a total victory over every opponent in the field. natural enclosures. While Adams was interesting enough.” — Miyamoto Musashi. Tokugawa army. he must have been rather pleased with the haul. so he did little other than wait for Ishida Mitsunari to make the first move. they bought enough time for Ieyasu to move against Ishida’s army. the Tokugawa — Eastern — garrison of Fushimi Castle proved to be incredibly stubborn and tied them down for far too long. When the defenders were down to their last two hundred men. pitfalls and clefts. however. had never been a united force.” — Sun Tzu. they opened the gates and repeatedly charged the whole Western Army! Although killed to the last man. he met the first Englishman to arrive in Japan.

No future rebellion would be tolerated and the last of the Toyotomi clan. The shogunate was secure and the country peaceful. Tokugawa Hidetada. Even before the final victory at Osaka. industrial. The shoguns were largely successful in their isolationism until 1853. The wars for control of Japan were. the Sun God of the East. was put to the sword. he was declared shogun. After a long and inconclusive siege at Osaka Castle. He was deified as To-sho-gu. however. his remarkable constitution having failed to fight off stomach cancer (as far as modern diagnosis can tell from this distance in time). assassination and fevered plotting among his retainers. until the chance came to deal with this last enemy. The Emperors remained shadowy god-like figures insulated from real power. Hideyori’s troops marched out to meet the Tokugawa army. When the excuse came — an implied insult — it was a little feeble. but good enough. Meanwhile. other than for limited contacts with small Dutch trading missions. Japan was sealed off. when the arrival of a US Navy detachment under Commodore Perry — and the threat of being incorporated into one of the expanding European empires — forced home the idea that isolation as the only policy was no longer workable. the Tokugawa had turned against foreigners. Japan had been left behind. the Tokugawa shoguns made sure that Japan remained equally insulated from the outside world. Those who are last on the field and head into battle become worn out. The Last Shogunate “Those who are first on the battlefield and await their enemies are at ease. a feudal backwater in the newly modern. Hideyori’s eight-yearold son (Hideyoshi’s grandson). Victorian world. quietly took control of the government and became the second Tokugawa shogun. Ieyasu also achieved a kind of immortality. Toyotomi Hideyori was still alive and scheming. and in the next ten years the Japanese themselves were forbidden to travel. But there was still one opponent to deal with. Hideyori’s troops fought with brave desperation. The Art of War The Tokugawa shoguns remained the undisputed masters of Japan for the next 250 years. But his passing was not marked by war. but the Tokugawa army showed that it had become “stale” over the years. 28 .In 1603. but he didn’t have much time to savour it. It won. Therefore. the title having been unused for nearly 30 years after the removal of Yoshiaki. Christians were officially persecuted from 1612 onwards. the Spanish were refused permission to land in Japan after 1624. the last of the Ashikaga clan.” — Sun Tzu. but without any real elan. Within a year he was dead. finally at an end. His son. Ieyasu had this final victory in 1615. Ieyasu chose to wait and had the sense to concentrate on good government over the next 14 years. wise warriors cause the enemy to come to them and do not go to others.

you’ll be in a better position to crush your enemies when the opportunity presents itself. Japan changed from a medieval society to a modern industrial nation: no other country has ever changed so dramatically in such a short space of time. The Art of War All of this history might have seem a little long-winded in places.” — Sun Tzu. you will not be imperilled by a hundred battles. it was in the Imperial Japanese Army that broke the samurai rebels where the spirit of the samurai was to live on… History In The Game “If you know your enemy and know yourself. With the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5. which in turn weakened the position of the Tokugawa shogun. it might have been one of the Takeda clan who became shogun. but it did restore power to the Imperial family and lead to the end of the shogunate. Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu became the three main contenders to become shogun. who could no longer control them. the weather at Nagashino had been better and the Takeda cavalry not so pig-headed as to charge directly into the muzzle of the Oda clan. samurai bravery alone hadn’t been enough to halt the future and Takamori took his own life in the traditional fashion. The “last hurrah” of the old samurai order came with the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877 led by Saigo Takamori. Knowing the way that real history unfolded. they were partly driven by the quite understandable fear of ending up as just another European colony in the Far East. lots of information about his enemies. In Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion. and an eye for the main chance! You should also have spotted that although Oda Nobunaga. If. you will win one and lose one. In the space of 50 years. It hadn’t been an easy transition. If you do not know the enemy and do not know yourselves you will be in danger in every battle. you have the chance to find out just how likely this outcome might be… 29 . Ironically. A medieval samurai army fought against a modern conscript army and was convincingly beaten.In the face of these unwelcome facts. perhaps. the Japanese proved that their transformation was complete when they defeated the Russian Empire on both land and sea. though. the clans remained fiercely xenophobic and organised attacks on foreigners in Japan. The new Imperial government set out to make Japan a modern nation. Both the Imperial Army and Navy proved that they were modern. there was no guarantee that these men were going to succeed. they had never disappeared). In this. All the other daimyo had every right to think that they had just as good a chance as anyone else. The Meiji Restoration that came in 1867 didn’t bring back the Emperors (naturally. but it all goes to show important lessons that you’ll need to remember if you want to win when playing Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion. If you do not know the others but do know yourself. forward-looking and equal to anything from Europe. The clans were disarmed and their fiefdoms were taken away over the next decade. They had only to look towards China and India to see what could happen to them. No daimyo ever achieved success without a degree of ruthlessness. At the last.

The Imagawa/Tokugawa don’t have to be the winners… unless you are their warlord and ruthless enough to take them to final victory! The following great daimyo. As we’ve seen. Serious warfare has been a way of life for two generations. warfare at this point is still very traditional: “modern” (for the time) European firearms have yet to arrive in Japan and make their impact. but only if they have the skill to succeed in war and the will to prevail over their enemies! “If you do not know the plans of your competitors. you cannot make informed alliances. The Daimyo In Shogun: Total War “Leadership is a matter of intelligence. Tokugawa Ieyasu (who was held hostage during his childhood by Imagawa Yoshimoto in the list below) eventually came to prominence by astute political manoeuvring and great military skill. which makes it slightly easier to keep track of the different factions in Shogun: Total War! If people share the same family name. and the struggle for the shogunate and ultimate power is far from being over. courage and authority. are leading their respective clans: 30 . so Tokugawa Ieyasu is actually “Ieyasu of the family/clan of Tokugawa”. they’re generally on the same side. then. with all your enemies crushed and your clan in power. though that you can journey back 300 years in this special Shogun: Total War . but there’s no reason for your version of history to turn out that way! It’s up to you to steer your chosen family to the Shogunate. justice. and each has a realistic expectation of success in the war to come. The Art of War In reality. in the middle of the Sengoku Period.Shogun: Total War starts in the year 1530. relatives and friends as well as everyone else. All the clans have a reasonably equal chance of being the next shogun family at the start of play. followed by the individual’s given name. of course! When the action starts in Shogun: Total War.” — Sun Tzu. It is during the course of the game that arquebuses will arrive and be incorporated into the different clan armies with varying degrees of success. His family lasted as shoguns for 250 years. Remember.” — Sun Tzu. By and large. the daimyo warlords are well established in their home fiefdoms. There are many candidates who could become shogun. this doesn’t stop some daimyo and samurai plotting against their overlords. trustworthiness.The Mongol Invasion edition. The Art of War It’s traditional for Japanese names to be given as the family name first. family and clan loyalties were the most important relationships between the “big players” in this period of Japanese history. Most importantly for samurai generals.

the founder of the clan. Mori Mori Motonari — Originally vassals of Ouchi Yoshitaka. Once he was gone. Totmi and Suruga provinces.Hojo Hojo Ujitsuna — Ujitsuna would like to be heir to a proud tradition. Hojo Soun. was a lowly samurai adventurer who overthrew the old order in his home province and took an old name as his own. the Mori family came to dominate the Inland Sea of Japan for around 50 years and fight the Amako. brought peace and prosperity and even driven away the Mongol hordes! Ujitsuna and his sons are powerful daimyo and will struggle for many years against the Takeda and Uesugi clans. he continued to expand his families’ holdings with successes against the Amako. In fact. With his power base secured. the clan’s power declined rapidly. The Hojo had been the shoguns of Japan. When the Ouchi were overthrown Motonari seized the opportunity and defeated all rivals to their territory. His descendants are equally ruthless! Imagawa Imagawa Yoshimoto — Under Yoshimoto. However. 31 . below) and Yoshimoto was defeated and killed at the battle of Okehazama. although his grandson and successor was to be opposed by the generals of Oda Nobunaga. a move into Owari brought him into conflict with Oda Nobunaga (the son of Nobuhide. the Imagawa clan managed to gain control of Mikawa.

Oda Nobuhide — The father of the more famous Oda Nobunaga, and a relative of the Taira clan who had once ruled Japan. Nobuhide lead his clan to victory against the Imagawa (above) at Azukizaka in 1542 and paved the way for his children to rise to prominence. His most famous son, Nobunaga, was a greedy, utterly ruthless man who nevertheless became the archetypal daimyo general of the period and the power behind the last of the Ashikaga shoguns.

Shimazu Takahisa — Based in the southern part of Kyushu, Takahisa led the Shimazu clan in an able and innovative fashion. He was the first of the daimyo to equip his soldiers with European arquebuses on a large scale, and the first to win a victory with them in his attack on Kajiki Castle in Osumi province. After his death the family fortunes declined, and they chose to support Ishida Mitsunari at the Battle of Sekigahara which lead to their eventual downfall.

Takeda Nobutora —Nobutora seems to have been a mostly able ruler of Kai province, but favoured his younger son as his successor, which lead the elder, Takeda (Harunobu) Shingen, to revolt. Nobutora then had to suffer the indignity of being held prisoner by a neighbouring lord by his own son’s orders! Despite this seemingly poor beginning, Shingen became one of the ablest of the daimyo. He was also the subject of Kagemusha, Akira Kurosawa’s epic samurai movie — and the movie is an excellent source of hints and tips for double-dealing in the game!


Uesugi Tomooki — Tomooki spent much of his time at war with the neighbouring Hojo clan. His branch of the Uesugi family (the Ogigyatsu) came to a premature end when his son, Tomosada, was killed in battle in 1545 against the Hojo while trying to retake Kawagoe castle. The other branch of the family, the Yamanouchi, lasted longer and eventually fared better. Uesugi Kagekatsu switched sides to the Tokugawa after Sekigahara and was rewarded for his new found loyalty with the valuable Yonezawa fief. The Uesugi also had a long-running dispute with the Takeda clan.


2: The Samurai
“Look upon your soldiers as beloved children and they willingly die with you. If you are so nice to them that you cannot employ them in battle, so kind to them that you cannot command them, so casual that you cannot establish order, then they are useless, like spoiled children.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War The samurai are the defining image of medieval Japan, and for many they are still a defining image of Japan. They are widely seen as being the ultimate warriors, ready to charge into danger at a moment’s notice, ready to kill themselves when events went against them, and completely unforgiving towards their enemies. As with any stereotype, though, this image of the samurai is both right and wrong. As it turned out many were equally ready to rebel when they thought they could get away with it! As Japanese history shows, for centuries the samurai had been changing from their position as the military servants of “the great and the good” and had increasingly become “the great and the good” themselves. What could be held by the power of the sword could also be taken by the power of the sword. The samurai became the people with power who mattered in affairs of Japan. And this group is where most of the great clans and the daimyo were drawn from. The daimyo were not a separate class of great landowners in society, cut off from everyone else by wealth and privilege. They were the oldest, the most “noble” or simply the most ruthless among many samurai families. Without military backing, by the time of the Ashikaga shogunate and the Sengoku period, no daimyo could hold on to his lands. At the same time, more than one of the daimyo worried that one of his followers would try to rebel one day… In theory, however, samurai were supposed to follow a code of honour. Many — indeed most of them — did so to the point of death. This code was called bushido, “the way of the warrior”.


The purpose of bushido was much the same as the “rules” of medieval chivalry: it gave warriors a set of ideas to live by. throwing away his life. is also an explanation for the suicidal banzai charges made during the Second World War by Japanese garrisons on islands all across the Pacific. according to the code of bushido. This is what the last 200 Tokugawa defenders at Fushimi Castle did in 1600 when they opened their gates and repeatedly charged the whole Western army! This. This obsession with honour at all costs allowed samurai to carry out acts of seemingly wasteful selfsacrifice. endurance. This didn’t stop some samurai from running away in battle (they were only human. veracity. after all). He was demonstrating that his loyalty was truly sincere. It wasn’t at all.Bushido: The Way of the Warrior “Today is victory over yourself of yesterday. of course.” — Miyamoto Musashi. The Book of Five Rings. It was no “odder” than European ideas of chivalry. but if it delays the enemy and allows your lord to eventually beat the enemy. Trying and dying in the process was more worthy than not trying at all. As long as a samurai was true to his calling. And this is where bushido can look odd or even suicidal to modern eyes. It was only towards the end of the Sengoku period and at the start of the Tokugawa shogunate that the “rules” came to be written down. frugality. but it should be clear that bushido simply didn’t mean fighting to the bitter end regardless of any odds either. The Water Book Bushido as a code of principles existed from the very start of the samurai. politeness. could also have a dark side to it. elevating them above the normal run of hired killers. courage. 35 . not by a self-destructive impulse. tomorrow is your victory over lesser men. A samurai was expected to act intelligently as well as bravely and simply throwing your life away wasn’t only wrong. he retained honour. because the attempt had been made without concern for the personal consequences. Acts of apparent suicide — such as the fairly regular occurrence of a castle garrison opening the gates and charging the enemy — need to be looked at from the perspective of bushido. Rectitude. and. A samurai imbued with a true sense of bushido didn’t think about his own life at all when considering his actions. especially. The code of bushido survived into the 20th century in the Imperial Army and Navy. like all formalised codes of conduct. loyalty were all-important as virtues for a samurai who truly followed the code of bushido. Many enemies were executed right after battles for just this reason. Bushido. providing the act carried out was the right thing to do. Life and death were quite incidental to any outcome. it was foolish. it is an act driven by loyalty and bravery. Charging an enemy besieging your castle may be personally suicidal. Samurai often treated prisoners harshly because the captives had failed to live up to the code of bushido. A samurai who was surrounded by enemies and still advanced into the middle of them was not.

was a rather wealthy country. The Water Book Formal suicide is not just a Japanese idea. “A Single Horseman”) is a work from 1735 that concentrates on arming a samurai before battle. and samurai — being high on the social ladder — had every opportunity to sample the finer things in life.” — Miyamoto Musashi. sometimes even on the battlefield! One samurai would make up the opening line and it was up to his opponent to reply quickly. He was not only expected to be good with a sword. but they also throw light on how bushido was expected to apply to everyday life for samurai. of course. But among the samurai. Japanese warfare never really developed a similar system of cash-for-prisoners. but perhaps Kiyomasa had his reasons. but equally good at more sociable skills. it is necessary to maintain the combat stance in everyday life. Although written long after the Sengoku period. Perhaps he wasn’t a very good dancer. 36 . things were slightly different. as well as a punishment. for example. often allowed conspirators against them to commit suicide and so preserve their family’s fortune: being ordered to die by your own hand was punishment enough. where bushido is largely reduced to a practical set of skills. Samurai often killed themselves to avoid capture. The subtitle is Hi Ko Ben or “The Art of Armour Wearing” and it explains exactly what the book is about. The book Tanki Yoriaki (literally. Japan. Hara-Kiri: Death and Honour “In all forms of strategy. The daimyo.Unlike Medieval Europe. Others are philosophical works where the mindset of combat is applied to the wider world so that the ideas and theory of bushido can be used to achieve anything. A samurai or daimyo taken alive on the battlefield would generally expect to die ignominiously at the hands of his captors. There was even a specific type of poetry duel that samurai indulged in. Death by your own hand was a legitimate way of keeping honour. and to make your everyday stance your combat stance. The books on bushido that have survived from the Sengoku period and later years fall into three basic categories. The command of Kato Kiyomasa that “A samurai who practices dancing… should be ordered to commit hara-kiri…” looks a little harsh. lived the kind of life that would have been recognisable in its opulence by a land magnate of the time anywhere in the world. Some are general “how-to” manuals of weapons handling. including the tea ceremony and poetry. The third category are the practical and mundane notes for running a castle and an army of samurai. of course. the inherent conservatism of the Tokugawa shogunate means that the techniques described in it were still perfectly valid after more than a century. Clever puns and allusions were very highly regarded in this game of wits. or because their lord had died and they wished to show their utter devotion. where it was accepted that a captive nobleman or knight would be held for ransom (often for years). The Roman Emperors. or just felt that it was a warrior’s task to devote his energy to the martial arts rather than the cultural ones. The Book of Five Rings. That said the “complete samurai” was expected to be a cultured man as well as a skilled warrior.

is a figure from samurai legend as much as from history. Although the deathblow was merciful. “Therefore. It must be obtained from people who know the condition of the enemy. and cannot be found by calculation. Once the first cut had been made a friend or trusted retainer would immediately deliver a mercy blow and cut off the victim’s head. Reverse spies are hired from enemy spies.There was also the curious (to outside eyes) practice of samurai killing themselves to protest against a decision that their liege lord had taken. the dead spy and the living spy. Hara-kiri wasn’t the only form that formal suicide took in Japan. and is intended to be so. he was buried alive — fully armoured and on horseback — while swearing ghostly vengeance upon his foes! Samurai & Ninja “Foreknowledge cannot be had from ghosts or spirits. the inside spy. The Art of War 37 . the reverse spy. for example. no one in the army is treated as well as spies. “There are five kinds of spy: the local spy. Togo Shigechika. Inside spies are hired from among enemy officers. The victim was expected to cut his stomach open with more than one stroke. It should be immediately obvious that hara-kiri or “cutting the belly” is intensely painful. cannot be had from astrology. Local spies are hired from among the inhabitants of a place. Self-disembowelment was so horrible that the samurai eventually modified the act so that it became a simple stabbing carried out by the victim. but his death was singularly grisly! Having vainly attacked an enemy fortress. Living spies come back to make their reports. the first cut still required enormous self-discipline from the person committing hara-kiri. although it was a rare man who didn’t reconsider his actions when a retainer had chosen to kill himself rather than obey. Dead spies give false information to the enemy.” — Sun Tzu. This was seen as the height of loyalty even if the lord in question took no notice of the act. no one is given rewards as rich as those given to spies and no matter is more secret than the work of spies.

However. the right bottom) to appear. In their fashion they were brave and skilful. but this didn’t save him. or that his death was from natural causes. this was how many of the great daimyo and their clans had got started on the road to power! 38 . Uesugi Kenshin however. samurai retainers had guarded Uesugi Kenshin night and day. but even after five battles nothing had been decided. The end of a daimyo’s family often resulted in many of his former retainers losing their positions and income. They also have “Robin Hood” style legends attached to them of protecting peasants and the weak from rapacious overlords. possibly apocryphal. Even then. it wasn’t entirely unknown for ronin to set themselves up as petty warlords in a province — after all.No discussion of medieval Japanese warfare would be complete without mentioning the master assassins and spies of the time: the ninja. Naturally. did not live to enjoy another contest. After several days — days that must have been remarkably smelly and unhealthy — the ninja’s patience was rewarded when Kenshin answered a call of nature. that they could kill any target. One swift upward thrust was all that was needed to despatch the very surprised warlord! Takeda Shingen may have been the person who commissioned his death. but there were other daimyo with an equal wish to see a rival dead. as there was fierce competition for good warriors among the daimyo. story shows the level of danger ninja posed to those they targeted for death. Most did not wander for long. It is. traps and early warning devices that were incorporated into castles and mansions shows that they were taken seriously as a threat at the time. claimed that ninja could dislocate their limbs to escape from any bindings. He was allegedly assassinated. hide in plain sight and even leave no trail that a man could follow. It’s equally possible that Oda Nobunaga had Kenshin killed. The number of tricks. waiting in the latrine pit for the right person (or rather. perhaps a little unfairly. Nevertheless. We’ve already seen that Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin fought a running series of battles for control of the Kawanakajima plains. it is significant that a ninja could be credited with his assassination and in such a fashion… Death & Defeat of A Daimyo The defeat and death of a samurai general or daimyo was usually catastrophic for his followers unless there was a son or heir to take over. One. literally “men of the waves”. It wasn’t completely unknown for samurai to kill themselves on the death of their lord as a mark of ultimate loyalty. problems could just be postponed if the successor wasn’t up to the standards of his illustrious predecessor. Samurai without a master were referred to as ronin. His killer hid himself beneath Kenshin’s privy for several days. for example. Ninja have become staple “bad guys” in martial arts movies.

The nobori was a long vertical flag that had a rigid crosspiece along the top. painted onto armour or displayed on large wooden shields. all members of a single family and all their retainers used the same mon. second or third son. making the whole business of heraldry very complicated indeed. This can only be a brief overview rather than a full account and if you want to know more. the use of mon by samurai families had become firmly established. banners carried by standard bearers attached to units. The Tokugawa clan used the aoi (a hollyhock) in a three-leaf design in a circle. armies carried large coloured banners to show family allegiances. you would be well advised to pick up one of the many books on the subject. Wearing armour tends to make people look identical. 39 . quarters and the like often showed the parentage of the owner. The background colour of the flag indicated which army unit the wearer belonged to. a (usually symbolic) family crest was stencilled onto banners. To begin with. no matter who that might be. the ronin could end up selling their swords to the highest bidder. or become bandits in their own right. Arms & Armour “An army perishes if it has no equipment.At worst. The Art of War Samurai weaponry and armour are huge subjects that have filled books far larger than this game manual.” — Sun Tzu. The mon would be stencilled on to the flag near the top. It was there to make it easy to recognise “who was who” on the battlefield. By the Sengoku period. it perishes if it has no food and it perishes if it has no money. But even from the earliest times. In European heraldry the division of a coat of arms into halves. the design would be modified by a first. The Seven Samurai in the movie of the same name are ronin. Other nobori for a unit might carry an appropriate motto. so some clear means of working out which anonymous armoured figures you should be killing and which ones are your friends was absolutely vital. Famous (or perhaps just overly proud) samurai sometimes had their names emblazoned on their sashimono rather than a clan symbol. They have fallen on such hard times that they are willing to sell their skills for a bowl of rice. Likewise. the mon. the design of a mon was more important than its colour. Mon were used on the sashimono flags worn on the back of individual samurai and ashigaru. They were also clearly displayed on the nobori. In Japan. It also didn’t change once adopted by a family. Unlike Western heraldry. Samurai Heraldry “Heraldry” in Japan had exactly the same purpose as it did in the West. Several families used the same variation on the tomoe (the comma shape used in yin and yang symbols).

easy to wear and relatively easy to repair. However. called yoroi. One of the flags used by Tokugawa Ieyasu carried the Buddhist slogan “Renounce this filthy world and attain the Pure Land.Battle flags carried for units and the entire army could also include inspirational messages rather than just a drawing. The samurai didn’t always approve of colourful displays just for the sake of looking good. given that the early samurai were largely mounted bowmen. Every soldier could have his own sashimono. For a country that was covered in paddy fields. In cold weather. and therefore very heavy. They did. streamers. This helped when using a sword in particular. and there were also other banners. The distinctive lacing was kept. weighed around 30 kilos and was quite effective for a horseman. During the Onin War armour began to change so that its weight was more even distributed across the torso. some dyes weakened the silk and made the laces fall to pieces. having armour held together with laces might seem a little odd. mean that the armour was flexible. Apart from anything else. being able to spot your allies and your enemies quickly is rather important! It is this lacing that makes Japanese armour so colourful and attractive to the modern eye. His unit would have one or more nobori flags. In the confusion of hand-to-hand fighting. however.” The text of the battle flag carried by Takeda Shingen’s troops is quoted in full elsewhere in this manual. The wearer’s shoulders carried nearly all the weight and this made the armour a little restrictive when swinging a sword. Coloured laces also made it easy to identify armies and individual units belonging to specific clans on the battlefield. flags and simple extravagant insignia carried by the army. this wasn’t much of a problem. Armour had been brought from China but instead samurai armour came to be made of small plates held together by silk or leather cords. which largely defeats the point of using them to hold armour together. they could easily freeze. in exactly the same way as any other uniform does. Originally designed for mounted use the armour. The sheer number of flags and banners carried by a samurai army could be impressive in itself. 40 . The samurai were naturally practical about their armour. Fukinuki. and it required enormous attention in both manufacture and day-to-day care to make it “work” properly. as shoulder movements no longer had to work against the weight of the armour as well as the sword. for example. were brightly coloured and boldly designed cylindrical streamers on circular frames: they were almost the same as modern windsocks! Armour Samurai did not wear plate armour in the European or mainland Asian style. The laces themselves would become waterlogged quite easily.

The heraldic mon was also a favourite device on helmets. The sectional nature of the armour meant. the protection was maximised because any blow would be deflected away from the wearer by a series of glancing surfaces that started at the samurai’s shoulders and went all the way down his body. protective masks were often terrifying renderings of demonic faces.Fashion. horns. did play a part: after 1570 jet-black dye became available and blacklaced armour became popular. Samurai helmets almost defy description. The Art of War Samurai armour was made of many pieces that could be worn individually. Likewise. say) and save putting on the heavier pieces until absolutely necessary. pointed helmets that almost doubled the height of their wearers! 41 . Added to this stunning effect. As a result. leg or arm to be covered first. the ritual served a practical purpose in making sure that the samurai and his servants didn’t forget any part of the process. The plates themselves were often cleverly manufactured with more than one layer to them: a backing of soft iron to absorb impacts. He could manage for this task by simply using armoured sleeves beneath his everyday clothes. It also helped in organising the armour so that the pieces put on later always overlapped the underlying. Putting on full armour involved a set ritual specifying a hand. suns and anything else to make the wearer more intimidating and impressive. They could be enormous and frightening. being there to keep the wearer alive in the very hostile environment on a battlefield! “Good warriors make their stand on ground where they cannot lose and do not overlook anything that makes the enemy prone to defeat. huge feathers and sunbursts. was an important “tool of the trade” as far as the samurai were concerned. when an attack wasn’t expected he could still wear some armour (in camp. however. above all. Armour. They carried antlers. These flexible sleeves were made of small plates sown into silk or leather coverings.” — Sun Tzu. or deliberately grotesque “cartoons” of the samurai under the mask! Few daimyo went quite as far as Date Masamune who gave his entire hatamoto (bodyguard unit) of 200 men gold-lacquered. enormous crests. Apart from anything else. there was no need for a samurai who was just on guard duty at his master’s mansion to wear full armour. for example. There was little that stuck out from the armour for a blow to catch on and lead a blade towards the samurai beneath. ornate and completely “over the top”. and worn with shoulder cords to hold them in place. a harder steel face and finally layers of lacquer to stop rusting. earlier bits.

ceremonial items as well. However. was unusual in that his “Two Heavens” fighting style did use two swords at the same time. In fact. the no dachi. This. perhaps. not as technologically advanced as Japanese armour of the same period. were worn together although rarely used as a pair of weapons in combat. that some of the extremely decorative armours and helmets that still survive would never have been worn near a battlefield. ashigaru armour was nevertheless a good compromise between protection and mobility. the long katana and the shorter wakizashi. there are illustrations of samurai using European armour. A Book of Five Rings. samurai were the only people allowed to carry two swords. The Book of Five Rings. A samurai who could afford it (or a daimyo who could afford it for his men) would have almost certainly equipped them with down-to-earth battlefield gear and other decorative. These two weapons.” — Miyamoto Musashi. After the arrival of the Portuguese there was also a fashion for “Christian” armour among the samurai. Of far cheaper construction than samurai armour. One other sword is worth mentioning at this point. perhaps to show that the wearer was extremely wealthy (armour carried all the way from Europe was always going to be expensive!) and perhaps as an open mark of a new Christian faith. Even so. was a fashion statement as much as a practical decision. This doesn’t mean that the wearer was shot. Miyamoto Musashi. a practical bit of gear that. 42 . and much better than the equivalent peasant in a European army of the time would have been given.It’s worth remembering. but that a bullet had been fired at the armour to test it. To give them a uniform appearance coloured lacquer was often used on the iron plates. could be used as a rice boiler. Ashigaru helmets were almost always the same low conical jingasa. this “Christian” armour was a Spanish pattern and. and there is no need for many refinements of it. it can be argued. Surviving examples of European armour from this period nearly always have a bullet mark somewhere on the breastplate. Ashigaru Armour Many ashigaru soldiers were often issued with standardised armour and weapons by the clan they served (ashigaru had to provide a sword for themselves). These enormous two-handed weapons were only ever used on foot. and the clan heraldic mon would often be painted on the chest and back plates too. The Sword “Cutting down the enemy is the Way of strategy. the sword-saint and writer of the best-known book on swordsmanship. The Wind Book The Sengoku period was a pretty lawless one. (the “long and short”) as a badge of their unique warrior status. a pair called the daisho. when turned upside down over a fire. The dent was left to show the customer that the gunfire test on his new armour had been successful. Even peasants habitually went armed with all kinds of weapons. though.

unlike the knights of Europe. the change from the softer steel and the harder edge would show up as the yakiba. in some cases 220 — 4. Each repeated forging doubled the number of layers of metal in a sword. 43 . A sword became the “soul of samurai” who carried it and many became family heirlooms. The katana is still probably the best hand weapon ever produced. The maximum number of folds recorded is some 230 (or 10. Once the sword blade was polished.304 — layers of metal would be the result. so they would form a hard edge that could be sharpened. incredibly valuable blades even today. When the sword — in its clay overcoat — was heated and then quenched. The blade was coated with clay built up to a different thickness across the blade: thin at the cutting edge and thick towards the back. The result of all of this was a sword that could cut a man in two — literally. Occasionally condemned criminals were used to test new swords. They never needed to.194. a line that resembles a breaking wave. which meant that they were flexible.461. Its razor sharp edge gave him the ability to cut through an opponent right down to the bone. The iron at the sides and back edge gave flexibility to the blade.The samurai used the katana to defend as well as attack and as a result never adopted shields. As late as the Second World War some officers had their family blades placed in army-issue fittings then carried them into action. Some swords had details of their testing carved into the tang (the piece of the sword inside the hilt).824!) layers of forged metal. Officers’ swords that were carried home by Allied soldiers as war souvenirs from Pacific battlefields are still occasionally identified as ancient. The two would be hammered out and folded over many times to produce a “sandwich” of many layers. A samurai sword was carefully constructed out of many layers of steel and iron. The final process in the forging was particularly clever. the sword was ready for use. These two contrasting qualities were the result of the skills and experience that Japanese sword smiths had accumulated over centuries. while the steel core could be hardened to make a perfect edge. They were large where the clay had been thick. but it was more common to use a bundle of rushes and bamboo or to use corpses. but small at the cutting edge.736. a samurai could block and turn blows that would have shattered any ordinary steel weapon. ever equalled these Japanese weapons. No other sword. even the famous blades from Toledo in Spain. because of the superb metalwork in the katana was good enough to act in both capacities. This gave the sword enormous strength when the iron and steel were welded together. Thanks to the resilience of such a blade. Once the blade had been signed by the smith and hilt and guard fitted. it cooled at different speeds and the metal crystals in each part in the blade ended up as different sizes.

” — Miyamoto Musashi. A samurai bow looks ungainly as the handgrip is not central. but two-thirds of the distance along the bow. They even used the term “The Way of Horse and Bow” to describe their military calling. This is a skill that is still demonstrated today at yamasame festivals. This dates back to the time when samurai were primarily cavalry soldiers and fought as mounted archers. The short lower section could easily be swung across a horse’s neck so that the samurai could fire at any target. because it allowed a much more powerful bow to be easily used from horseback. skilled craftsmen often made yari. however. remained the mark of a well-trained and disciplined warrior. A razor-sharp blade completed the spear. The whole thing was carefully lacquered to keep out damp. The Ground Book Archery was the skill that the early samurai prized above all others. so the whole bow had enormous power. Using the bow well. especially battles on a moor. The bow itself was carefully laminated from deciduous wood and bamboo and then bound for extra strength. as it is possible to shoot quickly from among the spearmen. The yari’s shaft was often of oak. but the most unusual were signalling arrows that had a large wooden whistle fitted to the head. 44 . During the Sengoku period the naginata fell out of widespread use as the yari became a popular weapon with the clans. to witness the brave deeds that were about to be performed. The sohei warrior monks particularly favoured them. but in the hands of a skilled man (which is to say a samurai) they were devastating against almost any opponent. A symmetrical bow would have been smaller (and therefore less powerful) or been ungainly for mounted use. Fire arrows were also popular. Arrows came in many types. Over the centuries two slow evolutions took place so that cavalry became primarily armed with spears and many other samurai took to fighting as foot soldiers. surrounded by bamboo laminations and then covered with weatherproof lacquer. even more than swordsmanship. These made a warbling noise as they flew through the air and were fired at the start of battle to attract the attention of kami. The Book of Five Rings. The level of skill that a samurai archer could achieve was the product of long years of practice. The Naginata & Yari “Nothing is harder than armed struggle. As with all Japanese weapons. with the longer section above the handgrip. This odd appearance was quite deliberate. Stringing a bow could take the combined effort of several men. Samurai were expected to hit small targets while riding at full gallop. particularly during sieges. or spirits. The Art of War The naginata looks remarkably like a quarterstaff with a large sword blade fixed to one end.” — Sun Tzu.The Bow “The bow is tactically strong at the commencement of battle.

the theory being that enemy warriors couldn’t get into close combat past a row of sharp blades at the end of a long spear. The weapon’s true utility came when it was used by massed ranks of ashigaru. it was never going to be truly effective in the hands of just a few samurai. When firing as a single mass or volley firing. making the weapon an expensive club. Unlike very early handguns. However. As a weapon for individual (and in the early years. even with servants to help. The Arquebus “Defence is for times of insufficiency. Different clans also standardised on different lengths for their yari. By mass firing against massed targets. the touchhole is primed and then a smouldering cord. where the match was simply held in the gunner’s hand. The Date family. That remained the sword. those used by Oda clan spearmen were also well over five metres long. for example.” — Sun Tzu. Powder. given the inherent inaccuracy of a smoothbore weapon) at important enemies. It was more by luck than judgement that an arquebusier could hit a man-sized target at 50 metres or so. it was never the primary weapon of a true samurai. The Art of War The arquebus or firelock is almost as simple as firearms get. The daimyo came to see the yari as a valuable “offensively” defensive weapon. What could go wrong was that the arquebus could explode in the face of the user (although this wasn’t too common). Apart from anything else. it became longer as the daimyo experimented with its tactical use. the match on an arquebus was held by a short arm-like lever and flipped into place at the touchhole when the trigger is pulled. wealthy) samurai. Attack is for times of surplus. There’s no flint or other relatively complicated sparking mechanism to go wrong. This was partly thanks to their use as a “shelter” for arquebus-armed troops. it was usually good for just one shot because there was rarely chance to reload on the battlefield. but as the Sengoku period continued. great numbers of arquebuses made up for the weakness of the individual weapon by turning it into a weapons system. 45 . an army armed with arquebuses was dependent on having good weather on a battle day. All that said. After 1542 it took very little time for local craftsmen to start making them for the samurai.4 metre (around 18 feet) yari. the daimyo and their samurai retainers recognised its usefulness almost immediately. and used it to snipe (with mixed success. larger units overcame the fact that the arquebus — like all early firearms — was hugely inaccurate and slow. the yari was about 3 or 4 metres in length. equipped their men with 5. for example. these limitations were overcome and the weapon system that resulted changed Japanese warfare. Beyond 100 metres. sets off the weapon. once they had been introduced to the arquebus. anyone struck by a ball from an arquebus was unlucky rather than a victim of deliberate fire. In modern terms. the match. who needed yari-armed comrades to keep the enemy at bay while they reloaded. As a result. wadding and a ball are rammed home down the barrel.Originally. or that damp could get into the powder. Many samurai carried the arquebus in battle.

Not as much of its energy will dissipate into the person who has been hit. once the target was hit. Arquebus bullets also travelled relatively slowly. “II. in this country district are ordered to come and be registered on the 20th day of this month. From the very earliest times. such man no matter whether he is a district commissioner or a peasant. “Avoiding confrontation with orderly ranks and not attacking great formations is mastering adaptation.The effects of an arquebus wound. nor will it shatter into pieces on entry. All men. depending upon the clan in question) to act in concert on the battlefield. shall be beheaded. The large shot fired (around 25mm in diameter) were hand cast. without fear of getting into trouble. re-supply him with arrows. not even a monkey-tamer will be excused. Samurai Armies “I. a samurai army was a “combined arms” force.” — Recruiting orders issued by Hojo Ujiyasu (1515-1570) Like the best armies have always been. These servants (genin or shoju) acted as his “support team”. All the men. The samurai became the only warriors in the world to turn their backs on gunpowder — the weapon system of the future. this was inevitable: the simple need for fighters meant that the samurai had to be supplemented in some fashion! But the samurai had never gone into battle alone anyway. and even count his conquests. from fifteen to seventy years of age. the ashigaru became an increasingly important part of every clan army. They are to bring with them a gun. A hand-cast lead bullet could quite easily break up once it had entered the target and cause very severe injuries. could be very nasty indeed. and as a result were often flawed. It was not uncommon for people hit in the arms or legs to die from the shock of the wound. if they happen to possess one. servants had attended each samurai. The rule for military operations is not to face a high hill and not to oppose those with their backs to a hill. As the Sengoku period progressed. so that nearly all their energy was delivered into the target. By contrast. The Art of War 46 . On one level. a spear or any kind of weapon. ready to bring him the right weapon at the right time. If it is known afterwards that even one man in this district concealed himself and did not respond to this call. “III. At the end of the Sengoku period firearm development was generally abandoned under the Tokugawa shogunate. are ordered to come.” — Sun Tzu. It included cavalry. including those of the samurai class. giving rise to shock effects as well. missile troops and infantry (in varying proportions. a modern bullet travels much faster and will sometimes pass through its target completely.

and this simple tactic exploited that fact. so the enemy cannot keep you out. 47 . Maintain discipline and adapt to the enemy to determine the war’s outcome. The samurai ethos of warfare and his superior training counted for too much. At the end of the battle the victorious general would inspect all the heads and reward his followers according to their individual prowess — but woe betide any samurai who accidentally killed an ally! All of this led to many battles that were mass brawls rather than organised affairs. Tactics “When the enemy presents openings. a samurai had been trained for warfare almost from the time that he could walk. under the right commanders a samurai army was a formidable instrument of war. This enthusiasm could be a dubious benefit from the point of view of a general: it was sometimes impossible to restrain headstrong troops from attacking the enemy. and his defeated foe would be beheaded. No ashigaru force could be expected to stand up to the same number of samurai in a straight fight. It could be difficult to manage at times. penetrate immediately. then you are like a rabbit on the loose. The Art of War All daimyo made use of their army’s best features in battle. It was traditional for samurai to advance into a fight shouting out their names and looking for a worthy opponent. The head would be tagged so that everyone knew exactly who claimed the kill. More than one plan was ruined because the samurai decided to take the fight to the enemy without thought of the consequences. some individuals came to see it as a right that they should advance and look for a worthy opponent. Get what they want. The winner would move on. for the most part. Indeed. it was the samurai who were the “arm of decision” in most battles. At first you are like a maiden so that the enemy opens his door. After all. subtly anticipate them. Brave samurai would be quite willing to charge into the ranks of the enemy looking for opponents to kill in the hopes of gaining recognition. he would engage him in single combat. The important thing for any army was to attack as small a part of the enemy with as many of its own samurai as possible.No matter who fought with them. Their mounted samurai were among the best in the country. was fond of beginning with a cavalry charge. it was the samurai that eventually decided the course of a battle. The Takeda clan.” — Sun Tzu. Although ashigaru made up the bulk of a clan army by a head count. regardless of any battle plan their generals might happen to be considering. It worked well. Nevertheless. as might be expected. That day the Takeda clan learned that warfare had changed. When a samurai found one. The Nobunaga clan. for example. until they chose to charge across waterlogged ground towards Nobunaga’s arquebusiers at the Battle of Nagashino (1575). used their arquebusiers to good effect and slaughtered their bogged-down enemies. but it was also a war winner.

For the most part. The Art of War The arrival of the arquebus and his use of volley fire also gave Oda Nobunaga’s tactical innovations added impetus. enemy warriors could close and engage. Japanese armies had also begun to evolve along the same lines as the European “pike and shot” armies of the same period. keeping the higher land to your right rear.” — Sun Tzu. He also insisted that his soldiers wore easily seen and highly coloured uniforms. but he did understand that discipline. Tactics and the Arquebus “When generals cannot assess opponents. with low ground in front and high ground behind. on the other hand. Oda Nobunaga wasn’t a formal tactician. The presence of samurai each armed with a katana made sure of that. “Push of pikes”. This could be devastating. The Japanese never. Spearmen were used to protect the arquebusiers while they reloaded. Nobunaga.The chances were that an ashigaru had chosen the life of a soldier as an easier option to endless toil in a rice paddy. These simple changes in army organisation and practices impressed his opponents at the time. The tactical solutions that arose weren’t identical in Europe and Japan. A good unit of arquebus-armed troops would be lucky to get off three shots in a minute. The Art of War 48 . they are beaten. In between while the ashigaru were busy reloading. that huge shoving match that many European battles degenerated into. Nobunaga was able to keep up a steady. continuous fire against the enemy. All the daimyo had incorporated ashigaru arquebusiers into their armies but usually everyone in a unit fired at the same time. made sure that only some of his men fired at any one time. drill and training were vital in making sure that an army worked together effectively. In these simple ideas. This volley fire was an important innovation in battle practice: by having his soldiers fire in ranks or sections. This made it dangerous to close with his troops because there was no “down time” between shots from the ashigaru. the great general of the Sengoku period. ended up with spearmen (pikes) fighting in units that were 30 or or more ranks deep. never became a major part of a samurai battle. he was ahead of many of his contemporaries. “On level ground take up positions where it is easy to manoeuvre. It was more likely that the rate of fire would be only two volleys per minute. for example. And an unloaded arquebus was only useful as a heavy club. clash with much greater numbers or more powerful forces and do not understand the level of skill of their own soldiers.” — Sun Tzu. but it meant that the unit was effectively useless for the time the gunners were reloading.

even if it meant losing a tactical battle. while commendable on one level. A good general made sure that ashigaru were never given the key position in any battle. where his command skills could be best used to control his followers. 49 . Such pig-headedness. or general. Cavalry — and this meant exclusively samurai — were positioned where they could charge against vulnerable enemy units. this single-minded bravery could be slightly problematic. The Art of War Getting an army organised on the field of battle was an important drill that every general would have had his troops practice. was always near the centre of his army. conch horn signals and drums could carry simple orders to units. could lead to the best-laid plans going awry through foolish dedication rather than failed morale. but mounted messengers carried difficult instructions to distant units. If anyone was likely to “cut and run” under the stress of battle. The taisho. it would be the ashigaru. remarkably difficult. A skirmish line of brave samurai and ashigaru missile-armed troops were in a forward position to harass and break up the enemy’s ordered ranks as they approached. Sometimes. Samurai were known to break ranks and charge the enemy despite of having orders not to do so.Keeping charge of an army was. When every man had a set position in a battle — and this had been repeatedly drilled into him — the need to communicate with subordinates was less pressing. Japanese generals rarely had a problem with cowardice in the presence of the enemy. Flag signals. There were times when “running away and living to fight another day” would have been the right thing to do in strategic terms. The following six were recommended battle formations that every army would know how to apply when entering a fight. This was why set battle formations became so important. and that there were troops behind them to bolster their morale. Fortunately. at times. there would be a substantial contingent held in the rear as a tactical reserve to be committed at a battle-winning moment. Formations “The victorious general gets his troops to go into battle as if he was directing a massive flood of water into a deep canyon. and despite it being pointless. and all of them had elements in common. This is a matter of formation. The process of getting an army out of a marching column and into some kind of battle line was helped because there were standard formations for an army about to enter battle.” — Sun Tzu. Most importantly. from their perspective. All formations were based on older Chinese ideas for deploying armies. act as a rallying point or just simply kill them if they did choose to run. Samurai would never voluntarily abandon a fight unless it was truly hopeless and dying served no purpose.

the army could adapt its tactics to match. an army that was badly outnumbered by its opponents would use this formation. The Art of War All the units below are included in Shogun: Total War. As it stands. spies cannot find anything out and the enemy cannot produce a strategy. 50 . Once they were. Hoen — This was a keyhole-shaped formation that was widely regarded as the best counter to the hoshi arrowhead. Some units also require that the castle be upgraded with specialist weapon makers or dojo — specialised training establishments. A clan’s resources must be sufficient to pay the cost of the unit in koku. To view the extra units available in Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion click here. Kakuyoku — This is another strong formation that can be quickly changed to suit the emerging battle situation. the entire army could be changed into a hoshi and sent against the enemy. Typically. The enemy drawn into the centre and destroyed in detail. the kakuyoku is equally good for offence or defence. but that’s only until you remember that a koku is the quantity of rice used to feed one man for a whole year. Remember that not all the clans necessarily get their money in rice from the peasants. That’s not to say that a unit of cavalry archers needs several warehouses full of rice to keep them going. When you have no form. Without too many movements by the component units. and regarded as one of the strongest. Some of these units might seem “cheap”. Gyorin — Effectively this is a “blunt arrowhead” formation similar to the hoshi. The arrowhead brings the maximum pressure to bear against a small portion of the enemy battle line. The units of samurai could be pulled back at an angle to make the second formation. Koyaku — Another flexible formation that. thanks to the split vanguard.” — Sun Tzu. Army units “The consummation of forming an army is to arrive at formlessness. All the units will be produced at a stockade or castle of one kind or another within the producing clan’s domains. but that this is the level of wealth that’s needed to pay for their training and upkeep. is capable of absorbing an enemy initial attack for long enough for the enemy’s true intentions to become plain.Ganko — This is a flexible and powerful formation that can quickly change into a defensive pattern called onryo by a series of pre-arranged moves. Hoshi — This is an attacking formation.

“Getting soldiers to fight by letting the force of momentum work is like rolling rocks or logs… When troops are skilfully led into battle the momentum is like that of round rocks rolling down a high mountain. making victory an easier proposition. This is force. it is a sensible policy to try and keep casualties to a minimum. It almost goes without saying that a unit of samurai is much better in terms of quality than any ashigaru force. Weapons are useless unless used well. An army is made up of mixture of unit types. however. Koku. “Those who use an army skilfully do not raise troops twice and do not provide food three times. A skilled general takes into account the strengths of each kind of unit while being aware of their weaknesses. what opponents are fielding against you. The mix of units in your army when playing Shogun: Total War and The Mongol Invasion will depend on the tactics that you want to try out. and what units you can afford to train. are necessary when building an army because having many “cheaper” men is often useful in battle and in holding ground once it is taken. a strong army can be built up.” — Sun Tzu. A good taisho also kept his army intact as far as possible. Units that are bled white in battles not only lose soldiers. are a good standard measure for wealth in Shogun: Total War. they also lose valuable combat effectiveness as the knowledge of how to fight — and win — dies with the warriors who are killed. The Takeda clan. and the warriors carrying the swords and guns are more important than the weapons they carry. simply because each style of fighting has its own strengths and weaknesses. There was little point in winning a battle if the victory has cost too much blood.” — Sun Tzu. however. remember that the samurai were the living embodiment of a simple military principle. The Art of War Finally. for example. By making sure that the weaknesses of one sort of unit are screened or compensated by another unit. The Art of War The exact mix of units in an army depends on the personal command style of the daimyo in charge. while other clans made money by taxing trade with the Chinese mainland. Because warriors in Shogun: Total War gain experience when they fight. used to include quite a high proportion of cavalry in their armies because it was their standard (and often successful!) tactic to begin a battle with a full-blown cavalry charge into the enemy. Both. 51 . no matter what their armaments.The Takeda were lucky enough to own a gold mine. when looking at these different types of soldier. The shock effect of this cavalry charge often demoralised an opposing force before the real battle began.

It does. This makes it a terrible weapon to face: for example. In an ideal world. give them defensive bonuses in combat. their morale and fighting skills are excellent. waiting for the hungry with full stomachs. dashing themselves to pieces against a foe which who is just a few metres away beyond the range of a sword swing. They are extremely useful in any army. making these among the most useful soldiers daimyo can have under their command. however. after all. then close in and fight hand-to-hand when needed. meaning that they can stand off and shower enemy forces with arrows. is mastering strength. a single sweep from a naginata can neatly decapitate a charging horseman or cripple his horse. Once battle had been joined samurai equipped with the yari were equally adept in close combat as long as the unit kept good order in its ranks. The Art of War Naginata Samurai The naginata is a dangerous weapon in the hands of a samurai. the enemy would be tempted into charging onto the spears. It is. Originally. but over the years it became a different and heavier weapon. Yari samurai are extremely effective against cavalry. Most clan armies will include a good number of these units simply because of these all round abilities. this was simply a slightly sturdier version of the lance-like spear used by mounted samurai. They are also armed with both bows and swords. the horseman has been defeated! Samurai who used the naginata often used heavier armour than was usual which makes them a little less mobile than other samurai units. “Standing your ground to wait for the enemy who is far away.” — Sun Tzu. 52 . waiting for the weary in comfort. they tend to be used “defensively”. Their armour is also of good quality and their morale as samurai is exceptional. Yari Samurai The yari is a long spear tipped with a razor sharp blade. very difficult to force even the best-trained cavalry horses to charge into a mass of spear points! Thus. Its reach may not be as long as a yari. but it is “handier” for close combat and has a greater attack range than a sword.Samurai Archers These troops are among the most useful in Shogun: Total War as they can be trained quickly and are relatively inexpensive. In either case. As samurai. especially early in the game.

having the lead. Samurai armed with the no dachi are used as shock troops to break into enemy formations. disgrace and failure but a certain place in paradise. being armed with bows. then. They can also be used very effectively against troops whose morale is already suspect — an attack by a unit swinging two-handed swords can cause even the sternest heart to quail! No dachi samurai. and while his spirit is undecided follow up your advantage and.No Dachi Samurai Every samurai carried two swords as a mark of his class. however. cavalry archers need careful handling when going up against arquebusiers. The sohei — Buddhist warrior monks — had a tradition of getting involved in wars that didn’t necessarily concern them. they can close with the enemy. The Book of Five Rings. “Attack without warning where the enemy is not expecting it. they are dedicated and fearless! However. The Fire Book 53 . Being mounted. being samurai. They can be used to harass the enemy with missile weapons. they can shower opponents with arrows. Warrior Monks Religious certainty and samurai training are a potent combination. are superb when used to take an attack to the enemy. cavalry archers are a potent skirmishing force. Samurai armed with the no dachi went one better. The presence of this shrine makes other troops reluctant to attack them. Christian samurai units (that may existent after the arrival of the Portuguese in 1542 and the subsequent appearance of the Jesuits) don’t suffer any penalties when attacking warrior monks. if only because of the potential sacrilege. badly managed or already “wobbly” troops they can be deadly. men who were certain that death on a battlefield would not mean defeat. However. motivated as it is by religious devotion. manoeuvred to threaten vulnerable flanks. They can be quickly shot to pieces. It also uses a “portable shrine” in place of a battle flag as its standard. cavalry archers lack the “weight” to charge home successfully against properly organised defenders. cavalry archers Armed with swords and bows. As with all cavalry. A unit of warrior monks is a powerful fighting force.” — Miyamoto Musashi. defeat him. Many monasteries also had a tradition of producing brave and fanatical warriors. or sent in to break wavering troops. as this was a large twohanded sword that could cut down almost any opponent when used with skill. but against poorly positioned. but they are less effective when used defensively. they have excellent mobility. being armed with swords.

Historically. the Takeda clan made great use of cavalry to deliver a punishing charge in first few moments of a battle. they are forces that need to be carefully handled when attacking arquebusiers. The lance used by mounted samurai is the direct “ancestor” of the yari carried by infantry. Overall. On the other hand. Relatively speaking. but lack the defensive bonuses of the heavy samurai cavalry. Again. they will do severe damage to their opponents. shorter and lighter than the foot samurai and ashigaru version of the spear. is the key word here. If a charge is poorly timed.Heavy Cavalry Heavily armed and armoured. Able to take nearly any enemy and win. Ashigaru fighting ability. was popular as a weapon among the daimyo for their ashigaru because it was relatively easy to train large numbers of peasants to use it. however. they are potent units. Yari Ashigaru At the start of play in Shogun: Total War. or long spear. the ashigaru are relatively cheap soldiers and can be trained in great numbers quite quickly. Ashigaru soldiers of this type are usually present in clan armies in considerable numbers for just these reasons. any cavalry unit will be shot to pieces before it can attack itself. these samurai are an elite. “Relatively”. Learning to hold a spear (and point it in the right direction) doesn’t take anything like as much time as learning to use a sword properly! Yari Ashigaru should not be compared directly to samurai warriors armed in a similar fashion. Heavy cavalry are also well able to defend against most attacks. 54 . most clans will receive a yari ashigaru unit “free of charge” as the start of their army. Nearly all clan armies will include heavy cavalry. but it does mean that lancers are at less of a disadvantage against yariarmed warriors. they have the speed. and against arquebus-armed ashigaru. They can be used to break infantry formations. The yari. however. If heavy cavalry are in close combat against anyone. they are less effective against troops armed with yari (who can hold them off at a distance beyond the swing of a katana). weight and power to be powerful shock troops when they can come to grips with an enemy. They are simply too threatening not to include in an army. as their lances give them a reasonable “reach” in combat. morale and general levels of equipment are markedly inferior to those of true samurai. Yari Cavalry These samurai shock troops fall somewhere between their light and heavy comrades in arms. It is.

Because arquebus-armed ashigaru require a trading post to be constructed in a clan’s domain. Properly used in large numbers. It’s not hard to teach troops to use the weapons. as they certainly couldn’t be used without such supports. and often needed a stake-like support for the barrels. and slower than. This is part of the reason for the relatively long training time for arquebus-armed ashigaru. the arquebus-armed ashigaru are at a huge disadvantage in hand-to-hand combat. They will.The Mongol Invasion campaigns. It takes some time to ready an arquebus and the enemy can be kept at bay during reloading by yariequipped troops. even though it was out-ranged by. Arquebus Ashigaru The coming of the arquebus in 1542 led to a revolution in the way that clan armies were armed and organised.As with many European “pike and shot” armies. while the Dutch land in 1561. By this point the arquebus has become a more refined and — most importantly — a lighter weapon that can be aimed without the need for an extra support. arquebus-carrying units are not available in Shogun: Total War . Their firepower can inflict heavy casualties on anyone who comes near. be cut to pieces. they can only be produced after the arrival of European traders in Japan: the Portuguese arrive in 1542. These troops have a slightly greater range with their gunfire and a higher rate of fire. improved type of arquebus. but getting hold of enough arquebuses plus good quality powder and shot can be headache! Musketeer Ashigaru Qualitative improvements in gunpowder weapons and (just as importantly) their tactical use mean that later in the Sengoku period — and in Shogun: Total War — an improved form of arquebus-armed ashigaru can be trained for inclusion in your army. Local gunsmiths did manage to copy European arquebuses. The term "musketeer" isn’t strictly correct because these ashigaru aren’t technically armed with muskets as such but with a lighter. but if the enemy gets close enough. European traders were quite happy to sell guns to the daimyo warlords. Note: Clearly. "Slimmed-Down-But-Improved Arquebus Ashigaru" is a bit of a mouthful for a unit title! 55 . but their European gun makers were at the other end of a very long and hazardous sea voyage. quite simply. Early arquebuses were very heavy. a traditional bow. this made them cumbersome to move and deploy. This also means that arquebus-armed ashigaru aren’t very effective in hand-to-hand combat. In turn. but not immediately in large quantities. arquebuses could be devastating missile weapons. However. yari-armed troops were used to create a “wall” of spear points for other soldiers to shelter behind.

Alternately. 56 . but defeat will let the attackers into the castle. you won’t have to sit and watch a long siege. The first of these is. In Shogun: Total War. Of course. Assuming that the attackers are successful. castles are hugely useful in slowing down the advance of an attacking army because it will take time to besiege or assault a castle. Historical Castles Castles in historical Japan were naturally built to be defensible when under siege. Early castles were almost always wooden stockades with a few stone reinforcements.Castles & Siege Warfare Throughout Japanese history. This may mean that some of the castle improvements (as explained later) will not function until the castle is fully repaired. but victory doesn’t automatically take control of the province. don’t have to worry about the details of the siege. As you can see. on the other hand. be only postponing the inevitable. The defenders can sally forth and fight it out on the battlefield. but it also stops the defender building any new military units there as well. Instead. and the nearby availability of suitable wood and stone undoubtedly helped the builders. The arrival of a relief column will also trigger another tactical battle in the province. as commander of your clan. As long as there is an attacking army in the contested province. It might look like the defenders. as all the details will be handled for you by the strategic game system. You. the defending troops will suffer attrition losses as they starve or your own men conduct small-scale attacks. have no choice but to sit there and wait to be starved out. just to sit there and hope the attackers give up! This may. the defeated defenders retreat into the castle and the province becomes contested by the two daimyo. you can always order an assault that will result in another tactical battle or decide that a siege is going to take too long and try a different strategic approach. If your forces invade a province with a castle. Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion includes both castles and the battles that were fought over them. they will have to fight the province’s garrison as always. naturally enough. but it will have been damaged as a result of the siege. however. they will gain control of the castle. Unlike in Europe. As long as the castle is besieged. and nearly all the early castles in Japan were built in the most awkward places (for the attacker) that could be found. the castle is besieged. This is a slow but fairly certain method of taking a castle. This stops either side getting any tax income from the province. the defenders can also be aided by another friendly army acting as a relief column to raise the siege. Hilltops and even mountaintops were fortified. the defenders were lucky in one respect. This is quite apart from the benefits they give to their owners as training grounds for new troop units. but there are options for them too in Shogun: Total War. warfare nearly always involved castles.

It used the river nearby as part of its defences. it is less surprising that so many chose to fight in the open than act in a completely defensive fashion! Some castles of the Sengoku period could be enormous. with the introduction of firearms.They never had to worry about lots of siege machines other than battering rams. its defence and in siege warfare remained the range of a fire arrow. Within. gunpowder weapons were expensive to manufacture and difficult to use. at least when first created. as well as larger siege guns. it is very nearly impossible (and definitely impractical) to move field guns around open countryside. the defenders didn’t wait around for the attackers to leave. The key feature in castle design. and siege techniques hadn’t changed all that much either. however. and that was the same willingness of the defenders to charge out of the castle to meet their enemies on an open field. of course. there was no real need to change a design that worked. Japan had become a society where everyone walked. Try carrying a car’s back axle and transmission across a muddy field while (a) several hundred people try to kill you and (b) you try to keep the whole thing dry and then you’ll have some idea of the practical difficulties of dealing with artillery on a samurai battlefield! 57 . with stone being used to create “artificial hills” on top of which castles were built. possibly for the good reason that Japan is one huge earthquake zone. often with mixed results. a series of baileys meant that an attacker was forced to besiege one inner wall after another to have any hope of taking the place. but also because it simply wasn’t really necessary. By the Sengoku period. Japanese history is full of accounts of samurai leaving the safety of their castles to take the fight to the enemy. Artillery In Japan In the eyes of a 16th or 17th century European general one thing would seem to be missing from a samurai army. In Japan. and had defensive outer walls some 18 kilometres long. as was the ability to keep the defenders far enough away from vulnerable internal buildings so that they couldn’t burn them down. A good set of compromises between wood and stone did eventually emerge. Where is the field artillery? In Europe. mounted an infantry assault over the walls or against its gate. Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s fortress at Osaka was truly vast. After all. All this changed. One thing didn’t change during the Sengoku period. the defenders only had to wait out the siege and hope that their enemy would give up as his troops deserted or disease took its toll. or rode on horseback or was carried by palanquin. The techniques of taking a castle were simple and rather brutal: the attacking army surrounded the castle. Given the influence of bushido upon a samurai’s actions. A tradition of building stone castles was never really developed before the Sengoku period. of which there were some in Japan. Without a good. however. Often. castles had been built along the same principles for centuries. so artillery was in use before handguns became common. The ability to burn down a castle was all-important. This was thanks to earlier Imperial edicts against wheeled transport of all kinds. at some point. matters were largely reversed. attempted to burn it down with fire arrows and. By and large. wheeled carriage. and the equal of any defensive structure in the world at the time. Now both defender and attacker had to take into account snipers.

Strategic Units In Shogun: Total War In Shogun: Total War the following units only deployed on the strategic map of Japan. A fleet wasn’t going to make its owner the shogun. a taisho is a general given command of part (or all) of a clan’s army. but artillery never really got used as a separate “weapon system” for the battlefield. This is why large field guns haven’t been included in Shogun: Total War. but deadly.The daimyo took to arquebuses with enthusiasm. As he gains honour and experience. as you’ll see! Taisho Drawn from the ranks of the most able samurai. They do have skills and abilities that a wise daimyo is well advised to use to full advantage. A general has an influence on all the units under his command. because they never really needed to become expert sailors. they don’t appear on tactical battlefields. The taisho shows the position of the army on the strategic map of Japan. the units a taisho commands receive bonuses to their morale. As a result. and he is also present on any battlefield involving units under his command. During the game you can build shipyards in coastal provinces. Shogun: Total War doesn’t include naval forces. a general. With the exception of the taisho. a taisho has a small group of bodyguards (his hatamoto) to protect him. 58 . but they weren’t really a decisive factor in the Sengoku period. Artillery pieces just weren’t that significant in Japanese battlefield warfare at this time. but a samurai army might just do the job! Warships were built and used. There were large guns but these were used in siege warfare. but these are needed for transport and trade between the main islands of Japan. Changes in castle building techniques mostly kept ahead of artillery practices. On a battlefield. Korean Thunder bombers upon your opposition! Naval Forces In Japan It would be fair to say that that the samurai were never consummate masters of naval combat. Note: You can play with gunpowder if you undertake any of The Mongol Invasion scenarios! You’ll have the opportunity of unleashing the fear of the difficult to use.

One possible result of sending an emissary to see a daimyo is that his head — and just his head — will be sent back! This definitely means “no!” whatever the question! Ninja Ninja are spies and assassins par excellence. Master and legendary ninja who have already carried out many successful missions can also be used during sieges. They can sneak into a castle and open the gates for the attackers! Each time a ninja manages to complete a mission he gains experience and will have a higher chance of success the next time he is sent out — assuming that he isn’t caught and executed (in some appropriately horrible fashion) by the opposition. Ninja can be sent out to kill important people in other clans. but that he will become a “rejection note” himself. including emissaries. Emissary Emissaries are samurai who have been specially selected for their loyalty and given training to be courtiers as well as warriors. his experience increases. there is always the risk that an emissary will not only fail in his diplomatic mission. and they can be trusted to treat daimyo with respect and honour when negotiating with them. the lower his chances of success. It’s a foolish daimyo that doesn’t at least consider using ninja against his rivals. this both increases his chances of success in future and makes him slightly less vulnerable to assassination attempts by ninja.Generals can be killed on the battlefield by enemy troops and they are also vulnerable to ninja assassination attempts. Their diplomatic skills have been honed to a fine pitch. Finally. of course! 59 . Taisho are definitely assets worth using (and protecting) on the battlefield. The more important a target the ninja is sent against. taisho and the daimyo himself. Every time an emissary succeeds in a diplomatic mission.

The other purpose for a shinobi is to encourage revolt against the province’s overlord. What’s almost insulting to the “victim” daimyo is that he knows that the Legendary Geisha is up to no good. but instead it becomes independent with its own standing army of peasants and ronin. spy and assassin.Shinobi The shinobi is a spy. This spy can give reports on the value of the province (its productive value). that is. The Legendary Geisha The Legendary Geisha is the supreme diplomat. She can be sent as an emissary to see another daimyo. any improvements that have been built there. making sure that the daimyo’s enemies never get the chance to spread dissent and dissatisfaction to the peasants in a province. sent into enemy territory to gain information and cause dissent. Endless rebellions can. a daimyo in Shogun: Total War won’t have access to any information about that province unless. destroy the domain of a daimyo just as surely as an army marching across it. he sends a shinobi to spy out the land. but while in his castle also acts as a spy. but can do nothing about it other than having her assassinated by a ninja of his own! It’s worth remembering that geisha were not openly prostitutes or courtesans. obtaining information normally only available to ninja sent as spies. and some military information too. of course. A province that revolts doesn’t automatically change allegiance. Without owning a province. Used “defensively” a shinobi acts as a kind of secret policeman. but “educated escorts and entertainers” — the perfect people for overhearing sensitive information… 60 .

A Buddhist daimyo. and are especially effective when used in this fashion on diplomatic missions aimed at securing treaties with Christian rulers. No matter what the result of his diplomatic mission.Jesuit Priest Jesuit priests can be used as emissaries. is under no obligation to respect the sanctity of the church or its representatives! 61 . however. a Jesuit will never be killed and his head sent home in a bag by a Christian daimyo.

It was control of the provinces of Honshu that brought victory to the Tokugawa clan. dimension and safety. It’s worth remembering that the population of Japan was greater than that of the whole of Medieval Western Europe — Japan has always been a relatively crowded nation.” — Sun Tzu. It was still largely a cold. and this has given extra impetus to the demand for land. The basis for nearly all wealth and prestige in feudal Japan was land and the rice that the peasantry grew.” — Sun Tzu. The Art of War Land has always been at a premium in Japan. eager to take advantage of a Japanese civil war. the original inhabitants of Japan. as the Mongols found out to their cost. and the smaller islands of Shikoku and Kyushu. Perhaps the Sengoku period would never have happened if the daimyo had been forced to consider external threats. Honshu was the most important of the islands (and remains so to this day). the main island Honshu. inhabited by the Ainu people. Then again. The straits around those islands make superb protective moats behind which quite a powerful army can be trained! “A victorious army first wins and then seeks battle. It would. 62 . The country itself is made up of four main islands: northern Hokkaido. the Ancient Greek cities squabbled continuously even though the Persian Empire regularly tried to invade.3: THE LAND OF THE DAIMYO “Terrain is to be assessed in terms of distance. barbaric “backwater”. as powerful daimyo arose on both islands. difficulty or ease of travel. Shogun: Total War doesn’t include Hokkaido for the simple reason that control of this island wasn’t strategically or tactically important during the Sengoku period. A defeated army first battles and then seeks victory. however. The Art of War The Asian mainland is just far enough away to the west to be “inconvenient” for invading armies. This allowed the daimyo to fight each other without really having to worry about the arrival of a Chinese or Mongol army in their midst. be a mistake to dismiss Shikoku and Kyushu as irrelevant.

spies. One of the other nice things about capturing a province is that you also capture any castle that happens to be there. either because it will further your own plans or deprive an enemy of a valuable resource. The Ikki defence leagues of peasants and ji-samurai are not going to remain loyal forever if their overlords do nothing but squeeze them for taxes! A province like Yamato or Hida on the main island of Honshu is useful strategically because it allows its owners to attack in many directions. Others are home to natural horsemen (and so cavalry units are easy to produce there) or have a tradition of producing ninja assassins. Both kinds of province have their uses to skilled daimyo that think in larger terms than just winning the next battle. fortifications. for example. because of its strategic position and because of the prestige that ownership gives the controlling daimyo. this same strategic usefulness can also be a liability to a weak overlord because the same province can be overrun from all sides. Both the strategic position of a province and its revenue need to be considered before it is added to your holdings! There is.PROVINCES Even given the scale of the strategic game in Shogun: Total War. but isolated from the centre of Japan with many (often heavily) defended provinces between it and the centre of power in Kyoto. “A wise general strives to feed off the enemy’s land. and may open up further strategic opportunities to divide an enemy’s domain. This is true no matter where the province happens to lie. one of the provinces on Kyushu is excellent defensively. Not only do you get the use of the territory. You can use a shinobi to discover the details of a province before you attack it. It’s a good idea to decide if the special conditions in a province make it worth capturing. In Shogun: Total War many provinces have what can be termed a “special ability”. Each province in the game is valuable in itself because of the money (measured in rice koku) that it produces. the provinces are functionally different. and all the rest against the risk of starting a peasant rebellion. Conversely. a double benefit to attacking enemy provinces. The Art of War Provinces also differ from one another in one other important respect. Taking a province actually shifts the balance of power by “two provinces’ worth” in favour of the conqueror (plus one for the conqueror. your opponent is deprived of its income and many improvements that he has built there. a daimyo has to be careful in balancing his obvious need for money to pay for his armies. 63 . Some provinces contain gold or other valuable mineral wealth that can be mined. but rich and properly developed provinces obviously give the maximum tax income. At the same time. of course. The daimyo sets the tax rate across his whole realm. Each bushel of food taken from the enemy is equivalent to twenty carried from home. minus one for the defeated party).” — Sun Tzu.

As you’ve already seen, though, it’s not necessarily a fast or easy process to capture a castle. You’ll either need to fight at least two battles or starve the garrison into submission through a protracted siege. Naturally, the castle itself will be damaged in the process of being captured (it will be reduced by one level, in fact), but this is often much cheaper than having to build a new structure from scratch. Any military structures associated with the castle will also be captured, unless the castle itself is no longer prestigious enough to be a home for them. Thus, taking a province can also slow or cripple an enemy’s war production and give your own production capacity an almost-instant boost too!

Improving Provinces
In addition to being great commanders, the daimyo were also great landowners. They had to be, as maintaining an army in the field was a hugely expensive proposition. Like all sensible landlords, the daimyo kept an eye on their holdings and regularly invested in schemes to increase their worth and, in the process, the taxes that they could raise from a province. In Shogun: Total War, you can also improve provinces by spending koku on them. Any province can have its farmlands upgraded at least once (and up to four times in most cases) to produce more annual revenue. Provinces with mineral wealth can also have mines built in them. There’s nothing quite as useful as finding gold or other mineral riches in your domain! This was what allowed the Takeda clan to be so mild in their taxes and yet build up a substantial cavalry army. One thing that doesn’t need improvement is the permanent garrison that is found in every province. Even without having an army in the field, a daimyo can rely on a “scratch force” of local peasants, ashigaru and ji-samurai to protect his interests. Effectively, these people become an extra couple of units on any battlefield when a daimyo is on his own territory. Even when a daimyo doesn’t control a province, it’s garrison remains in place to protect their own homes.


Watchtowers & Border Forts
There are two “non-economic” improvements that a daimyo can make in Shogun:
Total War. Firstly, he can build a watchtower in any province that he controls. This doesn’t help defend the province, but it does act as a permanent spy in all the adjacent provinces. Secondly, he can build a border fort, which acts as a permanent counterspy in the province where it is built. This stops enemy spies from obtaining any information about the province. Watchtowers and border forts also help improve the loyalty of the local peasants.

Japan has always been a country where Nature can turn on the works of mankind and destroy them in an instant. There is always the risk that an earthquake can strike and wipe out some or all of the buildings and improvements in a province. Fortunately, earthquakes aren’t very common. Equally dangerous and expensive when they do strike are typhoons (the word itself is a direct transliteration from Japanese). These terrible storms can sweep across the Pacific and make landfall with damaging effects in coastal provinces. However, the western coast of Japan faces China and the seas there simply aren’t big enough for these storms to really get going. As a result, the western coastal provinces are safe from any typhoons.

Rebellions, Peasant Revolts & Ronin
Not all provinces in the game are actually commanded by one of the daimyo. Just as in the historical Japan, there are provinces where the Ikko-ikki have kicked out their overlords, or where more generalised peasant revolts have taken place. Every province in Shogun: Total War has a loyalty rating. This measures how the peasants and ji-samurai feel towards their current ruler, and it can be affected by a number of factors. Nothing is likely to cause more damage to loyalty in the long run than consistently high taxes. It’s a great way to raise income, but keeping the tax rate too high can lead to unrest. After the arrival and spread of Christianity, religion can also have an effect on the people’s loyalty, as you’ll see in a later section. Rebellions also have a nasty tendency to spread if left unchecked, as peasants in one province will see that their near neighbours are getting away with rebelling and try it themselves.

Just to make life difficult, peasants can sometimes rebel if their harvests have been poor or a natural disaster has struck. After all, it is better from their point of view to keep all of a poor harvest and face a daimyo’s wrath than starve to death after handing over most of a poor harvest in taxes. At the same time, there are things that a daimyo can and will do to make his provinces happier with his leadership. On the military front, keeping a garrison in a province helps suppress some disloyalty, and is very useful in itself as a “tripwire” force should any of your neighbours decide to invade. Shinobi can also be used as “secret policemen” to weed out malcontents in a province and suppress dissent as well. Border forts and watchtowers will also make the peasants feel better about their lot: at least they can see that their taxes are being spent on something to protect them, and not just on a daimyo’s fancy army. Likewise, spending money to make the peasant’s lives better in the long run by improving their farms also makes a daimyo popular. There’s also one other factor in whether rebellion breaks out or not: a just-conquered province is likely to rebel and declare loyalty to its former owner if the peasants are given half a chance. Not keeping a garrison force (and possibly a shinobi) in a recently conquered province is likely to cause a revolt. A “change of ownership” takes five years or so to take hold in the hearts and minds of the local population in a province, so bear this in mind when setting tax rates and moving troops around. Sooner or later, however, it’s likely that someone, somewhere will revolt when you’re playing Shogun: Total War. Depending on the cause of the revolt, it may turn out to be a direct threat or a problem that can be ignored for a little while (but not too long, remembering that rebellion can spread!). The least dangerous revolt, from a daimyo’s viewpoint, is a peasant rebellion. This causes the Ikki in the appropriate province to raise an army of ashigaru spearmen to defend their homes. With a bit of care, a samurai army should be able to crush this kind of rebellion. Religious rebellions are slightly more dangerous, in that they tend to produce better quality field armies of fanatical believers. A rebellion by Christians puts a militant samurai army in the field and these troops are often supported by ashigaru arquebusiers. A Buddhist Ikko-ikki revolt, on the other hand, doesn’t have any arquebusiers (as these are a “Christian” weapon), but it can have substantial numbers of warrior monks in its army. In both cases, these can be tricky revolts to put down quickly because of the quality and quantity of the rebel forces involved. Finally, and only in recently conquered provinces, there is the risk that a “loyalist” (to the old daimyo) faction will take control of the province. This can be a double-edged sword, depending upon whether you are the victim of the rebellion or the daimyo for whom the loyalists have declared. If you’re the victim, as soon as a province begins a loyalist revolt, you’ll find yourself facing a new samurai army loyal to the previous daimyo. If you benefit from the loyalist revolt, you’ll suddenly find yourself in a control of a brand new samurai army in your old province! Finally, after the death of a daimyo (without any heir) his domain doesn’t simply disappear. It dissolves into independent “mini-statelets” under the control of ronin, the daimyo’s former soldiers.

The ronin in each province will generally act in selfishly and not come to the aid of any neighbouring ronin who are currently being attacked. but were often superb scholars. consummate diplomats and very occasionally good soldiers as well. made sure that the accommodation between Buddhism. The Society of Jesus — the Jesuits — had been formed in Europe as “soldiers of the Counter-Reformation” to defeat the rise of Protestantism on all levels. Shinto and Zen that had been arrived at in Japan would have to change. Religion Sooner or later every daimyo in Shogun: TotalWar will have to make a decision about his religious convictions. and this can have profound consequences on the loyalty of his people. They were not only a militant order. but they are actually self-interested warriors only after extending their own powers. Jesuits were often involved in journeys of exploration simply because they made such superb papal representatives. but fortunately the ronin don’t tend to be that co-ordinated in their actions. 67 .These soldiers might look like rebels. They can be among the most dangerous “independent” forces in Shogun: Total War. and in particular the arrival of the Jesuits. The arrival of Roman Catholic Christianity with the Portuguese.

and be affected by nearby Christian Churches and Buddhist Temples. this was a tactic that worked. By and large. In Shogun: Total War this tension is reflected in the damage that can be done to the loyalty of a province if the religion of the majority of its population doesn’t match that of its ruling daimyo. who don’t care about much except a man’s gold). With the arrival of stone curtain walls. Each religion brings its own benefits: becoming a Christian daimyo gives easier access to guns earlier in the game (at least until the arrival of the Dutch traders. the main method of attacking a castle was to shoot fire arrows into it and hope that the fire caught. And finally (on this subject) as was noted earlier. In either case. a Buddhist daimyo has an easier time in ruling (and collecting taxes from) a predominantly Buddhist population. The best of the Japanese castles built at the end of the Sengoku period were certainly the equal — if not the superior in terms of comfort and facilities — of any fortresses in the rest of the world at the time. who had been a military man. Remaining as a Buddhist allows fanatical and skilled warrior monks to be used in a daimyo’s armies. and the old compromises were not acceptable to true believers. As in the rest of the world. Ignatius Loyola. Stone construction came about as a response to the arrival of gunpowder on a large scale.e. friction grew up between the followers of the new religion and the more militant elements of the older faith. A lighter.In Japan their martial spirit was immediately appealing to the samurai. Simply put. Before rockets and cannon arrived in Japan. the faith of the province’s daimyo). the inner defences were kept beyond the range of the enemy fire arrows. wooden building stood a better chance of “giving” and moving with a quake rather than simply falling down! This isn’t to say that stone buildings didn’t exist in Japan. The wooden construction used for traditional buildings was a sensible and practical solution to preventing earthquake damage. 68 . however. Over the years castles became increasingly elaborate as military tactics developed. Japanese castles began as purely defensive structures and only gradually became homes as well as fortresses. with wooden buildings within archery range. The same holds true for Christian daimyo and Christian populations. the majority religious affiliation of a province will tend to drift towards the faith that is “in charge” (i. it’s quite possible for religious differences between a daimyo and his people to become a key factor in triggering a rebellion! Military Buildings in Shogun: Total War Japanese buildings have always been constructed with the need to withstand earthquakes in mind. Buddhism. of course. which influence nearby populations into supporting the appropriate faith. demanded that other belief systems be put aside. and this was a legacy from their founder. Christianity. As a result.

In all probability. Without a castle to act as an administrative centre. think the most overcrowded camping holiday you’ve ever had or heard about. no toilets. bad weather. but they all perform the same function.“Those skilled at the unorthodox are infinite as heaven and earth. Sieges are covered in the strategic game in a straightforward fashion so that you don’t have to worry about the details. A castle is roughly the equivalent of a wealthy landowner’s fortified manor house. none of the intricacies (and boredom) of siege warfare mattered on many occasions.” — Sun Tzu. bad water. constant bad weather. power and permanence and as such send a powerful message to friends and enemies alike just by “being”. At other times. As well as their more obvious defences. At the other end of the scale. no chance to wash for weeks on end and no chance to move somewhere more interesting. If you want to imagine what a siege would have been like. such as Osaka Castle. Sometimes this was a good move. it simply meant the defenders were cut down outside the walls rather than being starved or slaughtered within them. honour and control of provinces. 69 . Siege warfare was often neither heroic nor dramatic. They are the bases for armies and the visible signs of the daimyos’ power. When they come to an end. The simplest (and cheapest) castle type in the game is the castle (castle 1). with utterly dreadful food. the citadel (castle 4) is a truly awe-inspiring structure equal in scale and grandeur to Osaka Castle. the troops inside the castle left the protection of the walls to fight it out with the enemy on an open battlefield. and as inexhaustible as great rivers. they begin again. most of the time it was a fairly squalid affair. like the four seasons. The Art of War Shogun: Total War doesn’t include the battles that arose from siege warfare because the long. there won’t be more than one or two citadels built during the course of a single game of Shogun: Total War. Now add in random bouts of illness (caused by the food. slow business of laying siege to a castle doesn’t make a very exciting game. At Osaka in 1615. All castles add to the honour and prestige of their owners. lack of hygiene and overcrowding) and random episodes of small-scale violence when the people you are besieging try to kill you or you try to break in and kill them. All other types of castle are developments of the basic castle. In fact. like days and months. for example (and at other sieges). Japanese castles were also designed with tricks and traps to defeat ninja assassins. no reliable fresh water. Samurai Castles There are four levels of castles in Shogun Total War. breaking the siege in one climactic action. They die and are reborn. They are visible symbols of wealth. no other military structure can be built in a province. Of course.

poorer classes. not persistence. but the money can be spent all the year round! Remember too. Remember that it’s quite easy to run out of money: harvests and taxes come once a year. citadels not be besieged. the larger and more prestigious a castle is. territory not to be fought over. can only have the most basic type of each building attached to it. In Shogun: Total War. there was an additional benefit in terms of creating an esprit de corps among the ashigaru.” — Sun Tzu. In Shogun: Total War. The Art of War 70 . The Art of War Armoury Samurai nearly always provided their own armour and weaponry. while the larger castles attract master and legendary craftsmen and sensei to work in them. an armoury improves the armour values of any units trained at the castle where it is located. as described below. As a general rule. The importance of providing standardised equipment to their soldiers was realised by the more astute daimyo during the Sengoku period.Each type of castle can have a number of military buildings and functions attached to it. you’ll need soldiers. The same. civilian instructions not to be obeyed…” — Sun Tzu. “The important thing in war is victory. In order to win. An armoury can also be improved to famous or legendary status in larger castles with subsequent armour benefits for units. rather than create a castle in every province and hope to make them all perfect. These highly trained individuals help to train better quality troops and a greater variety of them too. not just the places to train them! “There are routes not to be followed. the better the quality of its associated buildings. was not true of the ashigaru who were drawn from the lower. however. for example. A small stockade. that castles and the military buildings can only support your efforts to become shogun. you’ll probably find that it is wise to create one or two large castles within your domain that act as specialised “centres of excellence” for one or two kinds of fighting unit. Apart from the obvious benefits of making sure that their troops were properly equipped. and the better their products. armies not to be attacked.

Daimyo who build Jesuit Churches must have adopted Christianity as their religion. a process that would accelerate with the arrival of the arquebus. Within a few years of their arrival. as they were formed in Europe as “soldiers of the Counter-Reformation”. the Jesuits had converted substantial sections of the local population. increasing the number of Christians in nearby provinces and. Churches help to spread the doctrine of Christianity to the local population.Bow Dojo Samurai originally defined themselves by their skills at archery. With a flock of converts. Loyola. A Bow Dojo allows the castle where it is located to produce Samurai Archers. victory is inexhaustible. It can be eventually improved to become a Cathedral. The Jesuits who came to Japan spread a very militant variety of Christianity. archery was beginning to fall out of favour. especially archery from horseback. they also imported a religion as well: Roman Catholicism. in the long term. Their leader. The persecutions of the Tokugawa shogunate lay in the future. Once built. A church allows the training of Priests. reducing the chance of a religious revolt. and it can be improved to famous or legendary status in larger castles. The magnificent asymmetrical longbows of the samurai needed highly skilled craftsmen to construct them. It was in the interests of every lord to make sure that such craftsmanship was encouraged — and well paid — in his domain. and that the sensei needed to train men to use them were also available. The Art of War Church And Cathedral The Portuguese not only brought advanced military technology in the shape of guns. allowing the training of higher honour Samurai Archers. had been a military man and he imbued the whole order with a martial spirit that was appealing to the samurai. which has consequently greater power in spreading Christianity. 71 . By the Sengoku period. A bow dojo is also one of the fundamental military improvements that can be constructed at any castle.” — Sun Tzu. the Jesuits lost little time in making sure that there were churches for the newly faithful as a visible sign of their influence. “When you know sky and earth.

the daimyo wasted little time in setting up their own craftsmen to make them. Gun Factory Once knowledge of arquebuses was generally available. Within a remarkably short space of time Japanese armourers had mastered all the skills they needed and were producing arquebuses that were as good as anything from abroad.” — Sun Tzu. With an Armoury. It can be upgraded to famous and legendary status. The Art of War 72 . A Horse Dojo cannot be built at a basic castle (level 1 Castle). “Fight going down hill. Horses were also trained to kick and bite foes. The European weapons were perfectly acceptable. A Horse Dojo will produce Cavalry Archers and Yari Cavalry. a Master Horse Dojo can also train Heavy Cavalry. These can only be built at the very largest castles.Geisha House When all the trappings of culture have been built at a castle (a Temple. In Shogun: Total War a Gun Factory can only be created at the largest of castles. but it does require a Bow or Spear Dojo to have been built on the same site. a Tranquil Garden and a Legendary Tea House). a daimyo can add the final flourish: a Geisha House. and training a horse so that it was willing to charge the enemy took time and skill. Horse dojo Cavalry require large numbers of horses. of course. not climbing up. This means that a samurai warrior would require at least two horses and probably more. so the samurai would need at least one more ordinary riding animal to get him to a battle. and help train Geishas for use as spies and messengers. A battle is a frightening and confusing experience for a man let alone an animal. but rather expensive after travelling halfway round the world. A battle-hardened animal was too valuable (and probably dangerous) to be ridden simply as a means of getting from A to B. both for use in battle and for transport.

As a largely Protestant nation. By the time the Dutch arrived in Japan. A port is a necessary building before the Trading Post and Gun Factory improvements can be constructed at larger castles. Japanese craftsmen made most of the guns used by samurai and ashigaru troops. Their weapons and skills are so specialised that only a master ninja can hope to teach his followers. For the Dutch traders it was enough to make money without worrying about the souls of their customers! There must be a Port present at the castle where a Trading Post is established. In addition. It also allows the transport of military units by sea to other provinces. an Infamous Ninja House can be constructed. which means that a Trading Post is a very useful asset for an ambitious daimyo to have in his lands. but these weapons were copied from the samples provided by European traders. 73 . the Portuguese and the Jesuits had been there for some time. it was the arrival of Portuguese traders that brought the arquebus into Japanese warfare.Ninja House The secretive ninja require their own dojo (of sorts) to learn their black arts of assassination and spying. The Dutch were the same in their willingness to provide arquebuses to any daimyo who was willing to trade for them.including a primitive form of hand grenades seen in the hands of Korean Thunderbombers in Shogun: Total War – The Mongol Invasion battles. European gunpowder was regarded as being superior to the locally produced item. the Dutch didn’t have quite the same religious drive to convert the world that the Jesuits brought. but they differed in not bringing Roman Catholicism as “part of the package”. Portuguese & Dutch Trading Posts While the samurai had experience of Chinese gunpowder weapons. A daimyo can have either Portuguese traders or Dutchmen in his domain. It allows the training of emissaries and spies. but not both. Port A port can be built in any coastal province that contains a castle. Once a fortress has been built. and also gives a trade revenue bonus. and even then it may take many years of training starting in childhood to produce one of these lethal killing machines.

but also prosper! Just like a Horse Dojo. It can be upgraded to famous and legendary status at larger castles. It can also be improved to famous and legendary status. but once constructed it can be used to train No Dachi Samurai units. killed his fair share of opponents when he was young in such duels. This is as true for the martial arts as for any peaceful pursuit. The best of the sensei were always encouraged to settle by daimyo and begin their teachings. and produces weapons of such quality that they will never be surpassed. and mastering its proper use takes time and endless practice. a Sword Dojo cannot be built at smaller castles. not only for the practical benefits of spreading their skills. Swordsmiths will enhance the attacking ability of all the troops produced in the region. Sword Dojo The sword is the weapon mostly closely associated with the samurai. 74 . the sword-saint. a wise daimyo will enlist the services of an experienced swordsmith. This building can also be improved to famous and legendary status. and once it has attained Famous Spear Dojo status it can also be used to train Naginata Samurai. providing there is an Armoury at the castle too. Swordsmith Once a large castle has been built in a region. This is one more good reason for making sure that troops not only survive. craft or art — can impart his knowledge to students in the proper atmosphere of calm and learning. The swordsmith has rediscovered the lost arts of blade making. and adherents of particular styles were not above duelling against one another to prove who was the best.Spear Dojo A dojo is a place of training where a sensei — a master in a particular skill. Many schools of swordsmanship existed in Japan. but also for the reflected glory and honour that a true sensei could give to his patron. Even Miyamoto Musashi. largely to prove that his particular teachings were the best method of using the sword… A Sword Dojo can only be built when a samurai in the daimyo’s army has become a legendary swordsman by killing many opponents in battle. Both Yari Ashigaru and Yari Samurai are trained at the Spear Dojo.

one man is the same as ten thousand. but as the section on Japanese history shows. The Nobunaga clan. of course. Famous Temples and eventually Temple Complexes can be constructed at better castles.“To master the virtue of the long sword is to govern the world and oneself. but highly cultured men able to produce a haiku verse or officiate at the tea ceremony. and a thousand can beat ten thousand. so this strategy is the complete warrior’s craft. One of the reasons. In my strategy. A Temple helps to support the doctrines of Buddhism among the people of nearby provinces and can “roll back” the presence of Christianity. As allies the monks were extremely valuable. In Japan. and these in turn train more expert Monks. but it is a convenient one. had trouble with warrior monks from time to time.” — Miyamoto Musashi. 75 . The Book of Five Rings. and showed no reluctance to become involved in politics beyond the T emple walls. A Temple allows Monks to be trained. Famous Temples and Temple Complexes also help counter Christianity in a much more effective fashion. thus the long sword is the basis of strategy. The Ground Book Tea House “Pen and sword in accord” is a simplification of the Samurai way. one man can beat ten men. Just as one man can bear ten. keeping control of them could sometimes be a problem. so a hundred men can beat a thousand. there have always been religious orders that have valued military prowess as much as prayer. Buddhist Temple Although religion often leads to a contemplative life of meditation. If he attains the virtue of the long sword. several orders of Buddhist warrior monks were the equal of any other warriors at the time. Samurai were not only expected to be to be skilled warriors. for Japan’s descent into the turmoil of civil war was the Ashikaga shoguns’ love of the tea ceremony and other pleasures over good governance! A Tea House can be upgraded to famous and legendary status at larger castles. as we’ve seen.

Gardens are also. drill is usually based on the most practical methods of weapons handling when in a group. or chaos will be the end result! A Drill Dojo allows the castle where it is located to produce units with improved discipline. when a large group of people are all wielding long spears. the perfect place to have a private conversation with agents. Soldiers must be taught how to fight as a coherent group in order to get the best from them. and all armies have developed their own form of drill in order to instil this group cohesion and discipline. Passing tradesmen and peasants are questioned at these points and information on the location of enemy armies and other units is gathered. New Buildings for the Mongol Invasion Edition Drill Dojo The training of soldiers is more than just imparting skills to an individual. Border Defences As your empire expands. Although formalised. of course. It requires a Palace to be in the same location. it will become necessary to ensure that your hard-earned provinces are adequately defended. formal houses in Japan included space for a garden as a place for rest and reflection. Border forts serve the added function of effectively sealing your borders and making it more difficult for enemy spies to infiltrate. but it is also a pre-requisite before building any kind of Temple or Church.Tranquil Garden Most temples and large. 76 . spies and emissaries away from the ears of guards and servants — not something that is necessarily very easy in a Japanese building with thin bamboo and paper screens rather than solid stone walls! A Tranquil Garden can be built in any castle. they had better think and move as one. Border Watch Towers are particulary useful for seeing far into the neighbouring provinces. After all.

These men were capable of taking on many opponents at once and emerging victorious and often untouched. Kensai.e. Miyamoto Musashi was one such figure. New Units for the Mongol Invasion Edition Naginata Cavalry A further refinement of heavy cavalry came about when samurai began using naginata polearms from horseback. as masters of swordsmanship. can only be trained at the most exalted of dojo: a Legendary Sword Dojo. The Battlefield Ninja that are trained here are a force to be reckoned with! The Battlefield Ninja Dojo requires a Sword Dojo (of any kind) and an Infamous Ninja House to be present in the province where it is constructed. Few nations have ever produced such skilled swordsmen. Kensai Kensai is the term for “sword saints”. the almost superhuman masters of the sword that only years of training and dedication can produce. They appear on the battlefield as single warriors. Instead.Battlefield Ninja Dojo The Battlefield Ninja Dojo extends the teaching of the black arts of the Ninja beyond the usual skills of spying and assassination. one that has already been improved) and a Spear Dojo. Although he lived at the end of the Sengoku period. This gave them many of the advantages of a sword. with the reach of a spear! Naginata Cavalry can only be trained at a location where there is a Famous Horse Dojo (i. the units of this dojo are taught practical fieldcraft that allows them to hide and act as “special forces” on the battlefield. but don’t be deceived — they are truly deadly! 77 . and possibly only the very greatest fencing masters in Europe could ever be judged to have the same level of skill with their chosen weaponry.

since they have superior stealth abilities and can therefore hide very effectively from enemy forces. As such. their position is only revealed when they finally attack. Ashigaru Crossbowmen Ashigaru crossbowmen are described in more detail in the section on The Mongols. so there are no building requirements for them. Battlefield Ninja do exactly what their name suggests: they can be deployed like any other troops on the field of combat. perhaps not quite like any other troops. Well. Mongol Units All the new Mongol units are described in the section on The Mongols. as they only appeared in that historical time period. as they only appear in battles and campaigns of that historical period. Their training requires a Bow Dojo. 78 . All the Mongol types land as reinforcements in Japan. The Mongols never train new units on the map.Battlefield Ninja Unlike the other ninja in the game who operate as strategic” pieces and carry out assassinations. spirited across the ocean from mainland Asia.

” — Sun Tzu. “The battle victories of good warriors are not noted for cleverness or bravery. the “Age of the Country at War”. and these campaigns show the kind of battlefield crises that each of these three powerful daimyo faced and mastered. prevailing over those who have already lost. Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The Art of War Historians who consider alternate and “counterfactual” versions of history often ask themselves questions such as “What would have happened if Tokugawa Ieyasu hadn’t risen to become the undisputed shogun of Japan?” (the chances are that another daimyo would have taken his place and a different family of shoguns would have controlled Japan). 79 . There were many moments of decision that could have sent history along a different path. that Tokugawa Ieyasu was present at Anegawa (one of Oda Nobunaga’s classic battles) as a young man. because they position themselves where they will surely win. both as rivals and allies. There is no path of predestination that meant that events had to unfold as they did.4: Three Samurai Campaigns The three historical campaigns featured in Shogun: Total War – The Mongol Invasion all come from the latter years of the sengoku jidai. the three pivotal figures that brought an end to the sengoku jidai and imposed their will upon Japan. Their victories are not lucky. we’ve already witnessed Oda Nobunaga’s ruthlessness in the face of his enemies and what a cunning warrior he could be. Their careers also crossed many times. so you’ll notice. These campaigns give you the opportunity of seeing the nitty-gritty of samurai at their best —engaged in a battlefield situation. it is during these three campaigns that the arquebus becomes an important factor — perhaps the deciding factor — in samurai warfare. just as there are no guarantees that you will triumph when fighting out his battles. It was at this time that the main historical players in the struggle to control Japan came to prominence and crushed their rivals in truly cataclysmic fashion. In earlier chapters of this manual. There were no guarantees for Oda Nobunaga that he was going to win. for example. Counterfactual historians also make an equally important point about history. Now you can attempt to match their achievements and take your place among the greatest of the daimyo! A Tactical Revolution Although guns and gunpowder had been in Japan for years. You’ll be able to match the achievements of Oda Nobunaga.

Those ranks of lesser warriors who had no need of a concept of individual honour. this was the position of honour that had. once he has done so. The days when individual samurai would charge forward shouting out their names in the hopes of meeting a worthy opponent rapidly passed away. For these reasons. Indeed. the ashigaru themselves were evolving from a rabble recruited just for a summer’s warfare to a major part of the standing army of every clan. previously. It was a change brought about by the increasing inclusion in every samurai army of ashigaru. but the simplest thing is difficult” — Carl von Clausewitz.There were many reasons for this move to the use of arquebus-toting troops in armies. the arquebus became the perfect weapon for the daimyo with a large ashigaru contingent in his army. almost anyone can be taught to hold and fire an arquebus. It takes time and constant practice for a man to master the bow even though. On War Where the great daimyo — and Oda Nobunaga was one of these — distinguished themselves was in the recognition that to be truly effective one had to develop what would now be termed “a weapon system”. he can fire several arrows with accuracy in the time it takes an arquebusier to get off one barely aimed shot. Nobunaga. grasped quite clearly that arquebuses had to be used to break an enemy before other troops moved against them. “Everything is very simple in war. In the place of individual honour was coming an era when an almost “professional”. practical attitude to the business of slaughtering one’s enemies would hold sway. and not everyone has the basic strength and dexterity needed. but armies are focussed upon the training of troops. This meant that the arquebus-armed ashigaru had to be in the front line of the army. However. The training may be rigorous and disciplined. The ashigaru themselves were becoming a professional force that did nothing but fight for pay. It also takes a great deal of practice time to keep any skill in using a bow. always been reserved for the samurai warrior caste. This led to changes in the way that samurai armies were organised and deployed on the battlefield. who was a strategist and a realist rather than a dogged traditionalist. On the other hand. 80 . and it is hardly a difficult weapon to gain a degree of competency with. but the main one was the same reason that archers had already declined in numbers in European warfare of the period.

He wasn’t the only man to identify that the arquebus was a weapon of the masses. The Battles of Oda Nobunaga. His death was as brutal as his life in many ways. While one section of arquebusiers reloaded. it’s quite possible that Japanese armies would have evolved into something based entirely around fire tactics. 1560-1575 Oda Nobunaga showed little interest in ruling his clan when he inherited at the age of 15. but he did seem to have a clearer appreciation than his contemporaries as to its uses. his practical revolution was in using gunpowder weapons effectively in large numbers so that they would have the greatest possible effect. however. slowly and surely. To achieve victory. rather than the tactics of bow and sword used in conjunction with the arquebus. It took the suicide (as a protest against the young man’s indolence) of his loyal retainer Hirade Kiyohide to startle him into working for his clan. to the other types of ashigaru. 81 . Massed fire was becoming the deciding factor in battle. His enemies had an all-or-nothing approach to gunfire. at times. To put it concisely. and even samurai warriors. then. as he was (according to one version of his death) ambushed and shot dead by arquebusiers on the orders of a turncoat general from his own army. they would be covered by fire from other sections. Had the Sengoku period not come to a dramatic end. Being prepared to use ashigaru as the arm of victory rather than samurai can be seen as a sign that Nobunaga wasn’t thinking in a hidebound way at all. which gave the enemy a chance to close in while all the army’s arquebusiers were reloading. after all. the only daimyo to have his troops use volley fire so that a constant barrage against the enemy was set up and maintained. Nobunaga cut a path to the top with amazing feats of arms and.This didn’t mean that an army had to be made up only of ashigaru armed with arquebuses — far from it. quite stunning brutality towards his enemies. Nobunaga’s true tactical revolution was his realisation that victory was more important than honour and tradition. becoming supporting troops to the arquebusiers. But under Nobunaga a trend emerged that was leading. Akechi Mitsuhide. Once he had begun to lead. His army contained all types of troops. He was.

however. two to one. and their guard duties weren’t made any easier by a terrific summer thunderstorm that broke as Nobunaga’s men made their final approach to the Imagawa camp. Yoshimoto forces advanced quickly and destroyed the border forts at Washizu and Marune. then they camped in a narrow gorge at a spot called Dengaku-hazama in Owari province. if you continue for too long it will dull your forces and blunt your edge… If you keep your armies out in the field for a long time. If you are fewer. he quietly took his much smaller force to their rear. the Imagawa sentries were sleepy rather than watchful. Panicked by the sudden appearance of an unexpected army to their rear. in territory that he knew well. If the smaller force is stubborn it will become prisoners of war. Finally. your supplies will be inadequate. He didn’t have time to worry about this. It was there that Nobunaga’s scouts found them. If you are not as good as the enemy. as Nobunaga’s men defeated the massed cavalry of the Takeda clan. as he was as confused as to the true state of affairs as his own men. Nobunaga also had little time for religion when it was used to oppose his will. attack. and assumed that some kind of drunken brawl had broken out between factions among his own troops! This assumption speaks volumes for the lack of discipline in the Imagawa camp. it was far too late. After trying to order Nobunaga’s men to return to their duties (assuming they were his own troops) he was cut down. we’ll see how the Nobunaga clan broke the power of the Asakura family at Anegawa in 1570. Thanks to the hot day. Under the cover of the rain. The Art of War By June 1560 Imagawa Yoshimoto had assembled an army for his advance towards Kyoto. Imagawa Yoshimoto was left entirely unprotected in his field headquarters at the centre of the camp.“If you outnumber the enemy by ten to one. however. to his decisive confrontation with the Takeda clan at Nagashino in 1575. along with all but two of his senior officers. Along the path between these two battles. 1560 “When you do battle. Leaving a dummy army ahead of the Imagawa. divide the enemy forces. flee if you can. then keep away from the enemy.” — Sun Tzu. the Imagawa soldiers fled.” — Sun Tzu. five to one. show his rise to dominance from the stunning victory at Okehazama in 1560 (detailed below). Nobunaga’s men got close enough to charge home just as the weather cleared. Okehazama. By the time Yoshimoto realised that all was not well. In the space of one 82 . Nobunaga prepared an ambush. If you are equal. then fight if you are able. and he turned against the Ikko-ikki at Nagashima in 1573. Unfortunately for him. His cunning evident even at this stage in his career. The Art of War The battles in Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion. the battle of Nagashino demonstrates the classic victory of firepower over tradition. even if you are winning. then surround them. in his path lay the lands of Oda Nobunaga.

At the same time.afternoon. but some of his soldiers were unreliable at best and possibly treacherous at worst. Oda Nobunaga’s forces at this battle were outnumbered by more than three-to-one. He had a personal grudge against Nagamasa and meant to settle it! Thanks to the long summer days. Nobunaga put the ever-reliable Toyotomi Hideyoshi in command of them and took direct command of the troops that were opposite the Asai clan. The Art of War Note: This Battle is accessed through the Historical battles section of the game rather than the Historical Campaigns. according to eyewitnesses. The Battle of Anegawa was a family affair on one level: Oda Nobunaga had launched an attack against his brother-in-law. The battle moved back and forth across the river. the heads of the Imagawa clan had been quite literally parted from their bodies! They were never to be a significant force again. who was marching from Mikawa province. Once they are on the run. Part of the Oda army was sent to besiege Yokoyama castle as a diversionary attack. which. ran red with samurai blood until a Tokugawa force under Honda Tadakatsu and Sakakibara Yasumasa managed to take 83 .” — Sun Tzu. They had been drawn from lands that once belonged to the Asai clan. The scene was set for an inevitable showdown. but a nation destroyed cannot be restored to existence and the dead cannot be restored to life. while the Oda forces battled the Asai. Asai Nagamasa! Aiming to take Odani castle. and if you can keep up the pressure they will crack. by mid-July 1570 the bulk of Nobunaga’s army reached the southern banks of the Anegawa River where they camped to await reinforcements under Tokugawa Ieyasu. the battle began early and rapidly became a huge melee in the middle of the shallow river. killing Imagawa! Anegawa. Asai Nagamasa had received support from the Asakura clan and they sent an army to meet his forces on the northern bank of the Anegawa. For a time. Once Tokugawa Ieyasu arrived. it appeared to be two huge melees. yet he managed to crush his enemy most convincingly by striking quickly with welltrained and well-motivated troops from an unexpected direction. in a manner appropriate to Nobunaga. the battle can be won either by completely driving them from the field or. In the Shogun: Total War Warlords Edition battle. wrath revert to delight. as the Tokugawa contingent fought an almost separate battle against the Asakura clan. it was clear that Nobunaga had a numerical advantage over his enemies. 1570 “Anger can revert to joy. the Imagawa clan start with shaky morale.

pray that he’s there to save your neck! Mt Hiei: “In battles. fell upon their flank. attack the enemy’s strong points and. but to make such a bold statement about the consequences of dissent that all Japan would be left in no doubt as to the consequences of any future dissent. The spirit of this is like a winding mountain path. not to put too much faith in the morale of the troops commanded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Neither will you be able to give direct orders to forces under Tokugawa Ieyasu. they always threatened the centre of his power structure when he was dealing with more dangerous foes at the peripheries. But if you do get into serious trouble. Nothing less would have the desired effect. his shouted challenge for an opponent from the Tokugawa ranks was almost a traditional diversionary tactic.the Asakura in the flank and completely surround the Asakura general. For reasons best known to himself. quickly separate and attack yet another strong point on the periphery of his force. however. tactically. when you see that they are beaten back. This turned the tide in favour of Nobunaga’s forces and even the force sent to besiege Yokoyama came back to attack the Asai! Unlike Nobunaga’s other battles. It wasn’t so much an organised fight. The Book of Five Rings. with the Asakura driven off. He resolved to not only destroy them. 84 . Here in Shogun: Total War . The Asakura army was forced to withdraw to the northern bank. more a mass brawl over which a commander could have very little direct influence once the fighting had started.The Mongol Invasion the object of this battle is an oldfashioned victory. it has to be said that Anegawa was a bit of a mess. when the armies are in confrontation.” — Miyamoto Musashi. Nobunaga did not wear full armour during the battle and was almost killed by a samurai in Asai service named Endo Kizaemon. however. He ordered that every last man. His troops were also being pushed back before the Tokugawa forces. even though you can’t give them direct orders. Meanwhile. You would be well advised. things had gone the other way in the Oda-Asai confrontation. pure and simple. The Fire Book In 1571 Oda Nobunaga decided to put an end to the troublesome monks of the Tendai sect temples at Mt Hiei. the Asakura withdrew from battle and retreated in reasonable order. While he and his son fought off repeated challengers. Being close to the capital. Such heroism was bound to be suicidal. He was a giant of a man who carried a no-dachi. Makara Jurozaemon Naotaka. its retreat covered by just one (!) man. woman and child on Mt Hiei should be put to death. but it still worked. Kagetake. and eventually even they were cut down.

The Art of War Note: This Battle is accessed through the Historical battles section of the game rather than the Historical Campaigns. Remember that they are fanatics and the only way to stop them is to kill large numbers of them — at least 50% casualties will need to be inflicted. No general could expect to do well when his major striking power was disabled in this fashion. though. those who riot and those who get beaten. those who crumble. Was Nobunaga losing his touch? In this case. as it cleared. These forces were covered to the west by troops under Sakuma Nobumori and. If only because they would never accept his authority.Nagashima. 1575 “Those generals who face an unprepared enemy with their own preparations in place are victorious. Even the western covering forces were eventually forced back and. those who tarry. driving back Nobunaga’s leading men into the bulk of his army. hoping that they would blast a way through the enemy. one of his personal retainers was shot dead. Here. What is known is that Nobunaga sent a force of arquebusiers along the main roads into Nagashima.” — Sun Tzu. the Ikko-Ikki were able to bring their own arquebuses to bear on Nobunaga and his men. Nagashino. which shows that Nobunaga was in the thick of the fighting. The Ikko-ikki are also well-motivated troops.” — Sun Tzu. almost certainly not. once again. Eventually. he was going to have to do something final about them sooner or later… His army in this campaign had been raised mostly from Ise province. These are not natural disasters. those who fall. Nobunaga’s plans went wrong when the weather turned against him. Toyotomi Hideyoshi. you must do much better than Oda Nobunaga to defeat the warrior monks of the Ikko-ikki. Then the weather changed again and. Indeed. the Oda clan forces were forced to withdraw from the battle. 1573 “Among armies there are those who rush. The fanatical Ikko-ikki lost no time in launching an attack. for the second time in two years an Oda army was driven off a battlefield. his faithful ashigaru general. although the exact numbers involved aren’t known. A sudden downpour meant that the vast majority of his forces’ arquebuses were soaked through and completely useless. often much better quality soldiers in many ways than the Oda clan forces standing against them. as his atrocious luck with the rain had to be a major factor in the battle. The Art of War 85 . The Ikko-ikki had long been a thorn in Oda Nobunaga’s side when he decided to deal with them personally in July 1573. given the short ranges at which an arquebus was effective. but not before Oda Nobunaga had nearly been shot. but the faults of generals.

Oda Nobunaga’s preparations for the battle did everything to make sure the Takeda clan would have every chance to attack. The position he had chosen was behind the slow-moving and shallow Rengogawa River that. turned away from the siege to confront the newly arrived force in open battle. had steep banks to impede horses. Takeda Katsuyori. More than half of the 97 samurai known by name as being in their service died and eight of the clan’s famed “T wenty Four Generals” died too. The Takeda clan. Their casualties can only be described as horrendous. Nobunaga’s triumph was complete. nevertheless. Whatever else can be said about the Takeda clan that day. you will have to inflict an equivalent defeat on the Takeda clan. this wasn’t quite the case and at the point he chose to attack. ran his reasoning. he had made sure that his substantial numbers of arquebusiers were behind a temporary palisade. they definitely tried to win. Unfortunately. so there was never a time when some fire wasn’t coming from their ranks. The Takeda clan planned to carry the battle with their usual tactics — a crushing cavalry charge followed by a mopping up operation by their foot soldiers. Remember that the weather can turn at any moment and render your arquebus-armed troops useless for a time! 86 . Takeda Katsuyori had good reasons to hope and believe that most of the arquebuses carried by Nobunaga’s men were sodden and useless. The night had seen heavy rains and the day promised further showers. as we’ll see in a moment. He planned to make use of their numbers by keeping up a constant rolling volley as the Takeda approached.The Battle of Nagashino came about as Oda Nobunaga lead a force to relieve the siege of Nagashino Castle. Once the arquebusiers had fired. not as a single group. rather than have all his forces fire at once and then be useless while they reloaded. In addition. Even samurai armies rarely lost that many soldiers in a single engagement and no European force at the time could have sustained that level of loss. whose forces surrounded the castle. there were three arquebusiers behind defences for every mounted Takeda samurai charging down on them. as they lost around two-thirds of their committed forces. In the game version of the battle. They were under orders to fire in sections as a kind of rolling barrage. The weather looked to be in their favour too. however. Their plan wasn’t quite as hare-brained as it eventually turned out to be. These three-to-one odds look bad to a modern observer and it is even worse when it is remembered that the Takeda clan had to get within a sword’s length of their opponents to kill them. all the time under a hail of lead shot. and be defeated as they came forward. they would all be defenceless until they had reloaded and during that time his own cavalry could easily close with them and kill them. were renowned as master cavalrymen and almost certainly felt happier fighting on an open field than undertaking a prolonged siege. which won’t necessarily be as easy as you might expect. even though his men were to be outnumbered by some three to one.

Hideyoshi turned his formidable military might against the Shimazu clan. fighting beside the older man at all his battles.The Battles of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. A loyal ashigaru general for Oda Nobunaga. 87 . He then consolidated his position as the inheritor of Nobunaga’s military and political power by turning on Nobunaga’s son at the battle of Kanie in 1584! His attack at Negoroji in 1585 was to punish a sect of warrior monks who had made a poor choice (as far as Hideyoshi was concerned) in who they had chosen to support. both successful ones and failures. Hideyoshi took revenge for the treacherous assassination of Oda Nobunaga. Of course. but he managed to fall out with many of the Nobunaga’s old supporters who chose to back Tokugawa Ieyasu in the struggle for control of Japan. however. This put him in the strongest position to be considered as the “natural” successor to Nobunaga. The Art of War From his humble origins — he was from the ashigaru class rather than a samurai by birth — Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose to be the first daimyo to rule the whole of Japan. So study them to find out their plans. The struggle proved indecisive and once a truce had been declared. Incite them into action in order to find out the patterns of their movement and rest. At the Battle of Yamazaki in 1582. His death in 1598 didn’t end the struggle between his clan and Tokugawa Ieyasu. by decisively defeating the rebellious Oda general Akechi Mitsuhide. the so-called “Thirteen-day shogun”. His battle at Shizugatake in 1583 settled scores with one of his rivals to be Nobunaga’s successor.” — Sun Tzu. a little too ambitious in his invasion plans for Korea and the overseas expedition came to nothing — he did not manage to create a mainland empire for Japan. such as the destruction of the Hojo clan. Toyotomi Hideyoshi appears as Nobunaga’s ally in some of his overlord’s battles. He was. At both Takajo and Sendaigawa in 1597. The battles in Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion that involve Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s forces all come from the period after Oda Nobunaga’s death. but there was no one of Hideyoshi’s stature to head up the clan at the end of the day. Hideyoshi turned to other pressing matters. It fell to Hideyoshi to avenge Nobunaga’s assassination by defeating Akechi Mitsuhide. they cannot be made to fight. Hideyoshi served him well. but the ones that follow concentrate on his career as an outstanding commander in his own right. 1582-1590 “When opponents are numerous.

His position as the “strong man” of Japan was secure. The Art of War After the murder of Oda Nobunaga by Akechi Mitsuhide’s troops. It was not a good start for Mitsuhide. Mitsuhide had prudently waited until his potential rivals were far from the centre of power before making his bid to be the next shogun. His eye for a good battleground led him to seize a wooded hill at Tennozan. Hideyoshi’s troops held the hill and then the right flank pushed forward in an encircling movement. That night ninja raiders caused confusion in Mitsuhide’s camp as they set fire to buildings and generally caused mayhem. otherwise power would pass to the traitor. although he could never hope to be Shogun himself… Yamazaki. regardless of how he had arrived in a position to take it. the 13th day since Nobunaga had died. 1582 “To be violent at first and wind up fearing one’s own side is the epitome of ineptitude. as he was hunted down and slaughtered by bandits. The panic even reached as far as Mitsuhide’s own tent and he fled for his life. Hideyoshi’s army advanced on the Enmyojigawa River while a fierce battle began at Tennozan. at Odawara in 1590 he succeeded in crushing the Hojo clan once and for all. Ten days after the assassination word came to Mitsuhide that Hideyoshi’s army was approaching. Hideyoshi had also decided that battle was preferable to a siege.” — Sun Tzu. He decided to meet them on the battlefield rather than be penned inside his two castles under siege by superior forces. When the news of what had happened reach Hideyoshi he realised that he had only days to make a stand against Akechi Mitsuhide. near the village of Yamazaki. The next morning. Akechi Mitsuhide had also marched to Nijo Castle in Kyoto and killed Nobunaga’s son and heir. a small river nearby. his army easily controlled from the vantage point on Tennozan and even before the battle his forced march approach had been a model of efficient strategic manoeuvre. Mitsuhide calculated that he had a good chance of victory. By meeting Hideyoshi in open battle with the castles to fall back on. The scene was set for the confrontation on the road to Kyoto.Finally. Hideyoshi had managed to dramatically destroy the “Thirteen Day Shogun”. as the left wing of Hideyoshi’s army followed the Akechi forces broke and ran. and then had himself appointed regent by the Court. It was successful and. Hideyoshi finished the day with his position as Nobunaga’s avenger fixed in everyone’s mind. It was not to be his day at all. His tactics at the battle had been assured. It was a political advantage for him indeed. Mitsuhide’s forces took up positions along the Enmyojigawa. 88 . the type who normally preyed on wounded and dying samurai. Hideyoshi lost little time in taking revenge.

He ignored his uncle’s order to withdraw. those who love their people can be troubled. as were a garrison at nearby Tagami. The Art of War There were other contenders for the role of “chief successor” to Oda Nobunaga. The battle did not go well for Sakuma Morimasa and rapidly turned into a bloody pursuit rather than a fight. Those who are ready to die can be killed. These five things are faults in generals. Hideyoshi constructed a line of forts along the mountains at Lake Biwa’s northern end to guard against any military action by Shibata Katsuie. those who are noble can be disgraced. Negoroji. who opposed Hideyoshi’s bid for power. Despite the fact that the garrison commander. 1583 “There are five traits that are dangerous for generals. On the highest of the peaks was Shizugatake. Shibata Katsuie sent a force under his nephew. it is up to you to make sure that the defeat inflicted on Sakuma Morimasa is just as damaging as the historical result.With this battle more than many others. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate…” — Sun Tzu. Shizugatake. Nakagawa Kiyohide. 1585 “Be extremely subtle. Sakuma Morimasa was forced to abandon his siege and take up defensive positions against the coming attack. Among these was Shibata Katsuie. Shibata Katsuie was astounded by the state of his returning army and committed hara-kiri. even to the point of soundlessness. obviously wasn’t using the same calculations and managed to get a cavalry army to the fort in a day. Despite the difficult nature of the terrain. was killed. those who are quick to anger can be shamed. under the command of Nakagawa Kiyohide. the defenders were still holding out. to attack. you should notice that it really is winner takes all! The legacy of power that Oda Nobunaga left behind was there for the taking by whoever won this battle. As commander of Hideyoshi’s troops. He knew that Hideyoshi was busy besieging Gifu Castle and calculated that he would have three days to take the fort before Hideyoshi could get any kind of relief force into position. those who are intent on living can be captured. however. Hideyoshi.” — Sun Tzu. even to the point of formlessness. Sakuma troops abandoned arms and armour in an effort to get away through the dense forests. Shizugatake was the second fort that he attacked. Be extremely mysterious. Sakuma Morimasa. The Art of War 89 .

but they could also — and more often — be pestilential enemies. His armies marched into Kii province and destroyed four minor outposts. then advanced towards Negoroji from two different directions. allowing the Shimazu cavalry to pour in through the gap. to directly oppose the Shimazu. the Shimazu conducted a fighting withdrawal and their army escaped to Satsuma. Takajo. Hideyoshi did have allies among the warrior monks of Ishiyama and Kyoto. Part of the Shimazu army was ordered to demolish the barricades and then act as a decoy force. many chose to take shelter in the Saiga Ikki’s formidable Ota castle. Those that fled were cut down. 1587 “I have heard of campaigns that were clumsy but swift. but he had fought bitter battles against the Ikko-ikki alongside Nobunaga.” — Sun Tzu. Hashiba Hidenaga. but I have never seen one that was skilful and lasted a long time. who actively helped Ieyasu in his campaigns in 1584. but it was brutally effective. Hideyoshi’s tactics were crude but very effective. The Art of War Hideyoshi’s attention eventually turned to the defeat of the Shimazu clan. Those that stayed were burned to death. Hidenaga sent a small detachment of Toyotomi soldiers into the enemy’s rear. Among these were the monks of Negoroji and Saiga. In 1585 there were surviving sects that did not support Hideyoshi. The victory conditions for this battle are starkly simple: the complete destruction of the enemy. While the warrior monks were skilled fighters. Faced with this threat to their line of retreat. even though it had been bigger than the force it was facing! 90 . They could be valuable allies. at which point the Shimazu about turned and marched to relieve the siege. Those that remained stayed to fight. Hashiba Hidenaga then took it upon himself to lay siege to Takajo. They set up a dummy army that appeared to cut off any chance of retreat for the Shimazu forces. He burned the priests out of the wooden buildings of Negoroji. but unwisely chose to back Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hideyoshi’s reaction took a year.Warrior monks of various sects always seemed to be a problem for the daimyo at one time or another. He had sent an army to Kyushu under his half-brother. It is never good for military operations to continue for a long time. It was a good plan. Hidenaga turned his army away from the siege to face the Shimazu forces from behind a rough stockade. and looked like working until the Shimazu were themselves fooled by a ruse. but they had withdrawn behind the Takajo Castle in Hyuga province.

It is easy then to defeat him with a different method once you see his resources. the survivors fell back towards Kagoshima.” — Miyamoto Musashi. generals are able to be invincible. and we do not intend to let a single enemy out”. Hideyoshi joined him and their combined force moved towards the Sendaigawa River that formed a natural moat to the north of Kagoshima. even though they had been constantly improved from 1582 onwards. Vulnerability is in the opponent. It was here that Niiro Tadamoto led a Shimazu army against Hideyoshi’s advancing army. 1590 “When you cannot see the enemy’s position. It was a futile gesture. The third and final siege of Odawara was the biggest and most impressive of all. The camp followers outnumbered the army and the besieging camp came to look like a small city that had been put down outside the fortress. 1587 “Invincibility is in oneself. to discover his resources. which was to be surrounded by the Toyotomi. The Book of Five Rings. As darkness fell. Hideyoshi wrote to his wife that “We have surrounded Odawara with two or three rings and have constructed a pair of moats and walls. He lead the Shimazu forces into a wild charge against the Toyotomi army. The Art of War After Hidenaga’s success. the enormous numbers of troops involved would have beggared any European state of the time that had tried to put that many men in the field. In the end. 91 . Hideyoshi’s army was massive. Entertainment of all kinds was available to the Toyotomi soldiers and the sounds of riotous enjoyment from this must have been a powerful psychological weapon against the trapped defenders! During the long siege.” — Sun Tzu. indicate that you are about to attack strongly. he used forced labour from the surrounding villages to strengthen the defences. but undeniably brave.Sendaigawa. Kagoshima was never assaulted. The Fire Book By 1590 the doom of the Hojo was upon them. because the historical outcome of the campaign was decided by negotiation. Although he was outnumbered some thirty to one (or more) Niiro Tadamoto wasn’t daunted. When the Hojo daimyo realised what was about to happen. but they cannot make enemies vulnerable. Therefore. Odawara.

he had recognised that the older man couldn’t last forever. In the world people tend to think of a robber trapped in a house as a fortified enemy. he took the field for the Imagawa as part of their army and even fought against the soldiers of Oda Nobunaga! The subsequent death of Imagawa Yoshimoto freed Ieyasu from any (forced or otherwise) obligations and he became a loyal follower of Oda Nobunaga. After three months of siege the Hojo realised that there was little chance of victory and even less chance of escape. The Fire Book 92 . attack where there is no defence. defend where there is no attack. With those who are skilled in defence. had a career remarkable even by the standards of his time. To unfailingly secure what you defend. “To become the enemy’ means to think yourself into the enemy’s position. their opponents do not know where to attack. Pragmatically. The Book of Five Rings. patient affair. and once Oda died. if we think of ‘becoming the enemy’. So in the case of those who are skilled in attack. 1564-1600 Tokugawa Ieyasu. there were many skirmishes around the castle walls. It was Ieyasu.Overall. there would be a chance to take power. we feel that the whole world is against us and there is no escape. however. He began his military experience while still (technically) held hostage by the Imagawa clan to ensure his family’s good behaviour. “To unfailingly take what you attack. When Oda did die. who was to take the title of shogun and it was his descendants who ruled Japan for another 250 years.” — Miyamoto Musashi. he and Hideyoshi manoeuvred against each other and both had their moments of triumph as detailed in the history section of the Way of the Daimyo.” — Sun Tzu. the Toyotomi force numbered some 200. They surrendered the castle to Hideyoshi. The Art of War The Battles of Tokugawa Ieyasu. However. However.000 men! While the siege itself was a slow. the eventual victor in the struggle to become shogun of Japan. the enemy will not know where to defend. and at least one memorable occasion when Toyotomi miners from Kai province managed to bring down enough of the wall to allow the invaders inside.

is usually referred to as the Second Battle of Azukizaka. and show the reappearance of some familiar foes. by the way. The effect on a fleshy target could often be similar to a modern explosive bullet or dum-dum hitting home. Air bubbles that were often formed inside bullets during casting had a tendency to make bullets expand or split apart when they hit a target or once they had penetrated.The battles covered in Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion for Tokugawa Ieyasu are a measure of how many different opponents he fought against. The fighting must have been fierce and Ieyasu took part in the close personal combat. The Art of War T okugawa Ieyasu’s battle against the Ikko-ikki was at Azukizaka in Mikawa province.” — Sun Tzu. At Mikata ga hara in 1572 he faced the powerful Takeda clan and their paths cross again at Yoshida (1575) and Temmokuzan in 1582. At Azukizaka in 1564 he took on Oda Nobunaga’s old enemies. 1564 “The rule of war is not to count on opponents not coming. As a loyal lieutenant of Oda Nobunaga he had little sympathy with the fanatical monks who opposed him. Ieyasu certainly had a lucky escape. but to rely on having ways of dealing with them. This makes them dangerous in combat because of their high morale and a hard force to break and force from the field. but to rely on having what cannot be attacked. the Ikko-Ikki and acquitted himself bravely. the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 — the day that assured Ieyasu would be shogun. This battle. at Kakegawa. the First Battle having been in 1542 between the Oda and Imagawa clans. the Imagawa clan. in this battle you would do well to remember that the warrior monks are fanatics. Inflicting heavy casualties is often the only way to defeat them. if only because of the constant warfare and the fact that suitable sites for a good fight were hard to find! 93 . His armour didn’t actually stop the shots but the bullets were slowed sufficiently that they were caught in his undergarments! Given the wounds caused by badly made bullets. In 1569 he faced some of his erstwhile allies. Azukizaka. Many Japanese battlefields were “reused” in this fashion over the years. As always when fighting Ikko-Ikki. not to count on opponents not attacking. The last of Ieyasu’s battles is the defining moment in the struggle for control of Japan after Hideyoshi’s death. Several bullets actually hit him although (fortunately for him) none of them did any lasting damage.

appear to be ineffective. Though effective. Do not stop an army on its way home. Ujizane was the son of the Imagawa Yoshimoto who had held Ieyasu hostage years earlier.” — Sun Tzu. It’s definitely worth bearing in mind that taking the castle is almost pointless if too many of your men die in the process. The Imagawa abandoned the castle without a further struggle in return for Ieyasu’s support in another matter: the return of Ujizane’s lost territory’s in Suraga. The battle in Shogun: Total War . Ieyasu knew that control of the castle was more important than simply killing his enemies. appear incompetent. a confrontation with the Takeda clan involved lots of cavalry.Kakegawa. Do not eat food left by enemy soldiers. These are the rules of military operations. The Battle of Mitaka ga Hara was a direct consequence of Takeda Shingen moving in force against the fortress at Hamamatsu. Do not attack elite warriors. Ieyasu almost certainly got the better end of the deal by gaining control of the castle! When fighting this battle.” — Sun Tzu. Leave a surrounded army a way out. The Art of War Almost inevitably. 94 . Negotiations began and a deal was eventually struck. 1572 “Any military operation involves deception. 1569 “Do not follow a feigned retreat. or fish scales. Mikata ga hara. By this time. Tokugawa Ieyasu laid siege to Imagawa Ujizane in the castle at Kakegawa.The Mongol Invasion follows Ieyasu’s original design to take the castle by force of arms rather than talking. Ujizane’s power and influence were very much on the decline and he was forced into retirement a year later by a defeat at the hands of the Takeda clan. however. The Art of War In what must have seemed like a settling of old scores for his years of living on Imagawa sufferance. formation. which was controlled by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Even though you are competent. The Takeda clan formed up to the north of the fortress on high ground at Mitaka ga Hara in what is reported in the Koyo Gunkan as gyorin. Do not press a desperate enemy.Despite this personal stake in the battle. it’s important to remember that occupation and control of the castle is all that matters.

but not the one that they thought. Mizuno Tadashige. On the Tokugawa left. a prudent strategy to hang on for as long as possible with some of the army and make an orderly withdrawal towards the castle with the rest. He was prevented from doing so and hustled into the castle by his retainers. They must have assumed that they were safe now that the battle was over but the ground at Mikata ga Hara has a narrow canyon or gorge at this point. Defeating the Takeda clan is almost impossible as there are simply too many of them to fight all at once. the Takeda troops got the upper hand. Outnumbered by around three to one. It is. Soon the Tokugawa army was in retreat all along the battle line. it was the Tokugawa troops who began the battle. Tokugawa Ieyasu drew his forces into a line and waited. he was quite ready to charge into the mass of Takeda warriors and kill as many as he could to reach his surrounded comrade. There they were easy targets.The Mongol Invasion.This layout is supposed to induce the enemy to attack. this battle has the potential to turn into a bloodbath. When the advanced guard of the Takeda army reached the castle they were confused by the apparently confident air of its garrison and suspected some kind of trick. at which point Takeda Shingen calmly withdrew his tired troops and sent in fresh men to continue the fight! With night coming on and the Tokugawa troops being forced back. However. This was done where the high ground dropped away towards Hamamatsu. The Takeda army didn’t attack but camped for the night at Saigadake. Despite the fact that he was outnumbered. Shingen then ordered a general attack by the main body of his army. however. but if the castle is lost. A fighting retreat is never easy. Honda Tadakatsu and Ishikawa Kazumasa. the battle is lost. He ordered that the gates be left open for any more of his army who might make it back and for braziers to be lit as signal fires. the Tokugawa soldiers stung them into action. The Takeda army withdrew the next morning. One was being played. A huge drum was also beaten. he was cunning enough to hold on to the castle. 95 . leaving Hamamatsu to Ieyasu — but only just. Two Tokugawa retainers lead a raid on the Takeda camp and managed to drive many of the Takeda samurai and their horses into the gorge. on his right were troops supplied to him by Oda Nobunaga. In Shogun: Total War . but very late in the day as the light was failing and the snow falling. Defeat looked total as Ieyasu arrived at the castle with only five men. For his own part. It was at this point that Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered that his personal gold fan standard should be set up to act as a rallying point for his forces. By firing on the Takeda samurai. On his left were three fine Mikawa generals: Matsudaira Ietada.

immovable as a mountain. full victory may have taken a little time to come but eventually he got to see his Takeda opponents humbled and destroyed. so his passing was undoubtedly a relief for his many enemies! Shingen’s son. when it goes slowly it is like a forest. Rather than facing a small force. 96 . to do this successfully. It is as hard to know as the dark.” — Sun Tzu. does not act when there is no gain and does not fight when there is no danger. The hand-to-hand fighting outside the walls of the castle didn’t help the Takeda clan take the upper hand and the Tokugawa garrison were too wily to leave the walls for a full pitched battle. Takeda Katsuyori broke camp and moved north towards Nagashino. which looked (when his attack had been planned) to have a weak garrison. you must preserve your own army from destruction at the hands of a superior force. Shingen had been the chief architect of much of his clan’s success. although his old enemy Takeda Shingen was dead. frustrated by his inability to take the castle or have a “proper” battle. He had burned his castle at Shinpujo to keep it from falling to his enemies and fled into the mountains. Takeda Katsuyori. its movement is like peals of thunder. In 1575 Katsuyori raided Mikawa province and besieged the castle at Yoshida. The Takeda clan can be driven off by a combination of outlasting their patience and killing a few of them! Of course. Eventually.” — Sun Tzu. This Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion battle needs you to delay the Takeda forces for as long as possible and inflict as many “niggling” casualties on them as possible. it is terrible as fire. But Tokugawa Ieyasu had anticipated the attack and heavily reinforced the Yoshida garrison. As the combined forces of Oda Nobunaga and T okugawa Ieyasu closed in on the Takeda clan. The Art of War In 1575 Tokugawa Ieyasu was still fighting against the Takeda clan. Temmokuzan. He had hoped to find some measure of security and sanctuary at Iwadono castle. even if he lacked his father’s skills and drive. the Takeda clan ran straight into a tough and professional Tokugawa army.Yoshida. Katsuyori realised that the game was up. 1582 “When an army moves swiftly it is like the wind. 1575 “A good leader does not mobilise when there is no advantage. was still an aggressive foe at times. The Art of War For Ieyasu. however.

The fighting started at around breakfast time. The day’s fighting made sure that it would be Tokugawa Ieyasu who became shogun. By late October 1600. confusion and treachery. both armies were damp and cold in the fog and visibility was very bad. although these troops will fight bravely alongside your own men. 97 . which did nothing to help the siege or make sure that they were available to fight a pitched battle when needed! Eventually. The Western Army under Ishida Mitsunari. along with some bitterly contested sieges. rather than an Imperial courtier. He drew up his forces in position to attack anyone coming through the narrow pass. as the Eastern army could be controlled and met before it would have a chance to deploy properly. with a volley being fired into the centre of the Eastern army. it is unlikely that the two of them. It would be even better to kill Takeda Katsuyori before he has chance to kill himself! It isn’t possible to give orders to units under Nobunaga’s command. there had been a series of marches and counter-marches. It was also a day of fog. would have been that bothered. Sekigahara. Ishida Mitsunari had chosen the ground as a good place to meet Tokugawa Ieyasu. At the other extreme. His remaining loyal retainers turned and held off the Oda and T okugawa armies for long enough to allow Katsuyori to kill himself. The attackers were a little half-hearted in their efforts to take the place with such a respected man inside and at risk. the Imperial courtier in question. at Tanabe Castle the revered scholar Hosokawa Yusai Fujitaka was besieged along with his Eastern garrison. the main bodies of the two armies met at the narrow pass of Sekigahara in Mino province. The victory conditions for this battle are quite simple: crush the Takeda clan and drive them from the battlefield. mud. The Tokugawa (Eastern) garrison at Fushimi Castle distinguished themselves by their superb defence. bringing to an end the Sengoku period of “The Country at War”. was made up of clans just as sure that they didn’t want to see Tokugawa Ieyasu as the ultimate power in the land. an alliance of former Toyotomi and Oda loyalists and allies who preferred to have one of their own as ruler of Japan. the two armies were on a collision course. for example. Several of the Western generals reputedly “forgot” to load cannon balls before firing at the castle. When the last two hundred defenders realised that they couldn’t hold out much longer. An enemy who destroyed himself by his own hand was just as dead as he would have been by any other method. Although Nobunaga and Ieyasu didn’t have the pleasure of killing their opponent. Tokugawa Ieyasu was the commander of the Eastern Army. the gates were locked against Katsuyori. By early in the morning of 21 October 1600. Instead. 1600 Sekigahara was the decisive battle of over a hundred years of warfare. however.which was held by his old retainer Oyamada Nobushige. the preliminary sparring of the armies was over. being practical men. as Ishida Mitsunari made a forced night march to reach the spot. The weather was appalling. they left the castle and charged the besiegers time after time.

With a decision of some kind now needed. Ishida Mitsunari lit a signal fire to call his reinforcements under Kobayakawa Hideaka into the fight. It was at this point that Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered a renewed attack and two more factions in the Western army. The Easterners then began to push towards Ishida Mitsunari. By the afternoon. Tokugawa Ieyasu was counting the heads of his slain enemies. The Western army was now in disarray. The Otani were soon being attacked from three sides and Otani Yoshitsugu ordered one of his retainers to kill him. Instead. his power broken. Ishida Mitsunari’s challenge was over. the very reinforcements that could have won the fight for Ishida Mitsunari marched away from Sekigahara. as he was crippled by leprosy. With nearly all his Western Army now fighting. changed sides as well. the Kuchiki and the Wakizaka. falling on the flank of his former Otani allies. with the battle lost. It had been an epic battle and it sealed the fate of Japan. Tokugawa Ieyasu had heard reports that the Kobayakawa forces were prepared to defect but simply not moving wasn’t the same as changing allegiance. Otani Yoshitsugu seems to have expected some sort of treachery. These Western reserves were already wavering or coming out in support of Tokugawa Ieyasu and. The Kobayakawa troops were stationed on the high ground to the Western Army’s right and should have moved to swiftly crush the left flank of the Tokugawa/Eastern forces. except for the Shimazu who managed to cut their way clear and retreat towards Ishida Mitsunari’s reserves. Kobayakawa Hideaka did nothing. Nearly everyone capable of mounting a credible challenge to his authority was gone. as his men turned and managed to fight off the traitors without being surprised. 98 . Kobayakawa Hideaka changed sides and attacked. he couldn’t do it himself. He sent a small force to “sting” the Kobayakawa into action by firing on them.The Easterners were slowly driven back but then managed to rally and the fighting settled into a mud-soaked slugging match. The daimyo that survived prospered in direct relationship to their allegiances at the battle. It would take another three years before Ieyasu was declared shogun but there was no doubt as to who was the master of Japan.

writing in 1240 Benedict the Pole. The Mongols were savages. another ten spring from the hell whence he came.5: The Mongols “The horde of the Tartars is numberless. uncompromising and brutal is beyond dispute. the Mongols couldn’t be stopped. like other Europeans of his day. and carries with him sufficient weapons for three or four warriors. It needs to be remembered that the Mongols did not create most of the existing accounts of their exploits. full stop) back to the level of the peasant toiling in the field. The Mongols have been described as the Khmer Rouge of their day — willing to kill anyone and everyone who opposed them and reduce all urban civilisation (which in practice means all civilisation. the Mongols’ reputation seems deserved. even allowing for some exaggeration. Being conquered by the Mongols was very traumatic indeed. 99 . When one is killed. This pattern had repeated itself for generations. fiends from hell. The two men had the vision and unstoppable drive to create empires. with occasional aberrant times when a leader could hold his tribe together beyond the first looting spree and the nomads stayed to become the new nobility. hardly human.” — Benedict the Pole. Threatened people from as far apart as Poland and China gave the same excuses for their fears: the Mongols weren’t like the rest of humanity. Their victims left the historical records but. for exampleAnd again like the Huns. The Chin kingdom in Northern China had come about precisely in this fashion. civilised neighbours. may have made a technical mistake when he lumped all steppe barbarians into the category of “Tartar” but he had good reason to be afraid of what was heading his way. Each of them has the head of a dog. the Mongols were one of many steppe peoples — tribal nomads who roamed the Asian plains and periodically overran their more settled. That the Mongols could be cruel. the Mongols produced their own great conqueror in Genghis Khan. But above all. but where the two differed was in what happened after their respective deaths. always assuming that there were any survivors to be traumatised… Who were the Mongols? Like the Huns centuries before. but it is difficult to feel that history has treated them too badly. feared leader in Attila. who produced a terrible.

Just how grim Temujin could be is illustrated by the fact that he and his younger brother Qasar ambushed and killed their half-brother Bektar. was not so accepting of their loyalty and went to great pains to split up the tribe. After a bloody campaign. Kerait. but managing to steal them back again. with only a few being spared the sword and absorbed into the Mongol tribes. however. He took charge of his family at the age of 12 or 13 when the Tatars killed his father. His early campaigns were as an ally of Togrul. Bektar’s only crime had been to steal a fish and a bird from Temujin’s traps. He. his children and grandchildren kept the empire intact and its successor sub-states dangerous and expansionist. In the case of Genghis Khan. or even a leader of his people. Uirat. and the Kerait people accepted Genghis Khan as their leader. An unforgiving nature was part of the Mongol tradition… Eventually. the only tribe that might have been able to stand against his rise to power. Genghis Khan was far from being a world conqueror. The Tatars were all but wiped out. however. He was born Temujin sometime in the period 1155-67 and named after a Tatar (no middle “r”) chieftain his father had killed. Perhaps the Europeans had the suspicion that the steppe barbarians were really from Tartarus. He would give a man the coat from his own back. (The name Tatars was corrupted in translation to “Tartars” in Europe and applied — wrongly — to the Mongols. an abyssal hell written about by Homer. Temujin At the start of his career. the khan of the Kerait tribe and against the enemies of his blood. Temujin did manage to gather a force of loyal warriors by his skill as a leader and a raider and by the loyalty and generosity he returned in more than full measure. This happened when T ogrul was killed by accident when he wasn’t recognised as he crossed into Naiman territory. they 100 . It was around this time that Temujin adopted the title of Genghis (“Oceanic”) Khan of the purely Mongol tribes. the hereditary foes of the Tatars who had the support of the Northern Chinese kingdom of Chin. Merkit and Jalair — had a way of life that was hard. His father’s men would not follow a child and he was forced into a grim struggle for survival alongside his brothers. The Mongol tribes — the Naiman. it was said. A break with the Kerait under Togrul was not long in coming and Genghis Khan and his most loyal followers were forced to retreat into Siberia and wait for the Kerait alliance to fall to pieces. rather than of the true Earth!) Temujin and Togrul eventually broke the Tatars with the support of the Chin kingdom. but no worse than many other nomadic people. on the other hand. They were. Early tales tell of him losing the family’s entire wealth of nine horses.Attila’s steppe empire collapsed almost before the funeral feast was digested. the Tatars. Genghis now turned on the Naiman. for example.

submitted and in 1206 Genghis Khan was proclaimed supreme Khan of all T urkish and Mongol tribes in eastern Asia, complete with divine approval thanks to the useful intervention of a shaman. The problem was now what to do next. Genghis Khan had a fine war machine at his command, but it had to be used and used now before the tribes started fighting amongst themselves as was their wont. On one level, the decision to keep on conquering new lands — or possibly even the whole world — was a practical solution to this problem. At first, those to be conquered were the other nomadic peoples of central Asia, such as the Kirghiz tribe. Some, like the Uighur, saw the way the wind was blowing and submitted voluntarily. In doing so, the largely literate and cultured Uighur flourished within the Mongol empire.

Into China
China was far from being a monolithic state at this time. The Mongols took full advantage and raided into the Kingdoms of Chin (centred around Peking) and Hsi-Hsia in Western China. These first attacks on Chinese territory did force Hsi-Hsia to recognise Genghis Khan as overlord but the campaigns were not an unmitigated success. The usual Mongol tactic of massacring defeated enemies was highly effective against steppe nomads, where people were virtually the only “wealth” and walking resources of a tribe, but faced with the millions in China, what was the point? Nor was their much point in recruiting Chinese peasants into the army because they were simply too unwarlike. The Chin rulers were still warlike however (being nomad conquerors themselves!), and backed by Chinese science and war-making skills. Even the sacking of Peking in 1215 didn’t break the Chin; resistance continued against Genghis Khan and his successors. To the West, the Kara Khitai fell and Genghis Khan’s generals were shrewd enough to use religious tensions to their own advantage. Muslims in the region had been persecuted, but all that stopped under the Mongols. They were welcomed as liberators by a substantial part of the population. Beyond the Pamir mountains lay more Muslim lands: Transoxania and Persia.

The First Assault on Islam
“…To cut my enemies to pieces, drive them before me, seize their possessions, witness the tears of those who are dear to them and to embrace their wives and daughters.” — Genghis Khan’s greatest pleasures in life, according to the Muslim historian Rashid al Din Beyond the mountains, Genghis Khan found himself facing a man just as warlike as himself, the Khwarazmshah Ala al Din Mohammed. Having beaten both the Khitai and his own rivals in Afghanistan, Ala al Din was in no mood to submit and become a vassal of the Great Khan. Whatever his reasons, his strategic assessment seems to have been flawed, as he only seems to have expected a prolonged raid by the Mongols in 1219 (perhaps believing that the Mongols would attack China instead). Although the Khwarazmian army outnumbered the Mongols, it was tied down in defensive garrison duties.

All that happened was the garrison cities were destroyed one after another. Bukhara fell and the garrison was slaughtered to the last man. The pattern was repeated time and again, and even where a city surrendered, the military, civic and religious leaders were put to the sword. If a town resisted virtually everyone was put to death, regardless of age, sex or status. The only people to be spared were artisans and craftsmen with useful skills who were immediately pressed into service for the next siege. The cities themselves were burned, either accidentally during the looting that took place or as the result of a deliberate policy of arson. This deliberate application of terror was a strategy that succeeded in destroying the morale of the Khwarazmian people and army. Eventually, even Ala al Din Mohammed fled and died in 1220 of exhaustion, a broken spirit or sheer despair at what was happening. Even then, the Mongols’ depredations continued. Genghis Khan even had the tombs of his enemies’ forefathers destroyed. It seemed as if nothing was to be left untouched. It fell to Jalal al Din, the son of Ala al Din, to carry on the fight. He managed to inflict one defeat on a Mongol column, but was eventually trapped against the Indus River. Genghis Khan, strangely enough, allowed Jalal al Din to escape, explaining that the man was a hero worthy of being emulated by his own sons. The Mongols ravaged Muslim India before returning north. It was at this point that the city of Herat revolted, hoping that Jalal had turned the tide. He hadn’t. As unforgiving as ever, the returning Mongols besieged the city for six months before the citizens, after a desperate defence, could no longer keep them out. It is claimed that 1,600,000 people were killed when the city fell. In 1223 Genghis Khan returned to the steppes of Mongolia with thousands of prisoners in tow. Without any means for the Mongols to feed so many mouths, they were methodically slaughtered: skilled craftsmen and scholars who had been of use to the Mongols were simply killed now there was no need to keep them around. Slaughter was a tool of statecraft for Genghis Khan. His armies, however, rode on. A force that had earlier been despatched to hunt down Ala al Din Mohammed simply kept going, plundering Western Iran and going on into Christian Georgia. It marched up the Caspian Sea coast and into what is now southern Russia. Here, there were steppe nomads, the Turkish Kipchaks, who tried to ally themselves with the Mongols. It didn’t work and the Kipchaks were forced to appeal to the Russian Princes for help. The Prince of Kiev was captured and, after being treated with due deference, was smothered to death beneath a vast pile of carpets. It was a honourable execution as far as the Mongols were concerned, as the Prince’s blood was (carefully) not spilled. The Mongol columns moved on, crushing anyone and anything that stood in their way until they rejoined the Khan.


The Death of Genghis Khan
By 1226, Genghis Khan was an old man, but he still had the strength of purpose to once more turn against China. This time the Hsi-Hsia kingdom was overrun, using the same methods that had worked so well against the Muslims. But before he could go any further, Genghis Khan died, apparently from complications after a fall from his horse. His death was kept completely secret until the Hsi-Hsia campaign was finished. It is reported that, as his funeral cortège made its way towards the Kentei Mountains, they killed everyone that crossed their path so that the Great Khan would not be short of servants in the afterlife. Forty beautiful girls from leading Mongol families also accompanied him into the afterlife when they were sacrificed. Along with the handmaidens, horses and everything else the Great Khan would need were also buried. The final slaughter of the Hsi-Hsia was announced over the grave, which has never been found. Leadership of the Mongol empire remained with Genghis Khan’s relatives, the Golden Family. His son Ogadai and grandsons Kuyuk and Mongke would rule before his most famous grandson, Kublai Khan, would take control. The Mongols, however, did not stop their aggressive expansion in all this time. They marched into the Middle East and also came west across the steppes, towards Europe.

The West Spared
On 9 April 1241, a force of Germans, Poles and Teutonic Knights marched out of the Liegnitz to attack a Mongol army that had been advancing rapidly westward. Initially, the heavily armed and armoured Christian knights appeared to break the Mongols, who fled. Then they made the mistake of pursuing and were sucked into a perfect ambush. The knights died, almost to the last man. One day later, and hundreds of miles away, King Béla of Hungary and his army were surrounded by another Mongol force. They had been lured on to their doom by the Mongols appearing to retreat and the Hungarians were now trapped in a fortress or laager of wagons. Another disaster was in the making. The Mongols surrounded the Hungarians but seemed to leave a gap in their lines. The Hungarians made a break for it and, as it looked as if some were actually escaping, a panicked retreat destroyed any semblance of order in the Hungarian position. The Mongols then closed in on the confused mob that the Hungarians had become and another European army was destroyed. A lucky few did escape: King Béla didn’t stop running until he reached an island in the Adriatic. With sea between him and his Mongol enemies, he finally felt safe! With Hungary under their control, the Mongols stopped to rest and fatten their horses. It seemed as if all of Europe was about to fall to the barbarians once more. Vienna and the Danube lay ahead, and beyond them the rich lands of Germany, France and Low Countries. With little prospect that any European monarch was capable of raising an army to stand against them, things looked very black indeed.

Marco Polo was stunned by this and so much else that he saw at the Khan’s court. Eventually he had drunk himself to death. He was wealthy beyond any mundane measure and did indeed have a “stately pleasure dome” in Xanadu. He was also to unify China under a single emperor and found a new dynasty. but also keep the momentum of conquest going into the Middle East and to the borders of Europe. 104 . bound by a personal loyalty to the person of the Khan and not by any modern notion of loyalty to the state or nation. the third son of Genghis Khan was dead. the sacred river ranThrough caverns measureless to manDown to a sunless sea Ancestral voices prophesying war — Samuel Taylor Coleridge At the height of his power. the efforts of the Mongols were to be concentrated against China and the East… Kublai Khan In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure dome decree Where Alph. Instead. successor had managed to not only hold onto his father’s territory. they were still a nomadic people. At the very moment when Europe could have been overrun. the Mongols returned to their homelands to elect a new leader from the Golden Family. it looked as if the scourge of God was about to fall upon them. however. The Poles. was all the more magnificent because of its reality. He was also a true grandson of Genghis Khan and just as efficient as a conqueror. The Mongols would not stop until they reached the Atlantic. still see Liegnitz as a day of defeat that saved Europe. the Mongols went home and did not return. His passing showed the fundamental weakness in the Mongol political system. and from Siberia to the Indian Ocean. most powerful man in the world.For the Europeans. Although they controlled an empire that stretched from the Danube to China. Kublai Khan was the richest. He was the acknowledged overlord of all the Mongol Khanates. With the Khan dead. A single chance event took them home: Ogadai. Kublai Khan ruled a domain that stretched from the Danube in the West to the Pacific coast of China. he concentrated on taking control of China and then on extending Chinese influence (under Mongol leadership) into new possessions. But the Mongols turned away at the last instant. Kublai Khan’s actual summer palace at his capital city of Shang-tu. surrounded by a huge and well-stocked hunting preserve. This brilliant. by the way. Unlike his grandfather. waiting for the inevitable onslaught. They were nomads still. but drunken.

” The Hangchow commanders killed the Mongol envoys that had come to demand the city’s surrender and were executed in turn when the Mongols rode into the city. While the Mongols moved swiftly to reach Ta-li. The ruling Chin. Mongke immediately set the Mongols back on the path of conquest. On the contrary. but now they recruited Chinese infantry. Even the climate meant that there were strange (to the Mongols) diseases waiting to strike them down. They were briefly and. but he was clever enough to see that mercy was as potent a weapon as massacre. was a Chinese nation: ancient. long and hard-fought war. Southern China was populous. including against a force of Annamese elephants! 105 . His troops marched into Ta-li behind banners that read: “On pain of death do not kill. declared he could do the same. The Mongols managed to win several battles. He also gave his brother Kublai a free choice of conquered territory in China. A grim warrior. was given command of the Mongols in the Middle East. A third brother. the capital of Nanchow. Mongke and Kublai set about a joint campaign of conquest against Sung China. By 1257 the Mongols were in position to attack the Sung. diverted into attacking Annam in northern Vietnam. foolishly. rich and had a large number of strong-walled cities. they did not follow the usual practice of putting everyone to the sword. Mongke struck at the kingdom of Nanchow. The terrain was not best suited to the strategy and tactics of a fast-moving army based primarily on horse archers. south of the Hwai River. one of Genghis Khan’s grandsons. Mongke. It would take more than 40 years to defeat the Sung. were still steppe nomads at heart. They had already been exposed to Chinese ideas through the Uighur people. These were the only people to die when Ta-li fell. after all. Kublai was given overall command and made sure that the campaign was well planned and carefully prepared — something that would become a trademark of his later wars on the mainland. It was to prove a tough. supposedly influenced by a tale told to him by his Chinese teacher of a general who had taken a city without killing a single inhabitant. The Mongol experience of Vietnam should have served as a lesson to all Great Powers that ever involved themselves in that country. civilized and not a pushover. it could be argued. Hülegü. engineers and other specialists. It had taken hard campaigning by virtually the entire Mongol forces to destroy the last Chin province in the North in 1234. The Kingdom of the Sung. and this they did in a remarkably adept way. Kublai. Perhaps the Mongols fearsome reputation as to what happened when they were opposed or thwarted helped Kublai’s stratagem. the Mongol Empire looked like dissolving into a set of warring tribal groups. eventually seized power and was proclaimed the Great Khan.The Conquest of China Resistance to the Mongols had stiffened immediately after Genghis Khan’s death. although this was never a primary concern for Great Khan and the invasion of Europe was never to be repeated. They would have to adopt Chinese methods of warfare.But with Ogadai’s death in 1241 (his excessive drinking finally killed him). in the hope of outflanking the Sung and cutting their trade routes to India and Burma. Before moving directly against the Sung. however. unopposed.

traditionally-minded Mongols. This wasn’t to be the last time that the Mongols tried to conquer Vietnam. was not the automatic choice as Khan: he was too fond (in the eyes of the Mongols) of China and things Chinese and Arik-Böke was equally determined to be the Great Khan. to choose a new leader. they planned to isolate the Sung heartland in eastern China and force their surrender. Their planned strategy was interesting. although Mongols were better warriors. some ten days from Peking at Shang-tu (the Xanadu of Coleridge’s poem). Kublai also gave increasing authority to his Chinese advisors and servants while keeping full control of the military. many of the prominent Chinese administrators were executed. 106 . In the end. With both these actions. but none of the attempts were to be any more successful. not Mongol. With the campaign going well. He managed to cross the Yangtse against stiff opposition despite the summons to the quriltai. Kublai pressed on against the Sung. Kublai and Mongke looked as if they were heading for civil war but good sense prevailed: they agreed to attack the Sung instead.But of the 100. knowing that it could hardly start without him. Despite a call to return to a grand quriltai. but he refused to hunt down his younger brother who eventually surrendered in 1264 and was then kept as a privileged captive until he died two years later. killed during the conquest of Ho-chou by dysentery or by a Sung crossbowman (there are conflicting accounts). disease and constant guerrilla attacks. fashion. Kublai. because the Mongols would now be militarily paralysed while a new leader was chosen from among the Golden Family or the Empire went into a civil war. It looked as though the Sung had been saved.000 survived the jungle.000 men who started the campaign less than 20. Mongol affairs and campaigns in the Middle East and Europe were now clearly secondary. They didn’t simply plan to ride over the Sung territory. Kublai Khan also had himself crowned as the “Son of Heaven”. This was not the kind of strategy that the Mongols would have once pursued and shows that they were far from being the simple barbarians that they had once been. Arik-Böke persuaded the more traditional tribal leaders in Mongolia that he was the Great Khan. they needed Chinese skills for government. There were other claimants to the Khanate but only Kublai and his brother Arik-Böke had armies close to the site of the meeting. In the meantime. which included building a new capital. Vietnam has been the graveyard for many armies in history. or meeting of all Mongols. Kublai Khan had also been investing considerable time in ruling his northern Chinese possessions. This policy of allowing greater power to the Chinese did not make him popular among other. Kublai had his army declare him to be the Great Khan at Shang-tu in 1260. Kublai was besieging Wuchang when news came that Mongke was dead. the traditional title for a Chinese Emperor in the Chinese. Instead. It was not to be. A civil war flared up. He also issued a declaration that. destroying everything in their path in the usual nomad fashion. however. The Golden Horde would remain a threat in the West but Muslims and Christians would not have to face the full fury of the Mongols. the future of the Mongols was clearly identified as lying in China and the East. He had realised that a significant military success would ensure his election as Khan. and eventually Mongke had his brother’s government investigated. which Kublai rapidly won.

when the last Sung emperor. The campaign was long. it has remained one nation ever since. a boy of only nine years old. was finally cornered with the remnants of his fleet in 1279. ruling in the name of the Great Khan). At the same time. This wasn’t enough for Kublai Khan and he sent embassies to Japan in 1266 and 1268 demanding that the Japanese recognise him as their overlord.The Conquest of the Sung Kublai Khan returned to his attack on the Sung in 1264. despite a chequered history. The reaction in Japan was one of surprise. and proved to be exactly what was needed in the climate and siege conditions. but these raids had stopped when the Mongols took control — no one was foolish enough to provoke the Great Khan. of course. There was almost no grazing for their horses and few open battlefields for cavalry anyway. although it took until 1276 before the Sung Dowager Empress surrendered her seals and the city of Hangchow. The Mongols also had to recruit a huge number of specialist siege troops from across the Empire (from as far away as Iraq!) as almost every Sung city had to be individually surrounded and then taken. Japanese pirates had always raided Korean shipping and the coast. as he wanted to take southern China intact and not as a depopulated wasteland. the Mongols under Kublai Khan had been expanding in other areas as well. 107 . after all. With the final defeat of the Sung. hard and very unpleasant. The climate hardly helped the Mongols as they fell prey to every local infection and parasite in the humid terrain. The previous Ch’oe dynasty in Korea had been so unpopular that its own people had seen the Mongols as liberators! The Invasion of Japan It was Korea that was to make Kublai Khan look at the possibility of conquering Japan. This resistance had worked for a while but Korea had become a part of the Mongol Empire (although a Korean royal family was left in charge. Chinese infantry were needed in huge numbers. It was the turning point of the campaign. China was reunited for the first time since the T’ang dynasty had fallen in the tenth century and. The Koreans had begun by fighting hard against the Mongols after trying to bribe them to stay away. The final defeat of the Sung took another three years. they had their own divine Emperor and didn’t need a foreign one. The siege of Hsiang-yang was historically epic: the Mongols encircled it for five years before it fell. The leading Sung admiral jumped overboard with the child in his arms rather than be captured by the Mongols. He was meticulous in his planning.

however. exploits and worthiness. recovering as it was from the Mongol conquest. even though the struggle for power was confined to the Imperial Court. At the top. The Mongols were a disciplined professional force where individual honour meant nothing. The Hojo family actually controlled the country. 108 . The samurai were out of practice in large-scale warfare because they simply hadn’t needed to fight any battles for decades! The Japanese and Mongol ways of fighting were also too different for the Japanese to really counter a Mongol army. The weather had been to blame for the Mongol setback. The Emperor. however. they would do so in greater numbers and with more determination. The Mongols. the power structure was one where the appearance of power concealed the true state of affairs. the concept of fighting in an organised army was understood.000 men are estimated to have drowned. ran the country on a day-to-day basis. for want of a better term. All that said. even though their skills as warriors hadn’t been needed for many years. added to which the Mongols brought gunpowder weapons. while retaining his divine status. carrying Mongols and some Koreans. The expedition landed at Hakata Bay after some successes on the small islands of Tsushima and Iki and drove off the Japanese force that came to push them back into the sea. This was a shock to the samurai. however. War was a matter of honour between. The advice proved disastrous. A relatively small fleet was sent to Japan. as samurai on the battlefield made a point of announcing their heritage. and 13.Japan in the Age of the Mongols At the time of the Mongol invasions. or regent. were unable to expand this small bridgehead. but not really important. having disposed of the Minamoto shoguns in a campaign of conspiracies and outright murder. the Mongols were persuaded by their Korean naval officers that the best course of action was to re-embark and ride out the storm at sea. Japan was still a nation geared for war. It simply wasn’t the way that a decent war was fought. the survivors sailed back to Korea and the Japanese celebrated. When the weather began to change. even someone as mighty as Kublai Khan. not the Japanese. gentleman warriors. When the Mongols came again. The other shock to the samurai had come in realising that their opponents had better weaponry. In 1274 the first attempt to invade Japan was organised in Korea. The samurai. By the time Kublai Khan’s emissaries arrived. When the storm passed. They were not in any mood to give up power to anyone. The Mongols’ compound bow was superior in many ways to the Japanese longbow. was a figurehead for the shoguns who were supposed to be in charge. The actual ruler of the country was the shikken. but the country was in no condition to support such an operation. the first invasion had not been a success. They were seeking out an equally worthy opponent to fight as an individual. the shogun was another figurehead and real power lay elsewhere. and a massive storm was obviously brewing. It has to be said that the Koreans were far from enthusiastic about fighting for Kublai Khan or against the Japanese.

but crucial change to history. Despite his horrendous losses in the second campaign. Those who were trapped or washed ashore were either killed out of hand or enslaved by the Japanese. though. during 15 and 16 August. Kublai Khan was all for making a third attempt. There was no way the Mongol invasion could recover from this kind of disaster and Japan had been saved by the “divine wind” of heavenly favour. They should also have been able to break out from their initial landing areas and carry the fighting deeper into Japan. The commanders of the two fleets quarrelled and the invasion forces never really coordinated their actions. The fighting continued from 23 June to 14 August 1281 and then. another typhoon struck the Mongol invasion fleets. highly disciplined and adept at using terror as a strategy. Two fleets were organised from southern and northern China. Although both invasion forces made it ashore. which were to converge on the island of Iki before attacking the main Japanese islands. although the preparations seem to have been uncharacteristically rushed. Around half the southern fleet was destroyed. With all his other achievements. along with a third of the northern fleet. Only the stubbornness of his underlings in opposing the idea and then his death stopped the third invasion from taking place. This was a much larger expeditionary force. been severely damaged throughout Asia. and for a while it did look as if the Japanese were going to repay the compliment and assault Korea. would the Japanese have been able to stop them? 109 . Faced with an army that was professional. What if the storm of 15 and 16 August 1281 had never happened? From this change comes: what if the Mongols had managed to stay ashore in Japan? Would they have won? Would Japan have become another province of the Mongol Empire? With better weather. the Japanese were able to contain them. The two fleets landed at each end of Hakata Bay where the Japanese had built a 20-kilometre-long wall. Kublai Khan should not have felt too badly about Japan slipping away from his grasp. The myth of Mongol invincibility had. the chances are that the Mongols would have been able to reinforce their invasion force at will from the Chinese mainland. Instead.The Kamikaze The second invasion had to wait until the Sung had been defeated. who were supposed to be equally destructive of Japan’s enemies). “What if?” The Mongol Invasion in Shogun: Total War – The Mongol Invasion The Mongol Invasion in Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion makes one simple. in 1281 Kublai Khan organised his second invasion. The Chinese and Korean troops among the invaders did not fight overly hard and the Japanese managed to get their small ships into the Mongols’ anchorage. the kamikaze (hence the use of the name for the suicide pilots of the Second World War.

Individual samurai would have undoubtedly fought on until killed. But it was still a strikingly modern-looking force. Kublai Khan’s Mongol army was not the same force as had been available to his grandfather. Cities were destroyed and huge tracts of countryside systematically depopulated. it ceased to be the centre of Islamic culture. It was ethnically far more diverse. The knights were almost exactly the same kind of men as the samurai of Japan in the time of Kublai Khan — warriors who were unwilling to sacrifice their personal honour and status to any notion of abstract. In the Middle East. deadly individual warriors. plundered and destroyed. can probably be traced back to their treatment at the hands of the Mongols. that life was pretty much over. The Mongols were quite capable of methodically slaughtering just a part of a conquered people. this is a huge number of people. Without organised irrigation. Perhaps the same fate might have awaited the Emperor of Japan or the Pope if the Mongols had reached Edo and Rome respectively. as there were no reliable rains to help. It would have been exactly the kind of behaviour to provoke a general massacre by the Mongols… Admittedly. for a start. They were seen as being a plague upon the world. but without water a persistent pattern of deprivation was established. Where they passed. the locals felt as if everything had been destroyed. given the size of the Chinese population.Forty years before. the Mongols had destroyed an army of elite Christian knights at Liegnitz in Poland. This decline includes those who were simply killed out of hand. but also must include the people who starved to death and the “missing generations” who 110 . When the Mongols under Hülegü (Kublai Khan’s brother) eventually took Baghdad. The Impact of the Mongols The effects of a Mongol invasion can’t be overestimated in the lands they conquered. military discipline. as we’ll see in a moment. It could not easily produce armies that were capable of opposing the Mongols. breaking centuries of religious tradition. the Mongols also destroyed the know-how to keep the water flowing through the qanats (canals) beneath the desert. It was symbolically respectful as far as the Mongols were concerned since it technically avoided his blood being shed. Some Islamic scholars argue that the region has never really recovered from what was done by the Mongols all those centuries ago. taking some into captivity and leaving the rest to manage as best they could in a shattered land. The Caliph was tied in a leather sack and trampled to death by Mongol horsemen. agriculture could not restart. This calculated brutality of only killing the majority of a people seems to be crueller even than slaughtering everyone. But it was just as disciplined and probably more tactically flexible than the “old” Mongol horde had ever been. for example. The samurai “system” produced talented. They had already burned crops and storehouses to create famines and kill their enemies. China’s population is estimated to have declined by some 30 percent during the Mongol conquest and. The Russian suspicion of foreigners. as their martial code would have called for that kind of resistance.

They wouldn’t have understood any other course of action.000 has to be treated with some caution because medieval army numbers are notoriously inaccurate. Genghis Khan’s code of law When Genghis Khan died in 1227.) The word “horde”. The Mongols regularly tied brushwood to their horses’ tails to raise huge columns of dust and also used straw dummies tied to the backs of spare mounts to increase their apparent numbers.” — the Yasak. Genghis Khan simply told visitors that his armies were numberless and was apparently believed. The leader who is incompetent will be killed. While paddy fields are harder to destroy than qanats. There were a variety of reasons why observers did have difficulties in judging the size of the Mongol army. This isn’t how armies operate now! The Mongols also used techniques of “strategic misinformation” to help conceal their numbers. Anyone who harbours a fugitive will be killed. This wasn’t how other armies operated at the time. anyone looking doubtful at his claim was probably risking death. The “numberless horde” was a careful ploy by successive Khans.000. even with mechanised transport. and this too created the impression of a much larger force in the minds of opponents. The warrior who unlawfully appropriates booty for himself will be killed. Had the Japanese failed to contain the Mongol invasions and the weather not been so kind. by the way. because most people just didn’t believe that they cover ground as quickly as they did — the Mongols managed to travel 270 miles in just three days in the middle of winter when they invaded Hungary. This didn’t stop the Mongols’ enemies claiming that they were “numberless” or “beyond counting” but then no one likes to think they were beaten by warriors who were simply better. (On the other hand. The Mongol Army “The sentry who is inattentive will be killed. of course. 111 . which simply means tented encampment without any connotations of size. comes from the Turkish word “ordu”. The short-term and localised destruction caused by the Mongols undoubtedly helped this process but it was accelerated by a variety of diseases that came hand-in-hand with unrestricted warfare. the chances are that they would have suffered similarly. This 130. It was quite easy to believe that there were far more Mongols around than was actually the case when they could be seen hundreds of miles apart in the space of a few days. A modern army would find it difficult to match such a move and be ready to fight. the chances are that most Japanese would have died in the invasion or as a result of the Mongols’ proven ruthlessness. various estimates put the size of his field army at around 130. Each Mongol had four or five ponies with him at any one time as remounts. These simple tricks apparently worked. for example. regardless of their complicity in that resistance.were never born at all. and the chances are that the samurai would have fought on to the bitter end. as did other ruses. The Mongols’ collective speed on the march didn’t help. Few survived where resistance was prolonged. The arrow messenger who gets drunk will be killed.000 men plus supporting troops (guarding communications) adding another 60.

That it was done well. as is shown by his campaigns against the Sung. particularly in China. Being a member of the nobility was no guarantee of gaining a command position (unlike virtually all other armies of the period) and even members of the Golden Family had to prove their worth. Some women even fought alongside their men and formed units of their own. The creation of doubt and fear in an enemy’s mind always helped in the Mongol way of warfare.000 horses at a time being shipped off to field armies. all Mongol men were warriors simply by virtue of having grown up as Mongols. for example. this is not something that was ever really the case in other armies of the time. Koreans and many others. civilised opponents! As the Mongol Empire grew. Horses always remained an obsession and a problem. By the time of Kublai Khan. even with these problems there are records of 10. the nature of the Great Khan’s army inevitably changed. firstly. but it always guaranteed a supply of outstanding soldiers for the Khans. There were severe penalties for concealing horses and for smuggling them out of China. Finally. Kirpaks from the steppes of Russia.In 1204. Still. the percentage of adults who could be considered as active warriors was extremely high — some 60% of the total. freeing men to be fighters. horses were simply confiscated. Later. 00. other tribes of steppe nomads were incorporated into it. each Mongol Warrior was told to light five fires where the enemy could see them. the “Mongol” army included not only traditional nomadic Mongols but Mongols from settled colonies. They learned to ride and hunt almost as soon as they could walk — skills that would stand them in good stead as warriors. before the battle of Chakirma’ut.000 men. 1000 and 10. and then as Chinese and other nationalities were recruited for specialist roles. Raising large herds of horses was never a Chinese strength (much Chinese land just isn’t suitable). Muslim engineers and artillerists. and that it was done at all has to be counted as a success for Kublai Khan. Christian and Iranian Alans in Kublai’s own bodyguard. A nomadic people are easier to mobilise for war than those who are settled and tied to a piece of land. Chinese infantry and other levies. Because of the way the nomadic Mongols were organised as a society. Again. The Mongols were organised from the start as a highly disciplined army in units of 10. It had to become more ethnically diverse as. under Kublai Khan. is a triumph. At some times and places. It was also thanks to the active part women played in society. One in every hundred horses had to be sold to the Mongol government at a (low) fixed price. Once given command. this training would be formalised. but their Mongolian overlords needed horses all the same. At all levels command was given only to men of proven ability. a Mongol leader could expect complete obedience from his troops. 112 . Supplying all these troops was a logistical nightmare. Battlefield discipline was one of the great advantages that the Mongols had over their more settled.

To modern eyes. control and communications was directly related to how loudly the nobleman in charge could shout! Intelligence was a natural Mongol skill — one picked up during the hunts that were a constant pursuit of all men. they still managed to travel “fast and light” by the standards of others. where that didn’t work. This was the way warfare had always been on the open steppes — Attila the Hun would have had little difficulty in commanding a Mongol army. wheel away and be replaced by fresh units. a strikingly modern army in a medieval world. their killing was done at long range. armed with a compound bow. Control. and not to act on their own spurious “initiative” (as. the Mongols didn’t carry much war gear at all and each man always had extra horses at his disposal. This method of fighting always led to disparities in casualties between the Mongols and their defeated enemies. Mongol cavalry tactics were inevitably based on their light horse archers. The bulk of their forces fought as light cavalry archers. under Kublai Khan. the samurai of Japan and knights of Europe were known to do. they were capable of marching immense distances (even by modern standards) in days rather than weeks. The standards of horsemanship among the Mongols were such that a man could — and was expected to — change horses at the gallop. they would attack with a barrage of arrows. These disciplined troops could be relied on to perform quite complex manoeuvres. Mongol armies included a large proportion of Chinese infantry. They also made extensive use of feints. Their strategy and tactics were based around their highly mobile troops. say. Command always went to the ablest men. the same riders acted as a postal service or pony express. Communications were the province of the “arrow-riders” who regularly rode 120 miles per day (Marco Polo claims that these messengers could manage to cover 300 miles a day. but this is probably an exaggeration). That said the Mongols were.Strategy. ignoring orders and battle plans in the hope of getting to grips with an honourable foe). 113 . The Mongols had grasped the important military dictum of “getting there fastest with the mostest…” On the battlefield. The Mongols would try to surround the foe or. Tactics and Weapons Like other nomadic peoples. Communications and Intelligence. Even when. This immense strategic speed would have been pointless but for the Mongol mastery of what is now termed C3I — Command. with little or no armour. They maintained contact between widely separated columns of riders and allowed them to operate as a single force — something that other armies of the time just couldn’t manage. In most armies. dashing between remount stations on all the major roads. the Mongols relied on horse archers and superb cavalry skills in war. Mongol forces were never expected to get into serious hand-to-hand fighting. pretended retreats and misdirection to draw the enemy out where they could be ambushed and destroyed in detail. As we’ve already seen. command. Within the Empire. Control over underlings was absolute and rigidly enforced. in many ways.

along with the smooth release of power inherent in the compound shape. Under the Khans all of these tactics and skills were retained and new ones added to the Mongol repertoire. Steppe horses have always had a reputation for being tough animals. This speed. These were true grenades called huo-p’ao. Their use of these techniques. Rather than being a single piece of carefully shaped wood. The compound bow of the steppes was a truly superb weapon. but not as a simple noisemaker. still based on the bamboo tube but with small bullets fired at the enemy. It was short. the need for siege warfare and the uses of massed infantry. 114 . say. The caustic effects on any human or animal target would have been extremely unpleasant. And the Mongols were. however. a kind of firecracker was also in use. almost without exception. These were decidedly handguns. This type of firecracker explosively spread lime into a chemical fog on the battlefield and in sieges. By the time of the Mongol invasion of Japan. sinew and wood that gave it tremendous power. but by 1000CE Chinese warriors were certainly using a kind of flamethrower on the battlefield — probably something like the “Greek fire” used by the Byzantine Empire. and the Mongols always had an elite force of heavy cavalry. experts. these chemical firecrackers had developed to the point where they did explode properly with a loud bang and lots of smoke. These couldn’t have been that safe for the users! It’s another hundred years or so before something that is recognisably a firearm appears. and in this the Mongols were well served by their sturdy ponies and compound bows. and so could be used from horseback. Just over 100 years later. and yet it had very impressive range: a good bowman could easily send an arrow 300 yards. easily more effective than the English longbow and the asymmetric bow of the samurai.This way of fighting still needed close combat troops. not to mention difficult to treat. if only because of the awful shock it gave to the samurai and the sheer indiscriminate danger of using the stuff! The origins of gunpowder as a weapon are largely unknown. it was built up of layers of horn. making it one of the earliest chemical weapons in the world. made it an accurate weapon in the hands of an expert. was copied from the Muslims and above all the Chinese. All of these tactics required the right weapons and equipment. It isn’t known whether or not they included pieces of iron or stone to give a fragmentation effect or just relied on the concussive effects of the explosion. but rather primitive and probably just as dangerous to the user as the earlier weapons! At the same time. Gunpowder It’s worth considering gunpowder as a separate subject. and the Mongols were fine stockmen as well as cavalrymen. Chinese soldiers were using bamboo tubes filled with an incendiary powder. The compound bow relied on the speed an arrow was released for its killing power — not on the weight of the arrow. They rapidly learned new tricks and techniques from the people they conquered and adapted well to. Their job was the same as any other shock force: to ride down enemies already on the edge of defeat and kill them.

but that its use as a propellant for missile weapons can be traced back the Middle East and the Muslims. Or it could be that the Mongols were simply secure enough in their Empire not to worry about any attackers reaching their cities. defended Peking. and quite understandably gave the samurai a nasty surprise when they first encountered them. Oddly. This may be an indication that gunpowder itself was a Chinese invention.cannon fire or other artillery. but only an earth rampart and two inner walls. when it came to fortifications.Either way. although whether it was a crossbow. on a thirteenth century battlefield the huo-p’ao grenades were dangerous weapons. and this seems to have been some sort of grenade launcher that threw iron powder-filled grenades. The Mongols certainly used stone-throwing artillery against the Sung cities. rather than more substantial fortifications. for example. The efficient use of even quite primitive artillery could have smashed a hole for an assault force to enter. of course. 115 . There are also sources that mention something called the hui-hui p’ao. assuming that an enemy ever reached the city. Kublai Khan didn’t appear to pay much attention to the need to defend against explosives.or gunpowder-based launcher isn’t clear.

withdraw and repeat this cycle as often as needed. although they are not really intended to fight in hand to hand combat. Once that’s spent. They are best used to attack infantry formations and to ride down units that are already on the point of breaking. They are neither heavily armed nor armoured and cannot fight at all well in a melee. They are created offmap and shipped in by convoys from the mainland. shields and a sword. Mongol Heavy Cavalry Mongol Heavy Cavalry have the traditional role of “nobility” on the battlefield: the breaking of lesser troops through shock and impact. Mongol Skirmishers Skirmishers are heavily armoured troops who carry javelins. But remember that the pool of available warriors in China and Mongolia is not bottomless.Mongol Military Units in Shogun: Total War Mongol units are not built in the same fashion as Japanese units. attack. Strictly speaking. but the skirmishers can only carry three “rounds” apiece. They are all skilled archers and excellent horsemen. the skirmishers are unlikely to be ethnic Mongols. 116 . The best use for skirmishers is to attack units with a hail of javelins. They are intended to harass and ambush enemies and are ideally suited to the hit-and-run tactics favoured on the battlefield by the Mongols. but are most probably Chinese levies. Their superior manoeuvrability gives them the ability to mass swiftly. they generally pull back. All superb horsemen. Their javelins can be devastating weapons. these heavy cavalry are heavily armed with spears and well protected by armour and shields. Mongol Light Cavalry These are the archetypical nomad warriors. while their armour allows them to survive (in theory) any returned missile fire. as they made up a substantial proportion of Kublai Khan’s armies. The number and type of units that can be created depends on the map areas controlled by the Mongols.

they found that it was a weapon with its own particular set of advantages and drawbacks. a good defensive force against cavalry. Unlike a bow. Virtually anyone can be taught to use a crossbow. In terms of quality. like Japanese spearmen. The laborious process of cocking and loading a crossbow makes sure of that. Grenades can also be a bit wayward (to put it kindly) in use. it can be slow and clumsy to fire. These troops are well able if deployed in a melee. Thunder-bombers The grenades carried by the Thunder-bombers need nerve and skill to use properly — or a complete lack of fear and common sense! These grenadiers can be devastating. Mongol Guardsmen (Chinese) Guardsmen are the assault infantry units available to the Mongols. Unlike a bow. they are not as good as samurai spearmen but can be relied on to give a good account of themselves in most circumstances. They are also very vulnerable in melee and will be rapidly overwhelmed by any enemy unit that manages to close with them. but will take casualties closing with missile troops of any kind. providing he’s strong enough to cock it. a crossbow doesn’t require long training for the user.Mongol Spearmen Mongol spearmen are. and there’s no guarantee that only the enemy targets will be blown to bits! The Thunderbombers could easily blow themselves or nearby friendly units to pieces as well. or continual practice to maintain skill and strength. Although relatively slow moving. 117 . As with other peoples. but their explosive weapons have a very short range. however. Japanese Units in the Mongol Campaigns Ashigaru Crossbowmen The crossbow was a Chinese weapon that the Japanese copied and used from time to time.5 metres in length. stirrups and clever chain mechanisms to make this process really easy. This is a broad-bladed cutting weapon on a pole anything up to 2. but it isn’t quite as effective as the samurai naginata. and there are numerous levers. they are better armed and equipped than the Spearmen and are armed with a large glaive-like pole arm.

Mongol Battles in Shogun: Total War The Mongol battles in Shogun: Total War — The Mongol Invasion are all based on the “what if…” principle outlined earlier. The obvious implication of this is that the samurai don’t have gunpowder weapons of their own. In 1592 Toyotomi Hideyoshi had defeated all his enemies at home and turned his gaze towards the Asian mainland. Imjin. If other troops manage to close with them. The resulting battle was a clash of war-making styles as much as a clash of arms. After attacking the small islands of Tsushima and Iki. Ninja and Ashigaru Spearmen. The samurai fought superbly. the samurai can’t build Warrior Monks. The Japanese can’t build these units or the buildings that produce them in this period. the highly disciplined Mongols came ashore to be met by an army where personal honour was all that mattered to a samurai.Ashigaru Crossbowmen are cheap to produce but they can only be raised where there is a Bow Dojo. the Ashigaru Crossbowmen will perish in large numbers! “Missing” Units: Ashigaru Arquebusiers. The Mongols were thrown back after only a day or so. Japanese armies don’t include any Arquebusier or Musketeer units. The Mongol campaigns and battles take place some 300 years before the Sengoku period of Japanese history and the arrival of European firearms in Japan. as ever. 1594 This battle is included purely as a bonus! Enjoy! The set-piece battle presented here represents the many fights that took place during the Japanese invasion. As a result. Fukuoka. He had in mind the creation of a new Japanese empire and. who had previously never seen any kind of practical gunpowder weaponry. he launched an invasion of Korea. with this in mind. Musketeers and Others The Mongols’ grenadiers came as a nasty surprise to the samurai. 118 . There are also other unit types available in Shogun: Total War that are unavailable to the samurai when facing the Mongols. on land. 1274 The first invasion of Japan took place in 1274 on the main island of Kyushu. leading some commentators to speculate on whether this was an invasion or just a reconnaissance in force. They are fairly deadly missile troops (even if their rate of fire is a little slow). mastering every Korean army that came against them. but far from effective in melee. In addition to gunpowder-equipped troops.

1274 The following “what if” battles are a path that history did not take. the weather — the kamikaze or “divine wind” — wrecked the Mongol invasion fleet. if not downright impossible. 1274 After a string of defeats. 1274 With the sea crossing behind them. the samurai turned to face the Mongols once more. In 1274 the Mongols withdrew from Japan after only a short campaign. His samurai were eventually defeated by a combination of Korean naval superiority and constant guerrilla warfare. and in 1281. 1274 With their forces ashore in Kyushu. that the weather remained good enough for sea crossings and that over the ensuing weeks more and more Mongol warriors and their Chinese and Korean auxiliaries followed. The Campaign of Kublai Khan. however. there was nothing between the Mongols and Kyoto… Nara. it was only a matter of time before the remaining Japanese islands were invaded. who knows how many more samurai were coming to push them back into the sea? Fushimi. and pursued the reeling samurai relentlessly. before Toyotomi Hideyoshi realised that winning battles was not enough to conquer Korea. But just suppose that. they would have to fight their way up into the hills and secure a base for further conquest… If they delayed. If the samurai lost this battle. the Japanese were driven back to the fortress of Nara. in 1274 (in this case). knowing that defeat here would mean the loss of yet another castle — and bring the day when Japan ceased to exist even closer… 119 . a Mongol invasion landed in Japan and stayed. With only a portion of the Mongol army disembarked.It was to take many years of bloody fighting. The Great Khan and his soldiers didn’t hesitate. the Mongol army was so frightful that its advance reached Fushimi before it was intercepted with great numbers of samurai. to bring troops from Korea. After all. But it could have been very different: usually the Mongols only stopped attacking when all their enemies were dead or beaten into submission. the Mongols had every reason to be confident of victory in the coming campaign against the samurai. With few options remaining. catching up with their enemies at the gates of the fortress. The Mongols had to keep moving before autumn and winter weather made it difficult. Japan could have ended up as just another Yuan dynasty province… Hakata Bay. had they not conquered China? What they weren’t expecting was quite such a swift and effective reaction from the Japanese. Although opposed all the way.

crops rotted in the fields as peasants fled and the misery of famine was added to all the others that Japan suffered. The last battle for the soul of Japan would take place on truly favourable ground: the sacred slopes of Mount Fuji… 120 . With the turn of the year. 1275 The Mongol invaders pressed ever deeper into the heartland of Japan. Worsening weather brought a little respite. As autumn came. as the clan armies proved unable to match their ferocity. the Emperor and shogun finally persuaded the Hojo regent to make a final stand on ground where the samurai would have the best chance of victory.Mount Fuji. as the Mongols could no longer rely on reinforcements getting through by sea.

Peasant troops recruited into a daimyo’s service. even fanatical. A class of professional women trained from adolescence in conversation. and were therefore a badge of samurai rank Body armour worn by a samurai. ‘light feet’. Armed peasant league.GLOSSARY Arquebus Ashigaru Matchlock gun. ‘Single-minded League’ – 15th century militant. “the low oppress the high.” The historical trend for Japanese peasants and other lower classes to overthrow their rulers. Literally. Often fought with little or no armour. footwear or weaponry until they could be looted from the enemy. Bushido Daimyo Dai-sho Do Dojo Geisha Gekokujo Hara-kiri Hatamoto Ikki Ikko-ikki Junshi Kanashi Katana 121 . slightly curved sword that was considered the ‘soul of the samurai’. Often carried together with the wakizashi. Literally. A long. Ritual suicide by cutting into the stomach A daimyo’s personal bodyguard. also called “teppo” in Japan. dancing and singing for the entertainment of men. but the term also came to mean rioting mobs. two-handed. Introduced in 1543 by the Portuguese. literally “one who aspires to something better” The long (katana) and short (wakizashi) swords that could only be carried by a samurai. These mobs usually acquired a degree of political power through their military activities. the katana was used as both shield and sword due to its superior strength and cutting edge gained through the meticulous construction process. The act of suicide committed by a loyal retainer or servant following the death of their lord. religious group. ‘The Way of the Warrior’ A powerful feudal land owner. The act of suicide committed in protest. A place for the formal teaching of martial arts ‘Art person’.

Kengo A master swordsman. ‘Body armour of the southern barbarians’. fitted with curved single-edged blade. ‘Southern barbarians’. Shogun: Total War is set during this period. Simple. A very heavy and long sword which was about 25 percent longer than an average sword. Both male and female ninjas existed. Female ninja – often posed as dancers or entertainers (ie. mass produced armour worn by the ashigaru. Name given to westerners who arrived in the 1540’s. Often had the mon of the clan or family on it. Assassins and spies: practitioners of the Art of Invisibility. Expert in the use of weapons but also skilled in use of poisons and explosives. Family crests. Measurement of wealth. fitted to the back of the armour. Member of the warrior class. Much of the samurai tradition was established during this time. Bulletproof armour adapted from European armour. Identifying banner. Pole-arm. Considered an honorary death by the samurai class. Ninja that were particularly adept at the art of spying or scouting instead of assasination Koku Kunoichi Mon Naginata Nanban-do Nanbanjin Ninja No-Dachi Okegawa do Ronin Samurai Sashimono Sengoku Jidai Seppuku Shinobi 122 . Geisha). Kengo usually went on a musha shugyo or ‘warrior pilgrimage’ to improve their skills. warrior in daimyo’s service. If this had the daimyo’s mon on the front it became known as okashi gusoku (honorable loan armour). (the period from 1457 to 1615). usually defined as the amount of rice needed to feed a man for a year. ‘Age of the Country at War’. Literally ‘wave men’ – samurai without a ruling lord. Modified in later years to allow the presence of a second who cut off the victim’s head at the moment of agony. Any form of ritual suicide.

The hereditary commander of the Japanese army who. General on the field of battle. The rank to which all daimyos aspired. Commonly known as warrior monks but some were thought to be non-ordained warriors recruited by the temples. The lengths varied depending on the individual daimyo’s preference but averaged around 5 metres. kabuto (helmet). eboshi (cap). ‘Priest Soldiers’. sode (shoulder guards) and Hoate (face mask). suneate (leg armour). Worn by both samurai (with a katana) and ashigaru.Shogun Abbreviated form of Sei-I-Tai Shogun (‘barbarian subduing general’). Sohei Taisho Tameshi Gusoku Wakizashi Yari Yoroi 123 . Of the many armour types. (which is not necessarily the same as bullet proof armour!) Sword 30 to 61cm (1-2ft) long. tsurubashiri (breastplate). until the revolution of 1867. Sold with dents as proof of its effectiveness. this is the classic samurai armour which consisted mainly of the do (body armour). Bullet tested armour. Spears used as defensive weapons. exercised absolute rule under the nominal leadership of the emperor.

124 . All rights reserved.Software ©2001 Dreamtime Interactive Pty Ltd. Documentation © 2001 Electronic Arts Inc. Shogun: Total War and the Total War logo are trademarks of Dreamtime Interactive Pty Ltd.

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