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Ashigaru 1467–1649

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64 Pages

Author: Stephen Turnbull

Illustrator: Howard Gerrard

Publication Date: 25 Mar 2001

Number of Pages: 64

The Ashigaru were the foot soldiers of old Japan. Although recruited first to swell an army's numbers and paid only by loot, the samurai began to realise their worth, particularly with Arquebuses and spears, until well-trained Ashigaru made up a vital part of any samurai army.

This book tells the story of the Ashigaru for the first time, their origins, recruitment training and use in war.

Stephen Turnbull draws on previously untranslated Japanese sources and unpublished illustrations that show the range of Ashigaru activity, from sailors to catapult artillery men as well as the disciplined ranks of warriors that they had become.

Biographical Note

Stephen Turnbull took his first degree at Cambridge University and received a PhD from Leeds University for his work on Japanese religious history. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the Far East and also runs a well-used picture library.

His work has been recognised by the awarding of the Canon Prize of the British Association for Japanese Studies and a Japan Festival Literary Award. He is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Leeds.

Howard Gerrard studied at the Wallasey School of Art and has been a freelance designer and illustrator for over 20 years. He has won both the Society of British Aerospace Companies Award and the Wilkinson Sword Trophy and has illustrated a number of books for Osprey including Campaign 69: ‘Nagashino 1575' and Campaign 72: ‘Jutland 1916'. Howard lives and works in Kent.


  • The Ashigaru: A Historical Survey
The rise of Ashigaru Ashigaru earn armour Nobunaga shows the way forward Toyotomi Hideyoshi
  • Ashigaru Recruitment
The call to arms Permanent units Rapid response units
  • Organisation and Command
Weapon specialisation Spearmen Serving a samurai Signals and flag bearers
  • Campaign Life Of The Ashigaru
Horses Looting Civilian casualties Field remedies
  • The Ashigaru's Experience Of Battle

Arquebus troops Hand to hand fighting Archery squads Spearmen Spear carriers and standard bearers

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Ashigaru 1467–1649
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