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This article is about the Age of Empires III unit. For the unique unit of the same name in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, see Samurai (Age of Empires II).

Powerful Japanese Samurai swordsman that inflicts area damage in hand combat. Good against cavalry and buildings.
—In-game description

The Samurai is a melee 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 has a splash attack that harms multiple enemy units in one sweep of their sword and is one of the strongest non-mercenary melee infantry units in the game.


Unlike most infantry recruited at the Barracks, the Samurai takes two population slots. Samurai are deadly against cavalry, Shock Infantry and buildings, being able to kill large groups of cavalry and shock infantry, or high hit point buildings in mere seconds, and do OK against other heavy infantry if they aren't spread apart too much. Samurai should stay away from ranged infantry, which can kill them with ease, but if the Samurai get in close, they can easily wipe the Skirmishers and archers out with their area attacks, due to the low hit points of most skirmishers. The same goes for artillery, because of their low hit points and 75% ranged resist, and the Samurai's high melee damage.

Samurai are very similar to the German Doppelsoldner, although they are less useful against cavalry and Shock Infantry, have a smaller AoE, slightly less hit points, and are slightly stronger against all other units and buildings. They also cost more food, but less coin, and have a 30% melee resistance versus the Doppelsoldner's 20%.


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

Further statistics[]

As Samurai 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 and Shock Infantry especially in groups, buildings
Weak vs. Skirmishers, archers, artillery
Hit points Infantry Breastplate.png Infantry Breastplate (+10%)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Maya Cotton Armor.png Maya Cotton Armor (+20%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Carib Kasiri Beer.png Carib Kasiri Beer (+10%)
Mapuche Tactics.png Mapuche Tactics (+50% siege attack)
Zapotec Cult of the Dead.png Zapotec Cult of the Dead (+20%)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Master Lessons.png Master Lessons (+10%)
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 Clan Offerings.png Clan Offerings (every Castle spawns 1 Samurai, Consulate with Japanese Isolationism)
Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)

Home City Cards[]

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


The Asian Dynasties[]

  • The Samurai has 25 melee attack, a x0.5 multiplier against Villagers and a x1.15 multiplier against Elephants.

Definitive Edition[]

  • The Samurai has 28 melee attack and has no multipliers against Villagers and Elephants.


  • The Samurai has attack voice lines in the game files but they are all unused. This was not corrected in the Definitive Edition, where they remain unused.
  • The Samurai is called ypKensei in the game files. Kensei was a Japanese honorary title for exceptional swordsmen.


The samurai were members of the Japanese warrior aristocracy who embodied the bushido code; they rose to power during the rival clan wars of the twelfth century. This bushido belief system - “the way of the warrior” - emphasized an unwavering loyalty to a master, the act of self-sacrifice, and an indifference to pain. From the twelfth century to the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1603, the samurai were the dominant social class in Japan, and many acted as knights in the service of the warring feudal lords.

After Tokugawa Ieyasu was declared shogun and began to consolidate power, the samurai were encouraged to leave their posts as village defenders and take more bureaucratic government posts in castle towns, earning government stipends to abandon their warrior ways. This was done to reduce the threat of masterless samurai, or ronin, who had become a threat to Tokugawa’s dictatorship. However, the drastic culture shift did not sit well with many samurai, and former warriors eventually led the overthrow of the shogunate in 1867.