Early Japanese horseman reconstructed from the Inariyama Kofun, Saitama

(500 BC - 500 AD)
(DBA I/64 Variant)

by Andreas Johansson

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This variant DBA list is a fairly straightforward adaption of the DBMM list, and the notes here are based on those of its prototype. Comments by those with deeper knowledge of the period would be appreciated!

I/64 Early Japanese, 500BC-500AD.
Hilly. Ag: 1 before 275 AD. then 2. E = I/64, II/75, 76, 77. A = II/75
(a) Yayoi culture 500BC-274AD: 1x3Bw or 4Bd or 3Ax (Gen), 3x4Bd,
1x3Ax, 2x3Ax or 4Pk, 6x3Bw or 2Ps
(b) Kofun culture 275-407AD: 1x3Bw (Gen), 7x3Bw, 4x4Pk
(c) Kofun culture 408-500AD: 1x3Bw or 3Cv or 3Kn (Gen), 7x3Bw, 4x4Pk

During the Yayoi period, Japan was divided into over a hundred statelets, according to Chinese sources. Warriors were armed with a mixture of dagger-axes, spears, and bows, with the bows probably being the most common, but certain regions appear to have preferred the
sling. Dagger-axe-men are naturally graded as Bd, spearmen as Ax as they are presumed not to have fought in shieldwall style. In the DBMM list, Bw represent archers and Ps are slingers, but depicting Ps as skirmishing archers should be quite appropriate too. One element of
3Bw could be 3Cb instead to reflect the very few crossbowmen allowed in the DBMM list.

The option for Pk instead of Ax reflects the use by some warriors of huge shields, presumably associated with a more static fighting style. Some Bw could be depicted with the same shields, but without affecting classification.

Kofun Warrior

During the Kofun period, Japan (except the far north) was gradually unified. The nobles and their retainers now fought as armoured archers with pavises, while levy types were worse protected, if at all. Pk represent spearmen, now universally with pavise. The dagger-axe and the sling seemingly went out of use.

Small numbers of cavalry were introduced towards the end of the period. Most were armoured horse archers (represented as 3Cv), but some used horse armour and may have imitated Korean cataphracts (represented as 3Kn).

Note: Classification of spear-and-pavise troops as Pk may not be ideal in DBA - it makes them quite vulnerable to archery, for one thing, and that's presumably precisely what the pavises were protecting them from. It's however consistent with how similar troops are treated in other list (eg., Sumerians), and they're at least no more vulnerable to arrows than what they'd be as Ax. Still, if you feel they'd be better represented as Sp, nobody, least of all I, is going to stop you!

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Essay by Andreas Johansson.
Feedback welcome to Chris Brantley at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.

Last Updated: 18 August 2015