There were 2 types of firearms that samurai’s in japan became most commonly associated with, these were cannons, and tanegashima (Japanese matchlock).
Cannon’s were used to protect castle walls from intruders and served as a means of protection for castles as well as ships. They were transported during military battles, to fire against opposing armies and cities. Used extensively around the period of the 1570’s, while there were huge amounts of conflict between Eastern and Western families and clans.
Japanese gunsmiths created lots of tanegashima to meet the demand for ever greater and effective armies by many of the warlords across regions of Japan. This allowed warlords to train peasants’ ineffective fighting strategies, cheaply and quickly.
Japanese firearms and weapons history came from the period of warring states
The history of firearms and weapons in Japan began with the introduction of firearms by the Portuguese, who arrived on the island in 1543.
The Japanese had known about gunpowder for centuries though they were not aware that it could be used for military purposes. The Japanese had experienced the use of cannon since 1543, but they didn’t believe in its usefulness until 1549 when Ieyasu Tokugawa became Shogun. Tokugawa introduced firearms to Japan and developed land mines made from bamboo tubes filled with black powder.
Tokugawa managed to unite his country after a century of warring states, consolidating his power with firearms and gunpowder.
The Three Swords & The End of Individual Combat with Bow & Arrow
In the Warring States Period, three swords played a big role in the military. They were the ōdachi, Tachi, and katana. The ōdachi was a weapon for fighting from long distances and also for cutting down enemies from horseback. The Tachi was a sword specifically designed for close-combat. It had a shorter blade with a longer handle which made it easier to use during battles on foot. Finally, the katana was designed for single combat. It had a curved blade which made it hard to defend against and also hard to cut through armor with one strike, as opposed to other swords such as the tachi or ōdachi which could do so very easily due to their straight blades.
Japanese Firearm Laws during historical periods
Japan has a rich history of gun control law and is an interesting case study for firearms legislation.
Firearms control in Japan traces back to the 15th century. The Japanese saw firearms as a threat to their power and banned them from the country. However, in 1868 when Japan was preparing for war with Russia, they lifted the ban on them in order to develop their own weapons. Japan still remains one of three countries with almost no private ownership of firearms today and it has one of the lowest rates of homicide and accidental firearms deaths in the world.
The Japanese culture and religion contributed greatly to this strict regulation on firearms in Japan. Japan is one of the few developed countries in the world that does not have an army. The Japanese consider themselves pacifists and do not feel that they need protection from firearms, which is reflected by their low rate of homicides or accidental deaths by firearms even today despite being surrounded by potential enemies.