The Rise of a Military Society
Introduction/Summary: Japan became a military society when Minamoto Yorimoto took on power in 1185. By 1192, he became a shogun, also known as a commander in chief, however he never took the place of an emperor. Yorimoto set up a military government with its own capital city of Kamakura. Emperors power weakened and they were not as important. Kamakura government also marked a new era of Japan's history. Samurai began to make up the ruling class for 700 years, until the emperors gained power again in 1868.
Deeper in to the lesson: Yorimoto granted the samurai and warriors appointments to office and larger amounts of land. In order to achieve this, the samurai had to pledge to serve and protect the shoguns. During the rise of the samurai, women and men were allowed to be samurai warriors. Girls and boys would be trained to properly handle weapons. At the time period of the 14 century, shoguns ruled with the daimyo. Samurai warriors would then fight and protect the daimyo. Daimyos expected to be rewarded land and money for their obedience and loyalty. The samurai expected land and money for their obedience and loyalty from their daimyos.
As shoguns power decreased, daimyo became more powerful and had their own private armies of daimyo. By the 15 century however, the daimyos had their samurai warriors battle against other daimyo for land and ranking (power). Eventually, generals defeated the daimyo and created a strong military government. Few leaders then became shogun, one well known leader was Tokugawa Ieyasu. Over 250 years, samurai continued to serve shoguns and administered the government.
Shogun: The head of the military government of Japan in the era of the samurai.
Daimyo: A local lord in Japan in the end of the samurai.
Samurai Armor, Weapons and Fighting
Mental Training: In order to overcome emotions that could affect there fighting (death), samurai learned self-control, and to be alert. Samurai would go without eating, march barefoot in snow during long journeys, and would stay in uneasy positions for hours in order to last in pain and suffering.
Staying Prepared: Samurai were trained to stay alert for any sort of unexpected attack. They developed something known as the "sixth sense" for danger. The sixth sense is supposed to remain with a samurai to the point where he stays alert in all circumstances before an attack is brought upon himself.
Bushido: In the 17th century, Bushido came into action. The code of Bushido tells that the samurai need to be honest, fair, and fearless during death/battle. They were also expected to value loyalty amd personal honor greatly in their lives. Samurai also needed to guard their personal honor, or fights and deaths could occur from the smallest accident.
Seppuku: Seppuku was a ritual suicide that some samurai were forced to commit. Seppuku was usually a consequence of failing to live up to the code of Bushido. Some reasons for commiting seppuku were due to preserving personal honor, avoiding capture in battle, crime, shameful deeds, insult to person of higher rank, death of lords, etc. Seppuku was actually performed in a ceremony where guests were invited. The samurai would take a bath, unbind their hair, put white colthing on, and eat his favorite foods. Then, he would take a sword and plunge it through his stomach until a full circle was created, while someone benhind him would quickly slice his head off.