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Japanese heavy foot soldier armed with a musket. Good against cavalry in a melee.
—In-game description

The Ashigaru Musketeer is a heavy infantry unit in Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties that is unique to the Japanese and can be trained at Barracks and Atakabunes, and by Daimyos. It is the Japanese equivalent of a Musketeer that is effective against cavalry and shock infantry.


Ashigaru Musketeers are a more expensive version of the regular Musketeer, with slightly more hit points, speed and ranged attack, but with noticeably less damage vs units in melee, including cavalry and shock infantry. One thing to note is that they are less cost effective than regular Musketeers in terms of hit points and damage, but they have a higher speed to make up for it. Like most heavy infantry, Ashigaru can easily be countered by Skirmishers, archers and artillery.

One of the advantages of the Ashigaru Musketeer is the upgrade stacking advantages it gets. Between the Golden Pavilion passive boost, the Golden Pavilion Arsenal improvements, the regular Arsenal improvements (acquired by allying with Dutch in the Consulate), the Ashigaru attack cards, the passive consulate boost, the Daimyo boost, and the Shogun boost, the Ashigaru can reach very high power in the early ages, making them difficult to counter.

Ashigaru are quite powerful, however, they can become more powerful by stacking upgrades. It is possible for the Ashigaru to have around 140 hand attack to cavalry and slightly above 80 attack in ranged mode.

It is possible for Ashigaru to have around 500 hit points, 80 ranged attack, 140/70 attack against cavalry and Shock Infantry, all while maintaining a relatively cheap cost (with shogunate, native upgrades, and cost-lowering treasures) and good speed. Usually, Ashigaru stats can only be maxed out in treaty games. This is extremely effective since they only cost one population slot. Something to note is that Ashigaru Musketeers have about twice the stats (not hit points) of a Russian Musketeer if they are fully improved.

Note: Ashigaru were weakened in later patches, but remained one of the strongest and most expensive musketeer type units. The Spanish unction musketeers still remain the hardest hitting musketeer, but they have fewer hit points. Other powerful musketeers include Indian Sepoys, British Redcoats, and Portuguese Guerreiros.


Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Age III tech tree aoe3.png
Disciplined ranged infantry.png Disciplined Ashigaru 200 wood,
100 coin
Upgrades Ashigaru Musketeers to Disciplined (+20% hit points and attack)
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png
Honored ranged infantry.png Honored Ashigaru 600 wood,
600 coin
Upgrades Ashigaru Musketeers to Honored (+30% hit points and attack); requires Disciplined Ashigaru
Imperial Age
Exalted ranged infantry.png Exalted Ashigaru 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrades Ashigaru Musketeers to Exalted (+50% hit points and attack); requires Honored Ashigaru

Further statistics[]

As Ashigaru Musketeers are unique to the Japanese, only technologies that they have access to are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Cavalry, Shock Infantry
Weak vs. Skirmishers, archers, artillery
Hit points Flint lock.png Flint Lock (+10%)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Socket Bayonet.png Socket Bayonet (+20% melee attack)
Paper cartridge.png Paper Cartridge (+15%)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Smokeless Powder.png Smokeless Powder (+30% siege attack)
Clenched Fist.png Clenched Fist (+30% melee attack)
Speed Inca Road-building.png Quechuan Mountaineering (+20%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Creation speed Standing Army.png Standing Army (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Quechuan Diet (-25%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost)
Other Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)

Home City Cards[]

As Ashigaru Musketeers are unique to the Japanese, only their cards and other civilizations' TEAM cards are shown in the following tables:


  • Prior to the Definitive Edition, the Ashigaru Musketeer used a bayonet for melee attacks, just like the Musketeer. However, they use a yari spear now.
    • However, in the Definitive Edition beta, the Ashigaru Musketeer used a bayonet for melee attacks, as shown in an official graphic comparison image before the release of the game and in the image of the Compendium section.


During the Heian Period (794-1185 CE), Japan’s system of a centralized military began to rapidly disintegrate with the rise of the warrior aristocracy. This left the creation and training of armies once again in the hands of powerful local lords. The ashigaru, which means “light-foot” or lightly armored, filled a growing need for enlisted warriors. They were the lowest class of warriors, commoners who were paid a stipend to enlarge a lord’s local army. Because they essentially fought as contractors, the ashigaru often had to provide their own provisions and were not always as reliable as their commanders would have liked.

However, the status of the ashigaru evolved dramatically in the fifteenth century, following the introduction of European firearms to Japanese warfare. The arquebus required very little training to operate properly, unlike the use of a bow, which was considered an art form. By equipping his many ashigaru with guns, a local daimyo could complement his samurai warriors with a constant and brutal ranged attack. Thus, the ashigaru quickly became indispensable.

The most famous ashigaru to rise to prominence was Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the warrior turned powerful daimyo that spent the final years of the sixteenth century seeking to unite the disparate feudal warlords of Japan.
—In-game history section