A richly illustrated study of the origins, recruitment, training, and combat of the ashigaru, a vital element of samurai armies.

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.
Drawing on previously untranslated Japanese sources, Stephen Turnbull examines the origins, recruitment, training and use in war of the ashigaru. He surveys the range of ashigaru activity, including their roles as sailors and catapult artillery men as well as the disciplined ranks of warriors that they had become. Illustrated throughout with specially commissioned artwork and previously unpublished illustrations, this book tells the story of the ashigaru for the first time.

Table of Contents

The ashigaru: a historical survey
Ashigaru recruitment
Organisation and command
Campaign life of the ashigaru
The ashigaru's experience of battle
Museum collections
Bibliography and further reading
Chronology of the ashigaru
The plates

Product details

Published Dec 21 2023
Format Ebook (PDF)
Edition 1st
Extent 64
ISBN 9781472866288
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 70 black and white photographs and 10 original colour artworks
Series Warrior
Short code WAR 29
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Stephen Turnbull

Stephen Turnbull is widely recognised as the world…


Howard Gerrard

Howard Gerrard studied at the Wallasey School of A…


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