Monday, August 8, 2011

Of Teppos & Tanegashimas.

I've always been interested in the existence of Sengoku Jidai era firearms. I think this comes from watching James Michener's Shogun miniseries a bunch as a kid. And to think that it didn't jade me for life!
Really though, much of the remaining interest and spur for research was the game Shogun: Total War. Anyone who has ever played it, and used Musketeers to mow down whole rows of Heavy Cavalry knows what I am talking about.
Because Medieval: Total War would not run on my computer, I was forced to install the more obsolete Shogun, and thus the revival of interest in the subject. I found these two great illustration of what the poster says is Samurai firing Teppo. They honestly look like Ashigaru to me, but I'm certainly no expert, and I know that Ashigaru actually were the lowest class of Samurai at one point or another, so it's not as clear cut as you would think.

3 comments:

Dave Bone said...

It's not always easy to distinguish samurai from ashigaru on the battlefield. More likely, there is one samurai among the ashigaru acting as officer.

By the way, ashigaru aren't / weren't the lowest class of samurai. Ashigaru are common soldiers recruited from the masses - these were the bulk of the armies of the sengoku jidai. However, the officer above would most likely be ashigaru nikutai - a sort of sergeant.

CounterFett said...

I think it was during the invasion of Korea that they 'promoted' Ashigaru. At leas ti think I read that in that Osprey book. I don't speak Japanese at all, so my grasp of such thing is pretty tenuous.

The only things my brain seems to want to remember is the weapon terms. Which, knowing me, sort of makes sense.

paws4thot said...

I'd agree with Dave that the musketeers (and any riflemen) were ashigaru and not samurai.

in fact, as a point of history, these firearm troops were disliked by the samurai, so much so that the Shogun of the day eventually banned firearms, precisely because they had little training, and could kill a samurai who had decades of training.

Also, while I'm not clear on whether the ashiguru mikutai were sergeants ot warrant officers, they were not samurai until and unless they received the grants of rice and/or land and peasants to work it that enabled them to devote themsleves to weapons training full time.