The amazing unknown Battle of Tanaka, Samurai vs Ashigaru, and a fun ninja training manual!




My complete back list including FREE items, from the Great Wall of China to the Teutonic Knights. 




 Japanese overseas mercenaries and Samurai Weapons.



My consultancy service for film, publishing and television, and news of a tour of Japan. 



My unique picture library of 35,000 images, and not only Japan!


Dr Stephen Turnbull

(I'm the one on the right.)


Welcome to my website at this difficult time!


First, many thanks to all my readers who have written to wish me well.  Working from home holds no terrors for an author, although because of my age I am definitely confined to barracks!  Nevertheless, I realise I am so much better off than so many other people, and my heart goes out to those of you who are worried about your jobs and your future.

For me, it's business as usual.  I am just putting the finishing touches to The Lost Samurai, then it's full steam ahead on Weapons of the Samurai.  I have to deliver The Onin War by the end of January 2021, so I am going to be very busy over the coming months.  I have ideas for books that will not be published until 2024, so I must survive!


I specialise in the military and religious history of Japan.  I have now published 80 books, the latest of which is Ninja: the (Unofficial) Secret Manual.  Non-Japanese titles include books about China, Korea, the Mongol Empire, and a Training Manual for Pirates! 


I also provide an advisory and consultancy service about Japan including a picture library holding 35,000 items.  I helped design the award-winning computer strategy game Shogun Total War, and in 2010 I acted as Historical Adviser to Universal Pictures for the movie 47 Ronin.  I enjoy giving talks to interested groups, and was honoured to present the inaugural lecture at the launch of the International Ninja Research Centre at Mie University in Japan.

I took my first degree at Cambridge and have two MAs (in Theology and Military History) from Leeds University.  In 1996 I received a PhD from Leeds for my thesis on Japan’s Kakure Kirishitan.  In its published form the work won the Japan Festival Literary Award in 1998. Having lectured in East Asian Studies and Theology I am now retired and am an Honorary Lecturer at Leeds, a Research Associate at SOAS and Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at Akita International University. 





To book a talk,

to arrange consultancy, to request a free journal article, or just

to say 'Konnichiwa!'

email me at


© 2018 Dr Stephen Turnbull