Ashigaru were foot-soldiers employed by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The first known reference to ashigaru was in the 14th century, but it was during the Ashikaga shogunate – Muromachi period that the use of ashigaru became prevalent by various warring factions.
Due to its proximity with China, Japan had long been familiar with gunpowder weaponry. Firearms seem to have first appeared in Japan around 1270, as primitive metal tubes invented in China and called teppo ("iron cannon") seem to have been introduced in Japan as well.
These weapons were very basic, as they had no trigger or sights, and could not bear comparison with the more advanced European weapons which were introduced in Japan more than 250 years later.
The first documented introduction of the matchlock which became known as the tanegashima was through the Portuguese in 1543. The tanegashima seems to have been based on snap matchlocks that were produced in the armory of Malacca in Portuguese Malacca, which was captured by the Portuguese in 1511. The name tanegashima came from the island where a Chinese junk with Portuguese adventurers on board was driven to anchor by a storm. The lord of the Japanese island Tanegashima Tokitaka, purchased two matchlock muskets from the Portuguese and put a swordsmith to work in copying the matchlock barrel and firing mechanism. Within a few years the use of the tanegashima in battle forever changed the way war was fought in Japan. From 1560, firearms were used in large battles in Japan.
Normal hand*1 pair
Fist hand*1 pair
Hold gun hands*1 pair
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