Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bow and Musket in Japanese warfare.



The first images picturing the distinct Japanese asymmetrical longbow date from the Yayoi period (ca. 500 BC–300 AD). The first written document describing Japanese archery is the Chinese chronicle Weishu (dated around 297 AD), which tells how in the Japanese isles people use "a wooden bow that is short from the bottom and long from the top." The bow was used a a weapon of war as well as for hunting. 
 

When the Portuguese arrived in Japan in 1543, they brought with them muskets or harquebuse. Within 20 years the Japanese blacksmith were able to manufacture their own muskets usually called tanegashima.



The bow kept being used alongside the tanegashima for quite a while because of its longer reach and accuracy and mostly because its highly superior rate of fire. A good archer could fire 30 to 40 arrows during the time it took a musketeer to reload his musket. 
 


However, it was much easier and faster to train a musketeer than it was to train an archer. This allowed Oda Nobunaga (and his ally Tokugawa Ieyasu) to annihilate the traditional samurai archer cavalry army of the Takeda clan with an army mostly consisting of peasants armed with tanegashima in 1575 at the Battle of Nagashino.




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