A single arrow is easily snapped, but not ten in a bundle.

— Japanese saying

Bow Ashigaru: Vital Statistics

Unit type

Mercenary light infantry

Age Available

Castle Age

Trained At


Production Cost

  • Pop cost: 1
  • Resource cost: 16Food
  • Ramp cost: 1Coin




  • Medium
  • Medium L.O.S.

Hit Points

  • Low health
  • Minimal Armour


  • Movement Speed: Somewhat slow
  • Creation Speed: Very Fast

Technological Requirements/Upgrades

  • Library:
    • Level 3 Pecunia (Linguistics)
    • Level 2 Militiae (Mercenaries)

Available To


The next step in Japan's mercenary like, Bow Ashigaru are the upgrade of Ronin Archers, having lightly better stats, but still losing out to normal Dark Age archers as a proper archery unit. Their main draw is that they are easily trained; like all mercenaries they have a speedy training time, but they mostly cost food, and a minimal amount of wealth. Although this seems rather odd at first, you will then realise that there is an advantage is this: a large archery component can be amassed fairly easily. As food is a fairly easy resource to obtain in the mid-game period, there should be no problems in creating a well-balanced army to take out whatever enemies may be facing you. Although the English have good bowmen and the Muslims often train hardened Heavy Archers, none of them will be capable of facing the blizzard of arrows that your numerically superior forces can rain down on them. Just supplement your Bow Ashigaru with Lancers and Saburai, and you should have no problems.

Although modern contemporary culture considers the Samurai as the most important units in the Shogunate-era armies of Japan, ashigaru are often ignored today as they were scorned in previous centuries, despite playing roles no less important than those of the elite Samurai, from the role of batmen and common labourers all the way to siege machinery operation and frontline combat (although thanks to Creative Assembly's Total War series this might have been reversed). Perhaps this was due to the fact that for many centuries before the arrival of gunpowder, battle consisted of duels and skirmishing by Samurai (who were armed with bows and either on foot or on horseback), before boiling down to fullscale bloodshed. The introduction of firearms and an increased intensity in the scale of wars and battles after the Kamakura period however meant that ashigaru could no longer be effectively ignored and wise commanders learnt to be more considerate towards them. Nevertheless, this initial lack of consideration is reflected in how Rise of Kings depicts ashigaru: as lacking in proper armour and weapons.

Unit summaryEdit

  • Light missile infantry mercenary, costing mostly food, and a minimal amount of wealth but weaker against other archer units.
  • Will Work For Food — Because they cost mostly food, a large number of Bow Ashigaru can be amassed fairly easily since food is a fairly easy resource to obtain in the Castle Age.
  • Team Work — Bow Ashigaru like archers are best teamed up with other units, since they are rather weak against other archers and melee cavalry.


Ashigaru in Rise of Kings: Chronicles do not wear jingasa, because jingasa were not standard issue until the mid-16th century CE, well after the historical period covered. Japanese mercenary artillerists however may be seen wearing the jingasa.


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