This brief history of the Samurai Wars tells the story of the feudal samurai warrior knights of medieval Japan.
Like the chivalry of medieval Europe, the samurai had their origins in the 8th to 10th centuries AD. For several centuries, the samurai formed an exclusive military caste, dominant on the battlefield, where they fought mainly as armoured horse-archers. Then, with the outbreak of the Onin War in 1467, Japan descended into 150 years of civil war, as rival regional magnates (daimyo) waged a relentless struggle for power.
Samurai armies swelled in size and were strengthened with new auxiliary troops, new weapons like hand-guns, and new tactics appropriate to infantry action and combined-arms operations. It was nothing less than a revolution in warfare comparable with that in contemporary 16th century Europe.
In association with Intel and Total War: Shogun 2, a new computer game based on this period of samurai warfare, we asked leading expert Professor Stephen Turnbull, who was a key consultant in the development of the game, to provide detailed background information.
In this special magazine, we offer a history of events for the entire period, an analysis of a classic samurai battle, and key notes on specialist warriors and weapons of the period.
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