Japanese Civilisation Concept

Japanese Civilisation Concept

Medieval Japan was known for it’s Archery. The Japanese Yumi was one of the best bows in the world and it did certainly outclass the English longbow.
Learning and mastering the bow was the most important thing for a Samurai.
The Japanese Yumi has an asymmetric design with the lower half being smaller than the upper one so it could be fired from horseback. This gives Japanese horse archers a greater range compared to most others.
The famous Katana didn’t get widespread adoption till after the end of the Middle Ages but during the Middle Ages most Samurai had a Tachi as sidearm, the predecessor of the Katana. And even to this day most highly valued historical Japanese swords are Tachi and not Katana.

Core gameplay

Japan always had the problem that they had low natural resources therefor they have little Economic bonuses.
But because of constant infighting they had well trained soldiers so they have unique technologies to improve every unit.

Civilisation Bonuses

  • Fishing Boat upgrades are free. They also cost 25% less wood.
  • Villagers equipped with Naginata get attack bonus against Cavalry (no AoE damage)
  • Villagers collect from Berries faster but unlike Delhi and Abbasides they don’t get more food out of them

Unique Units


  • Equipped with Naginata
  • Does large AoE damage
  • Bonus damage against cavalry
  • Weak armour and low HP
  • Available in Castle Age

Yumi Samurai

  • Infantry that attacks with bow at range and sword in melee
  • Higher melee damage than ranged damage
  • Slow rate of fire with high attack damage and range for an archer
  • No bonus against light
  • Counts as foot archer and is countered by Horseman
  • Counts as armoured and is countered by crossbows
  • Has base armour and decent HP
  • Costs Gold
  • Replaces Archer and Crossbow
  • Available in Feudal Age

Yabusame Samurai

  • Horse Archer with long range and armour
  • Same attack as Yumi Samurai but -1 range
  • Can’t shoot while moving
  • Counts as armoured and is countered by crossbows
  • Also armoured and decent HP
  • Replaces Knight
  • Available in Castle Age

Nodachi Samurai

  • Infantry with large sword (Nodachi is the larger variant of the Tachi)
  • Deals small area AoE damage
  • Counts as armoured and is countered by crossbows
  • Also armoured and decent HP
  • Faster but less armoured than normal Man-At-Arms (like palace guard)
  • Attack bonus against Light Infantry (Ranged and Melee)
  • Replaces Man-At-Arms
  • Available in Castle Age

Arquebus Ashigaru

  • Cheaper but weaker Hand Cannon
  • Replaces Hand Cannon
  • Available in Imperial Age

Generic units

  • Spearman (Maybe named Yari Ashigaru for consistency)
  • Horseman
  • All generic siege
  • No Culverin or Organ Gun

Unique Buildings


  • Slowly researches unique technologies for free
  • Can only be build once
  • All military buildings in the influence of the Dojo train 20% faster
  • Available in Feudal Age

Unique Technologies


  • +1 Range for Yumi and Yabusame Samurai


  • Increased melee attack damage of Yumi and Nodatchi Samurai
  • Nodachi Samurai do extra charge damage


  • Increases attack damage of Horseman, Sohei and Villagers


  • Increased attack speed for Spearman

Tangashima Arquebus

  • Reduces training time of Arquebus Ashigaru
  • Increases rate of fire of Arquebus Ashigaru


Japan has a strong military. Unlike any other civilisation they have an upgrade for every unit they can build (other than siege) but they leak economic bonuses.
Their strongest unit is the Yumi Samurai. They are more all round units than Archers or Crossbows because they don’t rely on bonus damage.

What are your thoughts?

Would it work to combine Archer and Crossbow in one unit?
Can the Knight be replaces with a ranged cavalry unit?
Are the economic bonuses too weak?
Are two melee AoE Infantry units too much?

I know this civilisation is a bit more unique than most AoE4 civilisations so far but I think some unit types just wouldn’t work for Japan. They neither had heavy lancers nor crossbows in any significant numbers.

The concept is not complete. Feel free to add your ideas.
But remember that we are talking about a Medieval Game so don’t suggest anything from 1550 or even later to be added in Feudal or Castle Age. People like to confuse Early Modern Japan with Medieval Japan.
Also as long as the game doesn’t have a stealth system we can’t have Ninjas.


Great post as always! I would love to have a horse archer with some actual range behind it. It would be such a fun callback to microing Stalkers in Starcraft2.

Personally I would add one or two more civilization bonuses. When working on my Teuton thread, I noticed there was about 5-7 unique civilization bonuses per faction. Perhaps you could include something in relation to military and an ability to fight better:
Japanese units move 10% faster when health is reduced below half
Japanese units attack 25% faster when health is reduced below half

That one would be useless because not all units in control group would be of same health.

Thats more like it.

Too many unique units this one can be just reskinned Russian/basic horse archer to make it easier.


Bette not Design a civ with the core idea of having uodraes for every unit I. E. Extra Pop efficient units with weaker eco.

We had that in aoe 3 Japan, we’re there units cost more but are stronger and it has been controversial for over a decade.

Keep the units balanced and in line, some strong, some average some weak instead of just one extreme.


Wow u gave this alot of thought… and i like it. Id rather japanese be unique like this or maybe even more so. I feel an hre smasher…
The archer/ swordsman would need to be able to at least be similar to maa (imo barely horribly) beats archers and spears.
The japanese historicaly did employ spears but for ig purposes… i feel like u said maybe the villagers or even another unique unit with a nodachi!! That should clean up the french horseman :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: and the hre swarms!

Since their economy is prob gonna suck [quote=“Skadidesu, post:1, topic:182045”]
Japan always had the problem that they had low natural resources therefor they have little Economic bonuses.
But because of constant infighting they had well trained soldiers [/quote]
I vote for a similar composite feel to the sc2 commander zeratul. Expensive units but stupid strong, loose one and it hurts bad! Requires more micro… which i suck at but i still vote for it! Lol i would love to see a more “attack move” capable civ

How about since their economy might be in tight restraints… and requires tons of micro mid-late game so as to not loose units- they have either cheap/free/or majorly reduced times on all upgrades… call it nuhi or zaibatsu.

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Me too but I’m open for more ideas.

This one could be interesting but only for melee units. Could be to exploitable for ranged, especially Cavalry Archers.

I don’t like how the Rus Cavalry Archer works right now. I think this unit should cost Gold.
I also hope that future civilisations can be more unique than the base 8, similar to how AoE3 did it.
In the end it’s up for the developers to decide. Testing both options seems to be a good idea. If a unique unit doesn’t work just reuse the skin and put it on the generic one.

I don’t think that’s the reason why Japan was controversial.

AoE2 and AoE3 already balanced civilisations with lower and higher unit costs pretty well in the past.

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For unit, I think something like this by reference from basic unit.
Separate unit into 2 type Ashigaru and Samurai type.
Ashigaru is weaker but cheaper than base unit stats.
Ex. Yari Ashigaru is little weaker than general spearman but little cheaper.
Samurai is stronger but more expensive than base unit stats.
Except for stable. Horse man is not Ashigaru but just horse man same as base stats.

For Barracks

  1. Yari Ashigaru (Spearman type)
  2. Samurai (Katna/Armor type)

For Archer range

  1. Yumi Ashigaru (Bowman)
  2. Yumi Samurai (This one has ability to fight in close combat but not good as Man-at-Arm base stats but better than other Bow unit)
  3. Arquebus Ashigaru [or matchlock Ashigaru] (Same as your)
    ps. Yumi maybe has same attack range as English longbow.

For Stable

  1. Horseman (Same as your) use spear
  2. Mounted Yari Samurai (Armor)
  3. Mounted Katana Samurai (Armor, move little faster than mounted yari samurai)

For Religion

  1. Men call shaman, if women call Miko (My personal favorite LOL🤣)

For Siege
I think can be same as other basic siege weapon.

About landmark.
Because Samurai has a lot of weapon to use. I think landmark building is dojo as your. It will allow player produce special unit base on dojo.

  1. First advancement. Choose between,
    1.1. Yari Dojo: Yari samurai, special for taking down horse.
    1.2. Naginata Dojo: Naginata samurai, add little bonus between vs. horse and unarmored.

  2. Second advancement. Choose between,
    2.1. Nodachi Dojo: Nodachi Samurai, weaker armor, counter armor unit
    2.2. Town Dojo: Onna bushi or Lady warrior, Use Naginata and has stats as Naginata samurai but gain bonus damage and when fighting close to own townhall.

  3. Third advancement. Choose between,
    3.1. Temple Dojo: Warrior monk, Can heal themselves while not in combat and increase surround troops stats except speed and has naginata samurai’s damage with light armor
    3.2. Shinobi Dojo: Ninja, Act as scout with combat skill, when hiding even scout or watch tower cannot see this unit and can climb wall [not jump :rofl:]

  4. Last advancement. Choose between,
    4.1. Matchlock Dojo: Matchlock Samurai, Can fight close combat better than other gun unit but not as same as Man-at-Arm base stats
    4.2. Royal Dojo: Samurai Retainer: Best of samurai, use katana, very high stats but costly.

My Japanese military concept is combine between low cost, weak unit and high cost but strong unit in same type and has special type of unit to make difference between player.

About Villagers, has ability to work little faster if they has hero unit close to them.

Dojo may has upgrade for dojo’s special unit and may provide bonus to general unit.

For other details, I think I should play more in at least skirmish game and some in online match.

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I think the Japanese and Norsemen would be extra interesting in that the development of their DLC/Expansions would wake up some ideas about improving the ocean part of the game. Be it Naval combat, how to raid from water, improvements of transport ships, thoughts on bridges etc.

Although I love how Civs are so different from each other now I hope not too many game mechanics/bonuses become unique to just that Civ. For example I think Norsemen would be fun to play with Mongols raiding bonus, if Norsemen was in this game. Maybe make those categories you see describing the Civ be more of a thing, maybe even make sub-categories and instead of making game mechanics unique to the Civ, make some of them unique to categories.

@Skadidesu hat’s sweet :3
Much nice ideas, but what about the campaign ?
I would think of Sengoku Jidai and the invasion of Korea that came after, but there are probably other possibilities I don’t know about ^^
It would also possibly bring the Koreans in a DLC

And to rejoin @Chekkogrn , I agree ! I’ve made a Dane’s civilisation’s Idea here:

And yeah, unique bonuses to categories would be good, but maybe…
Well, like I say in the page I’ve put up here, my idea of the danes would have a system similar to the Rus’ bounty, using the Mongol plunder system, so I would toward categories of bonuses, rather than categories of civilisations (I am not sure wich of these possibilities you were speaking of however.) Because if historical civilisations were so unique, it was less because they were totally different on all point, but rather because they were similar in some ways and different in others.

Well japan did invade china… they would allready have the china civ … :thinking::laughing:

I like it a lot, especially replacing knights and crossbow give a very unique civ.

This is way more representative than japanese in AoE II.

I hope this happends :smiley:

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Japanese culture is learned from China, so it is natural for China to have something in Japan, and to be better

I think it’s really cool .and I would love to see a Japanese civ. They don’t have to have a campaign so we don’t need to worry about a face off with China.

As much as I would like them I think there’s possibly too many unique units.

You could maybe just have one hybrid samurai, the sohei and the aquebus, and then give unqiue tech to existing units (Eg naginata upgrade for spears or no dachi for MAA)

The UT could do with some work as well . They’re all very similar/plain.

It’s a whole new civ/expansion I would imagine People expect some actual unique/meaningful tech.

Look at Delhi’s UT for example, besides that there’s tons of them you get some really unique ones like castles act like TCs, infantry can sprint for 10s, capturing sacred sites earlier, and so on.

There are only 3 advancements…what is your last advancement advancing to? A 5th age?

Only Abbasids get a “5th” age

And chinese being able to build all their landmarks

Otherwise some nice ideas, but way too many units, and too locked into one unit type. Also not very advantageous landmarks. Like big whoop I can train a new unit, but my opponent gets a landmark that generates 900gold /min…

Oops. sorry about advancement, my mistake LOL.
As you say, my landmark idea is not good because it has limited and no benefit bonus.

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I have a question. From my understanding of Japanese history, they were at large vegetarian before European intervention.

So for the time period, I don’t understand the fishing boat bonus. In fact I think they should be prohibited from using meat. But I could be wrong.

Anyways, except for that I like the amount of work you put in. There’s lots of ’units’ to name from Japan. Obviously MaA with the samurai, but you could also replace all spear units with ashigaru. Their horse archers is a nice touch I’d love to see. Especially with their iconic ”backpacks”.

I have two issues with that.

  1. It would be very complicated. Not only hard to learn but also hard tp balance.
  2. It wouldn’t be that historical. It would only really reflect Sengoku Japan and not all of Medieval Japan.

Japan had two major internal conflicts in between 1000 AD and 1500 AD before the Sengoku period.

Peasants were not allowed to eat meat and not even rice in Edo Japan.
But that’s after the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages there was no strong central power that could have prevented that.
A lot of European rulers also banned their people from hunting animals because they wanted to have the fun of hunting all from themselves.

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So yes?

From my understanding the nobles didn’t consume meat at all, while the peasants did at times (for obvious reasons). But it was looked down upon.

So when you say peasants weren’t allowed while their superiors did, could you direct me to the source you have? I’m not sure the AoE4 time period fits within that.

In aoe3 it’s reflected that Japanese were vegetarians that are fish.

For whatever reason it could be reflected the same in aoe4. With a greater berry bonus than the Muslim civs.

Would need something else as well to balance the loss of sheep and deer as well.