The Matchlock Comes to Japan
Fresh from a victory at Shika Castle, Takeda Shingen (tah-keh-dah SHIN-gehn) hits a brick wall in his advance to take the Shinano (shih-nah-noh) Province (about midway along the island of Japan). Leading 7,000 warriors in foldable armor and conical hats they are shocked when the Murakami (moo-rah-kah-mee) clan uses the new-fangled matchlock muskets that the Portuguese had introduced to Japan a few years ago. 50 soldiers fire once into the advance and charge. In this first battle using firearms in Japan, warfare strategy will have to adapt to this new, long-distance weapon.  
The Sky is the Limit and the Emperor is Far Away *
The Chinese are having problems with Portuguese pirates along their coast and perceive them as a military threat rather than a criminal nuisance, so they issue a ban on coastal trading to discourage them from landing. The Chinese have tried this before and the result was to create more pirates. The majority of the merchants are reasonably honest but a man has to eat so even the honest merchants are forced to become pirates. The trade ban weakens the legitimate coastal economy and leads to less tax revenue to spend on hunting for lawbreakers. The ban won't be lifted until 1567, but as the Chinese proverb goes, "The sky is high and the Emperor is far away." In other words, when no one is looking, the sky is the limit.   
This Year on Wikipedia
Year 1548, Wikipedia.
- * The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
- Battle of Uedahara - SamuraiWiki. Wiki.Samurai-Archives.com (2005). Retrieved on 1 April 2015. “This confrontation saw the use of 50 Chinese matchlocks by the Murakami, who surprised and defeated the Takeda army near Ueda.”
- Battle of Uedahara - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 April 2015. “Takeda Shingen met up with his force that had taken Shika castle, and led 7000 men north to face the threat posed by Murakami Yoshikiyo. Shingen's vanguard was led by Itagaki Nobukata; when they charged head-on into Murakami's vanguard, the charge was absorbed, and Itagaki was killed.”
- Tanegashima (Japanese matchlock) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 April 2015. “Tanegashima were used by the samurai class and their foot soldiers (ashigaru) and within a few years the introduction of the tanegashima in battle changed the way war was fought in Japan forever.”
- First contact with the west - Japan's History. Japan-101.com (2015). Retrieved on 1 April 2015. “The first contact with the West occurred about 1542, when a Portuguese ship, blown off its course to China, landed in Japan. During the next century, traders from Portugal, the Netherlands, England, and Spain arrived, as did Jesuit, Dominican, and Franciscan missionaries.”
- Bakumatsu - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 April 2015. “When Commodore Matthew C. Perry's four-ship squadron appeared in Edo Bay (Tokyo Bay) in July 1853, the bakufu (shogunate) was thrown into turmoil. Commodore Perry was fully prepared for hostilities if his negotiations with the Japanese failed, and threatened to open fire if the Japanese refused to negotiate. He gave them two white flags, telling them to hoist the flags when they wished a bombardment from his fleet to cease and to surrender.”
- Wokou - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 April 2015. “There are two distinct eras of wokou piracy. The early wokou mostly set up camp on Japanese outlying islands, as opposed to the 16th century wokou who were mostly non-Japanese.”
- Haijin - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 April 2015. “The earliest possible date for implementation of the policy was 1368, the year that the Ming dynasty came to power whilst the latest possible year when it was terminated was 1567.”
- Chinese proverbs - Wikiquote. en.wikiquote.org (2015). Retrieved on 1 April 2015. “The sky is big and the emperor is far away.”
- Wiethoff, Bodo (1964). "THE MING-POLICY OF MARITIME PROHIBITION". Cina: ATTI DEL XV CONGRESSO INTERNAZIONALE DI SINOLOGIA (Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO)) (8): 59-60. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40855358.
- Tonio Andrade (December 2004). "The Company's Chinese Pirates: How the Dutch East India Company Tried to Lead a Coalition of Pirates to War against China, 1621-1662". Journal of World History (University of Hawai'i Press) 15 (4): 415-444. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20079290.