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Empire rankJapan
Primary culture
Togoku (Japanese)

Capital province
Kyoto (1020)

Shogunate Government monarchy.png

State religion

Technology group
ChineseChinese technology group
Japanese ideas
Ambox outdated info.png Please help with verifying or updating this infobox. It was last verified for version 1.33.

Traditions.png Traditions:

−10% Stability cost modifier
+5% Discipline

National unrest.png Unification under the Emperor

−2 National unrest

National manpower modifier.png Reformed Land Holding

+20% National manpower modifier

Technology cost.png Modernization

−5% Technology cost
+10% Institution spread

Ship durability.png Maritime Legacy

+10% Ship durability

Yearly prestige.png Land of the Rising Sun

+1 Yearly prestige

Global settler increase.png Kaitakudan

+20 Global settler increase

Aggressive expansion impact.png Great Power Diplomacy

−15% Aggressive expansion impact

Idea bonus.png Ambition:

+15% Infantry combat ability
For the region, see Japan (region).

For the first half of the EU4 time period, Japan experienced the Sengoku Jidai, or the Japanese Warring States Period. The weak Flag of Ashikaga Ashikaga Shogunate proved unable to prevent incessant war between de facto independent regional lords, or daimyo. The game represents this strife by dividing up Japan into a small central state and a large number of separate realms, and with Japan's nemesis Korea just across the sea, the rebellious vassals need to be dealt with before Japan finally seeks to fully dominate the Nippon trade node.

Daimyo & Shogunate[edit | edit source]

Daimyo ideas
Ambox outdated info.png Please help with verifying or updating this infobox. It was last verified for version 1.33.


For Government monarchy.png Daimyo, Government monarchy.png Independent Daimyo and the Government monarchy.png Shogunate.

Traditions.png Traditions:

+25% Land force limit modifier
+20% Spy network construction

Discipline.png Bushido

+5% Discipline

Idea cost.png The Bun and the Bu

−10% Idea cost

Yearly legitimacy.png Honor the Ancestors

+1 Yearly legitimacy

Morale of armies.png The Five Rings

+10% Morale of armies

Mercenary maintenance.png Wandering Ronin

−15% Mercenary maintenance

National manpower modifier.png Armies of the Daimyo

+25% National manpower modifier

Yearly prestige.png Honor Unto Death

+1 Yearly prestige

Idea bonus.png Ambition:

+0.5 Yearly army tradition

The empire of Japan is not represented as a single country at the start of the game, but is instead divided between the many daimyo and their shogun overlord, who is Flag of Ashikaga Ashikaga in 1444. Daimyo are special vassals that do not occupy a relation's slot. They may ally, rival, and fight other daimyo (particularly with the "Sengoku" casus belli that gives 25% less aggressive expansion), but not external countries. Daimyo may also declare a "War for the Emperor" against the shogun. A daimyo who controls Kyoto, the capital where the emperor resides, becomes the new shogun, and all other former vassals (daimyo or outside vassals, but not "grand daimyo") of the old shogun become his. The shogun, meanwhile, may diplomatically annex daimyo like any other vassal, and also gets the casus belli of "Annex Daimyo" against any daimyo owning 10 or more provinces. If the shogun vassalizes a country outside Japan, it will become a daimyo and gains the special Daimyo government. This makes Japan extremely powerful in practice as it is essentially allowed unlimited vassals.

The shogun earnsLegitimacy.png +0.1 legitimacy per year and Stability cost modifier.png −2% stability cost for each daimyo at peace, as well as Yearly prestige.png +0.1 prestige for each daimyo that has the same level of Shinto isolationism. These all cap at 10 times the given bonus, for 10 daimyo at peace.

All daimyo existing in 1444 have unique national ideas. Some daimyo that only exist in later starts use the generic Daimyo group set, listed at right.

Daimyo that become independent, even temporarily, get the Independent Daimyo government. This has weaker bonuses than the regular Daimyo government, but allows raising government rank past duchy tier. If Kyoto is captured by an outside power, the shogunate disbands and all remaining daimyo become permanently independent.

A country that has become independent from the shogun due to various reasons will have the government "Grand Daimyo". It is just a regular monarchy that can form outside diplomacy and does not interact with internal affairs between the daimyo. Daimyo cannot perform diplomacy with a Grand Daimyo, as it is an "outside" power. We may also say this is a reversed case from the above paragraph. This is also the government form that a previous Shogunate will gain upon being overthrown.

When a daimyo becomes large (10 provinces or more) the Shogun gains a CB "Annex Vassal". Unfortunately, when attacking the daimyo using this CB it causes a Stability cost modifier.png −3 stability hit from "They are our subject" and also an additional −1 or −2 stability from "good relations" (when >=100, or near 200 respectively). But if a Daimyo gets the incident Rising Shogunate Authority, they might choose the option “We cannot partake in this charade, refuse the appointment.” in the event Appointment to Imperial Office which triggers the event The Daimyo of [From.GetName] Refuses to Serve! for the Shogun. The two options will be to either back down and lose Legitimacy.png -10 legitimacy, or to immediately have them declare war on you and gain Legitimacy.png +10 legitimacy (without suffering any stability hits). Moreover, being a defensive war, it will also bring all your allies to your defense. This means it may pay to be patient, but to be prepared to exploit the option when it is presented.

Shogun abilities[edit | edit source]

The shogun has several special abilities useful for managing unruly daimyo. There are three actions available through the government tab that give a bonus to the shogun and a penalty to all daimyo. Each costs Legitimacy.png 20 legitimacy and provides a modifier lasting 10 years. Multiple actions may be used at once.

Ability Effects for the Shogun Effects for all Daimyos
Sword hunt.png Sword Hunt Manpower.png +250.0% Manpower increase per daimyo Manpower.png −1 000 Manpower increase
Land forcelimit.png +0.5% Land force limit per daimyo Land forcelimit.png −2 Land force limit
Sankin kotai.png Sankin Kotai Diplomatic reputation.png +3.0% Diplomatic reputation Diplomatic relations.png −1 Diplomatic relations
Forcibly expel ronin.png Forcibly Expel Ronin Liberty desire.png −5%.0 Liberty desire

In addition, the shogun has several subject interactions usable on daimyo. All of these interactions require the daimyo's liberty desire to be below 50%.

  • Change isolationism:
    • The daimyo's isolationism becomes one step closer to that of the shogun. Liberty desire.png +25% liberty desire.
  • Conscript General:
    • Transfer the daimyo's best general (other than a ruler or heir) to the shogun. Liberty desire.png +30% liberty desire.
  • Force Seppuku:
    • Order the daimyo's leader to commit suicide. Only available on daimyo that have started a war. The daimyo's successor will be less likely to be a warmonger. The shogun gets 5 monarch point per skill of the daimyo's new ruler. Liberty desire.png +15% liberty desire.
  • Contribute to Capital:
    • The daimyo loses Development.png 2 development in its most developed province, and the shogunate gains 1 development in its capital. Liberty desire.png +25% liberty desire.
    • This interaction is only available if the most developed province of the daimyo has at least 3 development of the same type and at least half the development of the shogun's capital(rounded down)

Missions[edit | edit source]

Main article: Japanese missions

Japan's missions include uniting the archipelago, colonizing Taiwan and expanding into Korea and the Chinese mainland.

Events[edit | edit source]

Main article: Japanese events

Japan and its Daimyo have many historical events. These include events like Nanban Boeki (meeting and trading with the Western Nations, mainly the Portuguese and Spanish), the establishment of the Terakoya schools and the funding of wako (wokou) raiders. These can be funded for a monetary bonus and a relationship penalty with Korea and Ming, or suppressed, for a relationship bonus with Korea and Ming.

Decisions[edit | edit source]

There are three decisions that switch the player's country to a united Flag of Japan Japan. The first is available for a shogun that has at least 25 provinces, representing more than half of the Japanese region or else substantial conquests outside it. The decision releases all remaining daimyo, turning both them and the shogunate into feudal monarchies. The remaining former daimyo may then be attacked directly, without having to wait for relations to improve enough to diplomatically annex them. The second decision is only available to a shogun that has united Japan without taking the first decision, and gives substantial monarch points as a reward for taking the longer and more peaceful path. The last decision is for a daimyo that is the only Japanese country remaining after the shogunate has been abolished. It may also be taken by any country with Japanese culture even if not a daimyo, such as Flag of Ryukyu Ryukyu or a player country that has shifted culture.


Execute decision.pngUnite 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:


Flag of Japan Japan does not exist.
The country:


The country:

All Vassal.png subject daimyos of the country:

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

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

Execute decision.pngJapan is united

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

Potential requirements

Flag of Japan Japan does not exist.
The country:


The country:

There is no country that:


The country:

  • becomes Flag of Japan Japan.
  • gains Legitimacy.png 100 legitimacy.
  • gains Administrative power.png 100 administrative power.
  • gains Diplomatic power.png 100 diplomatic power.
  • gains Military power.png 100 military power.
  • gets new Mission.png missions.
  • gets the Msg event.png event ‘New Traditions & Ambitions’, unless it is a custom nation.
  • becomes an Empire rank empire.
  • abolishes the ‘Shogunate’ government reform.

The AI will always take this decision.

Execute decision.pngJapan is united

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

Potential requirements

The country:


Flag of Japan Japan does not exist.
The country:

There is no other country that:


The country:

  • becomes Flag of Japan Japan.
  • gains Legitimacy.png 100 legitimacy.
  • gains Administrative power.png 100 administrative power.
  • gains Diplomatic power.png 100 diplomatic power.
  • gains Military power.png 100 military power.
  • gets new Mission.png missions.
  • gets the Msg event.png event ‘New Traditions & Ambitions’, unless it is a custom nation.
  • becomes an Empire rank empire.
  • abolishes the ‘Daimyo’ or ‘Independent Daimyo’ government reform.
  • removes all provinces from the Holy Roman Empire, if it is a member and not an elector or the emperor.

The AI will always take this decision.

List of daimyo[edit | edit source]

This is a list of daimyo that appear in the game. Not all daimyo appear in the start year 1444; the starting years are based on the year they are in control of the capital province, and their cores are usually added earlier and can be released at an earlier date.


Daimyo missions[edit | edit source]

Main article: Daimyo missions

Strategy[edit | edit source]

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

What Daimyo To Choose[edit | edit source]

In general, the viable daimyo picks are separated into two categories: those that begin the strongest, and those that have the best ideas. The strongest starting daimyo in 1444 is Flag of Hosokawa Hosokawa, although Flag of Uesugi Uesugi and Flag of Yamana Yamana are also fine candidates for uniting Japan quickly. The best land military nations are Flag of Oda Oda and Flag of Shimazu Shimazu, by far. For Naval nations, Flag of Kono Kono is typically the nation of choice. Although Flag of So So has slightly better ideas, it is a much harder starting position due to being on an island as an OPM. Flag of So So can flip to a Pirate Republic easily though via an event, if that appeals to you.

Uniting Japan[edit | edit source]

The Japanese daimyo gain free CBs on bordering Daimyo. Claims are still required to attack daimyo without a direct land border, and they are also useful for giving Core-creation cost.png -10% Core-Creation Cost. Regardless of what Daimyo you start as, getting alliances with some of the larger daimyo far away from you is recommended to dissuade the Shogun from DOWing you, although it is not necessary.

Remember to rush uniting Japan. Do not be afraid of taking many loans and going vastly over Force Limit just to unite Japan quicker or be able to siege Lv3 forts. Exploit the extremely good "Indebted to the Bourgeoisie" privilege from the Burghers, which gives 5 Loans at a 1.0% interest rate. Once you unite Japan, you essentially have no outside competition, as Flag of Korea Korea, the only nation that could possibly have a navy outside of Ming, is weak. You can even feel free to go bankrupt after you are the Shogunate, if such drastic measures are necessary.

While expanding, remember to develop the Renaissance when it spawns on an ideal province. Use Diplo and Military points to force spawn the institution.

Religious paths[edit | edit source]

With Mandate of Heaven.pngMandate of Heaven enabled, Japan has a number of easier, non-traditional paths open to it in regards to religion. Via events, it can convert to Catholicism Catholic or to Mahayana.png Mahayana Buddhism. From there, it can also transition from Catholicism Catholic to Protestantism Protestant or Reformed.png Reformed or from Mahayana.png Mahayana to Theravada.png Theravada or Vajrayana.png Vajrayana.

However, Shintoism Shinto is already one of the best religions in the game due to its access to a strong Morale of armies.png +10.0% Morale of Armies buff and Development cost.png −10.0% Development Cost, as well as a number of other useful temporary bonuses from dynamic event chains dealing with isolationism. Thus, it is not recommended to flip to any form of Buddhism. Christian denominations can be considered in case the player wishes to pursue expansionist policy in Europe, as Christians gain access to Personal Union mechanics, but it is highly debatable as Shinto is already stronger than any Christian religion besides Orthodox (one of the four Christian religions you can't swap to easily by decisions and events).

Catholic[edit | edit source]

Eventually, the Europeans will discover Japan, which will trigger the Spread of Christianity incident. A ruler interested in converting should choose all options that favor or protect Christians, leading to an "Open" outcome for the incident. The country will then get a "Kirishitan Realm" modifier. Shortly thereafter, an event will fire offering the choice to convert to Catholicism Catholicism. If taken, the religion of both the ruler and the country will become Catholic and the capital province will convert as well.

It is highly recommended to prepare for this event by filling out Religious ideas, raising stability before conversion, and saving up a good deal of money. If the player intends to remain Catholic, taking the Embrace the Counter-Reformation decision will rapidly speed up conversion as well by granting Missionaries.png +2 Missionaries. Regardless of the religion chosen, the player should prioritize converting developed provinces and the capital region especially; it is also wise to focus on converting the Japanese home islands over subjugated territories in mainland Asia. Shinto provinces are harder to convert, so prepare to invest a lot of time and money in Christianizing the country. Remember to utilize the State Edict "Enforce Religious Unity" which grants Local missionary strength.png +1.0% Local Missionary Strength.

Though Catholic is the easiest branch to convert to, a player ruling Japan is deprived of any chance to become papal controller unless the capital is somehow moved to Europe. This means that most, if not all meaningful bonuses available to Catholics are not feasible for Japan to obtain. Thus, it is recommended to swap to Protestantism Protestant or even Reformed.png Reformed.

Protestant / Reformed[edit | edit source]

Reformed.png Reformed and Protestantism Protestant may be slightly harder to convert to, but they offer stronger raw bonuses than Catholicism does. A ProtestantismProtestant player can customize the church of Japan to their liking. Church aspects that boost colonial growth and military power are good for securing the Pacific and seizing large swathes of East Asia; the boost to missionary strength from the Adult Baptism aspect is helpful in countering the stubborn resistance of Shintoism Shinto and Sunni Islam Muslim holdouts, each of which have Local missionary strength.png -2.0% Local Missionary Strength. Remember to utilize the State Edict "Enforce Religious Unity" which grants Local missionary strength.png +1.0% Local Missionary Strength.

As for Reformed.png Reformed: generally speaking, it is weaker than Protestantism due to its lack of many of Protestant's great modifiers, such as Development cost.png Development Cost, Global settler increase.png Global Settler Increase, and more. It also lacks the boosted conversion abilities of Catholicism and Protestantism. However, Reformed does have a niche over Protestant in that it offers Morale of navies.png +5.0% more Morale of Navies than Protestant, and thus it is an okay religion for nations needing to focus on their land and navy. Given how important Morale of Navies is, +5.0% could be useful; however it is hard to justify Morale of navies.png +5.0% Morale of Navies vs the numerous advantages Protestant has to offer.

A player seeking to go Protestant/Reformed must become Catholic first. Then, just simply flip to Protestant or Reformed through the religion tab.

Alternative starting dates[edit | edit source]

Japan offers unique features for some alternative starting dates, which each offers a different experience.

  • 27 May 1467 – Historic start of the Onin War and Sengoku Jidai. Ouchi, Yamana and Shiba have just begun the war against Hosokawa, Hatakeyama and Takeda in the "Onin War" (the actual in-game name of the war).
  • 3 July 1573 – Oda controls Kyoto and becomes Shogun. (There was no war in the game going on before this date)
  • 21 June 1582 – Oda Nobunaga has just died and Hideyoshi Toyotomi becomes the Shogun. Historically, it was the "Honnō-ji incident".
  • 10 August 1590 – Tokugawa moved to Musashi, which is now Tokyo.
  • 25 May 1592 – The beginning of "Imjin War". Oda Shogunate is at war with Korea and has some provinces occupied.
  • 21 October 1600 – Tokugawa controls Kyoto. Historically the end of the Battle of Sekigahara. But the in-game configuration is bugged. Tokugawa is still a Daimyo under Oda despite controlling Kyoto. The in-game text says "norulertitle" for both of them. Historically, Tokugawa should have obtained control over all Japan, just that the government had not been fully established.
  • 24 March 1603 – Tokugawa has established into the Shogunate. The historical start of the Edo Period.

Achievements[edit | edit source]

Cherrypicking icon
Conscript a 3 star general from a Daimyo Subject.
Kirishitan Japan icon
Start as a Japanese Daimyo, convert yourself and all of Japan to Christianity.
Made in Japan icon
Embrace "manufacturies" institution as Japan by 1655.
Sakoku Law icon
Go full isolationist in 6 Incidents.
The Chrysanthemum Throne icon
Unite Japan as a Daimyo.
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