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  • Matthew Okuhara

Managing the Unexpected

We are half way through 2022 and half way through the shooting season.


We welcomed in the summer with a gunnery demonstration at Matsumoto Castle but the show did not go without incident. Initially we were expecting a team of 16. We had been training at our gunnery range in Azumino for weeks with this number in mind.

But the night before the exhibition two members acquired fevers and one injured their shoulder! Nearly 20% casualties overnight!

Our injured gunner still arrived and could assist with many of the tasks such as lighting matchcords and carrying lighter equipment that would be used during the demonstration. However the two missing gunners would be hard to replace.

This meant that me (insta @GunSamurai) had to take up the zamazutsu and another gunner had to as well. The zamazutsu team has a specialist style of shooting. These long guns require a crew of two; one to load and one to shoot. As the guns are 1.5m in length and have heavier barrels the zamazutsu team train regularly to ensure that their shooting skills look good and are safe for public demonstrations.

This was my first time on the zamazutsu but as an experienced gunner I was excited to get my hands onto this new type of weapon: even though it was last minute! Normally @GunSamurai will provide commentary and assist the banzutsu tai (ashigaru) as a sub team leader during the infantry element of the show.

Now however I hope that I can regularly take part with the zamazutsu as well! I’ll have to ask the captain, kindly…


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