[Suggestion] AoE4 New Civilization concept: Japanese

Greetings! I recently made a concept draft of an idea on how the Japanese could be in AoE4, which I posted on Reddit some time ago.
I took inspiration and stole his template from a forum user called Mithrik who made one out of the Byzantines.

With help of some forum users, I manage to streamline it better and iron it out.
However, I hope people from the Age of Empires forums are willing to throw some input and opinions on this as well!
I really enjoyed making this, and I tried to the best of my ability and understanding of the game, to try to keep it balanced as I can theoretically, and to use game mechanics that are already part of the game.
And I’m always up for improving my Draft, in the high hopes that maybe the dev team might see it and take some inspiration from it!

Regardless here it is:

The Japanese

Clan Influence, Daimyo, Flexible

Difficulty: 3/3


  • Villagers and Fishing boats have increased the gathering rate by 10/20/30% faster from Fish,

  • Villagers can herd Sheep

  • Military Buildings cost 13% less.

  • Docks/Mills near shorefish increase the amount of food available from shorefish (From 500 to 1000)

  • Attack speed increased by 10% when land units are below 15% health

  • Lumber camps and Mining camps are 50% cheaper.

  • Japanese Keep cost 300 Wood and 500 Stone but has reduced Fire resistance (2 Fire armor)

  • Japanese lacks the final Armor Upgrade in Imperial Age (IV)

  • Has Shinobi instead of Scouts.

  • Has Samurai instead of Crossbow, Lancers, and MaA

Shinto: Shrines can be used to deliver resources from villagers and traders, generating 1 gold for every 100 resources.

Unique Landmarks

Feudal Age

  • Heian Palace: Provides a Radius where units are within are healed +4 HP every 1.5 seconds and a 5% movement speed buff for villagers.

Castle Age

  • Rokuonji Temple: Acts as a Shrine. Gives Monks a healing aura to units out of combat when standing still. (+4HP every 1.5 seconds)

Imperial Age

  • Himeji Castle: Acts as a Keep. Daimyo’s / Shogun Garrisoned inside it increases its damage and Health by 25%, Building also slowly repairs itself (1% every second)

Wonder: Todai-ji

Note: The reason why The Japanese only have a single Landmark is because of the Clan Influence system. Their single Landmarks function mainly just as a means of aging up and being a “landmark” for victory condition.

Daimyos Influence:

Feudal Age:

Chosokabe Clan: Access Bow-Samurai, Archery range production speed increased by 10/15/20% Daimyo has a passive aura that increases Range Damage by +1 /+2 /+3

Mori Clan: Access to Spear-Samurai, Docks production speed increased by 10/15/20% Daimyo has a passive aura that increases the view range of military units by +1/+2 /+3 tiles

Castle Age:

Uesugi Clan: Access to Naginata-Samurai, Barracks production speed increased by 15/20%. Daimyo has a passive aura that increases Armor by +1/+2

Takeda Clan: Access to Samurai-Cavalry, Stable Production speed increased by 15/20%Daimyo has a passive aura that increases movement speed by +5/+10%

Imperial Age:

Oda Clan: 25% Cheaper Regular Spears and Archers, Increased production speed of Cannoneers by 20%. Daimyo has a passive aura that increases Armor penetration by +2

Hojo Clan: Grants Advanced Siege engineering tech. Siege units are 10% cheaper. Increased production speed of siege workshop by 10%. Daimyo has a passive aura that increases the construction and repair speed of villagers by 15%.


Depending on the active Clan influence, Samurai are created from their respective buildings, Chosokabe-Archer Samurai from Archery Range (replacing Crossbows but available in age II). Mori-Spear and Uesugi-Naginata Samurai from Barracks (Naginata Samurai replaces MaA). Takeda-Cavalry Samurai from Stable (Replaces Lancer)
Just so it is said, the Japanese still have access to regular units. (Spears, Archers, Horsemen, Cannoneers) As they represent the Ashigaru levies. Spears and Archers are cheaper alternatives. Mori-Samurai differ themselves from regular Spears by being a Spear unit with Heavy Armor. Chosokabe-Samurai is Archers with Heavy Armor and Uesugi-Samurai is more akin to regular MaA but with bonus damage against infantry.

Takeda trait gives Samurai Cavalry and Horsemen the ability to fire arrows during Charge, as the Japanese commonly practiced horse Archery, with their own unique asymmetrical bows. As the Horse Archers being unique to the Rus.

Daimyo is created from TC or Keeps. One can only have 1 Daimyo and its Clan influence at the time. However, you can change the Clan influence by remaking a different Daimyo once the current Daimyo is dead.

Daimyos are identifiable by their unique Samurai model carrying a Banner flying their Clan emblem.

Clan Influence is pretty much the “landmark” for this Civilization. And makes the Japanese unique in the way that it is a civilization that can “change” its landsmarks during the game, allowing it to be flexible and adapt.

Oda and Hojo are the only 2 Daimyos that don’t allow you to make Samurai Units. This also reflects them how they historically favored using Ashigaru (Levy’s aka Regular units for AoE4). Over Samurai. However, aging up from castle age, you should have a few Samurai’s already made, with their respective old clan traits.

Additional Notes


  • Shinobi (I, 70F): Replaces the scout. Has the ability to Disguise themselves as enemy units and not get attacked by enemy units or defenses. Has 2 tiles and a longer view range. Does 300% Bonus damage against other Daimyos and Khans. (can be attacked manually or automatically uncovered by scouts or Khan)

  • Daimyo (II, 150F 150G): Daimyo grants special benefits depending on Clan heritage.

  • Samurai (II, 100F 75G): Specialised Heavy armor unit that is able to switch between roles (Archer, Spear, Naginata Infantry, or Heavy cavalry). Has a 1.5-minute switch time (Rearmament). Replaces Crossbow, MaA, and Lancers

  • Sengokubune (III, 300W, 200G): War Junk. Fast short Range Warship that relies on Boarding enemy ships. Functions as Transport ship.

  • Atakebune (IV, 450W 450G): Warship. Slow but sturdy attack ship that lacks cannons. Has both short-range boarding and ranged arrow attacks and takes less damage from Castles and Towers. Functions as Transport ship with 100% increased transport capacity.


  • Bushido (II, 75F 75G): Land Units below 10% Health get Charge ability and 10% faster attack speed. All units, except religious die when surrendered.

  • Assassin (II, 275G): Increases Shinobi damage against Leader units (Daimyo’s and Khan) by 500%

  • Social Hierarchy (III, 150W, 300G): Increases food production from farms by 10%. Researched at Mill.

  • Heavenly Kami (III, 200G 150S): Shrines cost 25% less and generate 25% more Gold from Relics, Researched at Rokuonji Temple.

  • Harakiri (III, 300G): When Deleting a Daimyo, reduces the time to respawn different Daimyo by 50%. (From 120s to 60s) Reduces gold cost of Daimyo by 33%

  • Lacquer Coating (III, 225W 275G): All ships gain 10% increased Health. Researched at the Dock.

  • Mountain Hermit (III, 450G): Monks get +2 armor and range armor. Researched at the Monastery.

  • Dojo (III, 300F 300W 300G): Increased attack speed of all non-siege units by 10%

  • Lacquerware (IV, 100W, 250G): Increase Trader’s movement speed by 10%. Researched at University

  • Hayago (IV, 525G): Gunpowder units reload 10% Faster.

  • Tea Ceremony (IV, 350F 350G): Daimyo and Shogun near castle or landmark gain +30% health. Researched at Shrines

  • O-Atakebune (IV, 400W 700G): Grants the Atakebune more armor and Cannons. However, loses its ability to fire arrows, board enemy ships, and transport units.

  • TOKUGAWA SHOGUN (IV, 2400F 1200G): Upgrades the Daimyo into the Tokugawa Shogun, giving it access to all the Daimyo Clan Influence Bonuses. Researched at Himeji Castle.Aura is replaced by its own shogun Unique Aura that increases the Attack speed of all units by 13%.

Additional Notes:

The Architecture set would start off the Dark age with Shoin-Zukuri, then into Sukiya-Zukuri style in feudal, castle age, and Imperial. Individual houses (houses places alone) will be more Minka (Gassho) style, looking quite different than those built next to each other in the city. Naval units use their own distinctly Japanese set: (Arrow Bune, Sengoku Bune, Ataka Bune). Looking rather boxy and having rows of Oars.

Language progression: Early Middle Japanese (Recognizable with more distinct Chinese loanwords) → Late Middle Japanese → Modern Japanese (Much more similar to Japanese we know of today, with the influence of English loanwords)

Landmark references:

Heian Palace: The original role of the palace was to centralize the government model adopted from China, hence the heavy Chinese influence on the architecture. And was designed to provide an appropriate setting for the emperor’s residence.

Rokuonji Temple: Also known as the Golden Pavilion. Started off as a Villa for a powerful statesman, and later converted into a temple. The lacquer coating is covered with gliding with gold leaf. Gold was employed as a belief that it mitigates and purifies any pollution or negative thoughts toward death. (I mean u got that much money to cover your house in gold I think anyone would be cured of depression)

Himeji Castle: The famous Himeji castle was originally built as a fort by Akamatsu Norimura, and underwent many remodeling over the years. Fun fact, in 1871 a resident in Himeji bought the entire castle for 23 yen (2258 USD today) and wanted to demolish it to develop the land. But the demolition work proved to be too expensive. So it was spared.

Tõdai-ji, known as the Great Buddha Hall (Daibutsuden), is within it a giant buddha statue. The entire temple was designed National Treasure by Japan. Also the wonder in AoE2 for japan.

Shogun: Unlike the Daimyo that comes with its weapon based on the Clan Influence. The Shogun is always a Samurai-Cavalry unit.

Daimyo stats:

  • Mori-Spears:

  • Health: 150/200/230
  • Attack: 8/9/11 melee; 14/16/20 tortch; bonus against cavalry +20/+23/+28
  • Range: 5 tiles.
  • Rate of fire: 1.38s (Spear) 2s(Torch)
  • Armor: (3/3)/(4/4)
  • Speed: 1.125 tiles/s
  • Chosokabe-Archer:

  • Attack: 5/7/8 ranged; 5/7/8 melee; Bonus vs light melee infantry +5/+7/+8
  • Rate of fire: 1.5s(Bow) 1.38s (Sword)
  • Armor: (3/3)/(4/4)
  • Speed: 1.125 tiles/s
  • Uesugi-Naginata:

  • Attack: 12/14 melee; 16/20 torch; +6 vs Infantry
  • Armor (3/3)/(4/4) Bonus range armor +1
  • Rate of fire: 1.25s (Naginata) 2s (Torch)
  • Armor: (3/3)/(4/4) +1 Ranged Armor
  • Speed: 1.125 tiles/s
  • Takeda-Cavalry:

  • +70/90 HP
  • +24/+29 melee; +12/+14 ranged; +16/+20 torch, Bonus vs siege +10 (torch)
  • Rate of fire: 1.38s (Sword) 1.5s (Bow) 2 (Tortch)
  • Armor: (3/3)/(4/4)
  • Speed: 1.63 tiles/s
  • Uses Range attack instead of Lance during Charge.

Samurai stats:

  • Mori-Spears:

  • Health: 120/155/180
  • Attack: 8/9/11 melee; 14/16/20 tortch; bonus against cavalry +20/+23/+28
  • Range: 5 tiles.
  • Rate of fire: 1.38s (Spear) 2s(Torch)
  • Armor: (3/3)/(4/4)
  • Speed: 1.125 tiles/s
  • Chosokabe-Archer:

  • Attack: 5/7/8 ranged; 5/7/8 melee; Bonus vs light melee infantry +5/+7/+8
  • Rate of fire: 1.5s(Bow) 1.38s (Sword)
  • Armor: (3/3)/(4/4)
  • Speed: 1.125 tiles/s
  • Uesugi-Naginata:

  • Attack: 12/14 melee; 16/20 torch; +6 vs Heavy Armor
  • Armor (3/3)/(4/4)
  • Bonus range armor +1
  • Rate of fire: 1.25 (Naginata) 2 (Torch)
  • Armor: (3/3)/(4/4) +1 Ranged Armor
  • Speed: 1.125 tiles/s
  • Takeda-Cavalry:

  • +70/90 extra HP
  • +24/+29 melee; +12/+14 ranged; +16/+20 torch, Bonus vs siege +10 (torch)
  • Rate of fire: 1.38 (Sword) 1.5 (Bow) 2 (Tortch)
  • Armor: (3/3)/(4/4)
  • Speed: 1.63 tiles/s
  • Uses Range attack instead of Lance during Charge.

The Daimyo’s aura extends in a 4-tile radius away from the unit.

The Shogun’s aura extends in a 5-tiles radius away from the unit.

When Daimyo’s and Samurai engage melee as Chosokabe Archers, they use their Katanas and do the same damage against light melee infantry. Similar to the Rus Strelskies.

Samurais, similar to the Rus Lodya ship, spend 1 Minute re-arming themselves to the respective Daimyo Clan, making them unable to attack and having their movement speed reduced by 50%. Or you could choose to keep their old Clan type, by not using the re-armament skill.

Samurai performs seppuku animation when Deleted.

Shinobi stats:

  • Health: 110
  • Attack: 4/6/8 melee; 13/16/20 torch
  • Rate of fire: 1.7s melee; 2.0s tortch
  • Armor: 0
  • Speed: 1.38 tiles/s

Shinobi has a Disguise ability (120 seconds cooldown). Which is removed by being within view range of enemy scouts. Due to being counted as Scouts, they are affected by scout +10 bonus damage against scouts. However, Shinobi’s melee attacks count as regular infantry attacks and are upgradable with Blacksmith upgrades. But has no armor.

Sengoku Bune stats:

* Health: 1000
  • Attack: 50; melee;
  • Rate of fire: 0.5s (Melee)
  • Armor: (0)
  • Pierce armor: 5
  • Speed: 1.5 tiles/s

Ataka Bune stats:

* Health: 2500
  • Attack: 120; melee; 10 Ranged (Burst Attack of 6); +10 vs Incendiary Ship
  • Rate of fire: 0.5s (Melee); 1.85s (Ranged)
  • Range: 5 tiles Armor: (0)
  • Pierce armor: 6
  • Speed: 0.86 tiles/s

O-Ataka Bune (replaces Ataka Bune) stats:

  • *Health: 2500*
  •  Attack: 70; ranged; (6 on each side); +50 vs Buildings.*
  •  Rate of fire: 1.85s (Ranged)*
  •  Range: 5 tiles*
  •  Armor: (0)*  
  •  Pierce armor: 8*  
  •  Speed: 0.75 tiles/s*  

Boarding attacks (Melee) From Japanese ships prevent the opponent ship from moving until the Japanese ship dis-engage or is destroyed. Boarding attacks do not work against Incindiary ships. Boarding attack (Melee) is affected by Blacksmith melee upgrades.


The Japanese are made to be a rather militarily flexible civilization. Being able to quickly adapt to its given situation, by using the more expensive Samurai units that can change their unit type on the in the field (Similar to Rus Lodya ships), depending on each individual Daimyos trait.

The Japanese only have a Single landmark per age for the sake of aging up. However, the Clan-Influence trait is what becomes the “landmark” option for the Japanese. As the Daimyo will sort of function as a Landmark unit. This makes it so that the Japanese become unique in their own way that it is a Civilization that can “Change” between landmarks during a game.

The Daimyo was a powerful figure, each with their own influence and idea’s on how the nation of Japan should be ruled. This comes into play by choosing a Daimyos that you Unlock when aging up, allowing you to play to its strength. And should a Daimyo dishonor your strategy, to reflect upon the code of Bushido, that Daimyo has to either die honorably in battle or commit seppuku.

To allow another Daimyo to take its place. It is not before the Imperial Age (IV) that the appointment of the TOKUGAWA SHOGUN (IV, 2400F 1200G) is finally able to unite and utilize all the different Daimyos traits. Bringing with him his own Aura that increases the attack speed of units by 13%. Bringing the total of all attack speed bonuses combined to 33% which is the attack speed bonus of Japanese in AoE 2.

The focus of the Japanese mechanic is to decide and utilize the correct Daimyo for their playstyle. However, it is also quite important to prevent the death of the Daimyo as that would remove their passive traits that boost the Japanese civilization. But that doesn’t mean keeping the Daimyo safely garrisoned inside a building. The Daimyo is also a Warlord, who should go into battle, acting as a supporting role and slightly stronger Samurai, it can provide a passive useful Aura for your units, and make it for the Opponent, finding and killing the Daimyo, is ever so more important.

The Japanese also have a Unique scout unit. While it is unable to collect sheep and is slower than a regular scout on horseback. It has a longer view range and the ability to disguise itself as an enemy unit. Thus making it more difficult for the opponent to spot your scout, and have the Japanese able to implant spies into the opponent’s base and frontline to provide valuable information, allowing the Japanese to quickly adapt to a potential attack or find a good window of opportunity to strike their base. However, Enemy scouts are able to uncover the Shinobi’s disguise, to keep them at bay. Alternatively, if the player keeps a watchful eye, finding a friendly unit that acts strange, and can be attacked is certainly an indicator of an enemy Shinobi amongst its ranks.

To reflect the Japanese Shinto religion and the countless Shrines spread all over the Japanese islands. Their Shrines (monastery) double as a more expensive resource drop-off point. In return, the Japanese also obtain gold when dropping off resources.

But to not make the resource camps obsolete, they are half the cost, allowing them to be a cheap alternative when resources or space are tight, as well as being the only alternative during the Dark and Feudal age.

The Japanese Navy however plays quite differently from the conventional Navy. As the Japanese mainly didn’t rely on Ranged naval engagement, but rather on Boarding actions, with ships specially built for boarding. This is why, besides the initial arrow ship, they get access to the Sengoku Bune, a fast boarding ship, making them particularly useful being able to hold up enemy ships once the boarding has started. And if the opponent starts amassing up a big fleet in tight formation. Charging forth alongside a demolition ship would certainly cause devastation to the opponents fleet, or bringing forth the Ataka Bune, a mighty WoodenCastle-ship that functions as a slower version of the Sengoku Bune but also ranged attacks to protect it from lighter ships so it can focus on getting close to the other big ships. It can be upgraded with cannons later, losing its transport abilities and arrows and boarding attacks, to function more like a regular cannon ship to strike fortifications along the coast.

The Japanese have a very strong attack due to increased attack speed as well as Samurai units being counted as Heavy Armor, and thus lacks that final armor upgrade in the imperial age to help balance them off with the vast amount of Daimyo abilities. They do however have an early armor advantage in the early stages of the game.

Next up: Khmer


Its a cool idea and all but these bonuses and a replaced scout and missing core units sounds like more like a new aoe 2 civ

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That is sort of true. Taken heavy influence from AoE2.
But the extra Bonuses are in line with the amount of extra bonuses current AoE4 Civs have today.
One can’t forget to include the Landmark bonuses into each civ. So while at first a AoE4 Civ might not seem to have many bonuses, in practice they do have quite a bit.

A good example is to look on the Abbasids, with all its extra upgrade techs and Golden age bonuses being quite significant.

The missing Core unit is just MaA, Crossbows, and Lancers, but this is where the Samurai fills in.
I also felt that giving the Japanese Lancers additionally to the Samurai would technically give the Japanese to many units.
The Samurai and its sub-classes are technically an extra unit. Giving the Japanese 4 Extra units if we were to keep MaA and Lancers.
Having them replace both of them, makes the Japanese technically only have 2 extra units, which is the same as other Civs in AoE4. (Abbasid Camel Riders and Archers, Dheli War and Tower Elephant, Chinese Grenadiers and ZN)
plus it makes them feel somewhat more historically correct, as the samurai did fill in a core role in most Japanese armies of the era. Where Levys consisted of Conscripted peasants and people. And the heavy armor and shock troopers as well as the Cavalry was the Samurais.
And the fact they Japanese didn’t really use crossbows at all due to having very limited iron-resources. it feels wrong giving them crossbow. As well as they technically have Armored-archers to begin with.

I wanted the Japanese to feel somewhat similar to the Japanese of AoE2, yet different.
As I feel the same way has been done with the Mongols, Abbasids, English and Chinese for this game.

Ninjas I wanted to fit into the game, but I didn’t want them to be a military unit. And allowing Japanese to have both Scouts and Ninjas would be strong in my opinion.
but replacing the Scouts with a Ninja was the only logical sense in my head. It also makes the Japanese differate quite a bit on the early game, and keep them from being over-aggresive in the early game where they have a slight advantage, due Samurais being a early heavy armor unit, who alternatively can also be ranged.
The fact that Ninjas (Shinobi) move slower and also balancing the strength of the samurai by the fact that Japanese can’t really gather sheep from around the map should encourage the Japanese play to be aggressive as early as they can in feudal age.

At least that’s my initial thought behind all of it.


I would love Japan as a civ :slight_smile: Generally new civs and new content are very welcome. Unfortunately considering the current development speed I think we have to wait 2 to 3 years before new civs. Provided the game is still development for such a long time. Hopefully I’m wrong but I think small balance changes and e-sport tournaments with big prize money seems to be more important to them than new content and stuff for casual players. This way of working is punished with declining player numbers. It is a devil-loop. The less players play the game, the less they develop :frowning:


Japanese being added is indeed a good idea. Now, having the Samurai be of different kinds of soldiers is a good idea considering they were in various roles but having a Samurai unit itself switch between roles might not be a viable option. So instead, we can be seeing more than one unit that is a Samurai.


Seems like a cool concept, with some changes could work well.

Being a total war fan, I like the inspiration.

Some major things would need to change though, the civ is much too susceptible to opponent doing a unit switch. But I like the ideas of the different clans

And the civ is much too heavily weighted for hybrid maps (shore fish)

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