Ashigaru taisho (general in command of a troop of foot soldiers) (足軽大将)

An Ashigaru taisho was a commanding officer who lead Ashigaru troops (foot soldiers) under a daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) during Japan's Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States). They were also called Ashigarugashira. During the Edo period, they were also referred to as Monogashira.

Until the Muromachi period, Ashigaru had served as a type of military engineer. After the Onin War, as officers and soldiers in battles wore only light armor, Ashigaru came to have an active role as a main battle force. During the Sengoku Period, battles became more organized and complex on a large scale and the role of Ashigaru became increasingly important due to their mobility. Ashigaru troops in particular, who were trained with spears, bows and guns, were organized and became active as a main fighting force. Retainers of daimyo who were appointed to the position of Ashigaru taisho made great achievements leading Ashigaru troops. They were ranked immediately below the daimyo as Sodaisho (commander in chief) and Samurai daisho (commander of warriors) and lead soldiers including Ashigaru kogashira (also called Ashigaru kumigashira) (foot soldier captains) who were their own subordinates.

Due to their achievements, the position of Ashigaru taisho gradually rose, and in the late Sengoku Period they were provided with an annual stipend of 200 to 500 koku, and regarded as the middle-class warriors.

[Original Japanese]