Osprey's elite series title for Japan's samurai horse and foot guards, from 1540 to 1724. Each great samurai warlord, or daimyo, had a 'household division' of troops, known as the Hatamoto - 'those who stand under the flag'. The Hatamoto included the personal bodyguards, both horse (uma mawari) and foot (kachi); the senior generals (bugyo), the standard bearers and color-guard, couriers, and other samurai under the warlord's personal command.
Apart from bodyguard and other duties in immediate attendance on the daimyo, both horse and foot guards often played crucial roles in battle - their intervention could turn defeat into victory, and their collapse meant final disaster. As favored fighting men under the warlord's eye, members of the bodyguards could hope for promotion, and some rose to be daimyo themselves.
All three great leaders of the 16-17th century - including Oda, Hideyoshi and Tokugawa - had their own elite corps. Such troops were naturally distinguished by dazzling apparel and heraldry, with banners both carried and attached to the back of the armor, all of which are detailed in an array of color artwork specially created for this publication.