Pre-Samurai Japanese DBA Army III 7ab
I have taken the plunge and ordered Khurasan Miniatures figures for a DBA Pre-Samurai Japanese (III 7 a and b).
The DBA Army list shows these years:
The years then listed in DBA have it broken down essentially before a big reform movement in 644 and after. Japan really became quite different after the reforms, although as many point out, hardly overnight.
Here is a link discussing the Taika Reforms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taika_Reform
The A list would be in the Kofun Era mainly. Kohun begins around 250 AD and goes up to 538 AD. Kofun refers to the megalithic tumulus burial mounds which characterize the era. Megalithic means these things are honkin huge! It’s so big there are videos showing it from space. One of those videos I have put in my VodPod list on the right of my blog here. Check it out.
Here is a picture of the largest one located in modern-day Osaka Prefecture:
538 is the year Buddhism was introduced into Japan so that when we go from the Kofun period to the Asuka period. The previous indigenous Shinto religion existed concurrently with Buddhism and remains so even today.
That change heralds the Asuka period which then runs from 538 AD to 710. Both the Kofun and Asuka periods are collectively part of the Yamato clan ruling structure. So you will hear it mentioned as the Yamato period as well.
Years and names of periods can make your eyeballs glaze over rapidly, but behind the numbers is some of the most intriguing military and cultural history you will ever find. From a conceptual angle, the primary attitude adjustment to make was realizing with Pre-Samurai Japanese is that they are NOT Samurai. They were not unrefined Samurai or inferior from a martial perspective at all.
The military was based around horse and bow. Indeed the military training and skill needed to be proficient at archery is every bit as intensive and an art form as that of training with the blade. You could easily make the argument bow is more difficult to master at a like level.
A lot of people including Americans are very familiar with the term Bushido. Bushido mean the “Way of the Warrior.” But the concept of Bushido did not exist until after the Mongol invasions, in the 1260’s A.D. which caused a move to utilize the sword as a primary arm. Before that, the concept was instead, Kyuba no Michi or “The Way of Horse and Bow.”
The best link for Kofun period brief history is here: http://countrystudies.us/japan/6.htm
The Japanese turned archery into an art. Integrating martial training, philosophy and Zen Buddhism into the what could be considered the highest form of bow skills ever achieved! On the DBA table, they may be simply classified as 6 X 4 Bow, but these guys were far more than that! The bow skills on horseback are still demonstrated to this day in ritualistic displays called Yabusame! Note the Costumes Yabusame wear are hunting outfits. The Bow mounted nobles in the Kofun period were heavily armored as you will see in the Khurasan figures soon!
There are a lot of interesting details about the Yabusame, but I will let the videos suffice for now. Please click on my VodPod videos I’ve posted here about this. It gives you at least a glimpse of the skill no doubt present in the Japanese bow armies! Swords were a reaction to the fear of Mongol Invasions. They needed a more defensive formation which favored swords. But until that happened, the zenith of bow armies was no doubt achieved in the Asuka period!
As for my DBA Armies, the Mounted Noble and Mounted Archer figures are not yet quite ready. Khurasan Miniatures has been so kind as to let me use these pictures showing the greens from these wonderful looking figures:
Kharusan’s figures are modeled after essentially, the Late Kofun period. Good images from the Osprey book, The Samurai 200-1500AD, show where the inspiration for the models came from. The figures are just gorgeous, so wonderfully sculpted. I hope my painting skills are up to the task! It is so nice to have a place like Khurasan commissioning such wonderfully specific uniforms so we can represent them properly on the tabletop. Khurasan’s website is listed on the right side of my blog.
The pictures above were from June 2010, and I asked when the figures might be available. I have an order in for them as soon as the ready! Here is the response from him on Fanaticus forums about this:
They have been sitting at the casters since I got them, about two days after I posted those pics. They get my greens and then when my turn comes they make my moulds. I have little say in the process! I put the infantry and pavises, etc, up for sale first so that people can get a head start on painting them.
The armored Archers and Nobles of the Kofun and Asuka periods are very different from the Samurai armor that most conjure up in their minds when they think of Japanese warriors. The heavy armor was somewhat bell-shaped.
I just ordered the figs so do not have them yet, but am very excited due to the excellent reputation of Khurasan figures. The heavily armored archers are wonderfully accurate in their dress. Here are more pictures used with permission from Khursan of their Pre-Samurai Army:
The More lightly armed versions could be retainers, or as is the case in the Osprey book, are very early Kofun period. I’m going to model the B version of the army list with almost all heavily armored models as above, but am going to consider the B army to be right at the start of the period, 645AD so as to allow for this armor still. To make the A list feel different and more lightly armed as is seen in the Osprey book, I will have the vast majority of the bow be these guys:
The A list has 2 units of Aux (2 x 3AX) and the B list has 1 unit of 3AX. I am going to use these figures, again the more lightly armored ones for the A list and more heavily armored for the B:
The Artillery unit will be represented by the Khurasan T’ang multiple bolt shooter model which is just wonderful:
Of course I will have to recrew the Arty but no big deal. The Artillery piece applicability is quite good. Quoting Tony Aguilar’s post on Fanaticus regarding this he says,
About the Oyumi it says:
war of 672. It fell into disuse due to lack of skilled maintenance.”Jinshin, was used with great effect in the oyumicrossbows called stand-mounrtedin 618. Artillery, mostly large Koguryowere handed over by artuillery”Captured Sui