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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
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

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]

Daimyo ideas

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

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

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 gets Legitimacy.png +0.1 legitimacy per year and Stability cost modifier.png −2% stability cost for each daimyo at peace, as well as 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.

Shogun abilities[edit]

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 Icon legitimacy monarchy.png 20 legitimacy and provides a modifier lasting 10 years. Multiple actions may be used at once.

Icon Ability Effects for the Shogun Effects for all Daimyos
Sword hunt.png Sword Hunt Manpower.png +250 Manpower increase per daimyo

Land forcelimit.png +0.5 Land force limit per daimyo

Manpower.png −1 000 Manpower increase

Land forcelimit.png −2 Land force limit

Sankin kotai.png Sankin Kotai Diplomatic reputation.png +3 Diplomatic reputation Diplomatic relations.png −1 Diplomatic relations
Forcibly expel ronin.png Forcibly Expel Ronin Liberty desire.png −5% 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)


Main article: Japanese missions

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


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.


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:

  • abolishes the ‘Shogunate’ government reform.

Flag of Japan Japan

  • 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 Flag of Japan Japan:

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

The country:


Flag of Japan Japan does not exist.

The country:

There is no country that:


The country:

  • changes to Flag of Japan Japan.
  • abolishes the ‘Shogunate’ government reform.
  • becomes an Empire rank empire.
  • gains Icon legitimacy monarchy.png100 legitimacy.
  • gains Administrative power.png100 administrative power.
  • gains Diplomatic power.png100 diplomatic power.
  • gains Military power.png100 military power.
  • obtains new missions (which are Japanese missions).

If Flag of Japan Japan:

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:

  • changes to Flag of Japan Japan.
  • abolishes the ‘Daimyo’ or ‘Independent Daimyo’ government reform.
  • becomes an Empire rank empire.
  • gains Icon legitimacy monarchy.png100 legitimacy.
  • gains Administrative power.png100 administrative power.
  • gains Diplomatic power.png100 diplomatic power.
  • gains Military power.png100 military power.
  • obtains new missions (which are Japanese missions).

If Flag of Japan Japan:

The AI will always take this decision.

List of daimyo[edit]

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]

Main article: Daimyo missions


Religious Paths[edit]

With Mandate of Heaven.pngMandate of Heaven enabled, Japan has a number of paths open to it in regards to religion. Via events, it can convert to Catholic or to Mahayana Buddhism. From there, it can also transition from Catholic to Protestant or Reformed or from Mahayana to Theravada or Vajrayana. Of course, Japan can choose to hold fast to its traditional Shinto beliefs.

Japan's optimal choice of religion depends heavily on the player's activated DLCs. Protestant and all forms of Buddhism are very weak without Common Sense.pngCommon Sense and Reformed is more or less useless for Japan without Wealth of Nations.pngWealth of Nations. Shinto itself offers few advantages without Mandate of Heaven, but lacking that DLC will also make it much more difficult to transition to another faith. The sections below will assume that the player at least has Mandate of Heaven, Common Sense, and Wealth of Nations active.


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. 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 +2 missionaries. Becoming Defender of the Faith grants another missionary as well, especially useful for a Protestant or Reformed-minded Japan that cannot Embrace the Counter-Reformation. 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.

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. The main benefits of going Catholic are the constant deluge of papal influence from province conversions and improved relations with Spain and Portugal if those powers have established themselves in the Pacific or if the Ottomans have chosen to colonize. It is a sound idea to use papal influence to keep the empire stable during the conversion process at first, and then later to take advantage of its economic bonuses whenever possible. Constant conquest in heathen Asia will keep a steady supply of influence coming in.


Reformed and Protestant may be harder to convert to, but they offer stronger raw bonuses than Catholicism does. A Protestant 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 Shinto and Muslim holdouts.

Reformed offers fewer potential military bonuses and does nothing to boost colony growth; it also lacks the boosted conversion abilities of Catholicism and Protestantism. Furthermore, its bonus to heretic tolerance is almost useless in overwhelmingly heathen Asia. That being said, the stability focus is excellent for keeping unrest down and annexing large vassals while the trade focus can be very powerful if Japan focuses on enriching and controlling important trading territories in Indonesia, for example.

A player seeking to go Protestant/Reformed must become Catholic first. The two options at that point are to either try to convert Japan to the desired non-Catholic sect as soon as possible or to convert the country to Catholic as a transitional stage. The first risks a longer and more dangerous period of instability because Protestant/Reformed governments, deprived of the Counter-Reformation, will have to rely on one or two missionaries to get the job down; this is, however, the quicker and cheaper path to the end goal. The other option is to Embrace the Counter-Reformation, use the bonus missionaries to convert Japan to Catholic, wait out the religious zeal timers, and then convert the Catholic provinces. This will get Japan out of its unstable Shinto vs. Christian predicament much sooner and Catholic provinces are much easier for Protestants/Reformed to convert than Shinto ones, but it will delay the ultimate goal by a number of years.

Alternative starting dates[edit]

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.


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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