The Japanese are a playable East Asian civilization in Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties that controls the island of Japan and other parts of Asia in the far-east. They are the descendants of the Yamato civilization, who inhabited the same island. The Japanese civilization is now under the Tokugawa Shogunate, that unified the country.
The Japanese are a strong civilization, but they cannot gather food via herding or hunting. They can, however, build Shrines to gain a small trickle of whatever resource you set them to, even experience, with a high-level Home City. Building Shrines around huntables or herdables will attract them to the Shrine, with each huntable or herdable animal increasing the amount of resources that the Shrine generates. The Shrines also act as houses; they support 10 population. The Japanese may also build Cherry Orchards, which are built from freely-obtained Rickshaws. As a special advantage, most cards in the Japanese Home City may be sent twice.
The Japanese have very expensive – but powerful – military units, such as the Samurai, Ashigaru Musketeers, Yumi Archers, Yabusame, and Naginata Riders, as well as artillery units such as Flaming Arrows and Morutaru. The Japanese navy is average at best, but their fishing potential makes it easy to perform a water boom.
Each Asian civilization has special Monks instead of Explorers. Japanese monks, the Ikko-Ikki, are the only explorer-type units in the game to also be considered as archers for purposes of Carib Garifuna Drums' anti-Villager bonuses (x1.3 damage vs. Settlers) and other archer-specific upgrades. As with other Monks, the Ikko-Ikki have no sniper abilities, but can stun Treasure Guardians. They also perform powerful martial arts attacks that instantly kill weakened enemies outright, among others. The Ikko-Ikki can also build Shrines. If the card Mountain Warrior is sent, they will receive twice the normal resources or experience they normally would from treasures.
- Villager: A Japanese villager that does not eat meat. Gathers all other resources.
- Ikko-Ikki: Religious leader who stuns Treasure Guardians and has a chance to do Divine Strike damage in combat. Explores, fights, and builds Town Centers, Trading Posts, and Shrines.
- Sentry: Quick-training, Pikeman who quickly loses hitpoints, becoming less effective over time.
- Irregular: Quick-training, musketeer who quickly loses hitpoints, becoming less effective over time.
- Samurai: Powerful Japanese Samurai swordsman that inflicts area damage in hand combat. Good against cavalry and buildings.
- Ashigaru Musketeer: Japanese heavy foot soldier armed with a musket. Good against cavalry in a melee.
- Yumi Archer: Ranged infantry armed with the Japanese longbow. Good against infantry.
- Naginata Rider: Heavy cavalry armed with a naginata for killing archers, skirmishers, and artillery.
- Yabusame: Japanese master of the bow and the horse. Good against cavalry and artillery.
- Flaming Arrow: Japanese cannon that shoots an exploding arrow. Better against infantry and artillery than buildings.
- Morutaru: Artillery that fires an exploding shell at buildings or ships.
- Daimyo: Powerful Japanese lord who can train troops and receive Shipments.
- Shogun Tokugawa: Supreme ruler of Japan. Can train troops and receive Shipments. Also gives nearby troops extra hitpoints.
- Yamabushi: Japanese Monk armed with a large two-handed club. Good against cavalry and buildings.
- Shinobi: Stealthy ranged infantry. Good against infantry.
- Fune: Fune. Good at exploring, fishing or transport.
- Atakabune: Atakabune. Slow, powerful ship resistant to building fire that can train units.
- Tekkousen: Tekkousen. Heavy warship.
- Shrine: Generates a tiny amount of resources. Configure it to produce different things. Attract nearby animals for bonus production. Supports 10 population.
- Rice Paddy: Slow, infinite source of Food or Coin. Limited to 10 gatherers.
- Cherry Orchard: A beautiful Cherry Orchard which can be harvested for Food.
- Monastery: Trains repentant outlaws and mercenaries. Provides Monk improvements.
- Castle: A powerful defensive building that can also train and upgrade artillery.
- Consulate: Spend Export here to enter into relations with European powers and gain a powerful bonus. Also use Export to purchase European troops and technologies.
- Dojo: Generates armies automatically. Configure it to produce different things. Can only be sent from the Home City.
- Golden Pavilion: Increases the attack of ranged land units, the attack of hand units, the speed of all land units, or the hitpoints of all land units. Configure it to give bonuses to different things.
- Great Buddha: Casts the Informers spell which reveals the enemy's positions to you.
- The Shogunate: Decreases training time and cost of land military units.
- Torii Gates: Increases the experience point build bounty for training units and constructing buildings and the bounty for defeating enemy units and buildings.
- Toshogu Shrine: Acts as a giant Shrine and increases the amount of resources that Shrines generate. Supports 20 population.
- Main article: Japanese Home City Cards
These Japanese words or sentences spoken in this game are grammatically correct and generally standard with no particular regional dialect, but some of them are old-fashioned or pronounced with a foreign accent. The accents and styles of the language spoken by Japanese units are as follows:
- The female villager speaks modern standardized Japanese with some non-standard (apparently foreign) accent.
- The male villager speaks modern standardized Japanese with a standard Tokyo accent.
- The Ikko-Ikki speaks a kind of typically theatrical and conventional Japanese which is characterized by its old-fashioned word usage and its stylized pronunciation of words. The style of the language spoken by the monk is like that of Jidaigeki, a genre of film and television drama that depicts the life of Japan in pre-modern times. The monk sometimes speaks with the copula ja (じゃ), which, if used by a fictional character (and not as a regional dialect), usually signifies that the speaker is an old or archaic person, especially male one.
- Military units, including Daimyo and Shogun, speak a kind of theatrical Japanese characterized by its old-fashioned word usage. Some of them speak with a standard accent, while others speak with some non-standard accent.
- 用件は? [Yōken wa?] ("What's the matter?")
- なんだ? [Nan da?] ("What?") — male villager
- 呼んだかい? [Yonda kai?] ("Did you call?") — male villager
- 何? [Nani?] ("What?") — female villager
- 呼んだ? [Yonda?] ("Did you call?") — female villager
- いいよ [Ī yo.] ("All right.")
- は [Ha.] ("Yes."; a variant of hai (はい "Yes") pronounced with a short, strong breath; old-fashioned, typically said by fictional archaic characters, especially of the feudal ages, in response to the instructions or remarks of their superior person, with an attitude of respect toward that person)
- ご命令を [Gomeirei o.] ("Your instructions?")
- 御意（に） [Gyoi (ni).] ("At your will.")
- よし [Yoshi.] ("Ok.") — male villager
- わかりました [Wakarimashita.] ("All right!")
- わかったよ [Wakatta yo.] ("All right!") — female villager
- 行きます [Ikimasu.] ("I go.")
- はい! [Hai!] ("Yes!")
- ただいま [Tadaima.] ("At once") — fishing boat
- そうです [Sō desu.] (Literally "It is so."; this is odd, because it is like saying "Yes, it is" in reply to a given order) — fishing boat
- いざ [Iza.] ("Now.")
- 直ちに [Tadachi ni.] ("Immediately.")
- 仰せの通り（に） [Ōse no tōri (ni).] (Literally "As you say."; it means "In accordance with your will.")
- 食料だね [Shokuryō da ne.] ("Forager", literally "(To gather) food")
- お宝だね [Otakara da ne.] ("Miner", literally "(To gather) treasure")
- 木材だね [Mokuzai da ne.] ("Woodcutter", literally "(To gather) wood")
- 稲作だね [Inasaku da ne.] ("Rice cultivator", literally "Rice cultivation")
- 建てるんだね [Tateru n da ne.] ("Builder", literally "To build")
- 狩りだね [Kari da ne.] ("Hunter", literally "To hunt") — unused since Japanese villagers cannot gather Food from huntable animals
- 直しましょう [Naoshimashō.] ("Repair", literally "(I'll) repair (it)") — unused
- いざゆかん! [Iza yukan!] ("Let's go now!")
- 戦じゃ! [Ikusa ja!] ("Fight!")
- や! [Ya!] (an interjection)
- 用かな? [Yō ka na?] ("Do you have a business with me?")
- なんじゃな? [Nan ja na?] (Literally "What is it?", responding in a mild tone (na) to some action or situation; "What's the matter?")
- なんなりと [Nan nari to.] (Literally "In whatever way.", here it means like "Order me whatever you'd like.")
- 承知した [Shōchi shita.[ ("I understand")
- そちらへ行こう [Sochira e ikō.] ("I'll go there.")
- 攻撃じゃ！ [Kōgeki ja!] ("Attack!")
- お迎えが来たようじゃ [Omukae ga kita yō ja.] (Literally "The welcoming seems to have come."; reflecting a belief widely shared among Japanese Buddhists, especially Jodo-related ones, this conventional phrase traditionally refers to the coming of Amida Buddha in front of a dying person to welcome that person into the land where Buddha lives, that is, Jōdo or 'Pure Land') — said when the monk is killed
- 仏様のご加護のお陰じゃ [Hotoke-sama no go kago no okage ja.] ("It's thanks to Buddha's protection.") — said when the monk is revived
||The Sengoku, or Warring States period, lasted roughly from 1478 to 1605 and was a time of tremendous social upheaval and political strife in Japan, defined by an almost endless state of war.
The centralized government of the reigning Ashikaga shogunate had begun to lose the loyalty of many daimyo, or feudal lords, across Japan. Individual provinces were beginning to turn inwards and busy themselves with local matters. This was especially true of those domains far from Kyoto, the center of power.
Many factors contributed to the gradual fragmentation of the shogunate. Trade with China was growing rapidly, developing the Japanese economy and boosting the importance of money to local economies. Commercial cities began to appear across the countryside, and a great desire for local autonomy developed, touching all classes of the social hierarchy. Soon, frustrated over rising taxes and the damage done by famines and earthquakes, peasants began to revolt.
As chaos began to take hold of the rural villages, unrest broke out in Kyoto, where a dispute over shogunal succession triggered the Onin War (1467–1477). The Hosokawa family and its allies clashed with the Yamana family over the right to wield Japan’s cetral authority. This conflict raged for 11 years, further weakening the role of the shogunate, and it eventually spread out to the waiting powder keg that had become the surrounding provinces.
Regional daimyo suddenly rose up to take control where the central authority had none. During this time, notable clans such as the Takeda and the Imagawa were able to greatly expand their spheres of influence. This was not true of all local lords, however, as many were overtaken by their own subordinates and replaced. This was known as gekokujo, literally translated to mean “the underling conquers the overlord.”
A century passed and the feudal warring continued, even as a possibility for peace grew on the horizon. Oda Nobunaga, who had emerged from obscurity to seize power over much of central Japan, seemed poised to unite the scrabbling clans into an alliance; but before he could, Nobunaga fell victim to the treachery of one of his own generals in 1582. This left the path to power open for whoever had the ambitions to take it.
One of Nobunaga’s most trusted underlings, a general and former foot soldier named Toyotomi Hideyoshi, stepped in where his predecessor had left off and continued the work to unify the feuding families. Hideyoshi could never become a true shogun as he was of common birth, but he did consolidate enough power to be named an Imperial Regent by the Emperor of Japan.
After several ill-fated invasions of Korea, Hideyoshi died in 1598 without leaving a capable successor to his dynasty. Again, the nation teetered precariously on the edge of chaos.
It was then that the powerful daimyo of Mikawa province, Tokugawa Ieyasu, chose to make his move, one he had been planning for years.