The Samurai By Brian Milian Period 2

The Rise of the Samurai

Japan became a military society because Yoritomo set up a military government with its own capital in the city of Kamakura.

The shogun ruled with help of warrior-lords called daimyos. Daimyo were supported by large numbers of samurai. The samurai expected to be rewarded for their obedience and loyalty with land, money, or administrative office. The daimyo expected the same from the shogun.

Samurai Armor, Weapons and Fighting

A samurai went out into battle dressed in heavy armor. The armor was made to protect the samurai's chest, back, legs, face, shoulders, arms, thighs, and waist. Basically their whole entire body so they would get hurt very much. The armor was very flexible so the samurai could move freely. Samurai fought with bows and arrows, spears, and swords. The samurai's most prized weapon , however, was his sword. A samurai carried two types of swords. To fight, they used a long one with a curved blade and a shorter one was used to cut off heads. The swords were flexible enough not to break and hard enough to be razor sharp.

Samurai classes in the art of swordsmanship, or fencing, taught samurai's essential skills for battle. Samurai training was very difficult because a samurai would have to accomplish many grueling things such as not eating for a few days and walking barefoot in the snow for a long journey. If a samurai lost or broke his sword in a battle they would have to use other fighting techniques they were taught. Such as, looking for another utensil to fight with or just fighting without weapons by using martial arts. This type of fighting often involves using an opponents strength against him.

Samurai Training
And the Warrior Code (Bushido and other values)

Someone became a samurai by learning some mental and physical techniques for fighting in battles. Such as, how to fight, how to take self-control of themselves, and how to get rid of fear. Things like these is what they had to learn.

The samurai were trained mentally and physically because when they would go to battle, they would have to be skilled in fighting to not suffer dying.

Bushido is "The Way of the Warrior."

The samurai will also have to be so loyal to his lord that he would gladly die for him. In addition, samurai were also expected to guard their personal honor.

Seppuku or ritual suicide was the price for failing to live up to the code of Bushido. Samurai would perform seppuku to atone for a crime, a shameful deed, or an insult to a person of higher rank. Seppuku became an elaborate ceremony where the samurai killed himself by stabbing a sword right in his stomach trying to make a whole circle with the sword in their stomach and then someone would cut their head off quickly.

Training in Writing, Literature
And Tea Ceremony

By the 17th century, samurai were expected to be students of culture as well as fierce warriors. Two important aspects of the culture were writing and literature. Samurai practiced calligraphy which is the art of beautiful writing. Samurai also wrote poetry and one famous samurai poet was Matsuo Busho. He invented a new form of poetry called haiku, a three line 5, 7, and 5 syllables poetry.

Another aspect of culture was "tea ceremony". The samurai had to study this as well. The tea ceremony fostered a spirit of harmony, reverence, and calm. In addition, it also served as an important way to form political alliances among samurai.

Spiritual Training

Amida Buddhism is a religion where people believe that they could reach paradise. There was also a set up by someone that believers also could reach a western paradise called the Pure Land by pray fully repeating Amida's name over and over-up to 70,000 times a day. Honen who founded the popular form of Amida Buddhism also had a discipline named Shinran who made this "Pure Land Buddhism" even more popular. He taught that believers could reach the western paradise by sincerely saying Amida's name only once.

Zen Buddhism is another form of Buddhism that appealed to many samurai because of its emphasis on effort and discipline. Zen stressed self-reliance and achieving enlightenment through meditation. Zen Buddhists meditated for hours, sitting erect and cross-legged without moving. Zen Buddhism was a good match for the samurai way of life.

Women in Samurai Society

It was declined overtime.

In the 12th century, women as well as men were taught the military skills needed to be a samurai.

In the 17th century, not all Japanese women were treated the same way. Peasant women had some respect and independence because they worked alongside their husbands. But in the samurai families, women were completely under men's control.

Credits:

Created with images by madmrmox - "mean_samurai"

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