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Samurai Archives Japanese History Podcast


May 16, 2011

In the 3rd episode of the Samurai Archives Podcast, your hosts tackle the history of the gun in Japan prior to and including the introduction of firearms by the Portuguese in the 1540's. Contrary to popular belief, and often overlooked by historians, guns did in fact make their way into Japan as early as the 1450's, mainly through Ryukyu or to mainland Japan via China and Korea. Although they remained more of an oddity or curio until they were mass produced beginning in the 1540's, there are accounts of them in Japan long before the introduction by Western traders, which we present to you in this episode. And, for anyone who has ever wondered what the difference is between a musket, matchlock, and arquebus, we'll give you a concise explanation of the types of firearms in question.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Weapons & Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior 1200-1877 AD By Thomas, D Conlan, Amber Books Ltd, 2008

Uezato, Takashi, Ryûkyû no kaki ni tsuite (On Ryukyu's Firearms) Okinawa Bunka, No. 36, pp73-92, July 2000

Oda Nobunaga Rekishi Gunzo Series #1 GAKKEN, 1996

Etheridge, Charles, Reinventing the Sword: A Cultural Comparison of the Development of the Sword in Response to the Advent of Firearms in Spain and Japan. (Thesis) LA State University, 2007

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