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A New Book-Release!

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Dear Members!


I´m very happy to be able to annonunce that my new book "The Yonezawa Matchlock - Mighty Gun of the Uesugi Samurai" is now out for sale. This project has been a true labor of love which I have been working on for several years.

Being a student of Japanese history for as long as I can remember, my aim with this book has been to tell a story about the fascinating and often overlooked world of the Japanese matchlock.

In order to be able to place the matchlock or Teppo into an historical context, I have opted to focus parts of this book on the history of the famous Uesugi-clan and to follow them from the beginning of the 15th century and all the way until the fall of the samurai.

The number of books written in English about the Japanese matchlock is not impressive by any standards, so I´m hoping that this publication will bring some new and much needed insights into this specific field of study.


The book has 243 pages with some added b/w pictures. The table of content is as follows:


Foreword by Piers Dowding

Author´s Note


1. The beginning

2. The rise of Kenshin

3. Introduction of the firearm

4. The fourth battle of Kawanakajima

5. Death of a dragon

6. Uesugi Kagekatsu

7. Sekigahara

8. Birth of the Yonezawa matchlock

9. The origin

10. Osaka 1614-15

11. From the brink of distaster

12. Gunnery schools in Yonezawa

13. Structures of gun manufacturing in Yonezawa

14. Western guns

15. The final battle

16. Keeping the tradition alive


Picture references


A lot of the content in this book has never been published in English before and is the result of four years of research and several trips to Japan. Many people have helped me in my quest to finish this book. From this forum alone I have gotten invaluble help from Piers Dowding, Ian Bottomley and Markus Sesko.


Further information about this book together with the possibility to order a copy can be found on the below link:




I would be very happy and grateful if You would order this book directly from Lulu.com because as many of You already know, Amazon deducts almost 75% of the royalties per sold book


I hope You allwill enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed writing it.











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What a stunning surprise!!  A rare book on teppou - in English.  WOW!!  Late now but I will order a copy tomorrow.  This will sit well with my three Kunitomo guns - they can croon together with your book.


My congratulations on your achievement and my very best regards for a long, productive life.



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Thanks for your encouraging words, gentlemen! The initial respons has been amazing. It’ quite apparent that a publication in English dealing with the Japanese matchlock was long overdue.


I’m sure we can sort something out, Brian! :)


Contact me via PM whenever You have the time. And ignore my last PM. At the time I was deep under the earth which played havoc with my cell-reception :)



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Congratulations Jan.


Just ordered using the Code LULU15 and it works a treat. 


Here's some Viking inspiration for you to get to work on Hinawaju Book 2....... (It's in Heavy Metal German and English, could not find old Norse but the feeling is the same)




Pip Pip Cheerio Tokyo and Kyoto until the 12th of November.  :thumbsup:  


So something great to study when I get back.

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Just paid for my book.  Code LULU15 got me AUD $9.70 discount.  Postage mail option $7.99 instead of Express at ~$22.-- was another saving, thought without tracking.  All up delivered cost to me in Melbourne, Australia was AUD $62.94 paid by credit card.  BEAUTIFUL - what's not to like!!  I think this book is probably printed here in Australia, maybe even Melbourne where I live.  So Oz collector blokes, get on board.




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It’s really rewarding to see the book reaching the four corners of the world. The digital age def brings amazing possibilities for all the budding authors out there.

Now I just hope the encouraging words continues after the book has been read :)



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I, too, just ordered my copy. And i, too, did so as soon as I saw the target address. That means i missed the discount information. Clearly, Jan, you'll have to buy me a beer when next we meet at DTI or wherever!. I am looking forward to seeing the book! Congratulations.


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Peter, a cold beer will def be offered at any venue where our paths crosses in the future.


Really hope you all will like it and take from it a gained understanding of the matchlock and how it shaped the future for the samurai of Yonezawa.

Looking forward to the first book-reports in about two weeks :)




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When writing a book, apart from the writing-process itself, the most important part is of course the research. Which for me meant a lot of sitting around waiting for my questions to be translated from English to Japanese and then wait some more for the answers to be translated from Japanese to English and finally forwarded to me. Not always the most exciting part of the job.

But one thing that I will take with me and truly cherish from this project, was all the people I met along the way. Don´t want to spoil some of the things that I write about in the book, but this episode is not in it, so...


As part of my research, I was invited by Yonezawa City Hall in order to further my understanding of this area and its history. I was provided with  a translator and a photographer from the City Hall. These two lovely people went with me wherever I wanted to go. Only about 20 min in on our first day together, we ended up watching a group of men performing a matchlock-practise. This was of course a treat for me, to finally see and above all hear the roar of the mighty Yonezawa matchlock.

After the group had finished and was about to start packing up their gear, the photographer was quiet excited and started pushing me in the back saying "go talk, go talk". Firstly, not many people in Yonezawa speaks English. Even a basic "hello" is an achievement amongst the locals. Secondly my Japanese might be good for ordering a Bic Mac in Tokyo, but def not up to the task at hand.

With my translator strangely absent from the scene, I approached the group.

My presence didn't exactly spark outbursts of joy among the group of Yonezawa's finest. Most of them did their best to avoid me by looking away or getting overly interested in cleaning their guns.



(This picture speaks more than a hundred words)


I would def file this as an "awkward moment", so it was time to break barriers.

I approached one of the guys just about to pack his 30-monme matchlock in a bag. With my brain going 110% I uttered the words "nice 30 monme" in something resembling Japanese. You could have heard a pin drop. Suddenly all eyes was fixed on me. Encouraged that they seemed to have understood my initial comment I continued with something in the line of "late Edo period, right" finishing of with "a very nice gun".

The guy holding the gun could't have looked more proud.



(What a compliment can do to turn a frown upside down) 


Suddenly I was surrounded by smiling faces wanting to speak to the strange foreigner. I was allowed to hold their guns whilst me eyes desperately searched for the translator.




The rest of the group was ordered back by their leader so I got get a picture together with them all.



(One of the boys!)


This was just one of many incredible meetings I encountered during my days up in Yonezawa. This specific one took just 2-3 minutes from start to finish. The harsh northern people turned out to be amongst the warmest and most welcoming I met during my many trips to Japan.

Share an common interest and respect local traditions and the most unexpected door might open up. A lot of this I have my dear friend Piers to thank for. If ever in doubt, I always ask myself "what would Piers do in a similar situation" and so far it has worked like a Swiss clock :)


Thanks again to all of you that already bought a copy of the book. It´s quite overwhelming, to be honest.






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Here´s what happens when you ignite 30g of black powder shoved down the barrel of a 10 Monme (1.9cm caliber) matchlock from Yonezawa. Bear in mind that the average load used by other reenactment-groups in Japan, with a similar caliber, range from about  10-12g.








You need to know what you're doing placing your face that close to an volcano :)




Pictures from the first training of the year 2016 just outside of Yonezawa.




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