When I was taking a few notes about Ashigaru, Japanese foot soldiers of the jigoku-era, I found that most contemporary illustrations on this page stem from one and the same book by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

The main source for the Wikipedia article, Stephen Turnbull, references in his Osprey works to a book called Zhôyô Monogatari. This is also the source for quite some of his contemporary illustrations, that seems to have a very similar style to the works of Kuniyoshi.

Turnbull cites in the further reading section in the "Osprey Warrior #29 - Ashigaru", that his research is based on Yoshihiko Sasama's research. The latter uses this Zhôyô Monogatari as one of the main sources. A search on Pinterest reveals quite a lot of pictures are contained in this elusive essay.

Using Google Translate to get monogatari in Kanji(物語) and the Japanese Wikipedia on Ashigaru, I was able to discern the original (or modern writing) title to be "雑兵物語", but that is a redlink. Google helps though, that it is to be read as Zōhyō monogatari. Note that the Zōh/Zhô seem to make no difference for the pronunciation (though it might be a typo).

Only the search for Zōhyō Monogatari did show further results though: there seem to be 3 (modern-ish) editions (1776, 1967, 1977) listed in the WorldCat.org, but all of them were listed only as "Japanese".

Now, I was wondering if this manual, the 雑兵物語, was ever translated as itself since my Japanese is pretty much not suitable to read it.

  • You just want to know if it's been translated, but you don't care what language it was translated into?
    – user14111
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 8:39
  • English or German are useful to me.
    – Trish
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 8:40

1 Answer 1


Possibly, there is a book, Samurai War Stories: Teachings and Tales of Samurai Warfare that appears to have a section by the same name. Based off of the online discussion of it in the Samurai Archive, it seems as if it could be the same book, but that if it is, it is at best a partial translation due to the length of the Zōhyō. This review suggests that at the very least the work in the book, is similar in content to the Zōhyō Monogatari that you and others are seeking.

The discussion in the Archive seems to say that no (public) translations existed as of 2013, which is backed up by the searching that I did in Google, Amazon, and WorldCat.

In short, a partial translation may exist, but one should read it at their own risk as it may be incorrect. The author of it has a bad reputation for his analyses.

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