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Warrior's Way

The samurai adhered to a code known as bushido, which translates as “warrior's way”. It was (and still is) ethically comparable to the concept of chivalry in the European culture. 1)


The bushido code evolved throughout time, but most elements centered on preparing for a good death via personal care, retaining honor, and frequently dying in battle. 2)

Samurai Name

Samurai are commonly referred to as bushi or buke in Japanese. The name “samurai” is said to have originated from the Japanese word “saburau,” which means “those who serve in close attendance to the nobles”. 3)

Eight Virtues

Nitobe Inazo envisioned bushido as a set of eight qualities in the twentieth century, in an effort to unite samurai doctrine. Righteousness, Heroic Courage, Benevolence or Compassion, Respect, Honesty, Honor, Duty and Loyalty, and ultimately Self-Control were among them. 4)


In Japan, the samurai were an aristocratic elite, yet even samurai soldiers served the daimyos, feudal lords who ruled over local territories. The daimyos, in turn, served the shogun, who de facto governed Japan under a military dictatorship known as a shogunate, despite the Emperor being the figurehead monarch. 5)


The name “shogun” dates back to the early Heian era, when Emperor Kanmu tried to expand his power by recruiting local clan soldiers, referring to the chiefs of these clans as “shoguns.” Originally, this was merely a transitory title with little power. The Emperor's influence, however, began to wane in Japanese culture, paving the way for the reign of the shogun—and the samurai. 6)


If a samurai was without a lord or master, either because their master had died or the samurai had fallen out of favor, he or she was referred to as a ronin, a Japanese term for a “wandering man.” Because a samurai was meant to kill himself after his master's death or if he dishonored himself, ronin were the bad boys of medieval Japan who broke social rules. They frequently worked as mercenaries. 7)

Social Class

Many people assume that samurai were a tiny, elite fighting force similar to modern-day Navy SEALS; nevertheless, they were a whole social class in their own right. At their heyday, samurai accounted for around 6-8 percent of Japan's population. 8)


Samurai were fashion influencers, influencing the attire of the day. Despite their magnificent attire, every part of it was tailored to meet their demands as warriors. Their typical costume comprised of broad hakama pants and a long-sleeved vest, known as a hitatare. These robes allowed you a lot of mobility. 9)


The chonmage hairstyle, which we know now as the topknot, was perhaps the most distinguishing element of samurai dress. Although the style has an aesthetic appeal, the original aim of those who wore it was certainly practical: the high knot of hair at the back of the head assisted in keeping a samurai's helmet on while engaged in combat. 10)

Shaved Head

In addition to the topknot, samurai would frequently shave their heads to make it easier to wear a helmet. 11)


Despite the fact that “samurai” is a purely masculine term, there were Japanese female fighters in the ruling class who were samurai's equivalents. These women were known as Onna-Bugeisha, and they fought alongside their male counterparts. 12)

Empress Jingu

Empress Jingu is regarded as one of the earliest onna-bugeisha. Jingu didn't only sit at home and cry when her husband died in battle. Instead, in 200 AD, she launched an invasion of Korea. According to legend, Mary and her soldiers overcame the Koreans without spilling a single drop of blood. 13)


The naginata, a spear with a curved, sword-like blade that was highly flexible but also relatively light, was the weapon of choice for female samurai. 14)

Male And Female Warriors

According to recent study, Japanese women participated in wars on a regular basis. DNA testing indicated that 35 of the 105 bodies recovered from the battlefield of Senbon Matsubaru in 1580 were female. 15)


Unlike the armour worn by European knights, samurai gear was always built for mobility. A decent set of armour had to be strong while yet being flexible enough to allow the user to move freely in battle. The armour was constructed of lacquered plates of leather or metal that were meticulously linked together by leather or silk threads. Large, rectangular shoulder shields and light, armoured sleeves shielded the arms. To allow for maximal mobility, the right hand was frequently left sleeveless. 16)


The kabuto helmet was the most intricate piece of a samurai's armor. Its bowl was formed of riveted metal plates, the face and brow were shielded by armor that wrapped around behind the head and under the helmet, and the neck guard defended the user from arrows and swords. 17)

Darth Vader

Darth Vader's helmet's neck guard was inspired by Date Masamune, a samurai's kabuto helmet. 18)

Average Height

Samurai were actually rather short people, with the typical 16th century samurai standing no more than 5'5“ tall. 19)


Samurai used to carry a sword known as a chokuto, which was essentially a thinner and smaller version of the straight swords used by medieval European knights. 20)


As blade-making methods improved, samurai swords got more curved, eventually developing into the well-known katana, probably the most renowned sword in the world. 21)


Katanas were typically used in conjunction with a smaller blade, known as a wakizashi. If a katana and a wakizashi were worn together, it was an indication that the person was a samurai. This bladed pair was known as a daisho, which translates as “big-little”. 22)


Although samurai fought with katanas, swords were not their primary weapon. Spears became increasingly frequent when heroic solo fighting gave way to clever group tactics. 23)


The yumi, an exceptionally huge kind of longbow that would frequently stand higher than its user, was quickly adopted by samurai. These bows were generally made of laminated bamboo and were asymmetrical in form. Theories exist as to why they were designed this way, but one of the most plausible explanations is that the extra springiness allowed a skilled archer to shoot while crouching or kneeling. 24)


When gunpowder was created, samurai abandoned bows in favor of guns and cannons, with the tanegashima, a matchlock rifle favored with late-16th century samurai and on, as their long-distance weapon of choice. 25)


When it came to same-sex relationships, Samurai were highly accepting. In reality, the practice of an experienced samurai developing a connection with a youth-in-training, known as wakashudo, was encouraged and highly popular. 26)


The samurai were also expected to be well-versed in the arts, and they participated in a variety of creative pursuits including as poetry, rock gardens, ink drawings, flower arrangement, and tea ceremonies. 27)


While the Japanese were notoriously judgmental about racial purity, the samurai were noticeably hairier and lighter-skinned, implying that they were descended from an ethnic group known as the Ainu, who, ironically, were considered inferior by the Japanese and were frequently the subject of discrimination. 28)


Marriages between Samurai were usually arranged by a third party of the same or higher status. The majority of samurai married women from samurai households, although lower-ranking samurai were allowed to marry commoners. 29)


Divorce was legal, but it was uncommon since it would be embarrassing for everyone involved, as well as because the samurai would have to return the dowry. 30)

samurai.txt · Last modified: 2021/10/12 02:06 by eziothekilla34