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16th century Japanese warfare is superior to medieval warfare

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/16/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,936 times Debate No: 20424
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




First round is for position of positive outcome no saying why it's better just the pros of your choice, thanks

First things first the 16th century warriors of Japan(samurai, senshi ninja, ikki ikko, ect) had superior training, superior weapons and they had much better tactics. Not only were they good on the battle field but they didn't have many riots due to the samurai keeping the peace. The 16th century was also the golden age form the ninja which means they. could poison the enemy, assassinate a general or leader and spy on the enemy to reveal tactics and general information. Japan was also one of the earliest countries to invent terrorism. They could easily weaken an enemy's resolve and make them run away. Bushido(the code of the warrior) prevented retreat and fear prevented the ikki ikko from running. Japan also have highly advanced leaders because they had a balance of fear and respect. If we delve into the individual side of things each Japanese warrior had at least some level of training and that training was highly advanced because most Japanese martial arts believed in redirecting someone's strength and power and then adding your own to cause immense pain and uses things such as pressure points sweeping and using pain to direct your opponents energy. Now into weaponry japanese sword were not made out of banged out steel like most swords, it is actually made out of continuesly folded steel which makes them extremely strong and incredibly sharp. The Japanese spears such as the common yari have extremely large heads gives them great strength, length and impact force. Their arrows and bows are designed for range which means the have a lot of impact force and are very light due to the fact that the arrows are made out of bamboo. These are not the only weapons Japan has the kusarigama are a major factor. The kusarigama is usually wielded in pairs and is made of a sickle attached to a chain and then at the end of that chain is a weight so it utilizes gravity to increase strength and speed. The variety of Japanese weapons is immense but what make them even mir deadly is that japan has no moral issue of using poison. The Japanese armour contrary to belief is actually relatively strong despite being made mostly out of leather it also has metal breastplates, shin guards and gauntlets. The Japanese were also masters of explosives so they could utalize this ability and blow up there enemy's and then take them while they are recovering. Another thing the Japanese had an affinity for is fire they would light ball of straw hay and other flamables on fire and roll it into their enemy. Japan also had a great navy though they never split into army and navy. Their warships were powerful to the greatest extent for the edo period. They would use cannons, they would spew fire and create general mayhem. That's the basic short version I look forword to reading your opening speech con and thank you for accepting this debate.
My knowledge of Ancient Japanese warfare


I have a couple contentions as to why in a battle the medieval forces would triumph.

C1. Disunity in the Japanese forces.

My opponent mentioned the two main groups of warriors present in feudal Japan: ninjas and samurai. In Japan, the ninjas hated the samurai and in fact, were employed to kill samurai. Ninjas were nothing more than assassins. Samurai and ninjas distrusted and hated each other. "Ninjutsu developed as an opposing force to the samurai code of bushido." Whoever could afford to hire ninjas would do so. Since we are pitting Japan against basically all of Europe it can be assumed the European powers could better afford to hire Ninjas whose expertise in the use of poisons, assassinations, sneak attacks, and spying would completely kill off the Samurai leaving the country basically unopposed. Since paying off your enemy to make them work for you was a common practice in European medieval warfare it is an aspect of medieval warfare and can be used in this situation. A samurai's code of honor leaves them vulnerable to the Ninja. Ninjas are known as Samurai killers for a reason and they would be bought by the European's deeper pockets. The two facts the ninjas could both kill the Samurai and the Samurai could not utilize the ninjas on their side of the battle would be a detriment. (1) Ninjas are mercenaries, Europeans have deeper pockets, therefore, ninjas would fight for the Europeans as they can better afford to pay them.

C2. Rebellions in Japan.

Since this is taking place in the 16th century we must keep in mind the rebellions that would preoccupy the samurai. The rebellions are known as Ikk�|-ikki and took place between the 15th and 16th century of feudal Japan. These were armed revolts of "peasant farmers, Buddhist monks, Shinto priests and local nobles, who rose up against samurai rule in 15th to 16th century Japan." How can the Samurai pose an effective threat when they are preoccupied with defending their country from internal affairs? The European forces would take advantage of this disunity and rebellion by invading during the rebellion. This effectively means the Japanese forces are splintered between the internal and external and any hopes they would have of a successful defense would be destroyed. The rebellions may even team up with the Europeans with the thinking that the "enemy of my enemy is my friend." (2)

C3. Samurai V's. Knight

I personally believe this would be a draw. Each are bound by their respective codes of honor, chivalry and Bushido, to only fight an enemy, who can hold their ground, one on one. This means knights and samurai would be fighting each other. Both my opponent and I can make the assumption these warriors are both in excellent physical shape. They both have above average strength (the knight more so than the Samurai simply put because the knight would be a "heavier" soldier), above average agility (the Samurai more so than the knight), and each have the best technology of their respective cultures. Now here's the problem, excluding anything like tripping and variables that cannot be factored, the knights armor will not be able to be pierced by the Samurai's sword, simply put the katana will not be able to do any damage. On the flip-side, the knight most likely will not be able to hit the samurai as they are more agile and would dodge any attacks by the knight. This will be a draw.

C4. The Longbowman.

This is the medieval sides biggest strength. Range. In numbers, Long bowmen were MORE powerful than knights and they are always in large numbers. Knights had no protection against longbowmen, because of the use of bodkin arrows, even with armor heavier and stronger than that of a samurai. While the samurai may be more accurate with bows. The long bowmen could fire from farther away, they could pierce a knights plate armor from 250 yards away killing or wounding the knight: look at what happened at Crecy, Agincourt and Poitiers, English Longbowmen were the ones would brought victory. Firing between 10 and 12 arrows a minute longbowmen could absolutely decimate a force of samurai, who had lighter armor than knights, no matter how large before these samurai could even get a chance to attack a knight. The samurai, bound by their code of honor, would never retreat. Without the samurai, Japan is basically defenseless. The samurai, and any forces with them, would be decimated before they even got into range to attack. (3, 4) Samurai vs Longbowman. Longbowman would win.

C5. Navy against navy

a) Greek fire

Medieval navies utilized Greek Fire. Which was a incendiary which could not be put out at the time. Japanese ships were made out of wood. If even one canister of Greek fire hits a Japanese ship it will sink.

b) War ships with cannons that could fire broadside

This is a major factor in naval warfare. Firing all your cannons at one target simultaneously can cause tremendous damage to the opposing side.

c) Torpedoes

In 1275, Arab inventor Hasan al-Rammah of Syria, created the first torpedo. It ran on "water with a rocket system filled with explosive gunpowder materials and had three firing points" (5). It was extremely effective against ships. As time went on, the European navies slowly adopted this weapon into their own systems. The Japanese navy would have no chance against a weapon like this.

Medieval v. Japanese Navy. Medieval will win.

Debate Round No. 1


Hi firstly thanks for accepting my debate
Okay now I don't know what your talking about when you say a katana can't get through a knights armour the point of the blade could easily slip through one of the chinks in the armour and whatdo you mean the knight would be bigger the dochini no Ryu samurai is easily 6ft 5 and is extremely built due to him lifting the massive seven ft sword. The ninja were not just mercinaries and they weren't primarily against the samurai infact many of them served daimyo and the emperor. Also samurai owned some ninja. Ninja were not only trained in assassination but were also masters on the battlefield even
More so than the samurai. Plus ninja were loyal to Japan so your point is invalid. You are acting as if there is only one type of samurai, this is not true there are actually over 32 types of samurai fighting styles so that point of yours is invalid. During 16th century Japan there was only one rebellion and it was settled very quickly by the shogun and the samurai ruling govern not the samurai themselves so your wrong about That part. Japanese bows and arrows actually had more distance than long bowman but they lacked the rate of fire of the longbo. The yari samurai had the advantage over the knights with the fact that there spears were longer and a knights sword was designed to tear apart the chincked armour so the samurai armour would easily redivert the energy. Another advantage the Japan had over knights was the ikki ikko had larger shields and didn't need as much training due to the immense numbers. Again as I said before the Japanese were better trained they had excellent martial arts, trained for longer and bushido ment they went into battle thinking they would die and would not have to think about the fear of death but knights would. You agreed with me saying that samurai were more agile and then add to their reaction time the fact that they were trained to know what to do without having to think it so that is another advantage they have over knights. What you say is true Greek fire would destroy there ships but what you didn't take into account is the fact that the Japanese vessels have an outer layer that they can shed if they catch fire not only that but Japanese ships are faster than yours. The Japanese had side mounted cannons to and not to mention they had rotating canons so that's a major advantage they have.

Now that I have rebutted all your arguments I will point out the many flaws in medieval warfare

Heavy armour
The knights armour is extremely heavy not only that but they would wear layers and layers of it so they would have a hard time moving and would be slow to lift their weapon which was also extremely heavy compared to Japanese armour and weapons which were light but very strong which allowed their warriors to use the immense skills they possessed and means they wouldn't tire easily

Poor Calvary
The medieval Calvary was usually armourd and carried a lance wich is hard to attack with compared to the yari the Japanese Calvary Carried

Army size
Compared to Japan's immense forces the medieval army was pretty small with limited unit types unlike japan who had hundreds of unit types.

Armour and weapon quality
Japan prided themselves on their smithing ability and would spend long periiods of time crafting the finest weapons and armour unlike the medieval armourers who would rush because all the weapons broke.

Japanese warrior trained from the age of 3 where as knights started at the age of thirteen so knights mostly hack and slash the samurai or senshi ninja use thish to their advantage redirecting the attack to disarm or move the opponents weapon in order to get a clear opportunity for the lethal strike. Also knights could only fight at a medium close distance whereas samurai had not only the long katana but the short Wakizashi And the yari allow them to fight at many distances in many different ways to kill the knight or enemy.

Because the medieval European naval ships were so heavy and expensive there wasn't that many of them not only that but they were very slow wich is why during the english Portuguese Japan trading the English were afraid of the Japanese pirates and ninja. Not only that but Japanese waters are some of the most dangerous that's why the heavy trading ships sank on the way only the Japanese knew the safe passage and shared them with their allies

Europe took over a lot of land so you would think they had massive army well that's not true they actually had small armys so they could move easier

Sun tzu once said spy's are the most important part of war even more important than the army for an army without information cannot move, what he means is if you don't know what the terrain is like how many warriors the enemy has, what kind of man the leader is , what is his previous tactics and were they are they heading your army can't move.

Event though they made the armies smaller to make them more manouverable but it didnt work due to the heavy armour and the amount of provisions and weapons they carried but the Japanese lived off smaller provisions and didn't need to carry as many weapons

So this is why you should vote pro


I thank my opponent for his arguments and shall continue

D1. Ninjas

"A ninja was a mercenary of feudal japan...In the unrest of the Sengoku period (15th–17th centuries), mercenaries and spies for hire arose out of the Iga and Kōga regions of Japan, and it is from these clans that much of later knowledge regarding the ninja is inferred" (1). "A mercenary...a person who fought for a foreign sovereign or power in return for monetary gain." (2). Ninja's WORKED as mercenaries for the daimyo and emperor. As you yourself stated, "Ninja were mercenaries", meaning they were loyal to money. The Medieval powers have "deeper pockets" and could better afford ninjas.

D2. Ikk�|-ikki

My opponent seems to think that this rebellion was settled quickly, that is not so. This rebellion occupied "nearly every road to the capital from this western part of the country was controlled by the ikki or their allies". So yes it was a threat and the Shogun eventually utilized the samurai to defeat this threat. This major uprising began in 1488 and was not defeated until 1564 when "the[ir] Ishiyama Hongan-ji and Nagashima fortresses were therefore besieged and destroyed by the forces of Oda Nobunaga. After several failed attempts at seizing each emplacement, he eventually succeeded." (3) With European help, the rebellion would take much longer to defeat. This rebellion would divert Japanese attention towards their interior and away from the medieval forces. And as an added benefit the Medieval forces would have an awesome strategic advantage in their allies in this rebellion as they controlled the roads to the Capital.

D3. Samurai vs Knight

My point is not invalid. If the samurai cannot pierce a knights armor they will do NO damage to the knight. To put it in modern day terms, it's like a tank versus a motor cycle with a machine gun. The tank's main gun most likely will not damage the motorcycle (due to not being able to hit it) but, the motorcycle's MG will do no damage to the tank. The only way a samurai would be able to know about these chinks in a knights armor would be through careful study of the armor which could not be done on a battlefield. A samurai while intelligent, could not discern a tiny chink during battle. Furthermore, a knight is trained to defend these chinks with a shield. This is a draw no matter the samurai. Martial arts does not do much when your punching a metal sheet. Tie.

D4. Bowman

A samurai's bow has a useful max range of 50 meters if wanting to be accurate or 100 meters if accuracy was not an issue. It was "not as powerful as the Eurasian reflex composite bow [longbow]." (4) The English long bow has an average maximum useful range of 400 yards (5). "The longbow had a long range and high accuracy, but not both at the same time. Most of the longer range shooting mentioned in stories was not marksmanship, but rather thousands of archers launching volleys of arrows at an entire army" (5). A longbow used with a bodkin arrow can pierce the heavy plate armor of a knight. Imagine what it would to to the lighter armor of a samurai. And since longbowman had better range and better fire rate they could easily demolish an entire Japanese Army BEFORE it even came within range.

D5. Navy

If the Greek Fire hit the open deck of a Japanese Warship there is no layer to shed. If it hits the side well then two canisters of Greek Fire are needed. Not one. My opponent drops the torpedo issue so that alone would destroy the Japanese Navy. As for the cannons, they both have these abilities, swiveling cannons and broadside. Now as for speed, a Medieval naval ship could travel around 8-10 knots. A Japanese ship could travel around 10-12 knots. This is not a significant difference, especially in a naval battle.

Now for rebuttals
R1. Heavy Armor

A Knight was extremely strong and their armor weighed only around 15 kg (33 pounds) (6). This would not hinder their movement as much as you say, due to a knights tremendous strength. Instead, it provides excellent protection against blades, spears, and non-bodkin arrows.

R2. Poor Cavalry

Knight were expert cavalry men. And carried lances, swords, and maces. Their horses were also heavily armored. Knights on horseback were the modern day equivalent of a tank. Longbowmen were the bazooka.

R3. Army Size

So basically, all of Europe combined has a smaller army than the tiny island of Japan? Yea right.

R4. Armour and weapon quality

Yes the Japanese were expert sword-smiths. But, weapons do not just "break" as you put it. But, medieval blacksmiths did not create faulty weapons. They worked for knights. It is just a myth that a Japanese katana can cut through another blade.

R5. Training.

A knights training began at age 7, not 13 (7) and they are trained over a 14-20 year period. Knights do not just "hack and slash" they are expert swordsman and experts in a variety of weapons including maces, daggers, lances, flails, battle axes and swords. These weapons have a variety of ranges and a knight MUST be an expert in using ALL of them. They do not just "hack and slash."

R5. Navy

Your basically saying a European trading ship is equal to a European warship....not at all.

R6. Allies

In 1600, the French army numbered 200,000 alone (8). In 1600, the Japanese army numbered 160,000 (9). 200,000 is larger than 190,000.

R7. Espionage

The Medieval forces would have the ninjas on their side. They know the land.

R8. Movement

Each soldier carried their own weapons and had to keep up a march pace. And according to you, the Japanese had to carry more weapons than the Medieval forces. So they would move more slowly.

Now for another contention.

C1. Swiss Pikemen

These soldiers traveled in dense formations with massive pikes. They were considered to be an essential part of a European Army. In fact, it was impossible to take a battlefield when pikemen were present as they could stab and kill you before you even came within distance to swing a sword. They were extremely well-trained and experienced in warfare. Them combined with longbowmen ALONE could defeat an entire samurai army as they would be stopped by the pikemen and picked off by the archers. Swiss pikemen were so admired by European powers that the Swiss formations were copied and utilized. (9)

C2. Halberdiers

Utilizing a pole weapon 1.8 meters long meant they could repel any attack. A halberd was a hook (used to pull horsemen to the ground), an axe (used as a blunt force weapon), and a pike all in one. It was extremely versatile in battle, extremely cheap to create, and extremely easy to use (it did not require much training). Since it was so cheap many soldiers had this weapon. It was a very good blocking weapon. Halberds had killed well trained knights, kings, and dukes. It can be used against both horsemen and infantry. (10) A samurai, even one armed with a spear, would be killed by the shear number of people using this weapon.

Debate Round No. 2


Thanks thebomb for posting your argument

I didn't say they worked as mercinaries to the daimyo and shogun, I said they worked for, but not for money they actually swore fealty to their daimyo. The ninja had a strict moral cod and would never work for an enemy of Japan during a time of war. I stated that ninja were mercinaries because it is the closest thing in the English dictionary to what they actually were.

Ikk�j ikki
The rebellion was in the early 16th century where a group Of farmers and gardeners who tried to take a daimyo settlement and utterly failed. Shortly after they hired a group of ronin to fight the samurai occupants and that was a stand off. So the samurai govern negotiated with the leader and came to a truce.

Unrest in europe
In medieval Europe the amount of uprises was appalling and many lasted years do a lot of knights would be occupied.

Samurai vs knight
You said" if a samurai cannot pierce a knights armour that can do no damage". Your point has a very big if and there are over 32 types of samurai and any one of them can pierce an knight armour which where just plates locked in. You say a samurai couldn't find a chink in the knights armour during battle well your wrong. Not only are the chinks rather large Japanese martial arts has a base of perception samurai are known to look from the top of a mountain of a landscape for just a second and then turn around and paint it perfectly. It's true some knights had shields but they were heavy a pivot kick or a yuri no gama kick to the shield would put a knight flat on his behind because with his heavy armour and heavy shield not only is he off balance but is slow and easy to tire. Plus as you said a samurai is very fast.

Medieval archery vs Japanese archery
Despite what you believe there weren't that many longbow men in Europe but most had recurve bows which had much less range than a kyu(Japanese bow). An easy wak to combat the archers was to send the samurai with shields and the ikki ikko first in centerpied formation which would stop even bodkin arrows. These would distract the archers enough for the calvary to flank them and take them out.

I agree Greek fire would destroy the Japanese navy if it hit the deck but they were mostly aimed at the sides and when the sides she and as you were reloading the from mounted rotatary cannons should tear apart the massive target. Japanese warships were highly buoyant ships and the torpedos would do little damage and the damage they did could be repaired quickly.

You say mounted knights were the tanks of the medieval. What are tanks but slow and there are only a small amount of tanks compared to infantry. The Japanese had many ways of defeating horseback warriors using the equivelantnof a pike is just one of many examples.

Heavy armour
Yes knights are extremely strong but samurai could easily turn thAt against the using the weight of Their armour to drag them to the ground where knights had no training. The samurai were definatly stronger than knights. The knights were just slow, clumsy and bulky they are like apes compared to samurai or senshi ninja.

Army size
I'm not saying all of combined europe is smaller but they would never combine forces and in fact I'm just saying that they travelled in small packs making them easy targets to pick off group by group.

Armour and weapon quality
I'm not saying they would just break but compared to a katana or a sec dayshi they would break with enough force. But you do have to agree they were slightly rushed when compared to Japanese armourers. Japanese katanas can not cut through a blade I'm not saying that I'm saying that they would snap the enemy blade because they are stronger and better made.

The knights started strength and stamina training at 7 and started combat training at 13 also the difference in training time is pretty large. Japanese martial arts are so much better and have so much more technique than the brute bluntedness of the knight.

Im not saying their similar I'm just saying that they have roughly the same weight and speed

if you want to say that then you must count Portugal and
Spain into Japans forces plus only half of the French army were warriors the others were cooks, cleaners and squires

Even Id each soldier carried his own weapons the army would still move slowly.
I don't say Japanese warriors carried more weapons each samurai either had two swords, a yari and a sword or a kyu and a sword. Some even carried a Tao knife.

Swiss pikemen and halberders
The samurai and senshi ninja had much experience fighting this type of weapon and had many techniques for combatting it for example the halberd had a heavy tip so you slide your swor down the tip and thena downward shin gama would easily snap the halberd. The pike was mostly a stabing weapon so a samurai or senshi ninja would bait them into stabbing than and then seers and trap the pike between their arms and ribs and at the same time spinning and breaking the implement. Plus japan had piles to they could just do the same thing. The ikki ikko had soft front hard backs so that any thing that stabbed the shield would be trapped inside and unable to be pulled out without putting the shield down standing on it and yanking and jumping so a pile would get stuck a twist of the shield would disarm the opponent and then a stab with your spear would kill him and then a dash against the ground would break the head off the spear and leave you ready to go again.

The ninja would just wipe out the army before they even attacked

I wait for your reply


R1. Ninja's

I have provided multiple sources stating that Ninja's were mercenaries. You have provided no sources backing your claim. "The ninja were stealth soldiers and mercenaries HIRED mostly by daimyos." (1)

Ninja's did not have a strict moral code as they would often change sides during combat. And in some instances ninja's were hired by the Chinese and Koreans.

R2. Ikk�j ikki

But, the problem was it lasted 80 years and was ended by force. Not a truce. (2) Pro also dropped the rest of my arguments here. This rebellion utilized peasant farmers, Buddhist monks, Shinto priests and local nobles (Samurai). So even the Samurai were fighting Samurai. Once again, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

R3. Unrest in Europe.

Name them.

R4. Samurai vs. Knight

Armor was designed as to protect these "chinks". Furthermore, knights were trained to protect the "chinks". You also provide no proof as to why a kick to the shield would necessarily put the knight on their back. It could just as easily put the samurai on his back. The "chinks" are not large they are small slivers in the armor then there is a suit of chain mail. Prove that the knights tired easily. They trained with the armor for days at a time they have the endurance.

R5. Long bowmen.

Your claim is ridiculous. English law at the time forced every man between the ages of 15 and 60 to be a long bowman. There were a lot of Long bowmen in England. The bows were provided at the expense of the state. You state that this would easily combat the archers but, all they have to do is well wait and fire later. Furthermore, the long bowmen protected their flanks using stakes which would kill the horses and infantry armed with spears which would kill the horses.

R6. Navy

The Greek Fire was mostly aimed at the decks as to kill the sailors as well. Torpedoes would explode making a giant hole. A hole in the ships hull means the ship sinks. It would do a lot of damage.

R7. Calvary

And the knights had many ways to defeat warriors on foot.

R8. Heavy Armor

So the knights have no training on the ground? Are you being serious here? They are trained in swordplay and there were European marial arts.

R9. Army Size

France's army alone is larger than the Japanese army.

R10. Quality

The blade would not snap. It is rather difficult to snap a steel blade no matter how much force is put onto it.

R11. Training
Knights began archery training at 7 and swordplay at 13.

R12. Allies
The number I provided was warrior strength.

R13. Movement

So the Japanese army would move slowly if each soldier carried their weapon.

R14. Pike-man and halberders

The pikemen and halberders had more experience in warfare as they were mercenaries. Combat experience is much better than training experience. Furthermore, the halberd was made to prevent soldiers from doing exactly what you stated. As for the pikemen, your entire contention is based on the pikemen stabbing a shield. What if they don't stab the shield? Or what if they say stab the Samauri's legs as their tactics dictate? Furthermore, while the samauri are dealing with the pikemen the longbowmen are shooting the samauri.

Debate Round No. 3


Thank you for your reply

No matter what you say ninja had a strict moral code and would never work for enemy soldiers( Wikipedia is the most unreliable source there is. Ninja were shadow tactitions and swore fealty to daimyo not paid to work for them. A lot of ninja work on the battlefield as well these are called senshi ninja. Ninja didn't work for china or korea these were the Chinese assassins known as wushkanda and the Koreans used Daylaka from Mongolia

Ikk�ƒ�'�‚��j ikki
The farmers hired ronin not samurai saying the two are the same is like saying a common guard is the same as a knight of the realm. What evidence do you put forth to say it wasn't settled diplomaticly.

Unrest in Europe
You say name them here
Pilgramige of grace
Tudor conquest of Ireland
The uprising of cahi
The revolt of 1173
The revolt of
Germany 1224-1335
Three major losses led do the decline of centuries of european building first demographic collapse, political instability and religious upheavals

Samurai vs knight
The chinks were at least two inches ath the joints and neck and the chain mail wouldn't stop a katana let alone any weapon. And while that were trained to defend these chinks the samrai were trained to expose and exploit these weaknesses giving the samurai an advantage over the knight. The reason the two kicks wouldn't knock down a samurai is because it uses the weight of the offender against the spinning motion and the pivot to bring the together and support them using the opponents offset and power to send him flying through the air. The samurai could bring himself behind the shield and use his advanced close quarters combat to kill his enemy. Even though the knights trains hours on end the armour would still be heavy and make them tire faster than samurai as there is a limit to strength only because knights didn't have the mindset or access of ki as samurai do.

Longbow men
Law required they did the training no participate in fighting and most used the lighter easier recurve bow. The stakes would work if the ikki ikko didn't use centerpied formation and Japan could use senshi ninja to take the stake out without being noticed and could kill many people after it.

By the time the greek fire was loaded and ready to go your ships would already be sunk due to the range and speed of the front mounted and side mounted rotary cannons

And the knights had many ways to defeat warriors on foot. That is not a rebuttal that's a statement. Knights on horses were easy targets due to the restrictive armour and slowness of the high mounted attack which left them widely exposed.

Heavy armour
Yes the knights had no ground training because in battle if you fell you didn't have time to get up in the restrictive armour and you were dead. The European martial arts was mostly useless swinging and boxing the opponent untill someone had enough of getting knocked around

army size
As I said before only half were fighters and European armies travelled in small seperate groups to be faster.

Weapon and armour
The blade would snap if you know what your doing. In order to create balance European sword smiths thinned the middle and made the tip heavy. That puts a lot of stress on th lower blade close to the handle and any bending of the sword would result in a snap.

They didn't start archery until they had basic swordplay skills

No the ratio to the point of French people couldn't have benn 200 000 without diminishing the economy to shambles which would mean the army had to go back

This is not true due to the fact that it means less packing and starting. It also means they didn't need as many provisions

Halberders and pikes
Samurai had battle experience from the age of 14 and had many ways to combat these weapon such as swerving catching trapping and breaking with kicks all possible due to heavy head weight of the pile and halberd. If the samurai are dealing with the pikemen then your archers are exposed to all of japans forces.

It is clear that you only have a one sided view of this and have not looked fr your opponents perception you should rethink your answer and predict my rebuttal before you post. I don't mean any thing by my statement jut trying to give you some advice.

Vote pro


R1. Ninja

No where does that source say they had a strict moral code and would not fight for their Japan's enemies? It in fact says "They will use any and all means to accomplish their ends" and "having divorced themselves from society, see themselves as free from its sanctions and restrictions, and operate on an amoral, mercenary basis" (1). So they are not moral. Besides Wikipedia is more accurate than the encyclopedia Britannica it is a perfectly reliable source (2, 3). Ninja's did not swear fealty to anyone they were paid. They were servants. A servant is one who is someone who "performs duties about the person or home of a master or personal employer" (4).

R2. Ikko Ikki

They did not hire ANYBODY. It was an armed revolt committed solely by those who wanted to the people involved were "peasant farmers, Buddhist monks, Shinto priests and local nobles". These people nothing more than those who followed "the beliefs of the Jōdo Shinshū (True Pure Land) sect of Buddhism" (5). This rebellion was defeated when Oda Nobunaga besieged (with a force of samurai) and destroyed the Ishiyama Hongan-ji and Nagashima fortresses, it took several tries. These fortresses were the major strong points for the rebellion. It was an armed revolt that lasted 80 years and was ended with force. My sources and my analysis provides my evidence. They did not hire Ronin. Nobles joined their cause willingly.

R3. Unrest in Europe
Pilgrimage--it was ended peacefully. (6)
Tudor conquest--King Henry was declared King of Ireland and had all of the Lord's pledges of allegiance. (7) Also, the occupation utilized more foot soldiers than knights.
Uprising of cahi-- I'm pretty sure this was a Chinese rebellion (8)
Revolt of 1173--did not happen in the 16th century and is irrelevant
Revolt of Germany 1224-1335--did not happen in the 16th century, irrelevant
Interregum--Happened between 1649–1660 that's the 17th century if I'm not mistaken. It was a period of democracy in England.

Most of these did not even occur anywhere in the 16th century. Most of them also were settled diplomatically such as in the case of the Pilgrimage of Grace.

R4. Samurai vs Knight.

The samurai are trained to exploit weaknesses. The knights are trained to defend these weaknesses and exploit the weaknesses of their enemy. I believe the Knight has an advantage here. Once again with the kick you assume the knight would be knocked down. As for getting behind the shield. Simple solution. The knight pulls out a dagger and stabs the Samurai through the gut. You see it's much easier to do that than to punch and kick a sheet of metal.

R5. Long bowman

English law required them to do the training with that longbow. They were also required to, if necessary, fight for their lords who in turn would fight for the King. So yes, if they have to they have to fight. 6,000 Long bowmen destroyed a 35,000 man French army at the battle of Crecy. Imagine what larger numbers would do. As for your flanking, your assuming there is absolutely no ground protection for the archers other than the stakes (which there was in the form of men-at-arms) and the archers were in a position that cavalry could get to (which they most assuredly would not be at).

R6. Navy
The Medieval navy began their campaigns with Greek fire preloaded that way they could fire the first shot. Besides, English cannon had swivel guns and "were in use in Western warships, and mounted at the bow and sterns to devastating effect". (10)

R7. Cavalry

They both had ways to defeat the other sides infantry. The armor protects the knight and horse from spear attacks. They may have been heavily armored and a little slower to speed up but, they could go just as quickly after a bit of acceleration.

R8. Heavy Armor

16th century English martial arts are still used to some extent by Special Forces today such as the SAS. It's not useless. "There were a variety of grappling styles and wrestling sports practiced across Europe since ancient times. The surviving manuals and illustrated study guides featuring these teachings reveal a sophisticated understanding of unarmed self-defense and combat wrestling techniques, including understanding of: throws, joint locks, groundfighting, wrist locks, open hand blows, kicks, bone breaking, and even pressure-point manipulation." (11)

R9. Army Size

The number I provided was warrior strength. They traveled in groups of 50,000-100,000 men.

R10. Weapons and armor

"Metallurgical study of swords has confirmed they reflected considerable knowledge of how to produce resilient high-carbon blades with hard steel edges, while investigation of their designs has demonstrated their utility and functionality. Fighting men of this time were no fools and for centuries their self-defense weapons reflected the highest level of technology and craftsmanship." (11). Their swords were made very well.


"At 7, the son of a medieval nobleman or knight would be sent off to serve as a page in a lord's castle. There, he would learn horsemanship, archery and swordsmanship, and perform various other duties around the castle" (12).

R12. Allies

They had a 200,000 man army. I provided a source. I'm also sure countries such as China and Korea would be more than happy to help a European Army marching to attack Japan. You cannot discount the Chinese and Korean armies. Including their "wushkanda and Daylaka".

R13. Movement

Once the Europeans are actually there they carry their weapons and provisions on their bodies.

R14. Halberds and pikes

The weapons were made so you could not break them (13). The Samurai would be dealing with 4-5 (maybe even 6 or 7) rows of pikeman all stabbing sharply pointed objects at vital areas. They will not be able to block all of the 100s of attacks. If all the samurai are engaging the pikemen then the archers will kill the samurai. This means Japan is basically defenseless as the Samurai are the only Japanese warrior capable of defeating a knight. They both had extreme battle experience. Mercenaries usually have more battle experience than those who are not as mercenaries are constantly in battle.

Debate Round No. 4


It says clans developed different codes but only disgrace from those around them. Which means even though they were looked down upon they actually had a morale code based around zazenjutsu. This means they would never work for Europe or china or even Korea who was having troubles with money at that time anyway. They did swear fealty And acted in the way of samurai to their daimyo.

Ikko ikki
You have your text wrong the ikko ikki or ikki ikko were
A mercinary type group the ikk��j ikki was the rebellion and where is your proof they weren't ronnin

Unrest in Europe
This isn't between 16th century Europe and Japan it is between medieval Europe and Japan which is 1100s to 1500s so all my points are valid and many of those were violent brutal slaughters which were worse than the Japanese rebellion of peasants and most lasted longer than a year.

Knight vs samurai
The samurai will knock down a knight whith such a kick if you do not believe go to your nearest karate or taijutsu class and ask the to show you the true power of gama style kicks. Pull a knife and stab him oh con you have much to learn the amount of time it would have taken to draw the knife and drop the swod the samurai would have killed the knight by then and you will probably say the knight would just bash the samurai with the hilt of his sword well the samrai could step sand sweep with the knight isn't hesitant the samurai utilizing the knights so called " immense" strength the samurai ads extra pier and drives the hilt of the knights own sword into his throat killing the knight. The samurai is faster and can pull his own tango knife as well and would stab the knight before he could lift his weapon.

What can 6000 Longbowman do to 30000 ikki ikko who were specifically trained to kill bowman and samurai archers and normal archers could rain arrows down with deadly force and accuracy on your pile ment and archers as they were dealing with other warriors such as the fearsome soehi. Even if there were men at arms they would be no match for any of the warriors I described your only equalizer would fall.

If that's the case than the navy is at a draw isn't it. The Japanese ships were smaller and faster which makes them a hard target to hit whereas the European warships were big and slow easy targets for the Japanese

But not as fast as the Japanese Calvary and not as many due to the massive expense also they would be puffed and easily collapsible due to the heavy weight. Japanese had pikes as well which would destroy any horseman. The Japanese sohei would just tear any foreign unit to shreds.

Heavy armour
Exactly all of the wrestling and grappling were sports not martial arts the difference being rules wich make them entirely ineffective even mike Tyson said that the first thing he would do in a real fight is kick the shin and then take them while their down. The SAS, SBS and SEALs all use the same martial art called S.C.A.R.S( special combat aggressive respons system) which is a mixture of taijutsu, krav maga and brazilian jujitsu non are British and one is Japanese look It up if you want I am 100% right.

Army size
The groups the travelled in would be easy to pick of in a full scale attack bringing your army down to the same size as the Japanese by the time you get to the battle field.

Weapon quality
My opponent was wise to drop any rebuttal he hasn't denied that the Japanese would break the weapons of medieval Europe and just spouted information of no relevance to the argument.

At the age of seven he would start building and then hormanship and then swordsmanship and then after all that archery you have just made my point stronger. While he may have started one he wouldn't start the other until basic skills in the other

By the time it took to organize an army of such size the Japanese Portuguese and Spanish would have already been marching on various points in Europe and left many men behind to defend their country as well. If you organize an army of such size it would take years to do so and it would leave the nation defencless while your trying to organize it so I win And the Mongolian and Chinese assassins were only trained in basics compared to ninja and would work purely for money so the Japanese would have some too. And who says chime would work for you Asia could just as well defend its Asian brother country. If you can put all the feuding of Europe asiide and combine forces so can Asia. Also you all would be killing each other over who would lead the army whereas Asia would Work together saying that they each controll their own armies but come together to discuss tactics and vote on the best tactic and then they could utilize each of their specialties unlike Europe which was all the same.

Japanese did the same and had quicker base set up and due to their zen belief of minimalism.

Pikemen and halberders
It wouldn't be just samurai facing them the variety of the Japanese warfare is almost never ending and the pikemen and halberders would have rows upon rows of enemies to face and we could just send in our pikemen to weaken them before breaking through and bringing it in close where they would be useless and our pikemen could discard their piles and draw their awards and then we win. Also your pikemen at completely unprotected from flanking and archers where we could draw you in range and out of range of your longbow men pluse the Japanese archers would fire and if fired upon had baricades and shields to protect themselves they also had swords of neccissery . Knights could be beaten by any of the Japanese warriors especially the sohei who would just tear the knights to shreds and then feed them to their dogs.
Mercinaries didn't have more battle experience than Japanese warriors and if they are mercinaries than we can buy some to. And we have Japanese mercinaries such as ronnin

So you see the Japanese would easily beat Europe
Vote pro
I would also like to take this time to thank my opponent for accepting my debate it has been fun debating with you


C1. Ninja

With this point, my opponents arguments and I have clashed with each other in every sense of the word. I have proved sources backing up my argument that ninja's were mercenaries and would allow themselves to be hired by Europe as such. My opponents own source in fact, stated ninja's were amoral.

C2. ikk��j ikki

I have provided a reputable source backing up my claim. My opponent has not refuted it. Whether or not they were ronin is irrelevant it still took the samurai 80 years to defeat the rebellion.

C3. Unrest in Europe

No most of them were peacefully and legally settled such as in the Pilgrimage of Grace. The two revolts lasted 1-2 years. Japan had one huge revolt lasting 80 years. What takes more resources?

C4. Knight vs. Samurai

I am not trained in medieval warfare so how is your challenge relevant? As for pulling out a knife. You keep forgetting that knights are heavily armored. You never stated how exactly the Samurai get behind the knights shield without the knight oh dropping their sword and pulling a dagger (which takes only a second or two for an expert swordsman).

C5. Longbowman

The long bow has much much longer range than any samurai bow. Therefore, they could not even fire at the bowmen. Furthermore, there are ground forces protecting the bowmen, and the bowmen themselves are highly skilled and besides 6,000 bowman killed 35,000 heavily armored knights. Imagine what they will do to 30,000 lightly armored (compared to a knight) ikki ikko.

C6. Navy

It's at a draw unless something strange happens. (The captain falls asleep, a gun explodes, etc.) And as have stated they went almost the same speed.

C7. Cavalry

The European pikes would kill the Japanese Cavalry and the Japanese pikes the European cavalry, that's basically what this came down to.

C8. Heavy Armour

Kicking the shin does not exactly take martial arts skills. All of the European martial arts were "highly effective and sophisticated fighting arts that were passed down and recorded".

C9. Army size

With smaller numbers it is easier to flank your opponent get behind them etc.

C10. Weapon Quality

I believe I stated European weapons were made very well and would not just break as you state.

C11. Training

No, "At 7, the son of a medieval nobleman or knight would be sent off to serve as a page in a lord's castle. There, he would learn horsemanship, archery and swordsmanship, and perform various other duties around the castle". He learns archery, horsemanship, and swordsmanship all at the same time...

C12. Allies

Who says Portugal and Spain would work for Japan? They are medieval and this is medieval versus Japan. Furthermore, the organization of this army would occur within Europe so even if you march on Europe the exact same thing happens....just in Europe where Japan would be at a huge disadvantage. Furthermore, Japan had been invading Korea and China for while. These countries would not appreciate that and would gladly work for a force to undermine Japan.

C13. Movement

So they move the same speed.

C14. Pikemen and Halberders

All that they have to do is delay and kill Japanese forces enough so the Longbowmen can shoot and kill the Japanese forces. As for the Ronin, why can't richer European countries hire them? Mercenaries work for money. Europe has more money. Mercenaries work for Europe.
Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by rob753 6 years ago
I agree with THEBOMB how is this unintelligent I find my opponent to be very intelligent. If you can prove either of us to be unintelligent or this debate to be unintelligent please do so.
Posted by THEBOMB 6 years ago
how is it unintelligent?
Posted by Oldfrith 6 years ago
I was hoping this would be an intelligent debate.
Posted by rob753 6 years ago
Logic_on_rails to answer your question the reason I say 16th century vs medieval is because they have roughly the technological advancements so all I'm saying is, it would be a bit unfair to give someone better technology in a fight and leave the other high and dry
Just saying and thanks for posting
Posted by rob753 6 years ago
Njwood you do realize that ninja were mercinaries. Not only that but like the samurai ninja were also in service to some daimyo and the shogun definatly had ninja
Posted by rob753 6 years ago
Hey logic_on_rails if you like I would also like to debate Japanese philosophy or religion let me know if you like either of these topics thanks
Posted by NjWood97 6 years ago
part of your argument was based on ninjas. ninjas were the enemies of the samurai so you could probably bet that if there was a war between the time periods the ninjas might side with the medieval warriors.
Posted by Logic_on_rails 6 years ago
An interesting topic. It's good you didn't say something like 'Medieval Japanese warfare' (same goes for the terms Ancient and feudalistic) or you'd be in lots of trouble due to issues like the Mongol invasions, the fact that the Japanese used to fight on an individual basis and so forth.

I could accept this debate, but warfare isn't my speciality with Japanese history. My question to you Rob is are you assessing warfare based on the entirety of the 16th century for Japan? Also, could we limit medieval warfare to it's 16th century tactics? It's a bit unfair to argue about 1100AD Europe vs. 1500s Japan.

Rob, are you interested in discussing any other issues to do with Japan? If so, list them here.
Posted by Kethen 6 years ago
I wish I had more time to take you on in this. This arguement states that Japan is the 1500's A.D. is superior to the rest of the world from the time period of 500-1500 A.D.? Man I wish I had more time!!!
Posted by Chthonian 6 years ago
Great debate topic, Rob753! I wish I had time to debate you on this one. I will definitely add this debate to my favorites. Good luck.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by imabench 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: after reading this debate and how much in common both had (disorder in Japan and Europe, quality of weapons and armor, technology) I fail to see any clear distinction between which is better. Seeing as hwo the debate was that japan > medieval warfare though, the con gave enough evidence to cause a tie, meaning the resolution is defeated. Arguments to the con, sources too, fun debate