A cannon, is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellants to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in calibre, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield.
Due to its proximity with China, Japan had long been familiar with gunpowder. Primitive cannons seem to have appeared in Japan around 1270, as simple metal tubes invented in China and called Tetsuhō (鉄砲 Lit. "Iron cannon"). They don't seem to have been used extensively however, and cannon usage would only become major after the arrival of the Portuguese in 1543.
A few light cannon pieces were used at the Battle of Nagashino in 1575, but the first cannons entirely made by the Japanese were cast a few months after the battle. They were bronze two-pounders, about 9 feet long, and were delivered to the warlord Oda Nobunaga.
Most of the first Japanese guns were provided by the "Nanban" Portuguese, the Dutch also supplying the Japanese with cannons after 1600. Nineteen bronze cannons of the Dutch ship Liefde, piloted by William Adams were unloaded and according to Spanish accounts later employed at the decisive Battle of Sekigahara on October 21, 1600.
Quick-firing breech-loading swivel guns, were also used and manufactured by Japan. Such guns were in use in Western warships, and mounted at the bow and sterns to devastating effect, but the Japanese used them also in fortifications.
After 1601 and the reunification of Japan under Tokugawa Ieyasu and the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate, a policy of seclusion was progressively enforced, leading to the expulsion of foreigner and the interdiction of trade with Western countries other than the Dutch from 1631. Afterwards and for about 200 years, weapon development remained at a standstill, and only a minimal amount of antiquated artillery pieces were maintained in coastal areas.
In Shinobido Edit
Portable cannons are the weapon of choice of the Taraba Ninja and their leader Kabuto. If the enemy is at sufficient range, they will shoot small explosive bullets; the bullet itself isn't damaging, but the explosion it makes upon contact with a target or the ground can do heavy damage, depending on the proximity. Functionally, the projectiles are the same as Explosive Spheres.
Oxcarts also employ a mounted cannon as their only means of defense. Unlike the Taraba, they can't fire at anything that's too close, since the cannon is mounted on the oxcart's roof.