Most people today do not realize how important Samurai are to the history of Japan. Samurai protected the lands and fought the wars as soldiers. Samurai also made sure the laws were enforced and people were safe in their own homes.
?Samurai? is a word which literally means warrior and comes from the Japanese verb to serve. ?Samurai? was first used to refer to the personal servants of the rich and powerful landowners of the Eighth century of Japan. Since the creation of the Samurai hundreds of years ago, the meaning of the word has changed quite a bit. The Samurai now act as members of the ruling class of Japan, and most people from the Samurai class work as government officials, guards, policemen or local authorities. The Samurai serve one of two people, those people being either the Shogun or the Daimyo. The Shogun is the supreme military ruler and is responsible for all the Samurai of their country.
?Shogun? literally means ?Barbarian-subduing General.? The Daimyo were feudal landowners, and used their Samurai to protect their own lands and to expand their power and their rights to other lands.
Originally, wars over land gave rise to the Samurai. Ancient Yayoi warriors developed weapons, armor and a code which became the centerpiece for the Japanese Samurai. The original weapons of a Samurai consisted of bows, arrows, and swords. The earliest development for the armor of Samurai consisted of a helmet which covered the head and neck, a breastplate which protected the chest, arm and shoulder protectors, and a belly wrap. Later, after the armor developed, it also included protection for the legs and thighs. The armor changed with the types of battles and weapons used during battles. The code of the Samurai which was originally called ?The virtues of...
Samurai: The Feudal Warriors of Japan Essay
1844 Words8 Pages
The samurai were the feudal warriors of ancient Japan. For thousands of years they upheld the code of bushido, the way of the warrior. Samurai were around for thousands of years, but when did they disappear? Does the code of bushido still exist to this day? Exploring the history of the samurai will give an explanation to what has happened to these formidable warriors.
The samurai, or bushi (warrior), are well-trained cavalrymen that serve a particular lord. The first recorded history of the samurai was about the 9th century A.D. At that time the capitol of Japan was Kamakura, a military installation. Japan was ruled by an emperor who controlled his empire through the use of shoguns. Shoguns were generals that ruled over…show more content…
The young warriors were taught to sacrifice everything for the emperor or lord. In Japan, the emperor represented the laws and the state and was considered divine. Loyalty was an ethical demand stemming from this political theory. A samurai was obligated to appeal to the wisdom of his lord by committing seppuku.
The entire Japanese culture is based on honor. Honor extends to the nation, the family, and the individual. The samurai are no exception to a code of honor. The samurai follow the code of bushido. Bushido is closer to the western term of chivalry. Bushido places emphasis on courage, benevolence, justice, politeness, truthfulness, honor, loyalty, and most importantly is self-control. The samurai's primary religion is Zen. The samurai adapted Zen easily due to the philosophy that fits closely to Buddhism. Samurai may act in the extreme when it comes to honor. They will kill anyone who may dishonor them or their lord. Nothing is worse to a samurai than to have corrupt dealings. Some of the warriors believed, "Honor is the power of deciding upon certain course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering … to die when it is right to die, to strike when to strike is right." Other warriors believed that "Honor is the bone that gives firmness and stature. As without bones the head cannot rest on top of the spine, nor hands move, nor feet stand, so without honor neither talent nor learning can make of a human frame a