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 Stephen Turnbull draws on previously untranslated Japanese sources and unpublished illustrations that show the range of ashigaru activity, from sailors to catapult artillery men as well as the disciplined ranks of warriors that they had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