Japanese CIV should NOT have stone walls

Unlike RUS, throughout the Middle Ages, and even around the 18th century, the Japanese never mastered the technique of building stone walls.

The mainstream of the Japanese battlefield has always been wooden walls, castles, and fortresses built against mountains.

Some structures that look like stone walls actually have fundamental differences from the manufacturing principles of common stone walls in other parts of the world. They are built on mountains or highlands, or in other words, the so-called “stone walls” in Japan are equivalent to stones wrapping around mountains.

So I think in AOE4, in order to highlight the characteristics of CIV and follow history, Japanese CIV should not have stone walls, but they can be given special wooden walls similar to RUS.


This type of low wall with shooting holes is a typical Japanese style city defense.



I think Japan did have stone walls in the late medieval period. Correct me if I’m wrong.


Thing with Japanese castle and fortification structures is that it was the complete opposite to the western mindset of a defensive structure.

The japanese fortresses were designed with an offensive mindset, funneling the enemie through desired locations in order to inflict as much casualties as possible.

Which ment elevation was the key in japanese fortification.
You want have the keep elevated above the walls, and inner walls elevated above the outwalls, meaning that enemies scaling and coming pass the first set of walls, will be cought in a kill-zone between the outer and inner walls, and repeated again towards the keep itself.

So in a sense, the Japanese never really made traiditonal “stone” walls with normal masonry, that you would find other places in the world.

Another reason was Geographical reasons. Frequent earthquakes isn’t something regular masonry handles well.
This is why the design of Japanese stone walls was build differently, as the OP mentioned, more like stone wrapping around a mound.
Actually, the same principle to modern “Star-fortress” design applies when Cannons started making regular walls moot.
By making the walls around a mound, that could consist of gravel and dirt, you couldn’t just blast through the wall with cannonshot. As the whole ground behind the wall was elevated, and people behind the wall would still be protected by the higher grounds.
The walls main purposes was to keep the integridy of the mound itself and make it more difficult for invaders to scale.

Infact, the very fascinating part of japanese Masonry was the fact they didnt connect the stones with Mortar like regular masonry, but rather by stone-shaping, finding and shaping stones and fitting them togheter tightly like a puzzle.
Making them sit togheter naturally without the need of a third party component such as a Mortar.
While this made it far more difficult to build, the upside for this is that it would be far more, if not immune towards earthquakes that could damage the integridy.

The same princible was applied to their wooden structures to. By constructing buildings without the use of nails, but rahter perfectly cut pieces and joints, joining them togheter.
This allows for movement when the building shakes, but due to the shape and placement of the joints, they would naturally move back in to place, and thus the integridy of the structure would not be compromised.

This is why you can find 1000 year old castles and temples in japan that has survived countless of earthquakes and other natural disasters.

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The Japanese did use stone walls.

Although in the beginning, many Japanese “castles” of the medieval age were only wooden forts, with the passing of time in the Sengoku wars, there were already large complexes of labyrinthine walls made of stone and with the upper part with wooden beams. .

Finally, the practice of building stone walls officially began after the Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274. The Shogun considered that to prevent a 2nd invasion, a huge defensive wall complex should be built on the west coast of Japan. In fact, “the great wall of Japan” survives in various remains to this day, under the name “Genkō Bōrui”.

During the Sengoku era, they had fortresses called “Castle-town” with a large number of walls to create labyrinths. The most prominent example is Osaka Castle, but there are quite a few other examples of walled complexes, apart from the notable Keep.




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Imagine the unique skill for japanese +1 attack if build on elevation… But since we don’t have elevation bonus…

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those “stone walls” are more like retaining walls, using stones to warp mounds. and these “walls” can only be found around castles, never used to protect city.


Yeah @Hsiman4096 is correct if I remember correctly.


Well, technically they can’t be called retaining walls (Yōheki), because that’s done for natural land elevations. The Japanese literally “built” these Mounts, for defensive purposes, and then contained them with walls. In fact, I think the most accurate translation for Japanese defensive walls is “Earthworks” or Dorui in Japanese.


The Dorui, were defensive constructions, technically they were artificial elevations of land, with a trapezoidal edge of carved stones, and an interior of excavated earth. Unlike the European, African, Mesopotamian, Asian versions (practically almost the entire world); the Japanese did not develop mortar and lime, which is earth liquefied with lime to make it conform to the shape of the mold.

However, the fact that they did not use mortar and lime does not mean that they were not considered walls, just that “*they were weaker” and had to use a Trapezoidal shaped stone support base to contain the interior.

As a curious note: contrary to what some blogs say, Japanese castles or fortresses didn’t make their walls trapezoidal to be climbed, they simply “didn’t know the technology to make them straight as wll as wide”

On the other hand, there is also the term Ishigaki to refer to stone walls, but without filling, as if we were talking about a brick wall. Because they lacked the technology for straight lines to be longer than 2 meters, eartwork were prefered. Most stone walls in the Sengoku Era were part Earthworks or Dorui covered with precisely carved stones, which could also be referred to as Ishigaki, and they are the best known if we talk about the Sengoku Era.


Like the French and the English, not all the towns and farms were protected by walls, only their most important cities, but even so I don’t think we should take away the possibility of building stone walls (To the English and French hehe). On the other hand, in the game there is no building called “castle”, but the Keep, which must have buildable walls to be a castle, as shown in the English campaign. The Japanese had the “Dorui” as walls for their castles, and of the village castles, where samurai lived, there were barracks and other buildings apart from the keep. The most notable example is Edo Castle, so in theory I don’t see any problem with stone walls.

Regarding the defense of minor cities: Generally, “artificial moats” with water and small elevations were used to protect the edges of towns. If they had more money, they used stockades known as “”. The most important cities were usually on mountains, and only the areas where there were gates were walled. That’s not lacking in technology, it’s taking advantage of the terrain to your advantage.

Finally, there are at least 2 examples of exaggeratedly walled cities in Japan, in plain areas where the mountains could not be used: One of them was the city of Kamakura, of the Kamakura shogunate. Because by 1380 the city ceased to be the capital, many of the stones of the walls were used for other things, but the elevations remained. The other is in Kyoto, and was known as Odoi, and is estimated to be 22.5 km long. Due to the increase in the size of the city, most of the wall was lost, but its artificial elevation remained, in certain areas:

Medieval Kyoto wall1


Yes, the Genkō Bōrui, but it was not that high (2 to 3 meters), but it was long (20 kilometers), and it was intended to stop the Mongol cavalry from an expected invasion of the west coast. The long-awaited invasion lasted only a few days, since the Mongolian army was again destroyed by a hurricane (how lucky), so the wall was only used very little.

On the other hand, it must be commented, this wall “is underground” because Japan is an archipelago of volcanic islands, every year a layer of earth makes the surface level higher. Many old buildings are underground unless they were elevated or maintained. The parts of the wall in public view are usually “unearthed” areas. Also, during the Edo period (1615-1870) it was decided to use the carved stones from many areas of the wall to build other buildings or fortresses. Finally, the most probable schematization is this:

But it looks like this unearthed, and with many stones removed:

Photo: Imazu Stone Fortifications,Restored(left photo) and Raw(right photo)


Although the Japanese nowadays know how to use cement and mortar, it is something very recent, and here I leave a quote from wikipedia (https://ja-m-wikipedia-org.translate.goog/wiki/モルタル?_x_tr_sl=ja&_x_tr_tl= es&_x_tr_hl=es&_x_tr_pto=sc):

“Mortar came into wide use in Japan after the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. Through the Great Kanto Earthquake, the method of building mortar lath walls gradually spread, and during World War II, it was also used carried out fire prevention repairs using batten mortar for the purpose of fire prevention However, even this was of little use, and the result was a burned field, and the need for fireproof performance was strongly recognized in wooden houses, which was prescribed and spread nationwide under this legal standard.”

It must be considered that although weapons and agricultural technology or livestock can be transported to Japan and shown to merchants and scholars, architecture during much of the Middle Ages was an art that was considered “technical”, and not engineering. . It was considered a tradition, even family, or guild, and therefore the construction techniques were sometimes a secret of each country.

An architect could only improve if he traveled to another country and admired its wonders, and then returned to his own with the technique. But that did not happen in Japan, which was also one of the most isolated countries in the world and difficult to access. Consider above that after the Sengoku period (1470-1615), for 250 years, the country was isolated from foreign knowledge, except that which the Dutch brought to a small minority of dignitaries of the Tokugawa shogunate.

In addition, the shogunate itself prohibited any technological research that could be a danger to it. Only after the Meiji Restoration in 1868 were they able to acquire foreign technology, and not all of it.


Of course, aesthetically they should not be straight, but trapezoidal, so I suppose that the walls of the teaser are a Placeholder, just like the spearmen with Heavy Cavalry Lances. But I could be wrong. What should happen is that we should ask for them to be trapezoidal or sloped, like in Total War Shogun 2.


They probably will not be sloped, or if so it would ever be very, very slightly. The siege tower animations have to still work properly on Japanese walls.


If we respect history and have learned about the history of ancient Japanese weapons, then Japanese archers should also be very weak and have little power. Samurai should not appear as a powerful unit in the game. Samurai are just the bodyguards of nobles, good at private combat, and have little effect on the battlefield. If Japanese samurai were to be placed on the Asian battlefield, they would be beaten very badly. The Japanese cavalry should also be very weak, and their strength has not been proven on the battlefield outside of Japan. They were brutally beaten by cavalry from the Tang and Ming dynasties in Korea twice. In ancient times, both the Japanese and their horses were not tall, and one can imagine how powerful they were.



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The issue is multifold. It isn’t about the wall itself. I’ve gone on record saying that I’d be fully for them not having Stone Walls at all, and instead having something more appropriate.

However, if they are going to go the route of giving them a generic chinese wall, why not make new assets that give them a more japanese look? This is not something that I am hoping for just Japan, but every civilization in the game.

Think of Keeps. You’ll struggle to find real buildings that look like that, yet every civilization in AoE4 has the same structical base for a Keep, with a different “style”.

Do the same with walls. It is a AAA game and it is very cheap to make these kinds of models. There is just no excuse to exclude walls in asset-making.







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Japans are good. Devs makes Japans as England: most cared civ. I think Japan fans shouldnt make too much noise about walls. Ottoman landmarks are too bad. What do ottomans players do?


The key is not the angle of the stone wall, for example, most city walls in China are less than 90 degrees.

The key lies in whether the stone wall exists as an independent structure. If it is only built on the mountain, it can only be considered as an extension of the higher ground at best.

This is the essence of Japanese stone walls:

However, this is not truly a stone wall at all. It only wraps a layer of stone around the edge of the high ground. Another important reason is that there was a serious lack of brick making technology in ancient Japan. Therefore, you can see that until the Meiji Restoration, almost all of Japan’s domestic buildings, from royal to military to civilian, were made of wood.

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The brick and stone techniques of ancient Japanese may not even be as good as those of Africa and South America.

(The picture shows Greater Zimbabwe)image


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