Karl Friday, an internationally recognised authority on Japanese warriors, provides the first comprehensive study of the topic to be published in English. This work incorporates nearly twenty years of on-going research and draws on both new readings of primary sources and the most recent secondary scholarship.
It overturns many of the stereotypes that have dominated views of the period. Friday analyzes Heian -, Kamakura- and Nambokucho-period warfare from five thematic angles. He examines the principles that justified armed conflict, the mechanisms used to raise and deploy armed forces, the weapons available to early medieval warriors, the means by which they obtained them, and the techniques and customs of battle.
A thorough, accessible and informative review, this study highlights the complex casual relationships among the structures and sources of early medieval political power, technology, and the conduct of war.
'Friday's book is elegantly written, well informed on Japanese research, and backed by abundant quotes from the relevant original sources. His frequent comparisons with European history are well chosen, his arguments convincing.' - Monumenta Nipponica