Open main menu


Kingdom rankAshikaga
Primary culture
Saigoku (Japanese)

Capital province
Kyoto (1020)

Shogunate Government monarchy.png

State religion

Technology group
ChineseChinese technology group
Ashikaga ideas
Traditions.png Traditions:
−0.02 Monthly war exhaustion
+50% Chance of new heir

Prestige from land battles.png Head of the Genji

+100% Prestige from land battles

Legitimacy.png Defenders of the Imperial Court

+1 Yearly legitimacy

Prestige.png Higashiyama Culture

+1 Yearly prestige

Trade power.png Tosen-Bugyo

+25% Domestic trade power

Advisor cost.png Bugyoshu and Hokoshu

−15% Advisor cost

National tax modifier.png The bakufu Chokkatsuchi

+15% National tax modifier

Income from vassals.png Reform the Shogun - Shugo System

+25% Income from vassals
+100% Vassal force limit contribution

Idea bonus.png Ambition:

+0.5 Yearly army tradition
Shield Ashikaga.png
In name the Empire of Flag of Japan Japan is ruled by Emperor Go-Hanazono from Kyoto, the latest in a 2000 year line of emperors. In practice the government of the realm has been left to the Shogun, nominally the emperor's deputy in military matters. However, in 1444 the Shogunate is not what it once was. A number of Ashikaga Shoguns have passed in quick succession over the last few years, due to accidents and assassinations. On multiple occasions raiders have proven that Kyoto is not safe, even for those tasked with keeping the peace in the entire realm.

Ever since the death of the last strong Ashikaga Shogun, Yoshimitsu, the more powerful clans of the realm have come to rival the Shogunate for power. The leading lords of such clans are known as Daimyo and have almost total power over their respective realms. Some, like the Flag of Hosokawa Hosokawa, Flag of Hatakeyama Hatakeyama and Flag of Shiba Shiba are closely tied to the shogunate and have monopolized the office of Kanrei, formal deputy of the Shogun. Others, like the Flag of Yamana Yamana, Flag of Akamatsu Akamatsu, Flag of Isshiki Isshiki and Kyogoku assert influence simply through their own wealth and influence.

Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the current Shogun has begun to attempt to stem these developments, appointing his own close retainers to important positions and taking an active interest in local conflicts in the realm. It remains to be seen if he can save the Shogunate however as other clans have wasted no time capitalizing on the weakness of Yoshimasha's predecessors.

The growing power of strong Daimyo still threaten to make the Shogunate inconsequential, the rivalry of the Hosokawa and Yamana especially could tear the realm apart as the clans now control a third of the Empire between them.

Ashikaga is a Japanese nation that is the Shogun in 1444. As a result, it is the overlord of all the other daimyo, though if another daimyo captures Ashikaga's capital of Kyoto they can take the shogun title and reduce Ashikaga to a mere daimyo.



Main article: Japanese missions


As with all daimyo, Ashikaga is eligible to form Japan.


 Unite Japan!

The time has come to unite Japan by force! The time for diplomacy is over and all these warring daimyo lords must be conquered.
Potential requirements

The country:


  Japan does not exist.

The country:


The country:

  • abolishes the ‘Shogunate’ government reform.


  • loses its cores on every province owned by the subject daimyos of the country.

All subject daimyos of the country:

  • become independent.
  • abolish the ‘Daimyo’ government reform.

The country:

If   Japan:

The AI will not take this decision with less than 30 cities.


 Japan is united

The warring factions of Japan have finally been united under a strong emperor.
Potential requirements

The country:


  Japan does not exist.

The country:

There is no country that:


The country:

  • changes to   Japan.
  • abolishes the ‘Shogunate’ government reform.
  • becomes an   empire.
  • gains  100 legitimacy.
  • gains  100 administrative power.
  • gains  100 diplomatic power.
  • gains  100 military power.
  • obtains new missions (which are Japanese missions).

If   Japan:

The AI will always take this decision.


 Japan is united

The warring factions of Japan have finally been united under a strong emperor.
Potential requirements

The country:


  Japan does not exist.

The country:

There is no other country that:


The country:

If   Japan:

The AI will always take this decision.


  The below is one of many player suggested strategies for Ashikaga. Bear in mind, due to the dynamic nature of the game, it may unfold differently for other players.


Because the strategies, risks, opportunities and pit falls of playing any nation in the shogunate are very similar, this guide not only aims to be valid for any nation in the shogunate, the different parts of playing in the area have overlapping relevance regardless of which side the player is on, therefore it is recommended to be read in its entirety.

The basic goal for the daimyos is to grow strong enough to successfully challenge the shogun and conquer Kyoto, thus becoming the new shogun.

Naturally, the goal of the shogun is to manage the situation in a way that doesn't happen.

The unique situation in the shogunate is that the shogun is overlord over all the daimyos. The daimyos are special vassals, their specialty being that their liberty desire does not take the strength of all vassals combined in relation to the shogun into account, but only their individual strength. They also do not need a diplomatic relation slot. Because of the regular overlord and vassal mechanics, the shogun is nominally in charge and gets a force limit and manpower contribution, as well as the regular income from its vassals. Which means that at the start of the game all daimyos will be loyal. Effectively, the daimyo has no power over the actions of its subjects. More on that and why it's very difficult to play as Ashikaga later.

All vassal daimyos have a special casus belli that allows them to attack daimyos they share a land border with or that are reachable via a strait.

That means in general that the daimyos will attack and conquer each other until they grow large enough to become disloyal. Once they become disloyal, they get a new special independence casus belli that allows them to attack the current shogun. The nominal war goal is to conquer the capital, but the player's goal should be conquer Kyoto, because whoever owns the province of Kyoto becomes the new shogun. All vassals get transferred.

As a daimyoEdit

The basic goal for the daimyos is to grow strong enough to successfully challenge the shogun and conquer Kyoto, thus becoming the new shogun.

Technically the player can start as any daimyo, there are a few more obvious choices: Yamana, Hosokawa in the south, Uesugi in the north are the biggest daimyos. Combined with some alliances they have the best chances to become new shogun. Playing as a one province daimyo can be done but is a lot more difficult, simple because the force limit difference is so big.

There are three forts on Honshu, the biggest island, at the start of the game. The daimyos generally won't have the money to build new forts and they also don't have the force limit to siege them. The forts are in Izumo to the south and Mino and Etchu in the middle of Honshu. Mino especially is positioned in a way that it block movement in either direction if it's hostile.This mostly has an effect on the speed of conquest or whether conquest is possible at all. Not sieging or conquering a fort will mean it stays available to spawn new troops for the enemy. As such, the player should try to avoid wars against fort owning daimyos. Because of the fort positioning, it is likely that either Yamana or Hosokawa will conquer the south and another daimyo will conquer the north. Once the daimyos are strong enough to siege forts, they are nearly powerful enough to challenge the shogun.

Some daimyos will start with split up territory,   Hatakeyama and   Shiba. If the player is not careful, these nations will be attacked or called into the war and prove hard to defeat and impossible to conquer completely.

As the player grows in strength by conquering its neighbors, it can be a good idea to strategically support a daimyo north or south against the dominant daimyo in the region, because that strong daiymo is going to be a problem once the player becomes shogun.

At the point when the player is powerful enough to challenge the shogun, a few things can be taken into consideration: all daimyos allied to the player will join in the war for independence and the disloyal daimyos will not help the shogun as disloyal vassals usually do. They will join the war on the side of the shogun, but only defend their territory, they will not leave it. Usually by the time the player has a force limit of roughly ten, can siege forts and making a few alliances, taking over the shogunate is no longer difficult.

The war to take over as shogun will transfer all daimyos that were subjects of the old shogun to the new shogun. If vassalization is not included in the peace deal, the old shogun will become an independent nation, which will lose its force limit and manpower contribution and will pose no threat to be revassalized later.

Ashikaga as the shogunEdit

Uniting Japan as the Ashikaga in 1444 is straightforward and relatively easy. The subjects can be very effectively pacified by embarking on a campaign of endless external war which will prohibit them from declaring war on each other - as they will be allies in an existing war. Furthermore, their CBs work only on direct neighbours, so strategically annexing land across Japan will set a limit to the possible vassal growth. The best way to leverage these is like so:

  • Before unpausing rival   Ming and guarantee   Oirat,   Korchin. Then guarantee smaller nations around strong predators, for instance the   Vijayanagar and   Bahmanis, as they tend to get attacked often. The aim is to give you a chance of a war before your regency is over. Should you get sucked into a war skip the next two steps.
  • After unpausing and before the regency is over improve relations with your subjects, initiate sword hunt and enforce seppuku at all times. Do not worry about liberty desire, the subjects are still weak enough not to declare war on you. The closer you are to the end of regency the more focus on improving relations with the biggest subjects as you will need them to fight a war soon.
  • After regency carry on the same path but wait for an oportune moment to start a war. Ideally you want all but 2 of your subjects to be at peace (you want them to have at least 2 provinces each). This should materialize fairly easily as the wars, the sword hunt, and the sepukku enforcement should tire them for a while. Cancel your guarantees and get royal marriages with your strongest subjects.
  • Once there is a lull in the fighting declare humiliate CD war on   Ming. The reason why you want all BUT 2 of your subjects to be at peace is that these peaceful subjects get called into the war, but those fighting will not! This means that once they peace out you can annex them while still fighting   Ming. Start preparing for this - improve relations, get royal marriages if their liberty desire is too high.
  • The purpose of this war is to waste your subjects manpower, to wear   Ming out so that you can attack   Korea without interference, and to stop your subjects from growing strong through internal conquest.
  • Make your subjects defensive and wait for   Ming to come to you. Their transport ships will introduce a hard limit on the size of army they can land on your islands, so as long as you wipe it out before the next one arrives you won't be conquered by the much larger enemy. As a bonus, target its transport ships to further decrease the invasion's size, but do not risk your own transports as you will need them soon.
  • After a couple of months you should have high enough relations with those subjects that were not called into this war to annex them. Do so. As this gave you at least 2 provinces you get the mission Expand the Kokka. Also, since you are the shogun you get Win Political Supremacy. The latter gives you permanent claims on south Korea.
  • Wait a couple of years for   Ming to lose some steam and for your own vasals to get weakened in the process. Once   Ming is willing to peace our with white peace DO NOT do so. Instead declare on   Korea. Once at war with   Korea let them too come to your isles to be slaughtered.
  • When   Korea has been weakened too peace out   Ming and invade   Korea with your own army. If you weakened   Ming enough and recalled the guarantees on its norhtern neighbours it will be busy enough to let you deal with   Korea alone. Don't forget to leave your transport ships in the Korean strait so that your vassals can use them to transport to   Korea too.
  • Before suing for peace you have two important tasks. First, if you were not able to annex any vassal adjecent to   Ainu you have to start building spy network in any nation that currently controls provinces adjacent to northern Korea. If you were able to get a border with   Ainu start building spy network on them instead. Second, make sure your relations with the largest 4 vassals are at 190 (without the being at war together bonus!).
  • Once your spy network is at 20, call all diplomats home, pause when they arrive, then peace out with   Korea. Take as much land as possible and if you were building spy newtork in the northern nomads then take land that will allow you to use that spy network to make a claim.
  • Before unpausing start annexations of your 4 largest and strategically placed (cut Japan into small districts where vassals can be allowed to grow) vassals at the same time and start the next war. If you are fighting   Ainu you will have a much easier time achieving victory, else you will need to keep your ships in the strait of Korea to let yout vassals pass through.
  • After the next war your vassals should be sufficiently exhausted to prevent any major conquest so you can keep it short and just let the annexations run out. Alternatively, should they still be strong then keep the fighting on or start a new war.

From here you can effectively do anything you want. You are in a very strong position - the strongest subjects are gone, Japan is criss-crossed with your provinces, and you've landed in Korea. Should your vassals be getting too strong again you can always start a new war to weaken them and to stall them. This strategy should see you forming Japan through the Japan is united! decision before 1500 without major difficulty. Any later start than 1444 has the benefit that you can start a humiliate rival war on   Ming from the beginning - thus skipping the first two steps.

A daimyo as new shogunEdit

However, if a strong daimyo has become shogun, the situation is likely to have changed dramatically. Of the ~25 daimyos that exist at the start of the game, less than 10 will have survived the political struggles. The new shogun will be so strong that a new war for independence would be unlikely to be successful for any of the remaining daimyos. Managing the daimyos at that point can be annoying, but there is no realistic chance for the new shogun to lose his position. Through expansion into Indonesia the shogun should grow strong enough eventually to reduce all daimyos liberty desire below 50%.

Even if a daimyo becomes independent, there are no realistic possible allies, meaning they will just be independent for a while until the shogun is strong enough to revassalize them.

Around this point, the player can form Japan.

But there is a real choice to be made, because the daimyo system can be gamed quite a bit:

The special casus belli for daimyos is only available if a daimyo directly borders another daimyo. If there is a province between them, they will not go to war, not grow in strength and because of how their strength is calculated, they're almost guaranteed to never become strong enough by themselves to increase their liberty desire.

A big factor in short: the daimyo vassal system is limited to the shogunate. If Japan is formed, daimyo vassals can become independent and no new daimyo vassals can be created.

In more detail: All vassals created by the shogun are daimyo vassals, the system is not limited by geography. That means it is easy to expand into Indonesia and grow the shogunate by force vassalizing and snowballing into a blob of shogun and lots of small, loyal vassals. There are two national decisions that can form Japan, "Unite Japan!" releases all daimyos as independent nations, but has less strict requirements and "Japan is united" allows the player to keep his daimyo vassals, but the government type will change. Because of the new government type, Vassals created as Japan will be regular vassals and not daimyo vassals and will have the usual limitations of needing a diplomatic relation slot and having their military force liberty desire calculated in the normal way. Because of the different religions and the distances in east Asia, it can become impossible to annex them.

Nations to play asEdit

All nations in Japan have unique ideas and traditions. That can make a choice who to play as difficult and confusing. Because of the initial phase of becoming shogun, a strategy for individual daimyos does not really make sense.

As mentioned   Yamana,   Hosokawa and   Uesugi are the biggest daimyos and therefore the easier choices to grow initially.

Ashikaga is very tempting with its +25% vassal income idea and +100% vassal force limit contribute, but hard and it can be very random.

All other daimyos are either one or two provinces big and easy to defeat. Especially at the start can a badly timed lost battle or another war mean the end of the campaign. However, it's not impossible to rise to shogun nonetheless, and there are some interesting, strong and unique national ideas and traditions:

  Satake: with the starting idea of +25% force limit modifier, it will have additional force limit other daimyos simply don't have access to.

With its +10% artillery combat ability tradition, which can be combined with quality ideas to give you a combined bonus of +20%, it starts with alliances to its neighbors and can conquer date to north, which starts the game with no alliances. The next steps are to attack and conquer uesugi directly or conquer a few provinces to the north first.

  Ouchi: global Trade power +20%, a merchant, trade steering +15% and trade efficiency +10%

  Kono: Naval force limit +25%, naval morale +20%, galley combat ability +15% cost -20%, yearly naval tradition +1


Conscript a 3 star general from a Daimyo Subject.
Embrace "manufacturies" institution as Japan by 1655.
Go full isolationist in 6 Incidents.
Country guides

Eastern technology group     Jerusalem   Kharabakh
Muslim technology group     Afghanistan   Ajam   Arabia   Ardabil   Hisn Kayfa   Hormuz   Oman   Mushasha   Timurids   Qara Qoyunlu
Indian technology group     Assam   Bahmanis   Bengal   Orissa
Chinese technology group     Bali   Brunei   Dai Viet   Japan   Khmer   Korea   Majapahit   Malaya   Pagarruyung   Pasai   Sunda
Nomadic technology group     Jianzhou   Uzbek   Mongolia

Central African technology group     Kuba  Mutapa
East African technology group     Ethiopia  Mogadishu
Muslim technology group     Mamluks  Morocco  Tlemcen  Tunis
West African technology group     Air  Mali

Western technology group     United States
Mesoamerican technology group     Maya
North American technology group     Caddo   Cherokee   Iroquois

Andean technology group     Chachapoya   Cusco   Muisca
South American technology group     Mapuche