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Topics in Military History

問答 mondō Q&A

論文 Essays
Q&A Part I [Espionage and Shinobi]

Q: Is it true that there were expert spies called ninja in Japan’s medieval times?

A: A. The employment of espionage and intelligence gathering in Japanese history is a fundamental premise, neither an assumption nor a hypothesis. The area of investigation is the... Read More


Mutōdori is a set of unarmed fighting skills designed to evade, and ultimately subdue, an attacker wielding a bladed weapon, primarily a long sword. It is without doubt the most... Read More


Q&A Part II [Ryūha 流派: Definition, Features, Secrets]

Q: How old are martial ryūha? When did they begin?

A: The first question should be about the meaning of the term ryūha, because it is often used freely these days, and without a clear understanding what it means. If I have to say in one word what ryūha means, it must be....Read More

"A Brief Explanation on the Evolution of Bushi Warfare"
For the uninformed reader, Japanese warriors were always covered with a unique type of body armor and wielded swords. This kind of view is highly inaccurate. Japanese premodern warfare, since the earliest times until the early Pax Tokugawa, has gone through constant change with occassional dramatic turning points.... Read More


Q&A Part III [Bushidō 武士道: Way of the Warrior]

Q: Bushidō is the Way of the Samurai, right?

A: If you are only looking at men who by the legal statutes of the Tokugawa military government were classed as"samurai," then the answer is yes. But the term itself does not refer specifically to samurai. So let me first expain this dissonance. Bushi of "Bushidō" is a historical term that... Read More

"Explosive Devices in Japanese Warfare"
Japanese warriors first encountered explosive devices, hand granades to be precise, in the late 12th century during the two Mongol failed invasions of the Japanese island of Kyūshū. A visual record by an eyewitness provides a vivid image of the handgranade. It obviously left an impression on the eyewitness artist, but not on Japanese warriors who... Read More