Stephen Turnbull (historian)

Stephen Richard Turnbull (born 6 February 1948) is a British historian concentrating on Japanese military history, especially the samurai period, and has published numerous books.[1][2] He provides information and advice to media organizations about Japan.[2]

Stephen Richard Turnbull
BornStephen Richard Turnbull
February 1948 (age 74)
United Kingdom
OccupationWriter, military historian, researcher, narrator
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge, University of Leeds (Philosophiæ doctor) (1996)


Turnbull attended Cambridge University where he gained his first degree. He currently holds 2 MAs in Theology and Military History and a PhD[clarification needed] from the University of Leeds where he is a lecturer in Far Eastern Religions.[2]

He was on the editorial board of the short-lived Medieval History Magazine (2003–2005), which was published in association with the Royal Armouries. He was a consultant for the widely successful PC game Shogun: Total War and also its well-received sequel Total War: Shogun 2, both products of Creative Assembly, as well as historical advisor on the Hollywood film 47 Ronin starring Keanu Reeves.[3][4] He was also a narrator for the Netflix documentary series Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan in 2021.[4]

He became semi-retired, but holds the post of Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at Akita International University in Japan.[2]

Selected worksEdit

Journal articlesEdit

  • "Legacy of Centuries: The Walls of Constantinople", Medieval History Magazine (MHM), Issue 2, October 2003.
  • "Mongol strategy and the Battle of Leignitz 1241", MHM, Issue 3, November 2003.
  • "The Teutonic Knights' battle for Riga", MHM, Issue 6, February 2004.
  • "The Passing of the Medieval Castle", MHM, Issue 9, May 2004.
  • "St Catherine's Monastery: Sanctuary of Ages", MHM, Issue 11 July 2004.
  • "Fighting Cardinals: Henry Beaufort & Guiliano Cesarini", MHM, Issue 13, September 2004.
  • "A Tale of Two Cities: Siege success and failure at Constantinople and Belgrade", MHM, Issue 16, December 2004.
  • "The Blunted Arrowhead: The defensive role of the great medieval fortresses of Albania", MHM, Issue 17, January 2005.
  • "The Ninja: An Invented Tradition?", Journal of Global Initiatives: Policy, Pedagogy, Perspective, Vol. 9: No. 1, Article 3, 2014.


These are notable works in film, TV and video games.[4]

Year Title Role Notes
2021 Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan Narrator TV documentary
2020 Ghost of Tsushima Historical Consultant Video game
2013 47 Ronin Historical advisor Film
2013 Samurai Headhunters Self—Japanese historian TV documentary
2012 Ninja Shadow Warriors Self—Historian TV documentary
2011 Total War: Shogun 2 Historical consultant Video game
2000 Shogun: Total War Historical consultant Video game
2004 Samurai: The Last Warrior Historical consultant (as Dr. Stephen Turnbull) TV documentary



  1. ^ a b "Home - Stephen Turnbull". Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d "Stephen Turnbull Biography". IMDb. Archived from the original on 1 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Dr Turnbull Profile". University of Leeds. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "Stephen Turnbull". IMDb. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  5. ^ Turnbull, Stephen. (2005). Samurai Commanders, p. 2.

External linksEdit