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were the hereditary military nobility and officer
caste Caste is a form of social stratification characterised by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a style of life which often includes an occupation, ritual status in a hierarchy, and customary social interaction and exclusion based on cultural ...
of
medieval In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ...
and early-modern Japan from the late 12th century until their abolition in 1876. They were the well-paid retainers of the ''
daimyo were powerful Japanese magnates, feudal lords who, from the 10th century to the early Meiji era, Meiji period in the middle 19th century, ruled most of Japan from their vast, hereditary land holdings. They were subordinate to the shogun and n ...
'' (the great feudal landholders). They had high prestige and special privileges such as wearing two swords and ''
Kiri-sute gomen ''Kiri-sute gomen'' ( or ) is an old Japanese expression dating back to the History of Japan#Feudal Japan (1185–1868), feudal era ''right to strike'' (right of samurai to kill commoners for perceived affronts). Samurai had the right to strike wit ...
'' (right to kill anyone of a lower class in certain situations). They cultivated the ''
bushido is a moral code concerning samurai attitudes, behavior and lifestyle. There are multiple bushido types which evolved significantly through history. Contemporary forms of bushido are still used in the social and economic organization of Japan. ...
'' codes of martial virtues, indifference to pain, and unflinching loyalty, engaging in many local battles. Though they had predecessors in earlier military and administrative officers, the samurai truly emerged during the
Kamakura shogunate The was the feudal military government of Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japa ...
, ruling from 1185 to 1333. They became the ruling political class, with significant power but also significant responsibility. During the 13th century, the samurai proved themselves as adept warriors against the invading
Mongols The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , , ; ; russian: Монголы) are an East Asian people, East Asian ethnic group indigenous peoples, native to Mongolia, Inner Mongolia in China and the Buryatia, Buryatia Republic of the Russia, Russ ...
. During the peaceful
Edo period The or is the period between 1603 and 1867 in the history of Japan, history of Japan, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional ''daimyo''. Emerging from the chaos of the Sengoku period, the Edo perio ...
(1603 to 1868), they became the stewards and chamberlains of the daimyo estates, gaining managerial experience and education. In the 1870s, samurai families comprised 5% of the population. As modern militaries emerged in the 19th century, the samurai were rendered increasingly obsolete and very expensive to maintain compared to the average conscript soldier. The
Meiji Restoration The , referred to at the time as the , and also known as the Meiji Renovation, Revolution, Regeneration, Reform, or Renewal, was a political event that restored practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Although there were ...
ended their feudal roles, and they moved into professional and entrepreneurial roles. Their memory and weaponry remain prominent in
Japanese popular culture Japanese popular culture includes Japanese cinema, cuisine A cuisine is a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, techniques and dishes, and usually associated with a specific culture Culture () is an umbrella t ...
.


Terminology

In Japanese, historical warriors are usually referred to as , meaning 'warrior', or , meaning 'military family'. According to translator
William Scott Wilson William Scott Wilson (born 1944, Nashville, Tennessee Nashville is the capital city of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat, seat of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson County. With a population of 689,447 at the 2020 United Stat ...
: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning 'to wait upon', 'accompany persons' in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, '' saburau''. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean 'those who serve in close attendance to the nobility', the Japanese term '' saburai'' being the nominal form of the verb." According to Wilson, an early reference to the word ''saburai'' appears in the '' Kokin Wakashū'', the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the early 900s. In modern usage, ''bushi'' is often used as a synonym for ''samurai''; however, historical sources make it clear that ''bushi'' and ''samurai'' were distinct concepts, with the former referring to
soldier A soldier is a person who is a member of an army An army (from Old French ''armee'', itself derived from the Latin verb ''armāre'', meaning "to arm", and related to the Latin noun ''arma'', meaning "arms" or "weapons"), ground force or l ...
s or
warrior A warrior is a person specializing in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal society, tribal or clan-based warrior culture society that recognizes a separate warrior aristocracies, social class, class, or caste. History ...
s and the latter referring instead to a kind of hereditary
nobility Nobility is a social class found in many societies that have an aristocracy (class), aristocracy. It is normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm with many e ...
. The word ''samurai'' is now closely associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class. These warriors were usually associated with a
clan A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even with ...
and their lord, and were trained as officers in military tactics and grand strategy. While these samurai numbered less than 10% of then Japan's population, their teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern
Japanese martial arts Japanese martial arts refers to the variety of martial arts native to the country of Japan. At least three Japanese terms (''budō'', ''bujutsu'', and ''bugei'') are used interchangeably with the English phrase Japanese martial arts. The usage ...
.


History


Asuka and Nara periods

Following the Battle of Hakusukinoe against Tang China and
Silla Silla or Shilla (57 BCE – 935 CE) ( , Old Korean: Syera, Old Japanese: Siraki2) was a Korean kingdom located on the southern and central parts of the Korea, Korean Peninsula. Silla, along with Baekje and Goguryeo, formed the Three Kingdom ...
in 663 AD, which led to a retreat from Korean affairs, Japan underwent widespread reform. One of the most important was that of the
Taika Reform The were a set of doctrines established by Emperor Kōtoku (孝徳天皇 ''Kōtoku tennō'') in the year 645. They were written shortly after the death of Prince Shōtoku and the defeat of the Soga clan (蘇我氏 ''Soga no uji''), uniting Japan. ...
, issued by Prince Naka-no-Ōe (
Emperor Tenji , also known as Emperor Tenchi, was the 38th Emperor of Japan, emperor of Japan,Imperial Household Agency (''Kunaichō'')天智天皇 (38)/ref> according to the traditional List of Emperors of Japan, order of succession.Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. ( ...
) in 646. This edict allowed the Japanese aristocracy to adopt the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; zh, t= ), or Tang Empire, was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907 AD, with an Zhou dynasty (690–705), interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dyn ...
political structure, bureaucracy, culture, religion, and philosophy.William Wayne Farris, ''Heavenly Warriors – The Evolution of Japan's Military, 500–1300'',
Harvard University Press Harvard University Press (HUP) is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. After the retirem ...
, 1995.
As part of the
Taihō Code The was an administrative reorganisation enacted in 703 in Japan, at the end of the Asuka period. It was historically one of the . It was compiled at the direction of Prince Osakabe, Fujiwara no Fuhito and Awata no Mahito.Louis Frédéric, Nu ...
of 702, and the later Yōrō Code,''A History of Japan'', Vol. 3 and 4, George Samson, Tuttle Publishing, 2000. the population was required to report regularly for the census, a precursor for national conscription. With an understanding of how the population was distributed,
Emperor Monmu was the 42nd emperor of Japan,Imperial Household Agency (''Kunaichō'') 文武天皇 (42) retrieved 2013-8-22. according to the traditional List of Emperors of Japan, order of succession. Monmu's reign spanned the years from 697 through 707. ...
introduced a law whereby 1 in 3–4 adult males were drafted into the national military. These soldiers were required to supply their own weapons, and in return were exempted from duties and taxes. This was one of the first attempts by the imperial government to form an organized army modeled after the Chinese system. It was called "Gundan-Sei" ( :ja:軍団制) by later historians and is believed to have been short-lived. The Taihō Code classified most of the Imperial bureaucrats into 12 ranks, each divided into two sub-ranks, 1st rank being the highest adviser to the emperor. Those of 6th rank and below were referred to as "samurai" and dealt with day-to-day affairs and were initially civilian public servants, in keeping with the original derivation of this word from , a verb meaning 'to serve'.'' Nihon Kokugo Daijiten'', entry for available online her

(in Japanese)
''
Daijirin is a comprehensive single-volume Japanese dictionary edited by , and first published by in 1988. This title is based upon two early Sanseidō dictionaries edited by Shōzaburō Kanazawa (金沢庄三郎, 1872–1967), ''Jirin'' (辞林 "Forest o ...
'', second edition, 1995
'' Nihon Kokugo Daijiten'', entry for available online her

(in Japanese)
'' Shin Meikai kokugo jiten, Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten'', fifth edition, 1997''Digital
Daijisen The is a general-purpose Japanese dictionary have a history that began over 1300 years ago when Japanese Buddhist priests, who wanted to understand Chinese sutras, adapted Chinese character dictionaries. Present-day Japanese lexicographers ...
'', entries for and available online her

(in Japanese)
Military men, however, would not be referred to as "samurai" for many more centuries.


Heian period

In the early
Heian period The is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. It followed the Nara period, beginning when the 50th emperor, Emperor Kanmu, moved the capital of Japan to Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto Kyoto (; Japanese langu ...
, during the late 8th and early 9th centuries,
Emperor Kanmu , or Kammu, was the 50th emperor of Japan The Emperor of Japan is the monarch and the head of the Imperial House of Japan, Imperial Family of Japan. Under the Constitution of Japan, he is defined as the symbol of the Japanese state and the ...
sought to consolidate and expand his rule in northern Honshū and made military campaigns against the
Emishi The (also called Ebisu and Ezo), written with Chinese characters that literally mean "shrimp Dongyi, barbarians," constituted an ancient ethnic group of people who lived in parts of Honshū, especially in the Tōhoku region, Tōhoku region, refe ...
, who resisted the governance of the
Kyoto Kyoto (; Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Kyōto'' ), officially , is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture in Japan. Located in the Kansai region on the island of Honshu, Kyoto forms a part of the Keihanshin, Keihanshin metropolitan area along wi ...
-based imperial court. Emperor Kanmu introduced the title of ''sei'i-taishōgun'' (), or ''
shōgun , officially , was the title of the military dictator A military dictatorship is a dictatorship in which the military exerts complete or substantial control over political authority, and the dictator is often a high-ranked military officer. ...
'', and began to rely on the powerful regional clans to conquer the Emishi. Skilled in mounted combat and archery ( kyūdō), these clan warriors became the emperor's preferred tool for putting down rebellions; the most well-known of which was
Sakanoue no Tamuramaro was a Kugyō, court noble, general and ''shōgun'' of the early Heian period of Japan. He served as Dainagon, Ministry of War (pre-modern Japan), Minister of War and ''Ukon'e no Taisho'' (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guard ...
. Though this is the first known use of the title ''shōgun'', it was a temporary title and was not imbued with political power until the 13th century. At this time (the 7th to 9th centuries), officials considered them to be merely a military section under the control of the Imperial Court. Ultimately, Emperor Kanmu disbanded his army. From this time, the emperor's power gradually declined. While the emperor was still the ruler, powerful clans around Kyoto assumed positions as ministers, and their relatives bought positions as
magistrate The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In ancient Rome, a ''Roman magistrate, magistratus'' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and poss ...
s. To amass wealth and repay their debts, magistrates often imposed heavy taxes, resulting in many farmers becoming landless. Through protective agreements and political marriages, the aristocrats accumulated political power, eventually surpassing the traditional aristocracy. Some clans were originally formed by farmers who had taken up arms to protect themselves from the imperial magistrates sent to govern their lands and collect taxes. These clans formed alliances to protect themselves against more powerful clans, and by the mid-Heian period, they had adopted characteristic armor and weapons (''tachi''). File:Gosannen kassen.jpg, The
Gosannen War The Gosannen War (後三年合戦, ''gosannen kassen''), also known as the Later Three-Year War, was fought in the late 1080s in Japan's Mutsu Province on the island of Honshū. History The Gosannen War was part of a long struggle for power wi ...
in the 11th century File:Sasaki Toyokichi - Nihon hana zue - Walters 95208.jpg, Samurai on horseback, wearing ō-yoroi armor, carrying a bow ('' yumi'') and arrows in an '' yebira'' quiver File:Kyujutsu10.jpg, Heiji rebellion in 1159


Late Heian Period, Kamakura Bakufu, and the rise of samurai

The
Kamakura period The is a period of History of Japan, Japanese history that marks the governance by the Kamakura shogunate, officially established in 1192 in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Kamakura by the first ''shōgun'' Minamoto no Yoritomo after the conclusion of the Gen ...
(1185–1333) saw the rise of the samurai under shogun rule as they were "entrusted with the security of the estates" and were symbols of the ideal warrior and citizen. Originally, the emperor and non-warrior nobility employed these warrior nobles. In time they amassed enough manpower, resources and political backing, in the form of alliances with one another, to establish the first samurai-dominated government. As the power of these regional clans grew, their chief was typically a distant relative of the emperor and a lesser member of either the Fujiwara,
Minamoto was one of the surnames bestowed by the Emperors of Japan upon members of the Imperial House of Japan, imperial family who were excluded from the line of succession and demoted into the ranks of the nobility from 1192 to 1333. The practice was m ...
, or
Taira The Taira was one of the four most important Japanese clans, clans that dominated Japanese politics during the Heian Period, Heian, Kamakura period, Kamakura and Muromachi period, Muromachi Periods of History of Japan, Japanese history – the ...
clan. Though originally sent to provincial areas for fixed four-year terms as magistrates, the ''toryo'' declined to return to the capital when their terms ended, and their sons inherited their positions and continued to lead the clans in putting down rebellions throughout Japan during the middle- and later-Heian period. Because of their rising military and economic power, the warriors ultimately became a new force in the politics of the imperial court. Their involvement in the Hōgen Rebellion in the late Heian period consolidated their power, which later pitted the rivalry of Minamoto and Taira clans against each other in the Heiji Rebellion of 1160. The victor,
Taira no Kiyomori was a military leader and ''kugyō'' of the late Heian period of Japan. He established the first samurai-dominated administrative government in the history of Japan. Early life Kiyomori was born in Heian-kyō, Japan, in 1118 as the first so ...
, became an imperial advisor and was the first warrior to attain such a position. He eventually seized control of the central government, establishing the first samurai-dominated government and relegating the emperor to figurehead status. However, the Taira clan was still very conservative when compared to its eventual successor, the Minamoto, and instead of expanding or strengthening its military might, the clan had its women marry emperors and exercise control through the emperor. The Taira and the Minamoto clashed again in 1180, beginning the
Genpei War The was a national civil war between the Taira clan, Taira and Minamoto clan, Minamoto clans during the late Heian period of Japan. It resulted in the downfall of the Taira and the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate under Minamoto no Yori ...
, which ended in 1185. Samurai fought at the naval battle of Dan-no-ura, at the Shimonoseki Strait which separates Honshu and
Kyūshū is the third-largest island of Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while exten ...
in 1185. The victorious
Minamoto no Yoritomo was the founder and the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate of Japan, ruling from 1192 until 1199.Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Minamoto no Yoriie" in . He was the husband of Hōjō Masako who acted as regent (''shikken'') after his ...
established the superiority of the samurai over the aristocracy. In 1190 he visited Kyoto and in 1192 became '' Sei'i Taishōgun'', establishing the Kamakura shogunate, or ''Kamakura bakufu''. Instead of ruling from Kyoto, he set up the shogunate in
Kamakura is a Cities of Japan, city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Kamakura has an estimated population of 172,929 (1 September 2020) and a population density of 4,359 persons per km² over the total area of . Kamakura was designated as a city on 3 Nove ...
, near his base of power. "Bakufu" means "tent government", taken from the encampments the soldiers would live in, in accordance with the Bakufu's status as a military government. After the Genpei war, Yoritomo obtained the right to appoint ''
shugo , commonly translated as “(military) governor,” “protector,” or “constable,” was a title given to certain officials in feudal Japan. They were each appointed by the ''shōgun'' to oversee one or more of the provinces of Japan. The pos ...
'' and '' jitō'', and was allowed to organize soldiers and police, and to collect a certain amount of tax. Initially, their responsibility was restricted to arresting rebels and collecting needed army provisions and they were forbidden from interfering with '' Kokushi'' officials, but their responsibility gradually expanded. Thus, the samurai class became the political ruling power in Japan. File:Mōko Shūrai Ekotoba e2.jpg, Samurai of the Shōni clan gather to defend against
Kublai Khan Kublai ; Mongolian script: ; (23 September 1215 – 18 February 1294), also known by his temple name as the Emperor Shizu of Yuan and his regnal name Setsen Khan, was the founder of the Yuan dynasty of China and the fifth khagan-Emperor of Chi ...
's Mongolian army during the first Mongol Invasion of Japan, 1274 File:Battle of Yashima Folding Screens Kano School.jpg, Battle of Yashima folding screens


Ashikaga shogunate and the Mongol invasions

Various samurai clans struggled for power during the
Kamakura is a Cities of Japan, city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Kamakura has an estimated population of 172,929 (1 September 2020) and a population density of 4,359 persons per km² over the total area of . Kamakura was designated as a city on 3 Nove ...
and
Ashikaga shogunate The , also known as the , was the feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, cultural and political customs that flourished in Middle Ages, medieval Europe between the 9th a ...
s.
Zen Buddhism Zen ( zh, t=禪, p=Chán; ja, text=:ja:禅, 禅, translit=zen; ko, text=선, translit=Seon; vi, text=Thiền) is a East Asian Buddhism, school of Mahayana, Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty, known as the Ch ...
spread among the samurai in the 13th century and helped to shape their standards of conduct, particularly overcoming the fear of death and killing, but among the general populace
Pure Land Buddhism Pure Land Buddhism (; ja, 浄土仏教, translit=Jōdo bukkyō; , also referred to as Amidism in English,) is a broad branch of Mahayana, Mahayana Buddhism focused on achieving rebirth in a Buddha's Buddha-field or Pure land, Pure Land. It is ...
was favored. In 1274, the Mongol-founded
Yuan dynasty The Yuan dynasty (), officially the Great Yuan (; xng, , , literally "Great Yuan State"), was a Mongols, Mongol-led Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China and a successor state to the Mongol Empire after Division of the M ...
in China sent a force of some 40,000 men and 900 ships to invade Japan in northern Kyūshū. Japan mustered a mere 10,000 samurai to meet this threat. The invading army was harassed by major thunderstorms throughout the invasion, which aided the defenders by inflicting heavy casualties. The Yuan army was eventually recalled, and the invasion was called off. The Mongol invaders used small bombs, which was likely the first appearance of bombs and gunpowder in Japan. The Japanese defenders recognized the possibility of a renewed invasion and began construction of a great stone barrier around
Hakata Bay is a bay in the northwestern part of Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Fukuoka city, on the Japanese island of Kyūshū. It faces the Tsushima Strait, and features beaches and a port, though parts of the bay have been Land reclamation, reclaimed in the expans ...
in 1276. Completed in 1277, this wall stretched for 20 kilometers around the border of the bay. It would later serve as a strong defensive point against the Mongols. The Mongols attempted to settle matters in a diplomatic way from 1275 to 1279, but every envoy sent to Japan was executed. Leading up to the second Mongolian invasion,
Kublai Khan Kublai ; Mongolian script: ; (23 September 1215 – 18 February 1294), also known by his temple name as the Emperor Shizu of Yuan and his regnal name Setsen Khan, was the founder of the Yuan dynasty of China and the fifth khagan-Emperor of Chi ...
continued to send emissaries to Japan, with five diplomats sent in September 1275 to Kyūshū. Hōjō Tokimune, the
shikken The was a titular post held by a member of the Hōjō clan, officially a regent of the shogunate, from 1199 to 1333, during the Kamakura period, and so he was head of the ''bakufu'' (shogunate). It was part of the era referred to as . During roug ...
of the Kamakura shogun, responded by having the Mongolian diplomats brought to Kamakura and then beheading them. The graves of the five executed Mongol emissaries exist to this day in Kamakura at Tatsunokuchi. On 29 July 1279, five more emissaries were sent by the Mongol empire, and again beheaded, this time in Hakata. This continued defiance of the Mongol emperor set the stage for one of the most famous engagements in Japanese history. In 1281, a Yuan army of 140,000 men with 5,000 ships was mustered for another invasion of Japan. Northern Kyūshū was defended by a Japanese army of 40,000 men. The Mongol army was still on its ships preparing for the landing operation when a typhoon hit north Kyūshū island. The casualties and damage inflicted by the typhoon, followed by the Japanese defense of the Hakata Bay barrier, resulted in the Mongols again being defeated. The thunderstorms of 1274 and the typhoon of 1281 helped the samurai defenders of Japan repel the Mongol invaders despite being vastly outnumbered. These winds became known as ''kami-no-Kaze'', which literally translates as "wind of the gods". This is often given a simplified translation as "divine wind". The ''kami-no-Kaze'' lent credence to the Japanese belief that their lands were indeed divine and under supernatural protection. During this period, the tradition of Japanese swordsmithing developed using laminated or piled steel, a technique dating back over 2,000 years in the Mediterranean and Europe of combining layers of soft and hard steel to produce a blade with a very hard (but brittle) edge, capable of being highly sharpened, supported by a softer, tougher, more flexible spine. The Japanese swordsmiths refined this technique by using multiple layers of steel of varying composition, together with differential heat treatment, or tempering, of the finished blade, achieved by protecting part of it with a layer of clay while quenching (as explained in the article on Japanese swordsmithing). The craft was perfected in the 14th century by the great swordsmith Masamune. The Japanese sword (''
tachi A is a type of traditionally made Japanese sword Commons:Nihonto, (''nihonto'') worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. ''Tachi'' and ''katana'' generally differ in length, degree of curvature, and how they were worn when sheathed, the latte ...
'' and ''
katana A is a Japanese sword characterized by a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. Developed later than the ''tachi'', it was used by samurai in feudal Japan and worn with the edge fa ...
'') became renowned around the world for its sharpness and resistance to breaking. Many swords made using these techniques were exported across the
East China Sea The East China Sea is an arm of the Western Pacific Ocean, located directly offshore from East China. It covers an area of roughly . The sea’s northern extension between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula is the Yellow Sea, separated b ...
, a few making their way as far as India. Issues of inheritance caused family strife as
primogeniture Primogeniture ( ) is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inheritance, inherit the parent's entire or main estate (law), estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child ...
became common, in contrast to the division of succession designated by law before the 14th century. Invasions of neighboring samurai territories became common to avoid infighting, and bickering among samurai was a constant problem for the Kamakura and Ashikaga shogunates.


Sengoku period

The ''
Sengoku jidai The was a period in History of Japan, Japanese history of near-constant civil war and social upheaval from 1467 to 1615. The Sengoku period was initiated by the Ōnin War in 1467 which collapsed the Feudalism, feudal system of Japan under the ...
'' ("warring states period") was marked by the loosening of samurai culture, with people born into other social strata sometimes making a name for themselves as warriors and thus becoming ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, whether or not they are officially recognized by laws or other formal norms. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with '' de jure'' ("by l ...
'' samurai. Japanese war tactics and technologies improved rapidly in the 15th and 16th centuries. Use of large numbers of infantry called ashigaru ("light-foot", because of their light armor), formed of humble warriors or ordinary people with ''naga yari'' (a long
lance A lance is a spear designed to be used by a mounted warrior or cavalry soldier (lancer). In Ancient warfare, ancient and medieval warfare, it evolved into the leading weapon in cavalry charges, and was unsuited for throwing or for repeated thru ...
) or ''
naginata The ''naginata'' (, ) is a pole weapon and one of several varieties of traditionally made Japanese blades (''nihontō''). ''Naginata'' were originally used by the samurai class of feudal Japan, as well as by ashigaru (foot soldiers) and sōhei ( ...
'', was introduced and combined with cavalry in maneuvers. The number of people mobilized in warfare ranged from thousands to hundreds of thousands. The
arquebus An arquebus ( ) is a form of long gun that appeared in Europe and the Ottoman Empire during the 15th century. An infantryman armed with an arquebus is called an arquebusier. Although the term ''arquebus'', derived from the Dutch word ''Haakbus ...
, a
matchlock A matchlock or firelock is a historical type of firearm wherein the gunpowder is ignited by a burning piece of rope that is touched to the gunpowder by a mechanism that the musketeer activates by pulling a lever or trigger with his finger. Bef ...
gun, was introduced by the Portuguese via a Chinese pirate ship in 1543, and the Japanese succeeded in assimilating it within a decade. Groups of mercenaries with mass-produced arquebuses began playing a critical role. By the end of the Sengoku period, several hundred thousand firearms existed in Japan, and massive armies numbering over 100,000 clashed in battles.


Azuchi–Momoyama period


Oda, Toyotomi and Tokugawa

Oda Nobunaga was a Japanese ''daimyō'' and one of the leading figures of the Sengoku period. He is regarded as the first "Great Unifier" of Japan. Nobunaga was head of the very powerful Oda clan, and launched a war against other ''daimyō'' to unify ...
was the well-known lord of the
Nagoya is the largest city in the Chūbu region, the List of Japanese cities by population, fourth-most populous city and third most populous urban area in Japan, with a population of 2.3million in 2020. Located on the Pacific Ocean, Pacific coast i ...
area (once called
Owari Province was a Provinces of Japan, province of Japan in the area that today forms the western half of Aichi Prefecture, including the modern city of Nagoya. The province was created in 646. Owari bordered on Mikawa Province, Mikawa, Mino Province, Mino, ...
) and an exceptional example of a samurai of the Sengoku period. He came within a few years of, and laid down the path for his successors to follow, the reunification of Japan under a new ''bakufu'' (shogunate). Oda Nobunaga made innovations in the fields of organization and war tactics, made heavy use of arquebuses, developed commerce and industry, and treasured innovation. Consecutive victories enabled him to realize the termination of the Ashikaga Bakufu and the disarmament of the military powers of the Buddhist monks, which had inflamed futile struggles among the populace for centuries. Attacking from the "sanctuary" of Buddhist temples, they were constant headaches to any warlord and even the emperor who tried to control their actions. He died in 1582 when one of his generals,
Akechi Mitsuhide , first called Jūbei from his clan and later from his title, was a Japanese ''samurai'' general of the Sengoku period best known as the assassin of Oda Nobunaga. Mitsuhide was a bodyguard of Ashikaga Yoshiaki and later a successful general under ...
, turned upon him with his army.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi , otherwise known as and , was a Japanese samurai and ''daimyō'' (feudal lord) of the late Sengoku period regarded as the second "Great Unifier" of Japan.Richard Holmes, The World Atlas of Warfare: Military Innovations that Changed the Cour ...
and
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first ''shōgun'' of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, which ruled Japan from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, along with his former lord Oda ...
, who founded the Tokugawa shogunate, were loyal followers of Nobunaga. Hideyoshi began as a peasant and became one of Nobunaga's top generals, and Ieyasu had shared his childhood with Nobunaga. Hideyoshi defeated Mitsuhide within a month and was regarded as the rightful successor of Nobunaga by avenging the treachery of Mitsuhide. These two were able to use Nobunaga's previous achievements on which build a unified Japan and there was a saying: "The reunification is a rice cake; Oda made it. Hashiba shaped it. In the end, only Ieyasu tastes it." (Hashiba is the family name that Toyotomi Hideyoshi used while he was a follower of Nobunaga.) Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who became a grand minister in 1586, created a law that non-samurai were not allowed to carry weapons, which the samurai caste codified as permanent and hereditary, thereby ending the social mobility of Japan, which lasted until the dissolution of the Edo shogunate by the Meiji revolutionaries. The distinction between samurai and non-samurai was so obscure that during the 16th century, most male adults in any social class (even small farmers) belonged to at least one military organization of their own and served in wars before and during Hideyoshi's rule. It can be said that an "all against all" situation continued for a century. The authorized samurai families after the 17th century were those that chose to follow Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu. Large battles occurred during the change between regimes, and a number of defeated samurai were destroyed, went '' rōnin'' or were absorbed into the general populace.


Invasions of Korea

In 1592 and again in 1597, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, aiming to invade China through Korea, mobilized an army of 160,000 peasants and samurai and deployed them to Korea. Taking advantage of arquebus mastery and extensive wartime experience from the Sengoku period, Japanese samurai armies made major gains in most of Korea. A few of the famous samurai generals of this war were Katō Kiyomasa, Konishi Yukinaga, and Shimazu Yoshihiro. Katō Kiyomasa advanced to Orangkai territory (present-day Manchuria) bordering Korea to the northeast and crossed the border into Manchuria. He withdrew after retaliatory attacks from the
Jurchens Jurchen (Manchu language, Manchu: ''Jušen'', ; zh, 女真, ''Nǚzhēn'', ) is a term used to collectively describe a number of East Asian people, East Asian Tungusic languages, Tungusic-speaking peoples, descended from the Donghu people. They ...
there, as it was clear he had outpaced the rest of the Japanese invasion force. Shimazu Yoshihiro led some 7,000 samurai and, despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated a host of allied Ming and Korean forces at the Battle of Sacheon in 1598, near the conclusion of the campaigns. Yoshihiro was feared as ''Oni-Shimazu'' ("Shimazu ogre") and his nickname spread across Korea and into China. In spite of the superiority of Japanese land forces, the two expeditions ultimately failed, though they did devastate the Korean peninsula. The causes of the failure included Korean naval superiority (which, led by Admiral
Yi Sun-sin Admiral Yi Sun-sin (April 28, 1545 – December 16, 1598) was a Korean admiral and military general famed for his victories against the Japanese navy during the Imjin war in the Joseon Dynasty Joseon (; ; Middle Korean: 됴ᇢ〯션 ...
, harassed Japanese supply lines continuously throughout the wars, resulting in supply shortages on land), the commitment of sizable Ming forces to Korea, Korean guerrilla actions, wavering Japanese commitment to the campaigns as the wars dragged on, and the underestimation of resistance by Japanese commanders. In the first campaign of 1592, Korean defenses on land were caught unprepared, under-trained, and under-armed. They were rapidly overrun, with only a limited number of successfully resistant engagements against the more experienced and battle-hardened Japanese forces. During the second campaign in 1597, Korean and Ming forces proved far more resilient and with the support of continued Korean naval superiority, managed to limit Japanese gains to parts of southeastern Korea. The final death blow to the Japanese campaigns in Korea came with Hideyoshi's death in late 1598 and the recall of all Japanese forces in Korea by the Council of Five Elders, established by Hideyoshi to oversee the transition from his regency to that of his son Hideyori.


Battle of Sekigahara

Many samurai forces that were active throughout this period were not deployed to Korea; most importantly, the '' daimyōs''
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first ''shōgun'' of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, which ruled Japan from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, along with his former lord Oda ...
carefully kept forces under his command out of the Korean campaigns, and other samurai commanders who were opposed to Hideyoshi's domination of Japan either mulled Hideyoshi's call to invade Korea or contributed a small token force. Most commanders who opposed or otherwise resisted or resented Hideyoshi ended up as part of the so-called Eastern Army, while commanders loyal to Hideyoshi and his son (a notable exception to this trend was Katō Kiyomasa, who deployed with Tokugawa and the Eastern Army) were largely committed to the Western Army; the two opposing sides (so named for the relative geographical locations of their respective commanders' domains) later clashed, most notably at the
Battle of Sekigahara The Battle of Sekigahara (Shinjitai: ; Kyūjitai: , Hepburn romanization: ''Sekigahara no Tatakai'') was a decisive battle on October 21, 1600 (Keichō 5, 15th day of the 9th month) in what is now Gifu prefecture, Japan, at the end of the ...
which was won by Tokugawa Ieyasu and the Eastern Forces, paving the way for the establishment of the
Tokugawa shogunate The Tokugawa shogunate (, Japanese 徳川幕府 ''Tokugawa bakufu''), also known as the , was the military government of Japan during the Edo period from 1603 to 1868.Louis-Frédéric, Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005)"''Tokugawa-jidai''"in ''Ja ...
. Social mobility was high, as the ancient regime collapsed and emerging samurai needed to maintain a large military and administrative organizations in their areas of influence. Most of the samurai families that survived to the 19th century originated in this era, declaring themselves to be the blood of one of the four ancient noble clans:
Minamoto was one of the surnames bestowed by the Emperors of Japan upon members of the Imperial House of Japan, imperial family who were excluded from the line of succession and demoted into the ranks of the nobility from 1192 to 1333. The practice was m ...
,
Taira The Taira was one of the four most important Japanese clans, clans that dominated Japanese politics during the Heian Period, Heian, Kamakura period, Kamakura and Muromachi period, Muromachi Periods of History of Japan, Japanese history – the ...
, Fujiwara and Tachibana. In most cases, however, it is difficult to prove these claims.


Tokugawa shogunate

After the Battle of Sekigahara, when the Tokugawa shogunate defeated the
Toyotomi clan The was a Japanese clan that ruled over the Japanese people, Japanese before the Edo period. Unity and conflict The most influential figure within the Toyotomi was Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the three "unifiers of Japan". Oda Nobunaga was a ...
at summer campaign of the
Siege of Osaka The was a series of battles undertaken by the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate The Tokugawa shogunate (, Japanese 徳川幕府 ''Tokugawa bakufu''), also known as the , was the military government of Japan during the Edo period from 1603 to 1868 ...
in 1615, the long war period ended. During the Tokugawa shogunate, samurai increasingly became courtiers, bureaucrats, and administrators rather than warriors. With no warfare since the early 17th century, samurai gradually lost their military function during the Tokugawa era (also called the
Edo period The or is the period between 1603 and 1867 in the history of Japan, history of Japan, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional ''daimyo''. Emerging from the chaos of the Sengoku period, the Edo perio ...
). By the end of the Tokugawa era, samurai were aristocratic bureaucrats for the ''daimyōs'', with their ''daishō'', the paired long and short swords of the samurai (cf.
katana A is a Japanese sword characterized by a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. Developed later than the ''tachi'', it was used by samurai in feudal Japan and worn with the edge fa ...
and
wakizashi The is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (''Commons:Nihonto, nihontō'') worn by the samurai in History of Japan#Feudal Japan (1185-1603), feudal Japan. History and use The production of swords in Japan is divided into specific tim ...
) becoming more of a symbolic emblem of power rather than a weapon used in daily life. They still had the legal right to cut down any commoner who did not show proper respect , but to what extent this right was used is unknown. When the central government forced ''daimyōs'' to cut the size of their armies, unemployed rōnin became a social problem. Theoretical obligations between a samurai and his lord (usually a ''daimyō'') increased from the Genpei era to the Edo era. They were strongly emphasized by the teachings of
Confucius Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; – ) was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages. Co ...
and
Mencius Mencius ( ); born Mèng Kē (); or Mèngzǐ (; 372–289 BC) was a Chinese Confucianism, Confucian Chinese philosophy, philosopher who has often been described as the "second Sage", that is, second to Confucius himself. He is part of Confuc ...
, which were required reading for the educated samurai class. The leading figures who introduced Confucianism in Japan in the early Tokugawa period were Fujiwara Seika (1561–1619), Hayashi Razan (1583–1657), and Matsunaga Sekigo (1592–1657). The conduct of samurai served as role model behavior for the other social classes. With time on their hands, samurai spent more time in pursuit of other interests such as becoming scholars.


Modernization

The relative peace of the Tokugawa era was shattered with the arrival of Commodore
Matthew Perry Matthew Langford Perry (born August 19, 1969) is an American-Canadian actor. He is best known for his role as Chandler Bing on the NBC television sitcom ''Friends'' (1994–2004). As well as starring in the short-lived television series ''Stud ...
's massive U.S. Navy steamships in 1853. Perry used his superior firepower to force Japan to open its borders to trade. Prior to that only a few harbor towns, under strict control from the shogunate, were allowed to participate in Western trade, and even then, it was based largely on the idea of playing the
Franciscan , image = FrancescoCoA PioM.svg , image_size = 200px , caption = A cross, Christ's arm and Saint Francis's arm, a universal symbol of the Franciscans , abbreviation = OFM , predecessor = , ...
s and Dominicans against one another (in exchange for the crucial arquebus technology, which in turn was a major contributor to the downfall of the classical samurai). From 1854, the samurai army and the navy were modernized. A naval training school was established in
Nagasaki is the capital and the largest Cities of Japan, city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. It became the sole Nanban trade, port used for trade with the Portuguese and Dutch during the 16th through 19th centuries. The Hi ...
in 1855. Naval students were sent to study in Western naval schools for several years, starting a tradition of foreign-educated future leaders, such as Admiral Enomoto. French naval engineers were hired to build naval arsenals, such as
Yokosuka is a city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledg ...
and Nagasaki. By the end of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1867, the Japanese navy of the ''shōgun'' already possessed eight western-style steam warships around the flagship ''Kaiyō Maru'', which were used against pro-imperial forces during the
Boshin War The , sometimes known as the Japanese Revolution or Japanese Civil War, was a civil war in Japan fought from 1868 to 1869 between forces of the ruling Tokugawa shogunate and a clique seeking to seize political power in the name of the Imperia ...
, under the command of Admiral Enomoto Takeaki. A French Military Mission to Japan (1867) was established to help modernize the armies of the
Bakufu , officially , was the title of the military dictatorship, military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868. Nominally appointed by the Emperor of Japan, Emperor, shoguns were usually the de facto rulers of the co ...
. The last showing of the original samurai was in 1867 when samurai from Chōshū and Satsuma provinces defeated the shogunate forces in favor of the rule of the emperor in the Boshin War. The two provinces were the lands of the ''daimyōs'' that submitted to Ieyasu after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.


Dissolution

In the 1870s, samurai comprised five percent of the population, or 400,000 families with about 1.9 million members. They came under direct national jurisdiction in 1869, and of all the classes during the Meiji revolution they were the most affected. Although many lesser samurai had been active in the
Meiji restoration The , referred to at the time as the , and also known as the Meiji Renovation, Revolution, Regeneration, Reform, or Renewal, was a political event that restored practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Although there were ...
, the older ones represented an obsolete feudal institution that had a practical monopoly of military force, and to a large extent of education as well. A priority of the Meiji government was to gradually abolish the entire class of samurai and integrate them into the Japanese professional, military and business classes. Their traditional guaranteed salaries were very expensive, and in 1873 the government started taxing the stipends and began to transform them into interest-bearing government bonds; the process was completed in 1879. The main goal was to provide enough financial liquidity to enable former samurai to invest in land and industry. A military force capable of contesting not just China but the imperial powers required a large conscript army that closely followed Western standards. Germany became the model. The notion of very strict obedience to chain of command was incompatible with the individual authority of the samurai. Samurai now became ''
Shizoku The was a social class in Empire of Japan, Japan composed of former ''samurai'' after the Meiji Restoration from 1869 to 1947. ''Shizoku'' was a distinct class between the ''kazoku'' (a merger of the former ''kuge'' and ''daimyō'' classes) and ...
'' (; this status was abolished in 1947). The right to wear a katana in public was abolished, along with the right to execute commoners who paid them disrespect. In 1877, there was a localized samurai rebellion that was quickly crushed. Younger samurai often became exchange students because they were ambitious, literate and well-educated. On return, some started private schools for higher education, while many samurai became reporters and writers and set up newspaper companies. Others entered governmental service. In the 1880s, 23 percent of prominent Japanese businessmen were from the samurai class; by the 1920s the number had grown to 35 percent.


Philosophy


Religious influences

The philosophies of
Buddhism Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religions, Indian religion or Indian philosophy#Buddhist philosophy, philosophical tradition based on Pre-sectarian Buddhism, teachings attributed to the Buddha. ...
and
Zen Zen ( zh, t=禪, p=Chán; ja, text= 禅, translit=zen; ko, text=선, translit=Seon; vi, text=Thiền) is a school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teachin ...
, and to a lesser extent
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a Religious Confucianism, religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, ...
and
Shinto Shinto () is a religion from Japan. Classified as an East Asian religions, East Asian religion by Religious studies, scholars of religion, its practitioners often regard it as Japan's indigenous religion and as a nature religion. Scholars somet ...
, influenced the samurai culture. Zen meditation became an important teaching because it offered a process to calm one's mind. The Buddhist concept of
reincarnation Reincarnation, also known as rebirth or transmigration, is the Philosophy, philosophical or Religion, religious concept that the non-physical essence of a living being begins a new life in a different physical form or physical body, body after ...
and rebirth led samurai to abandon torture and needless killing, while some samurai even gave up violence altogether and became Buddhist monks after coming to believe that their killings were fruitless. Some were killed as they came to terms with these conclusions in the battlefield. The most defining role that Confucianism played in samurai philosophy was to stress the importance of the lord-retainer relationship—the loyalty that a samurai was required to show his lord. Literature on the subject of ''bushido'' such as '' Hagakure'' ("Hidden in Leaves") by Yamamoto Tsunetomo and '' Gorin no Sho'' ("Book of the Five Rings") by
Miyamoto Musashi , also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Dharma name, Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer and rōnin, who became renowned through stories of his unique double-bladed sw ...
, both written in the Edo period, contributed to the development of ''bushidō'' and Zen philosophy. According to Robert Sharf, "The notion that Zen is somehow related to Japanese culture in general, and bushidō in particular, is familiar to Western students of Zen through the writings of D. T. Suzuki, no doubt the single most important figure in the spread of Zen in the West." In an account of Japan sent to Father
Ignatius Loyola Ignatius of Loyola, S.J. (born Íñigo López de Oñaz y Loyola; eu, Ignazio Loiolakoa; es, Ignacio de Loyola; la, Ignatius de Loyola; – 31 July 1556), venerated as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was a Spanish Catholic priest and theologian ...
at Rome, drawn from the statements of Anger (Han-Siro's western name), Xavier describes the importance of honor to the Japanese (Letter preserved at College of Coimbra):
In the first place, the nation with which we have had to do here surpasses in goodness any of the nations lately discovered. I really think that among barbarous nations there can be none that has more natural goodness than the Japanese. They are of a kindly disposition, not at all given to cheating, wonderfully desirous of honour and rank. Honour with them is placed above everything else. There are a great many poor among them, but poverty is not a disgrace to any one. There is one thing among them of which I hardly know whether it is practised anywhere among Christians. The nobles, however poor they may be, receive the same honour from the rest as if they were rich.


Doctrine

In the 13th century, Hōjō Shigetoki wrote: "When one is serving officially or in the master's court, he should not think of a hundred or a thousand people, but should consider only the importance of the master." Carl Steenstrup notes that 13th- and 14th-century warrior writings ('' gunki'') "portrayed the ''bushi'' in their natural element, war, eulogizing such virtues as reckless bravery, fierce family pride, and selfless, at times senseless devotion of master and man". Feudal lords such as Shiba Yoshimasa (1350–1410) stated that a warrior looked forward to a glorious death in the service of a military leader or the emperor: "It is a matter of regret to let the moment when one should die pass by ... First, a man whose profession is the use of arms should think and then act upon not only his own fame, but also that of his descendants. He should not scandalize his name forever by holding his one and only life too dear ... One's main purpose in throwing away his life is to do so either for the sake of the Emperor or in some great undertaking of a military general. It is that exactly that will be the great fame of one's descendants." In 1412, Imagawa Sadayo wrote a letter of admonishment to his brother stressing the importance of duty to one's master. Imagawa was admired for his balance of military and administrative skills during his lifetime, and his writings became widespread. The letters became central to Tokugawa-era laws and became required study material for traditional Japanese until World War II: "First of all, a samurai who dislikes battle and has not put his heart in the right place even though he has been born in the house of the warrior, should not be reckoned among one's retainers ... It is forbidden to forget the great debt of kindness one owes to his master and ancestors and thereby make light of the virtues of loyalty and filial piety ... It is forbidden that one should ... attach little importance to his duties to his master ... There is a primary need to distinguish loyalty from disloyalty and to establish rewards and punishments." Similarly, the feudal lord
Takeda Nobushige was a samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of History of Japan#Medieval Japan (1185–1573/1600), medieval and Edo period, early-modern Japan from the late 12th century until their abolition in 1876. They were t ...
(1525–1561) stated: "In matters both great and small, one should not turn his back on his master's commands ... One should not ask for gifts or enfiefments from the master ... No matter how unreasonably the master may treat a man, he should not feel disgruntled ... An underling does not pass judgments on a superior." Nobushige's brother
Takeda Shingen , of Kai Province, was a pre-eminent ''daimyō'' in feudal Japan. Known as the "Tiger of Kai", he was one of the most powerful Daimyo, daimyō with exceptional military prestige in the late stage of the Sengoku period. Shingen was a warlord of ...
(1521–1573) also made similar observations: "One who was born in the house of a warrior, regardless of his rank or class, first acquaints himself with a man of military feats and achievements in loyalty ... Everyone knows that if a man doesn't hold filial piety toward his own parents he would also neglect his duties toward his lord. Such a neglect means a disloyalty toward humanity. Therefore such a man doesn't deserve to be called 'samurai'." The feudal lord Asakura Yoshikage (1428–1481) wrote: "In the fief of the Asakura, one should not determine hereditary chief retainers. A man should be assigned according to his ability and loyalty." Asakura also observed that the successes of his father were obtained by the kind treatment of the warriors and common people living in domain. By his civility, "all were willing to sacrifice their lives for him and become his allies." Katō Kiyomasa was one of the most powerful and well-known lords of the Sengoku period. He commanded most of Japan's major clans during the invasion of Korea. In a handbook he addressed to "all samurai, regardless of rank", he told his followers that a warrior's only duty in life was to "grasp the long and the short swords and to die". He also ordered his followers to put forth great effort in studying the military classics, especially those related to loyalty and filial piety. He is best known for his quote: "If a man does not investigate into the matter of Bushido daily, it will be difficult for him to die a brave and manly death. Thus it is essential to engrave this business of the warrior into one's mind well." Nabeshima Naoshige (1538–1618 AD) was another Sengoku ''daimyō'' who fought alongside Kato Kiyomasa in Korea. He stated that it was shameful for any man to have not risked his life at least once in the line of duty, regardless of his rank. Nabeshima's sayings were passed down to his son and grandson and became the basis for Tsunetomo Yamamoto's '' Hagakure''. He is best known for his saying, "The way of the samurai is in desperateness. Ten men or more cannot kill such a man."
Torii Mototada was a Japanese Samurai and Daimyo of the Sengoku period through late Azuchi–Momoyama period, who served Tokugawa Ieyasu. Torii died at the siege of Fushimi where his garrison was greatly outnumbered and destroyed by the army of Ishida Mitsun ...
(1539–1600) was a feudal lord in the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu. On the eve of the battle of Sekigahara, he volunteered to remain behind in the doomed Fushimi Castle while his lord advanced to the east. Torii and Tokugawa both agreed that the castle was indefensible. In an act of loyalty to his lord, Torii chose to remain behind, pledging that he and his men would fight to the finish. As was custom, Torii vowed that he would not be taken alive. In a dramatic last stand, the garrison of 2,000 men held out against overwhelming odds for ten days against the massive army of Ishida Mitsunari's 40,000 warriors. In a moving last statement to his son Tadamasa, he wrote: "It is not the Way of the Warrior .e., ''bushidō''to be shamed and avoid death even under circumstances that are not particularly important. It goes without saying that to sacrifice one's life for the sake of his master is an unchanging principle. That I should be able to go ahead of all the other warriors of this country and lay down my life for the sake of my master's benevolence is an honor to my family and has been my most fervent desire for many years." It is said that both men cried when they parted ways, because they knew they would never see each other again. Torii's father and grandfather had served the Tokugawa before him, and his own brother had already been killed in battle. Torii's actions changed the course of Japanese history. Ieyasu Tokugawa successfully raised an army and won at Sekigahara. The translator of ''Hagakure'',
William Scott Wilson William Scott Wilson (born 1944, Nashville, Tennessee Nashville is the capital city of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat, seat of Davidson County, Tennessee, Davidson County. With a population of 689,447 at the 2020 United Stat ...
, observed examples of warrior emphasis on death in clans other than Yamamoto's: "he (Takeda Shingen) was a strict disciplinarian as a warrior, and there is an exemplary story in the ''Hagakure'' relating his execution of two brawlers, not because they had fought, but because they had not fought to the death". The rival of
Takeda Shingen , of Kai Province, was a pre-eminent ''daimyō'' in feudal Japan. Known as the "Tiger of Kai", he was one of the most powerful Daimyo, daimyō with exceptional military prestige in the late stage of the Sengoku period. Shingen was a warlord of ...
(1521–1573) was
Uesugi Kenshin , later known as was a Japanese '' daimyō''. He was born in Nagao clan, and after adoption into the Uesugi clan, ruled Echigo Province in the Sengoku period of Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an ...
(1530–1578), a legendary Sengoku warlord well versed in the Chinese military classics and who advocated the "way of the warrior as death". Japanese historian Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki describes Uesugi's beliefs as: "Those who are reluctant to give up their lives and embrace death are not true warriors ... Go to the battlefield firmly confident of victory, and you will come home with no wounds whatever. Engage in combat fully determined to die and you will be alive; wish to survive in the battle and you will surely meet death. When you leave the house determined not to see it again you will come home safely; when you have any thought of returning you will not return. You may not be in the wrong to think that the world is always subject to change, but the warrior must not entertain this way of thinking, for his fate is always determined." Families such as the Imagawa were influential in the development of warrior ethics and were widely quoted by other lords during their lifetime. The writings of Imagawa Sadayo were highly respected and sought out by Tokugawa Ieyasu as the source of Japanese feudal law. Historian H. Paul Varley notes the description of Japan given by Jesuit leader St. Francis Xavier: "There is no nation in the world which fears death less." Xavier further describes the honour and manners of the people: "I fancy that there are no people in the world more punctilious about their honour than the Japanese, for they will not put up with a single insult or even a word spoken in anger." Xavier spent 1549 to 1551 converting Japanese to Christianity. He also observed: "The Japanese are much braver and more warlike than the people of China, Korea,
Ternate Ternate is a List of regencies and cities of Indonesia, city in the Indonesian province of North Maluku and an island in the Maluku Islands. It was the ''de facto'' provincial capital of North Maluku before Sofifi on the nearby coast of Halmahera b ...
and all of the other nations around the Philippines."


Arts

In December 1547, Francis was in
Malacca Malacca ( ms, Melaka) is a state in Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three federal terr ...
(Malaysia) waiting to return to
Goa Goa () is a States and union territories of India, state on the southwestern coast of India within the Konkan region, geographically separated from the Deccan Plateau, Deccan highlands by the Western Ghats. It is located between the Indian st ...
(India) when he met a low-ranked samurai named Anjiro (possibly spelled "Yajiro"). Anjiro was not an intellectual, but he impressed Xavier because he took careful notes of everything he said in church. Xavier made the decision to go to Japan in part because this low-ranking samurai convinced him in Portuguese that the Japanese people were highly educated and eager to learn. They were hard workers and respectful of authority. In their laws and customs they were led by reason, and, should the Christian faith convince them of its truth, they would accept it en masse. By the 12th century, upper-class samurai were highly literate because of the general introduction of
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a Religious Confucianism, religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, ...
from China during the 7th to 9th centuries and in response to their perceived need to deal with the imperial court, who had a monopoly on culture and literacy for most of the Heian period. As a result, they aspired to the more cultured abilities of the nobility.Matsura, Yoshinori Fukuiken-shi 2 (Tokyo: Sanshusha, 1921) Examples such as Taira Tadanori (a samurai who appears in the ''Heike Monogatari'') demonstrate that warriors idealized the arts and aspired to become skilled in them. Tadanori was famous for his skill with the pen and the sword or the "bun and the bu", the harmony of fighting and learning. Samurai were expected to be cultured and literate and admired the ancient saying "bunbu-ryōdō" ( 文武両道, literary arts, military arts, both ways) or "The pen and the sword in accord". By the time of the Edo period, Japan had a higher literacy comparable to that in central Europe. The number of men who actually achieved the ideal and lived their lives by it was high. An early term for warrior, "uruwashii", was written with a kanji that combined the characters for literary study ("bun" 文) and military arts ("bu" 武), and is mentioned in the Heike Monogatari (late 12th century). The Heike Monogatari makes reference to the educated poet-swordsman ideal in its mention of Taira no Tadanori's death: In his book "Ideals of the Samurai" translator William Scott Wilson states: "The warriors in the ''Heike Monogatari'' served as models for the educated warriors of later generations, and the ideals depicted by them were not assumed to be beyond reach. Rather, these ideals were vigorously pursued in the upper echelons of warrior society and recommended as the proper form of the Japanese man of arms. With the Heike Monogatari, the image of the Japanese warrior in literature came to its full maturity."Wilson, p. 26 Wilson then translates the writings of several warriors who mention the Heike Monogatari as an example for their men to follow. Plenty of warrior writings document this ideal from the 13th century onward. Most warriors aspired to or followed this ideal otherwise there would have been no cohesion in the samurai armies.


Culture

As aristocrats for centuries, samurai developed their own cultures that influenced Japanese culture as a whole. The culture associated with the samurai such as the
tea ceremony An East Asian tea ceremony, or ''Chádào'' (), or ''Dado'' ( ko, 다도 (茶道)), is a ceremonially ritualized form of making tea (茶 ''cha'') practiced in East Asia by the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. The tea ceremony (), literally tran ...
, monochrome ink painting, rock gardens and poetry was adopted by warrior patrons throughout the centuries 1200–1600. These practices were adapted from the Chinese arts. Zen monks introduced them to Japan and they were allowed to flourish due to the interest of powerful warrior elites. Musō Soseki (1275–1351) was a Zen monk who was advisor to both Emperor Go-Daigo and General
Ashikaga Takauji was the founder and first ''shōgun'' of the Ashikaga shogunate."Ashikaga Takauji" in ''Encyclopædia Britannica, The New Encyclopædia Britannica''. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 15th edn., 1992, Vol. 1, p. 625. His rule began in 13 ...
(1304–58). Musō, as well as other monks, served as a political and cultural diplomat between Japan and China. Musō was particularly well known for his garden design. Another Ashikaga patron of the arts was Yoshimasa. His cultural advisor, the Zen monk Zeami, introduced the tea ceremony to him. Previously, tea had been used primarily for Buddhist monks to stay awake during meditation.


Education

In general, samurai, aristocrats, and priests had a very high literacy rate in
kanji are the logographic Chinese characters taken from the Chinese family of scripts, Chinese script and used in the writing of Japanese language, Japanese. They were made a major part of the Japanese writing system during the time of Old Japanese ...
. Recent studies have shown that literacy in kanji among other groups in society was somewhat higher than previously understood. For example, court documents, birth and death records and marriage records from the Kamakura period, submitted by farmers, were prepared in Kanji. Both the kanji literacy rate and skills in math improved toward the end of Kamakura period. Some samurai had ''buke bunko'', or "warrior library", a personal library that held texts on strategy, the science of warfare, and other documents that would have proved useful during the warring era of feudal Japan. One such library held 20,000 volumes. The upper class had ''Kuge bunko'', or "family libraries", that held classics, Buddhist sacred texts, and family histories, as well as genealogical records. Literacy was generally high among the warriors and the common classes as well. The feudal lord Asakura Norikage (1474–1555 AD) noted the great loyalty given to his father, due to his polite letters, not just to fellow samurai, but also to the farmers and townspeople:
There were to Lord Eirin's character many high points difficult to measure, but according to the elders the foremost of these was the way he governed the province by his civility. It goes without saying that he acted this way toward those in the samurai class, but he was also polite in writing letters to the farmers and townspeople, and even in addressing these letters he was gracious beyond normal practice. In this way, all were willing to sacrifice their lives for him and become his allies.
In a letter dated 29 January 1552, St Francis Xavier observed the ease of which the Japanese understood prayers due to the high level of literacy in Japan at that time:
There are two kinds of writing in Japan, one used by men and the other by women; and for the most part both men and women, especially of the nobility and the commercial class, have a literary education. The bonzes, or bonzesses, in their monasteries teach letters to the girls and boys, though rich and noble persons entrust the education of their children to private tutors.
Most of them can read, and this is a great help to them for the easy understanding of our usual prayers and the chief points of our holy religion.
In a letter to Father Ignatius Loyola at
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
, Xavier further noted the education of the upper classes:
The Nobles send their sons to monasteries to be educated as soon as they are 8 years old, and they remain there until they are 19 or 20, learning reading, writing and religion; as soon as they come out, they marry and apply themselves to politics. They are discreet, magnanimous and lovers of virtue and letters, honouring learned men very much.
In a letter dated 11 November 1549, Xavier described a multi-tiered educational system in Japan consisting of "universities", "colleges", "academies" and hundreds of monasteries that served as a principal center for learning by the populace:
But now we must give you an account of our stay at Cagoxima. We put into that port because the wind was adverse to our sailing to Meaco, which is the largest city in Japan, and most famous as the residence of the King and the Princes. It is said that after four months are passed the favourable season for a voyage to Meaco will return, and then with the good help of God we shall sail thither. The distance from Cagoxima is three hundred leagues. We hear wonderful stories about the size of Meaco: they say that it consists of more than ninety thousand dwellings. There is a very famous University there, as well as five chief colleges of students, and more than two hundred monasteries of bonzes, and of others who are like coenobites, called Legioxi, as well as of women of the same kind, who are called Hamacutis. Besides this of Meaco, there are in Japan five other principal academies, at Coya, at Negu, at Fisso, and at Homia. These are situated round Meaco, with short distances between them, and each is frequented by about three thousand five hundred scholars. Besides these there is the Academy at Bandou, much the largest and most famous in all Japan, and at a great distance from Meaco. Bandou is a large territory, ruled by six minor princes, one of whom is more powerful than the others and is obeyed by them, being himself subject to the King of Japan, who is called the Great King of Meaco. The things that are given out as to the greatness and celebrity of these universities and cities are so wonderful as to make us think of seeing them first with our own eyes and ascertaining the truth, and then when we have discovered and know how things really are, of writing an account of them to you. They say that there are several lesser academies besides those which we have mentioned.


Names

A samurai was usually named by combining one
kanji are the logographic Chinese characters taken from the Chinese family of scripts, Chinese script and used in the writing of Japanese language, Japanese. They were made a major part of the Japanese writing system during the time of Old Japanese ...
from his father or grandfather and one new kanji. Samurai normally used only a small part of their total name. For example, the full name of
Oda Nobunaga was a Japanese ''daimyō'' and one of the leading figures of the Sengoku period. He is regarded as the first "Great Unifier" of Japan. Nobunaga was head of the very powerful Oda clan, and launched a war against other ''daimyō'' to unify ...
was "Oda Kazusanosuke Saburo Nobunaga" (), in which "Oda" is a clan or family name, "Kazusanosuke" is a title of vice-governor of Kazusa province, "Saburo" is a formal nickname (''yobina''), and "Nobunaga" is an adult name (''nanori'') given at
genpuku is a Japanese coming-of-age ceremony which dates back to Japan's classical Nara period, Nara Period (710–794 AD). This ceremony marked the transition from child to adult status and the assumption of adult responsibilities. The age of ...
, the coming of age ceremony. A man was addressed by his family name and his title, or by his ''yobina'' if he did not have a title. However, the ''nanori'' was a private name that could be used by only a very few, including the emperor. Samurai could choose their own ''nanori'' and frequently changed their names to reflect their allegiances. Samurai were given the privilege of carrying two swords and using 'samurai surnames' to identify themselves from the common people.


Marriage

Samurai had arranged marriages, which were arranged by a go-between of the same or higher rank. While for those samurai in the upper ranks this was a necessity (as most had few opportunities to meet women), this was a formality for lower-ranked samurai. Most samurai married women from a samurai family, but for lower-ranked samurai, marriages with commoners were permitted. In these marriages a
dowry A dowry is a payment, such as property or money, paid by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. Dowry contrasts with the related concepts of bride price and dower. While bride price or bride service is a paymen ...
was brought by the woman and was used to set up the couple's new household. A samurai could take
concubine Concubinage is an interpersonal relationship, interpersonal and Intimate relationship, sexual relationship between a man and a woman in which the couple does not want, or cannot enter into a full marriage. Concubinage and marriage are often reg ...
s, but their backgrounds were checked by higher-ranked samurai. In many cases, taking a concubine was akin to a marriage. Kidnapping a concubine, although common in fiction, would have been shameful, if not criminal. If the concubine was a commoner, a messenger was sent with betrothal money or a note for exemption of tax to ask for her parents' acceptance. Even though the woman would not be a legal wife, a situation normally considered a demotion, many wealthy merchants believed that being the concubine of a samurai was superior to being the legal wife of a commoner. When a merchant's daughter married a samurai, her family's money erased the samurai's debts, and the samurai's social status improved the standing of the merchant family. If a samurai's commoner concubine gave birth to a son, the son could inherit his father's social status. A samurai could divorce his wife for a variety of reasons with approval from a superior, but divorce was, while not entirely nonexistent, a rare event. A wife's failure to produce a son was cause for divorce, but adoption of a male heir was considered an acceptable alternative to divorce. A samurai could divorce for personal reasons, even if he simply did not like his wife, but this was generally avoided as it would embarrass the person who had arranged the marriage. A woman could also arrange a divorce, although it would generally take the form of the samurai divorcing her. After a divorce, samurai had to return the betrothal money, which often prevented divorces.


Women

Maintaining the household was the main duty of women of the samurai class. This was especially crucial during early feudal Japan, when warrior husbands were often traveling abroad or engaged in clan battles. The wife, or ''okugatasama'' (meaning: one who remains in the home), was left to manage all household affairs, care for the children, and perhaps even defend the home forcibly. For this reason, many women of the samurai class were trained in wielding a polearm called a ''
naginata The ''naginata'' (, ) is a pole weapon and one of several varieties of traditionally made Japanese blades (''nihontō''). ''Naginata'' were originally used by the samurai class of feudal Japan, as well as by ashigaru (foot soldiers) and sōhei ( ...
'' or a special knife called the '' kaiken'' in an art called '' tantojutsu'' (lit. the skill of the knife), which they could use to protect their household, family, and honor if the need arose. There were women who actively engaged in battles alongside male samurai in Japan, although most of these female warriors were not formal samurai. A samurai's daughter's greatest duty was political marriage. These women married members of enemy clans of their families to form a diplomatic relationship. These alliances were stages for many intrigues, wars and tragedies throughout Japanese history. A woman could divorce her husband if he did not treat her well and also if he was a traitor to his wife's family. A famous case was that of Oda Tokuhime (Daughter of
Oda Nobunaga was a Japanese ''daimyō'' and one of the leading figures of the Sengoku period. He is regarded as the first "Great Unifier" of Japan. Nobunaga was head of the very powerful Oda clan, and launched a war against other ''daimyō'' to unify ...
); irritated by the antics of her mother-in-law, Lady Tsukiyama (the wife of
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first ''shōgun'' of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, which ruled Japan from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, along with his former lord Oda ...
), she was able to get Lady Tsukiyama arrested on suspicion of communicating with the Takeda clan (then a great enemy of Nobunaga and the Oda clan). Ieyasu also arrested his own son,
Matsudaira Nobuyasu was the eldest son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Matsudaira Ieyasu. His ''tsūshō'' ("common name") was . He was called also , because he had become the lord of in 1570. Because he was a son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, he is often referred to, retroactively, as ...
, who was Tokuhime's husband, because Nobuyasu was close to his mother Lady Tsukiyama. To assuage his ally Nobunaga, Ieyasu had Lady Tsukiyama executed in 1579 and that same year ordered his son to commit seppuku to prevent him from seeking revenge for the death of his mother. Traits valued in women of the samurai class were humility, obedience, self-control, strength, and loyalty. Ideally, a samurai wife would be skilled at managing property, keeping records, dealing with financial matters, educating the children (and perhaps servants as well), and caring for elderly parents or in-laws that may be living under her roof. Confucian law, which helped define personal relationships and the code of ethics of the warrior class, required that a woman show subservience to her husband, filial piety to her parents, and care to the children. Too much love and affection was also said to indulge and spoil the youngsters. Thus, a woman was also to exercise discipline. Though women of wealthier samurai families enjoyed perks of their elevated position in society, such as avoiding the physical labor that those of lower classes often engaged in, they were still viewed as far beneath men. Women were prohibited from engaging in any political affairs and were usually not the heads of their household. This does not mean that women in the samurai class were always powerless. Powerful women both wisely and unwisely wielded power at various occasions. Throughout history, several women of the samurai class have acquired political power and influence, even though they have not received these privileges ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
''. After Ashikaga Yoshimasa, 8th ''shōgun'' of the Muromachi shogunate, lost interest in politics, his wife Hino Tomiko largely ruled in his place. Nene, wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was known to overrule her husband's decisions at times, and
Yodo-dono or (1569 – June 4, 1615) was a prominently placed figure in the late-Sengoku period. She was the daughter of Oichi and sister of Ohatsu and Oeyo. She was a concubine and second wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was then the most powerful man ...
, his concubine, became the ''de facto'' master of Osaka castle and the Toyotomi clan after Hideyoshi's death. Tachibana Ginchiyo was chosen to lead the Tachibana clan after her father's death. Yamauchi Chiyo, wife of Yamauchi Kazutoyo, has long been considered the ideal samurai wife. According to legend, she made her kimono out of a quilted patchwork of bits of old cloth and saved pennies to buy her husband a magnificent horse, on which he rode to many victories. The fact that Chiyo (though she is better known as "Wife of Yamauchi Kazutoyo") is held in such high esteem for her economic sense is illuminating in the light of the fact that she never produced an heir and the Yamauchi clan was succeeded by Kazutoyo's younger brother. The source of power for women may have been that samurai left their finances to their wives. Several women ascended the
Chrysanthemum Throne The is the throne of the Emperor of Japan. The term also can refer to very specific seating, such as the throne in the Shishin-den at Kyoto Imperial Palace. Various other thrones or seats that are used by the Emperor during official functions, ...
as female imperial ruler (女性 天皇, josei tennō) As the Tokugawa period progressed more value became placed on education, and the education of females beginning at a young age became important to families and society as a whole. Marriage criteria began to weigh intelligence and education as desirable attributes in a wife, right along with physical attractiveness. Though many of the texts written for women during the Tokugawa period only pertained to how a woman could become a successful wife and household manager, there were those that undertook the challenge of learning to read, and also tackled philosophical and literary classics. Nearly all women of the samurai class were literate by the end of the Tokugawa period. File:Kasuga_no_Tsubone_(c._1880).jpg, '' Kasuga no Tsubone fighting robbers'' – Adachi Ginko (c. 1880) File:Hangaku Gozen by Yoshitoshi.jpg, Hangaku Gozen by Yoshitoshi, c. 1885 File:Onodera_Junai_no_tsuma_斧寺重内の妻_%28No._4,_The_Wife_of_Onodera_Junai%29_%28BM_2008,3037.15404%29.jpg, Japanese woman preparing for ritual suicide File:Tomita Nobutaka and his wife Yuki no Kata defend Tsu Castle by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 1885.png, Yuki no Kata defending Tsu Castle. 18th century File:Femme-samurai-p1000704.jpg, A samurai class woman.


Foreign samurai

Several people born in foreign countries were granted the title of samurai. After Bunroku and Keichō no eki, many people born in the
Joseon Joseon (; ; Middle Korean: 됴ᇢ〯션〮 Dyǒw syéon or 됴ᇢ〯션〯 Dyǒw syěon), officially the Great Joseon (; ), was the last dynastic kingdom of Korea, lasting just over 500 years. It was founded by Taejo of Joseon, Yi Seong-gye in ...
dynasty were brought to Japan as prisoners or cooperators. Some of them served ''daimyōs'' as retainers. One of the most prominent figures among them was Kim Yeocheol, who was granted the Japanese name Wakita Naokata and promoted to Commissioner of
Kanazawa is the capital Cities of Japan, city of Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. , the city had an estimated population of 466,029 in 203,271 households, and a population density of 990 persons per km2. The total area of the city was . Overview Cityscape ...
city. The English sailor and adventurer William Adams (1564–1620) was among the first Westerners to receive the dignity of samurai. The ''shōgun''
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first ''shōgun'' of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, which ruled Japan from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, along with his former lord Oda ...
presented him with two swords representing the authority of a samurai, and decreed that William Adams the sailor was dead and that Anjin Miura (), a samurai, was born. Adams also received the title of ''
hatamoto A was a high ranking samurai in the direct service of the Tokugawa shogunate of feudal Japan. While all three of the Shōgun, shogunates in History of Japan, Japanese history had official retainers, in the two preceding ones, they were referred ...
'' (bannerman), a high-prestige position as a direct retainer in the ''shōgun''s court. He was provided with generous revenues: "For the services that I have done and do daily, being employed in the Emperor's service, the Emperor has given me a living". (Letters) He was granted a fief in Hemi () within the boundaries of present-day Yokosuka City, "with eighty or ninety husbandmen, that be my servants". (Letters) His estate was valued at 250 ''
koku The is a Chinese-based Japanese unit of volume. 1 koku is equivalent to 10 or approximately , or about . It converts, in turn, to 100 Shō (unit), shō and 1000 Ge (unit)#Japan, gō. One ''gō'' is the volume of the "rice cup", the plastic mea ...
''. He finally wrote "God hath provided for me after my great misery", (Letters) by which he meant the disaster-ridden voyage that initially brought him to Japan.
Jan Joosten van Lodensteijn Jan Joosten van Lodensteyn (or Lodensteijn; 1556–1623), known in Japanese as Yayōsu (耶楊子), was a native of Delft and one of the first Dutch people, Dutchmen in Japan, and the second mate on the Netherlands, Dutch ship ''De Liefde'', whic ...
, a Dutch colleague of Adams on their ill-fated voyage to Japan in the ship De Liefde, was also given similar privileges by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Joosten likewise became a hatamoto samurai and was given a residence within Ieyasu's castle at Edo. Today, this area at the east exit of
Tokyo Station Tokyo Station ( ja, 東京駅, ) is a railway station in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. The original station is located in Chiyoda's Marunouchi business district near the Tokyo Imperial Palace, Imperial Palace grounds. The newer Eastern extension is ...
is known as Yaesu (八重洲). Yaesu is a corruption of the Dutchman's Japanese name, Yayousu (耶楊子). Joosten was given a
Red Seal Ship were Japanese armed merchant sailing ships bound for Southeast Asian Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia, South-eastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations g ...
(朱印船) allowing him to trade between Japan and
Indo-China Mainland Southeast Asia, also known as the Indochinese Peninsula or Indochina, is the continental portion of Southeast Asia. It lies east of the Indian subcontinent and south of Mainland China and is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the west an ...
. On a return journey from Batavia, Joosten drowned after his ship ran aground. Yasuke (弥助) was a retainer of
Oda Nobunaga was a Japanese ''daimyō'' and one of the leading figures of the Sengoku period. He is regarded as the first "Great Unifier" of Japan. Nobunaga was head of the very powerful Oda clan, and launched a war against other ''daimyō'' to unify ...
, and possible samurai, originally from
Portuguese Mozambique Portuguese Mozambique ( pt, Moçambique) or Portuguese East Africa (''África Oriental Portuguesa'') were the common terms by which Mozambique was designated during the period in which it was a Portuguese Empire, Portuguese colony. Portuguese Moz ...
, Africa. Weapon bearer of Nobunaga. He served in the Honnō-ji incident. According to Thomas Lockley's African Samurai in the 'Oda vassal clan, the Maeda rchives there was mention of him receiving 'a stipend, a private residence ... and was given a short sword with a decorative sheath.' However, there is no mention of him being allowed to wear a daishō pairing as a samurai. Italian
Jesuit The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviation: SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of clerics regular of pontifical right for men in the Catholic Church headquartered in Rom ...
missionary, Giuseppe Chiara, entered Japan at a time when Christianity was strictly forbidden in an attempt to locate fellow priest Cristóvão Ferreira who had apostatized his Christian faith at the hands of torture by the Japanese authorities in 1633. Di Chiara was also tortured and eventually became an apostate as well. After the
Shimabara Rebellion The , also known as the or , was an rebellion, uprising that occurred in the Shimabara Domain of the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan from 17 December 1637 to 15 April 1638. Matsukura Katsuie, the ''daimyō'' of the Shimabara Domain, enforced unpop ...
in 1638, he arrived on the island of Oshima and was immediately arrested in June 1643. He later married a Japanese woman, taking the name and samurai status of her late husband, Okamoto San'emon (
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea ...
: 岡本三右衛門), and lived in Japan until his death in 1685, at the age of 83.


Weapons

*
Japanese sword A is one of several types of traditionally made swords from Japan. Bronze swords were made as early as the Yayoi period (1000 BC – 300 AD), though most people generally refer to the curved blades made from the Heian period (794 – 1185) to the ...
s are the weapons that have come to be synonymous with the samurai. '' Chokutō'', swords from the
Nara period The of the history of Japan covers the years from CE 710 to 794. Empress Genmei established the capital of Heijō-kyō (present-day Nara, Nara, Nara). Except for a five-year period (740–745), when the capital was briefly moved again, it remai ...
, featured a straight blade. By 900, curved ''
tachi A is a type of traditionally made Japanese sword Commons:Nihonto, (''nihonto'') worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. ''Tachi'' and ''katana'' generally differ in length, degree of curvature, and how they were worn when sheathed, the latte ...
'' appeared, and ultimately the ''
katana A is a Japanese sword characterized by a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. Developed later than the ''tachi'', it was used by samurai in feudal Japan and worn with the edge fa ...
''. Smaller commonly known companion swords are the ''
wakizashi The is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (''Commons:Nihonto, nihontō'') worn by the samurai in History of Japan#Feudal Japan (1185-1603), feudal Japan. History and use The production of swords in Japan is divided into specific tim ...
'' and the ''
tantō A is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (Commons:Nihonto, ''nihonto'') that were worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The tantō dates to the Heian period, when it was mainly used as a weapon but evolved in design over the year ...
''. Wearing a long sword ''(katana'' or ''tachi)'' together with a smaller sword became the symbol of the samurai, and this combination of swords is referred to as a '' daishō'' (literally "big and small"). During the Edo period only samurai were allowed to wear a ''daisho''. A longer blade known as the ''nodachi'' was also used in the fourteenth century, though primarily used by samurai on the ground. * The '' yumi'' (longbow), reflected in the art of '' kyūjutsu'' (lit. the skill of the bow) was a major weapon of the Japanese military. Its usage declined with the introduction of the ''tanegashima'' (Japanese matchlock) during the
Sengoku period The was a period in History of Japan, Japanese history of near-constant civil war and social upheaval from 1467 to 1615. The Sengoku period was initiated by the Ōnin War in 1467 which collapsed the Feudalism, feudal system of Japan under the ...
, but the skill was still practiced at least for sport. The ''yumi'', an asymmetric
composite bow A composite bow is a traditional bow (weapon), bow made from Horn (anatomy), horn, wood, and sinew Lamination, laminated together, a form of laminated bow. The horn is on the belly, facing the archer, and sinew on the outer side of a wooden core ...
made from
bamboo Bamboos are a diverse group of evergreen perennial plant, perennial flowering plants making up the subfamily (biology), subfamily Bambusoideae of the grass family Poaceae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family. The origin ...
,
wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natural composite material, composite of cellulose fibers that are strong in tension and emb ...
,
rattan Rattan, also spelled ratan, is the name for roughly 600 species of Old World climbing palms belonging to subfamily Calamoideae. The greatest diversity of rattan palm species and genera are in the closed-Canopy (biology), canopy Old-growth fo ...
and
leather Leather is a strong, flexible and durable material obtained from the tanning (leather), tanning, or chemical treatment, of animal skins and hides to prevent decay. The most common leathers come from cattle, sheep, goats, equine animals, buff ...
, had an effective range of if accuracy was not an issue. On foot, it was usually used behind a ''tate'' (), a large, mobile wooden shield, but the ''yumi'' could also be used from horseback because of its asymmetric shape. The practice of shooting from horseback became a Shinto ceremony known as ''
yabusame is a type of mounted archery in traditional Japanese archery. An archer on a running horse shoots three special "turnip-headed" arrows successively at three wooden targets. This style of archery has its origins at the beginning of the Ka ...
'' (). * Pole weapons including the ''
yari is the term for a traditionally-made Japanese blade (日本刀; nihontō) in the form of a spear, or more specifically, the straight-headed spear. The martial art of wielding the is called . History The forerunner of the is thought to be a ...
'' (spear) and ''
naginata The ''naginata'' (, ) is a pole weapon and one of several varieties of traditionally made Japanese blades (''nihontō''). ''Naginata'' were originally used by the samurai class of feudal Japan, as well as by ashigaru (foot soldiers) and sōhei ( ...
'' were commonly used by the samurai. The ''yari'' displaced the ''naginata'' from the battlefield as personal bravery became less of a factor and battles became more organized around massed, inexpensive foot troops ('' ashigaru''). A charge, mounted or dismounted, was also more effective when using a spear rather than a sword, as it offered better than even odds against a samurai using a sword. In the
Battle of Shizugatake The was a battle of the Sengoku period of Japan fought between Toyotomi Hideyoshi (then Hashiba Hideyoshi) and Shibata Katsuie in Nagahama, Shiga, Shizugatake, Ōmi Province in May 1583. Katsuie supported Oda Nobutaka's claim as successor of Oda ...
where
Shibata Katsuie or was a Japanese samurai and military commander during the Sengoku period. He served Oda Nobunaga as one of his trusted generals, was severely wounded in the 1571 Sieges of Nagashima#First Siege of Nagashima (1571), first siege of Nagashima ...
was defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, seven samurai who came to be known as the " Seven Spears of Shizugatake" () played a crucial role in the victory. * ''Tanegashima'' were introduced to Japan in 1543 through Portuguese trade. ''Tanegashima'' were produced on a large scale by Japanese gunsmiths, enabling warlords to raise and train armies from masses of peasants. The new weapons were highly effective; their ease of use and deadly effectiveness led to the ''tanegashima'' becoming the weapon of choice over the ''yumi''. By the end of the 16th century, there were more firearms in Japan than in many European nations. ''Tanegashima''—employed ''en masse'', largely by ''ashigaru'' peasant foot troops—were responsible for a change in military tactics that eventually led to establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate and an end to civil war. Production of ''tanegashima'' declined sharply as there was no need for massive amounts of firearms. During the Edo period, ''tanegashima'' were stored away and used mainly for hunting and target practice. Foreign intervention in the 19th century renewed interest in firearms, but the ''tanegashima'' was outdated by then, and various samurai factions purchased more modern firearms from European sources. *
Cannon A cannon is a large-caliber gun classified as a type of artillery, which usually launches a projectile using explosive chemical propellant. Gunpowder ("black powder") was the primary propellant before the invention of smokeless powder during ...
became a common part of the samurai's armory by the 1570s. They often were mounted in castles or on ships, being used more as anti-personnel weapons than against castle walls or the like, though in the siege of Nagashino castle (1575) a cannon was used to good effect against an enemy siege tower. The first popular cannon in Japan were swivel-breech loaders named ''kunikuzushi'' or "province destroyers". ''Kunikuzushi'' weighed and used chambers, firing a small shot of . The Arima clan of Kyushu used cannon like this at the Battle of Okinawate against the Ryūzōji clan. * Staff weapons of many shapes and sizes made from oak and other hard woods were used by the samurai, commonly known ones include the '' '', the '' '', the '' hanbō'', and the '' tanbō''. * Clubs and truncheons made of iron or wood, of all shapes and sizes were used by the samurai. Some like the ''
jutte A is a specialized weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used to deter, threaten, inflict physical damage, harm, or kill. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunt ...
'' were one-handed weapons, and others like the '' kanabō'' were large two-handed weapons. * Chain weapons, various weapons using chains were used during the samurai era, the '' kusarigama'' and '' kusari-fundo'' are examples. File:Katana brique.svg, Cross sections of Japanese sword lamination methods. File:Katana (common shema).png, Diagram of the Katana sword. File:Samurai Japanese.jpg, Samurai with various armor and weapons, c. 1802–1814 File:Tachi dedicated to Daizaifu Tenmangu by Shimazu Shigehide made in 1787.jpg, Antique Japanese
tachi A is a type of traditionally made Japanese sword Commons:Nihonto, (''nihonto'') worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. ''Tachi'' and ''katana'' generally differ in length, degree of curvature, and how they were worn when sheathed, the latte ...
File:Antique_Japanese_(samurai)_katana_met_museum.jpg, Antique Japanese
katana A is a Japanese sword characterized by a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. Developed later than the ''tachi'', it was used by samurai in feudal Japan and worn with the edge fa ...
File:脇差 Blade and Mounting for a Short Sword (Wakizashi).jpg, Antique Japanese
wakizashi The is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (''Commons:Nihonto, nihontō'') worn by the samurai in History of Japan#Feudal Japan (1185-1603), feudal Japan. History and use The production of swords in Japan is divided into specific tim ...
File:Himeji_Oshiro_Matsuri_August09_007.jpg, Reenactors with
Tanegashima is one of the Ōsumi Islands belonging to Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. The island, 444.99 km2 in area, is the second largest of the Ōsumi Islands, and has a population of 33,000 people. Access to the island is by ferry, or by air to New ...
at Himeji Castle Festival File:Yumi-p1000624.jpg, Japanese arrow stand with a pair of Yumi bows. File:The bow of the Kamakura period.JPG, The bow of the Kamakura period File:The arrow of the Kamakura period.JPG, The arrow of the Kamakura period File:Naginata(2).JPG, A
naginata The ''naginata'' (, ) is a pole weapon and one of several varieties of traditionally made Japanese blades (''nihontō''). ''Naginata'' were originally used by the samurai class of feudal Japan, as well as by ashigaru (foot soldiers) and sōhei ( ...
blade from the
Kamakura period The is a period of History of Japan, Japanese history that marks the governance by the Kamakura shogunate, officially established in 1192 in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Kamakura by the first ''shōgun'' Minamoto no Yoritomo after the conclusion of the Gen ...
File:Yari-p1000604.jpg, Three
yari is the term for a traditionally-made Japanese blade (日本刀; nihontō) in the form of a spear, or more specifically, the straight-headed spear. The martial art of wielding the is called . History The forerunner of the is thought to be a ...
(Kagi yari, omi yari and su yari) mounted in koshirae


Armor

As far back as the seventh century Japanese warriors wore a form of lamellar armor, which evolved into the armor worn by the samurai. The first types of Japanese armor identified as samurai armor were known as '' ō-yoroi'' and '' dō-maru''. These early samurai armors were made from small individual scales known as ''kozane''. The ''kozane'' were made from either iron or leather and were bound together into small strips, and the strips were coated with lacquer to protect the ''kozane'' from water. A series of strips of ''kozane'' were then laced together with silk or leather lace and formed into a complete chest armor (''dou or dō''). A complete set of the ''yoroi'' weighed 66 lbs. In the 16th century a new type of armor started to become popular after the advent of firearms, new fighting tactics by increasing the scale of battles and the need for additional protection and high productivity. The ''kozane dou'', which was made of small individual scales, was replaced by ''itazane'', which had larger iron plate or platy leather joined together. ''Itazane'' can also be said to replace a row of individual ''kozanes'' with a single steel plate or platy leather. This new armor, which used ''itazane'', was referred to as ''tosei-gusoku'' (''gusoku''), or modern armor.日本の甲冑
Costume Museum
The ''gusoku'' armour added features and pieces of armor for the face, thigh, and back. The back piece had multiple uses, such as for a flag bearing. The style of gusoku, like the
plate armour Plate armour is a historical type of personal body armour made from bronze, iron, or steel plates, culminating in the iconic suit of armour entirely encasing the wearer. Full plate steel armour developed in Europe during the Late Middle Ages, es ...
, in which the front and back ''dou'' are made from a single iron plate with a raised center and a V-shaped bottom, was specifically called ''nanban dou gusoku'' (Western style ''gusoku''). Various other components of armor protected the samurai's body. The helmet (''
kabuto ' (兜, 冑) is a type of helmet first used by ancient Japanese warriors which, in later periods, became an important part of the traditional Japanese armour worn by the samurai class and their retainers in History of Japan#Medieval Japan (11 ...
'') was an important part of the samurai's armor. It was paired with a ''shikoro'' and ''fukigaeshi'' for protection of the head and neck. The garment worn under all of the armor and clothing was called the ''fundoshi'', also known as a loincloth. Samurai armor changed and developed as the methods of samurai warfare changed over the centuries. The known last use of samurai armor occurring in 1877 during the
Satsuma Rebellion The Satsuma Rebellion, also known as the was a revolt of disaffected samurai against the new imperial government, nine years into the Meiji Era. Its name comes from the Satsuma Domain, which had been influential in the Meiji Restoration, Re ...
. As the last samurai rebellion was crushed, Japan modernized its defenses and turned to a national conscription army that used uniforms. File:Armour red threads Kasuga shrine.jpg, '' Ō-yoroi'',
Kamakura period The is a period of History of Japan, Japanese history that marks the governance by the Kamakura shogunate, officially established in 1192 in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Kamakura by the first ''shōgun'' Minamoto no Yoritomo after the conclusion of the Gen ...
, 13th–14th century, Kasuga Grand Shrine,
National Treasure The idea of national treasure, like national epics and national anthems, is part of the language of romantic nationalism, which arose in the late 18th century and 19th centuries. Nationalism is an ideology that supports the nation as the fundame ...
File:Dōmaru with Black and White Lacing.jpg, '' Dō-maru'' with Black and White Lacing.
Muromachi period The is a division of History of Japan, Japanese history running from approximately 1336 to 1573. The period marks the governance of the Ashikaga shogunate, Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate (''Muromachi bakufu'' or ''Ashikaga bakufu''), which wa ...
, 15th century,
Tokyo National Museum The or TNM is an art museum in Ueno Park in the Taitō wards of Tokyo, ward of Tokyo, Japan. It is one of the four museums operated by the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage (:ja:国立文化財機構), is considered the oldest national mus ...
, Important Cultural Property File:朱漆塗矢筈札紺糸素懸威具足3.jpg, Toyotomi Hidetsugu's ''gusoku'' armour, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th-17th century,
Suntory Museum of Art The is an arts museum located in Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi, Tokyo. It is owned by the Suntory corporation. The collection theme of the art works is "Art in life" and they mainly have Japanese antiques. History In 1961, Suntory President Keizo S ...
File:Tatami gusoku Met 14.100.538 n2.jpg, Karuta tatami dō gusoku,
Edo period The or is the period between 1603 and 1867 in the history of Japan, history of Japan, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional ''daimyo''. Emerging from the chaos of the Sengoku period, the Edo perio ...
. A lightweight portable folding (tatami) armour made from small square or rectangle armor plates called karuta. The karuta are usually connected to each other by chainmail and sewn to a cloth backing. File:Uma yoroi (bagai).jpg, A re-creation of an armored samurai riding a horse, showing horse armour (uma yoroi or bagai). File:MAP Expo Oitaragainari kawari kabuto XVII 02 01 2012.jpg, Shell-shaped casque (Oitaragainari kawari
kabuto ' (兜, 冑) is a type of helmet first used by ancient Japanese warriors which, in later periods, became an important part of the traditional Japanese armour worn by the samurai class and their retainers in History of Japan#Medieval Japan (11 ...
), iron and papier-mâché for the shell, beginning of the
Edo Period The or is the period between 1603 and 1867 in the history of Japan, history of Japan, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional ''daimyo''. Emerging from the chaos of the Sengoku period, the Edo perio ...
. File:Face Guard (Shirohige Ressei-menpo).jpg, Face guard ('' Menpō''). Edo period. Tokyo Fuji Art Museum.


Combat techniques

During the existence of the samurai, two opposite types of organization reigned. The first type were recruits-based armies: at the beginning, during the
Nara period The of the history of Japan covers the years from CE 710 to 794. Empress Genmei established the capital of Heijō-kyō (present-day Nara, Nara, Nara). Except for a five-year period (740–745), when the capital was briefly moved again, it remai ...
, samurai armies relied on armies of Chinese-type recruits and towards the end in infantry units composed of ''ashigaru''. The second type of organization was that of a samurai on horseback who fought individually or in small groups.Turnbull, Stephen. Samurai The Story of Japan’s Great Warriors. London. Prc Publishing Ltd, 2004. p. 196. At the beginning of the contest, a series of bulbous-headed arrows were shot, which buzzed in the air. The purpose of these shots was to call the ''
kami are the Deity, deities, Divinity, divinities, spirits, phenomena or "holy powers", that are venerated in the Shinto religion. They can be elements of the landscape, forces of nature, or beings and the qualities that these beings express; they c ...
'' to witness the displays of courage that were about to unfold. After a brief exchange of arrows between the two sides, a contest called ''ikkiuchi'' (一 騎 討 ち) was developed, where great rivals on both sides faced each other. After these individual combats, the major combats were given way, usually sending infantry troops led by samurai on horseback. At the beginning of the samurai battles, it was an honor to be the first to enter battle. This changed in the Sengoku period with the introduction of the arquebus.Turnbull, Stephen. Samurai The Story of Japan’s Great Warriors. London. Prc Publishing Ltd, 2004. p. 208. At the beginning of the use of firearms, the combat methodology was as follows: at the beginning an exchange of arquebus shots was made at a distance of approximately 100 meters; when the time was right, the ''ashigaru'' spearmen were ordered to advance and finally the samurai would attack, either on foot or on horseback. The army chief would sit in a scissor chair inside a semi-open tent called ''maku'', which exhibited its respective ''mon'' and represented the ''
bakufu , officially , was the title of the military dictatorship, military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868. Nominally appointed by the Emperor of Japan, Emperor, shoguns were usually the de facto rulers of the co ...
'', "government from the ''maku''." In the middle of the contest, some samurai decided to get off the horse and seek to cut off the head of a worthy rival. This act was considered an honor. In addition, through it they gained respect among the military class. After the battle, the high-ranking samurai normally celebrated the tea ceremony, and the victorious general reviewed the heads of the most important members of the enemy which had been cut. Most of the battles were not resolved in the manner so idealist exposed above, but most wars were won through surprise attacks, such as night raids, fires, etc. The renowned samurai Minamoto no Tametomo said:


Head collection

Cutting off the head of a worthy rival on the battlefield was a source of great pride and recognition. There was a whole ritual to beautify the severed heads: first they were washed and combed,Gaskin, Carol; Hawkins, Vince. ''Breve historia de los samuráis'' (Juan Antonio Cebrián, trad.). London. Nowtilus S.L., 2004. . p. 56. and once this was done, the teeth were blackened by applying a dye called '' ohaguro''.Turnbull, Stephen. Samurai The Story of Japan’s Great Warriors. London. Prc Publishing Ltd., 2004. p. 231. The reason for blackening the teeth was that white teeth was a sign of distinction, so applying a dye to darken them was a desecration. The heads were carefully arranged on a table for exposure. In 1600, Kani Saizō participated in the
Battle of Sekigahara The Battle of Sekigahara (Shinjitai: ; Kyūjitai: , Hepburn romanization: ''Sekigahara no Tatakai'') was a decisive battle on October 21, 1600 (Keichō 5, 15th day of the 9th month) in what is now Gifu prefecture, Japan, at the end of the ...
as the forerunner of Fukushima Masanori's army. In the outpost battle of
Gifu Castle is a Japanese castle located in the city of Gifu, Gifu, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. Along with Mount Kinka (Gifu), Mount Kinka and the Nagara River, it is one of the main symbols of the city. The castle is also known as . It was designated a H ...
, he took the heads of 17 enemy soldiers, and was greatly praised by
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first ''shōgun'' of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, which ruled Japan from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, along with his former lord Oda ...
. He fought with a
bamboo Bamboos are a diverse group of evergreen perennial plant, perennial flowering plants making up the subfamily (biology), subfamily Bambusoideae of the grass family Poaceae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family. The origin ...
stalk on his back and would mark the heads of his defeated enemies by putting bamboo leaves in their cut necks or mouths, since he couldn't carry every head. Thus he gained the nickname ''Bamboo Saizo.'' During Toyotomi Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea, the number of severed heads of the enemies to be sent to Japan was such that for logistical reasons only the nose was sent. These were covered with salt and shipped in wooden barrels. These barrels were buried in a burial mound near the "Great Buddha" of Hideyoshi, where they remain today under the wrong name of '' mimizuka'' or "ear mound."


Military formations

During the Azuchi-Momoyama period and thanks to the introduction of firearms, combat tactics changed dramatically. The military formations adopted had poetic names, among which are:


Martial arts

Each child who grew up in a samurai family was expected to be a warrior when he grew up, so much of his childhood was spent practicing different
martial arts Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; combat sport, competition; physical, mental, and spiritual development; entertainment; a ...
. A complete samurai should be skilled at least in the use of the sword (''kenjutsu''), the bow and arrow (''kyujutsu''), the spear (''sojutsu'', ''yarijutsu''), the halberd (''naginatajutsu'') and subsequently the use of firearms ( houjutsu). Similarly, they were instructed in the use of these weapons while riding a horse. They were also expected to know how to swim and dive. originates from the
Sengoku period The was a period in History of Japan, Japanese history of near-constant civil war and social upheaval from 1467 to 1615. The Sengoku period was initiated by the Ōnin War in 1467 which collapsed the Feudalism, feudal system of Japan under the ...
in the 15th century. The samurai developed which was useful in case they were thrown overboard during naval conflicts. The samurai practiced , and to board enemy vessels. Activities included strokes with swords, bows and firearms. Hands were kept dry above the water to write messages with an
ink brush Ink is a gel, Sol (colloid), sol, or Solution (chemistry), solution that contains at least one colorant, such as a dye or pigment, and is used to color a surface to produce an image, writing, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing or writing w ...
on a paper scroll. This skill was useful for
muskets A musket is a muzzle-loaded long gun A long gun is a category of firearms with long Gun barrel, barrels. In small arms, a ''long gun'' or longarm is generally designed to be held by both hands and braced against the shoulder, in contrast t ...
which require dry
gunpowder Gunpowder, also commonly known as black powder to distinguish it from modern smokeless powder, is the earliest known chemical explosive. It consists of a mixture of sulfur, carbon (in the form of charcoal) and potassium nitrate (saltpeter). Th ...
. Nihon Eiho is practiced by 28 schools and recognized by the Japan Swimming Federation. During the feudal era of Japan, various types of martial arts flourished, known in Japanese under the name of ''bujutsu'' (武術).Ratti, Oscar; Westbrook, Adele (2001). ''Secrets of the Samurai: The Martial Arts of Feudal Japan''. Tuttle Publishing. . p. 24. The term ''jutsu'' can be translated as "method", "art" or "technique" and the name that each one has is indicative of the mode or weapon with which they are executed. The combat methods that were developed and perfected are very diverse, among which are: Today martial arts are classified in ''koryū budō'' or classical martial arts, before the 19th century, and to the modernization of Japan. Modern traditional martial arts are called '' gendai budō''.


Myth and reality

Most samurai were bound by a code of honor and were expected to set an example for those below them. A notable part of their code is or ''hara kiri'', which allowed a disgraced samurai to regain his honor by passing into death, where samurai were still beholden to social rules. While there are many romanticized characterizations of samurai behavior such as the writing of '' Bushido: The Soul of Japan'' in 1899, studies of ''kobudō'' and traditional ''budō'' indicate that the samurai were as practical on the battlefield as were any other warriors. Despite the rampant romanticism of the 20th century, samurai could be disloyal and treacherous (e.g.,
Akechi Mitsuhide , first called Jūbei from his clan and later from his title, was a Japanese ''samurai'' general of the Sengoku period best known as the assassin of Oda Nobunaga. Mitsuhide was a bodyguard of Ashikaga Yoshiaki and later a successful general under ...
), cowardly, brave, or overly loyal (e.g.,
Kusunoki Masashige was a Japanese samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of History of Japan#Medieval Japan (1185–1573/1600), medieval and Edo period, early-modern Japan from the late 12th century until their abolition in 1876 ...
). Samurai were usually loyal to their immediate superiors, who in turn allied themselves with higher lords. These loyalties to the higher lords often shifted; for example, the high lords allied under Toyotomi Hideyoshi were served by loyal samurai, but the feudal lords under them could shift their support to Tokugawa, taking their samurai with them. There were, however, also notable instances where samurai would be disloyal to their lord (''daimyō''), when loyalty to the emperor was seen to have supremacy.


In popular culture

Samurai figures have been the subject for legends, folk tales, dramatic stories (i.e. '' gunki monogatari''), theatre productions in
kabuki is a classical form of Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending ...
and noh, in literature, movies, animated and
anime is Traditional animation, hand-drawn and computer animation, computer-generated animation originating from Japan. Outside of Japan and in English, ''anime'' refers specifically to animation produced in Japan. However, in Japan and in Japane ...
films, television shows,
manga Manga (Japanese language, Japanese: 漫画 ) are comics or graphic novels originating from Japan. Most manga conform to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century, and the form has a long prehistory in earlier Japanese art. The term ...
, video games, and in various musical pieces in genre that range from ''
enka is a Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okho ...
'' to
J-Pop J-pop ( ja, ジェイポップ, ''jeipoppu''; often stylized as J-POP; an abbreviated form of "Japanese popular music"), natively also known simply as , is the name for a form of popular music that entered the musical mainstream of Japan in the 1 ...
songs. ''
Jidaigeki is a genre of film A film also called a movie, motion picture, moving picture, picture, photoplay or (slang) flick is a work of visual art that simulates experiences and otherwise communicates ideas, stories, perceptions, feeli ...
'' (literally historical
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a g ...
) has always been a staple program on Japanese movies and television. The programs typically feature a samurai. Samurai films and westerns share a number of similarities, and the two have influenced each other over the years. One of Japan's most renowned directors,
Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese filmmaker and painter who directed List of works by Akira Kurosawa, thirty films in a career spanning over five decades. He is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the History of film, hi ...
, greatly influenced western film-making.
George Lucas George Walton Lucas Jr. (born May 14, 1944) is an American filmmaker. Lucas is best known for creating the ''Star Wars'' and ''Indiana Jones'' franchises and founding Lucasfilm, LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic and THX. He served as chairm ...
' ''
Star Wars ''Star Wars'' is an American epic film, epic space opera multimedia franchise created by George Lucas, which began with the Star Wars (film), eponymous 1977 film and quickly became a worldwide popular culture, pop-culture Cultural impact of S ...
'' series incorporated many stylistic traits pioneered by Kurosawa, and '' Star Wars: A New Hope'' takes the core story of a rescued princess being transported to a secret base from Kurosawa's ''
The Hidden Fortress is a 1958 Japanese ''jidaigeki'' adventure film directed by Akira Kurosawa. It tells the story of two peasants who agree to escort a man and a woman across enemy lines in return for gold without knowing that he is a general and the woman is a pri ...
''. Kurosawa was inspired by the works of director
John Ford John Martin Feeney (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973), known professionally as John Ford, was an American film director and naval officer. He is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers of his generation. He ...
, and in turn Kurosawa's works have been remade into westerns such as ''
Seven Samurai is a 1954 Japanese Epic film, epic Samurai cinema, samurai drama film co-written, edited, and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The story takes place in 1586 during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. It follows the story of a village of desper ...
'' into ''
The Magnificent Seven ''The Magnificent Seven'' is a 1960 American Western (genre), Western film directed by John Sturges. The screenplay by William Roberts (screenwriter), William Roberts is a film remake, remake – in an Old West–style – of Akira Kurosawa's ...
'' and ''
Yojimbo is a 1961 Japanese Samurai cinema, samurai film co-written, produced, edited, and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film stars Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yoko Tsukasa, Isuzu Yamada, Daisuke Katō, Takashi Shimura, Kamatari Fujiwara, and Ats ...
'' into '' A Fistful of Dollars''. There is also a 26 episode anime adaptation ('' Samurai 7'') of ''Seven Samurai''. Along with film, literature containing samurai influences are seen as well. As well as influence from American Westerns, Kurosawa also adapted two of Shakespeare's plays as sources for samurai movies: ''
Throne of Blood is a 1957 Japanese ''jidaigeki'' film co-written, produced, edited, and directed by Akira Kurosawa, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. The film transposes the plot of William Shakespeare's play ''Macbeth'' from Medieval Scotland to feudal Ja ...
'' was based on ''
Macbeth ''Macbeth'' (, full title ''The Tragedie of Macbeth'') is a Shakespearean tragedy, tragedy by William Shakespeare. It is thought to have been first performed in 1606 in literature, 1606. It dramatises the damaging physical and psychologica ...
,'' and '' Ran'' was based on ''
King Lear ''King Lear'' is a Shakespearean tragedy, tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It is based on the mythological Leir of Britain. King Lear, in preparation for his old age, divides his power and land between two of his daughters. He becomes ...
''. Most common are historical works where the protagonist is either a samurai or former samurai (or another rank or position) who possesses considerable martial skill.
Eiji Yoshikawa was a Japanese historical novelist. Among his best-known novels are revisions of older classics. He was mainly influenced by classics such as ''The Tale of the Heike is an epic poetry, epic account compiled prior to 1330 of the struggle be ...
is one of the most famous Japanese historical novelists. His retellings of popular works, including
Taiko are a broad range of Traditional Japanese musical instruments, Japanese percussion instruments. In Japanese language, Japanese, the term refers to any kind of drum, but outside Japan, it is used specifically to refer to any of the various J ...
, Musashi and ''
The Tale of the Heike is an epic poetry, epic account compiled prior to 1330 of the struggle between the Taira clan and Minamoto clan for control of Japan at the end of the 12th century in the Genpei War (1180–1185). Heike () refers to the Taira (), ''hei'' being ...
'', are popular among readers for their epic narratives and rich realism in depicting samurai and warrior culture. The samurai have also appeared frequently in Japanese comics (manga) and animation (anime). Examples are ''
Samurai Champloo is a 2004 Japanese Historical fiction, historical Adventure fiction, adventure anime television series. The debut television production of studio Manglobe, the 26-episode series aired from May 2004 to March 2005. It was first partially broad ...
'', '' Shigurui'', '' Requiem from the Darkness'', '' Muramasa: The Demon Blade'', and ''
Afro Samurai is a Japanese language, Japanese ''Seinen manga, seinen'' ''dōjinshi'' manga series written and illustrated by mangaka, manga artist Takashi Okazaki. It was originally serialized irregularly in the avant-garde ''dōjinshi'' manga magazine ' ...
''. Samurai-like characters are not just restricted to historical settings, and a number of works set in the modern age, and even the future, include characters who live, train and fight like samurai. Some of these works have made their way to the west, where it has been increasing in popularity with America. In the 21st century, samurai have become more popular in America. Through various media, producers and writers have been capitalizing on the notion that Americans admire the samurai lifestyle. The animated series, ''Afro Samurai'', became well-liked in American popular culture because of its blend of hack-and-slash animation and gritty urban music. Created by Takashi Okazaki, ''Afro Samurai'' was initially a '' dōjinshi'', or manga series, which was then made into an animated series by
Studio Gonzo A studio is an artist or worker's workroom. This can be for the purpose of acting, architecture, painting, pottery (ceramics), sculpture, origami, woodworking, scrapbooking, photography, graphic design, filmmaking, animation, industrial design, ...
. In 2007, the animated series debuted on American cable television on the
Spike TV Paramount Network is an American basic cable television channel owned by the MTV Entertainment Group unit of Paramount Media Networks. The network's headquarters are located at the Paramount Pictures studio lot in Los Angeles. The channel was or ...
channel. The series was produced for American viewers which "embodies the trend... comparing hip-hop artists to samurai warriors, an image some rappers claim for themselves". The story line keeps in tone with the perception of a samurai finding vengeance against someone who has wronged him. Because of its popularity, ''Afro Samurai'' was adopted into a full feature animated film and also became titles on gaming consoles such as the
PlayStation 3 The PlayStation 3 (PS3) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment. The successor to the PlayStation 2, it is part of the PlayStation brand of consoles. It was first released on Novemb ...
and
Xbox Xbox is a video gaming brand created and owned by Microsoft. The brand consists of five video game consoles, as well as application software, applications (games), streaming media, streaming services, an online service by the name of Xbox netw ...
. Not only has the samurai culture been adopted into animation and video games, it can also be seen in comic books. The television series '' Power Rangers Samurai'' (adapted from ''Samurai Sentai Shinkenger'') is inspired by the way of the samurai. In the real-time strategy video game Age of Empires II, Players can create samurai units (a Japanese civilization unique unit in-game).


Festivals

There are a variety of festivals held in Japan. Some festivals are seasonal celebrations that were adopted from China and imbued with Japanese cultural values and stories. Other festivals in Japan are held where people celebrate historical heroes or commemorate historical events through parades with people dressed as samurai. Some examples of these festivals include the Hagi Jidai Festival, Matsue Warrior Procession, Kenshin Festival, Sendai Aoba Festival, Battle of Sekigahara Festival, and the Shingen-ko Festival. The Hagi Jidai Festival takes place in the fall in Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture. This festival started in the
Edo period The or is the period between 1603 and 1867 in the history of Japan, history of Japan, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional ''daimyo''. Emerging from the chaos of the Sengoku period, the Edo perio ...
as a way for the people of Hagi to show their appreciation to the God of Kanaya Tenmangu Shrine. The festival has over 200 people dress up in traditional samurai armor and the clothes of various people of the daimyō's court as they walk down the streets of the town. The festival is separated into two main events: the Hagi Daimyō Procession and the Hagi Jidai Parade. The Hagi Daimyō Procession begins in the morning at the Hagi Castle town area with a procession of samurai, servants, and palanquin bearers marching and performing traditional dances. In the afternoon, the Hagi Jidai Parade occurs, starting in the Central Park and go around the town until they reach the Kanaya Tenmangu Shrine. The Matsue Warrior Procession is a festival in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture. This festival reenacts the entrance of Daimyō Horio Yoshiharu and his troops into a newly built Matsue during the Edo Period. The event is held on the first Saturday of April. The event is made up of performers marching in a warrior parade at the Shirakata Tenmangu Shrine dressed in samurai armor and various clothing of the Edo period. Visitors are also have the opportunity to rent costumes and march in the parade, or to take pictures with the performers in the parade. Other events also take place throughout the day to celebrate the founding of the city. The Kenshin Festival is a festival held in Jōetsu, Niigata Prefecture celebrating the life of Daimyō
Uesugi Kenshin , later known as was a Japanese '' daimyō''. He was born in Nagao clan, and after adoption into the Uesugi clan, ruled Echigo Province in the Sengoku period of Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an ...
. The festival started during the Showa era in 1926 at Kasugayama Shrine. The festival holds various events such as the Signal Fire, the Butei Ceremony, and the Shutsujin Parade. Additionally, the battle of Kawanakajima is reenacted as a part of this festival. Throughout the festival people in samurai armor participate in each event. One unique event in particular is the reenactment of the battle of Kawanakajima where performers in the samurai armor portray the events with swords and spears. The celebrates the legacy of daimyō
Takeda Shingen , of Kai Province, was a pre-eminent ''daimyō'' in feudal Japan. Known as the "Tiger of Kai", he was one of the most powerful Daimyo, daimyō with exceptional military prestige in the late stage of the Sengoku period. Shingen was a warlord of ...
. The festival is 3 days long. It is held annually on the first or second weekend of April in Kōfu,
Yamanashi Prefecture is a Prefectures of Japan, prefecture of Japan located in the Chūbu region of Honshu. Yamanashi Prefecture has a population of 817,192 (1 January 2019) and has a geographic area of 4,465 Square kilometre, km2 (1,724 sq mi). Yamanashi Prefectur ...
. There are more than 100,000 visitors per festival. Usually a famous Japanese celebrity plays the part of Takeda Shingen. Ordinary people can participate too after applying. It is one of the biggest
historical reenactment Historical reenactment (or re-enactment) is an educational entertainment, educational or entertainment activity in which mainly amateur hobbyists and history enthusiasts dress in historic uniforms or costumes and follow a plan to recreate aspect ...
s in Japan. In 2012
Guinness World Records ''Guinness World Records'', known from its inception in 1955 until 1999 as ''The Guinness Book of Records'' and in previous United States editions as ''The Guinness Book of World Records'', is a reference book published annually, listing world ...
certified it as the "largest gathering of samurai" in the world with 1,061 participants.


Famous samurai

These are some famous samurai with extraordinary achievements in history. *
Akechi Mitsuhide , first called Jūbei from his clan and later from his title, was a Japanese ''samurai'' general of the Sengoku period best known as the assassin of Oda Nobunaga. Mitsuhide was a bodyguard of Ashikaga Yoshiaki and later a successful general under ...
* Amakusa Shirō *
Date Masamune was a regional ruler of Japan's Azuchi–Momoyama period through early Edo period. Heir to a long line of powerful ''daimyō'' in the Tōhoku region, he went on to found the modern-day city of Sendai. An outstanding tactician, he was made all ...
*
Hasekura Tsunenaga was a kirishitan Japanese samurai and retainer of Date Masamune, the daimyō of Sendai. He was of Japanese imperial descent with ancestral ties to Emperor Kanmu. Other names include Philip Francis Faxicura, Felipe Francisco Faxicura, and Phil ...
* Hattori Hanzō * Hōjō Ujimasa * Honda Tadakatsu *
Kusunoki Masashige was a Japanese samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of History of Japan#Medieval Japan (1185–1573/1600), medieval and Edo period, early-modern Japan from the late 12th century until their abolition in 1876 ...
*
Minamoto no Yoshitsune was a military commander of the Minamoto clan of Japan in the late Heian period, Heian and early Kamakura period, Kamakura periods. During the Genpei War, he led a series of battles which toppled the Ise-Heishi branch of the Taira clan, helping h ...
*
Minamoto no Yoshiie Minamoto No Yoshiie (源 義家; 1039 – 4 August 1106), also known as Hachimantarō, was a Minamoto clan samurai of the late Heian period, and ''Chinjufu-shōgun'' (Commander-in-chief of the defense of the North). The first son of Minamoto n ...
*
Miyamoto Musashi , also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Dharma name, Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer and rōnin, who became renowned through stories of his unique double-bladed sw ...
* Nakano Takeko *
Oda Nobunaga was a Japanese ''daimyō'' and one of the leading figures of the Sengoku period. He is regarded as the first "Great Unifier" of Japan. Nobunaga was head of the very powerful Oda clan, and launched a war against other ''daimyō'' to unify ...
* Saigō Takamori * Saitō Hajime * Sakamoto Ryōma * Sanada Yukimura * Sasaki Kojirō *
Shimazu Takahisa , the son of Shimazu Tadayoshi, was a ''daimyō'' during Japan's Sengoku period. He was the fifteenth head of the Shimazu clan. Biography In 1514, he is said to have been born in Izaku Castle. On 1526, Takahisa was adopted as the successor to Shim ...
* Shimazu Yoshihiro * Takayama Ukon *
Takeda Shingen , of Kai Province, was a pre-eminent ''daimyō'' in feudal Japan. Known as the "Tiger of Kai", he was one of the most powerful Daimyo, daimyō with exceptional military prestige in the late stage of the Sengoku period. Shingen was a warlord of ...
*
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first ''shōgun'' of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, which ruled Japan from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, along with his former lord Oda ...
* William Adams *
Toyotomi Hideyoshi , otherwise known as and , was a Japanese samurai and ''daimyō'' (feudal lord) of the late Sengoku period regarded as the second "Great Unifier" of Japan.Richard Holmes, The World Atlas of Warfare: Military Innovations that Changed the Cour ...
*
Uesugi Kenshin , later known as was a Japanese '' daimyō''. He was born in Nagao clan, and after adoption into the Uesugi clan, ruled Echigo Province in the Sengoku period of Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an ...
* Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi * Yagyū Munenori * Yamamoto Tsunetomo * Yamaoka Tesshū


Samurai museums

* Matsumoto Castle – the second floor features a collection of feudal guns, armor, and other weapons. * Japanese Sword Museum – dedicated to the art of Japanese swordmaking. * Samurai Museum in Shinjuku, Tokyo – about the history of the samurai with armor, weapons etc. * Ōyamazumi Shrine in Ōmishima Island – large collection of ancient samurai weaponry, armor and shrine statuary.


See also

*
Kendo is a Gendai budō, modern Japanese martial art, descended from kenjutsu (one of the old Japanese martial art, Japanese martial arts, swordsmanship), that uses bamboo swords (shinai) as well as protective armor (bōgu). Today, it is widely prac ...
*
List of Japanese battles {{short description, None The following is a list of Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of ...
* List of samurai * Lone Wolf and Cub * Musha shugyō *
Ninja A or was a covert agent or mercenary in History of Japan#Feudal Japan, feudal Japan. The functions of a ninja included reconnaissance, espionage, Infiltration tactics, infiltration, Military deception, deception, ambush, bodyguarding and thei ...
* Pechin *
Kabukimono or were gangs of samurai in feudal Japan. First appearing in the Azuchi–Momoyama period (between the end of the Muromachi period in 1573 and the beginning of the Edo period in 1603) as the turbulent Sengoku period drew to a close, were eit ...
*
Seiwa Genji The is a line of the Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from th ...
* Shudō * Shi *
Hwarang Hwarang, also known as Hwarang Corps, and Flowering Knights, were an elite warrior group of male youth in Silla, an ancient kingdom of the Korean Peninsula that lasted until the 10th century. There were educational institutions as well as social ...
*
Kheshig Kheshig ( Mongolian: Khishig, Keshik, Khishigten for "favored", "blessed") were the imperial guard for Mongol royalty in the Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries was the List of largest empires, largest contiguous ...


References


Bibliography

* Absolon, Trevor. ''Samurai Armour: Volume I: The Japanese Cuirass'' (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017). * Anderson, Patricia E. "Roles of Samurai Women: Social Norms and Inner Conflicts During Japan's Tokugawa Period, 1603–1868". ''New Views on Gender'' 15 (2015): 30–37
online
* Ansart, Olivier. "Lust, Commerce and Corruption: An Account of What I Have Seen and Heard by an Edo Samurai". ''Asian Studies Review'' 39.3 (2015): 529–530. * Benesch, Oleg. ''Inventing the Way of the Samurai: Nationalism, Internationalism, and Bushido in Modern Japan'' (Oxford UP, 2014). * Benesch, Oleg. "Comparing Warrior Traditions: How the Janissaries and Samurai Maintained Their Status and Privileges During Centuries of Peace." ''Comparative Civilizations Review'' 55.55 (2006): 6:37–5
Online
* Clements, Jonathan. ''A Brief History of the Samurai'' (Running Press, 2010) * * Cummins, Antony, and Mieko Koizumi. ''The Lost Samurai School'' (North Atlantic Books, 2016) 17th century Samurai textbook on combat; heavily illustrated. * Hubbard, Ben. ''The Samurai Warrior: The Golden Age of Japan's Elite Warriors 1560–1615'' (Amber Books, 2015). * Jaundrill, D. Colin. ''Samurai to Soldier: Remaking Military Service in Nineteenth-Century Japan'' (Cornell UP, 2016). * Kinmonth, Earl H. ''Self-Made Man in Meiji Japanese Thought: From Samurai to Salary Man'' (1981) 385pp. * Ogata, Ken. "End of the Samurai: A Study of Deinstitutionalization Processes". ''Academy of Management Proceedings'' Vol. 2015. No. 1. * * Thorne, Roland. ''Samurai films'' (Oldcastle Books, 2010). * Turnbull, Stephen. ''The Samurai: A Military History'' (1996). * Kure, Mitsuo. ''Samurai: an illustrated history'' (2014). *


Historiography

* Howland, Douglas R. "Samurai status, class, and bureaucracy: A historiographical essay." ''Journal of Asian Studies'' 60.2 (2001): 353–380.
online


External links

*
The Samurai Archives Japanese History page

Samurai Swords and Samurai Culture

History of the Samurai


– Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire
Comprehensive Database of Archaeological Site Reports in Japan
Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties {{Authority control 12th-century establishments in Japan 1879 disestablishments in Japan Combat occupations Japanese caste system Japanese historical terms Japanese nobility Japanese warriors Noble titles Obsolete occupations