Limited late-game selection, although it must be said that Japanese infantry and naval units are some of the best.
Highly defensive army,
"Jack of all Trades, Master of None".
Like most Asian factions, Japan's armies are somewhat a mix of old and new. It continues to exemplify Samurai spirit in the form of its Kibatai (who function as a fast version of cavalry meant to be used to cut down enemy infantry, and it is also capable of raising Ashigaru, Kachi and Samurai Archers, who are faster and more agile in comparison to other units. The only problem then for Japan is that it must use these units well until the Industrial Era, when it is capable of raising more modern units, meaning that if it were to go against the more modern Western factions in the Mercantile and Imperial Eras, it faces potential doom — only the ability to recruit Rifle Infantry and Troopers will be able to save the Japanese army from being fully out-teched, in comparison to the more sprawling but technologically deficient Chinese army.
On the sea, however, it is another issue. Japan like China is restricted in that it cannot recruit good medium or light ships, but it is capable of building the entire heavy ship line, from the Galleon all the way to its secret weapon, the Mikasa. Lower costs for Japan help with this regard, thus making Japan a very powerful faction if used for fighting sea battles, so while most Western factions can only build a few heavy ships and some frigates, Japan in effect can raise many heavy warships as well as many War Junks in order to defend its coasts against the enemy. Alternatively Japan can use its Heavy Ship line to suppress enemy troops and distract enemy fortificationsin order to support amphibious engagements. Use your naval superiority to dampen your enemy's ability to attack you, then distract him long enough to send an invasion force to back up the navy using your artillery. |}