Samurai Project By: Lauren Angelus P:2

The Rise of a Military Society

Samurai Warrior

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

Samurai Armor
Fighting Styles

Armor: For protection, Samurai warrior wore heavy armor to battle. Underneath their heavy sets of armor was a colorful robe known as kimono as well as baggy trouser. Leather or cloth shingards were placed on their legs. The designs of samurai armor made them different. They had several rows of small metal plates decorated with lacquer and laced with colorful silk. The armor was strong however designed with flexibility for easiness when moving around during battles. Box shaped panels of armor where placed for protection on the chest and back. Metal sleeves covered the arms; and shoulder guards, thigh guards, and panels hung over the hips for even more protection. For protection against the face, they wore iron masks that actually distracted opponents. Helmets were put on after the rest of the armor and were burned with incense. If the head was cut off during battle, the incense would keep it smelling sweet.

Weapons: The samurai mainly used weapons such as bows and arrows, spears, and swords. During battles, sharpshooters on horseback would pull arrows from the heavy 8 foot bow and fire them at any enemy. Samurai warriors who went to battle on foot would be guarded with spears when throwing one off a horse or thrusts when facing another opponent on ground. The most honored weapon was the flexible, razor sharp sword designed by craftsmen.

Training: Samurai warriors trained continuously and used different techniques to be successful. They practiced until they could shoot accurately and fight without thinking, learned to breath properly, and needed to be able to shoot their enemies while on horseback. They also learned to force their opponents to make the first move, how to "stay away" from ones sword, and how to win battle when fighting several people in an enclosed area. During their training, they also were taught how to act in circumstances when their sword breaks (using fans or wooden staffs.) One type of fighting they did without any weapon in reach was martial arts.

Fighting Styles: Samurai warriors were also taught a certain kind of fighting technique. They had messengers from each side come together and making arrangements with time and location. Then, they would get ready for battle hundreds of yards apart and yell out their names, ancestors, and reason for fighting. Once this occured, the battles began, and opponents were found for each individual. At the end of the battle, the samurai would gather the heads of those they killed and present it for inspection. They would then be rewarded with swords, horses, armor, or land.

Samurai Training and the warrior code (Bushido and other values)

Samurai Training

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.

Training in writing, Literature, and Tea Ceremony

Calligraphy and Tea

Calligraphy: At the the time of the 17th century, samurai were not only warriors but also learn the importance of culture, writing, and literature. Samurai were raught the proper way to draw calligraphy, also known as the art of beautiful writing. When drawing, the materials used where brushes, ink blocks, and either a paper or silk. To create the form of writing, one would wet a ink block and brush on an ink stone until determined that the ink held the correct consistancy. Once all the items were ready, the samurai would begin to draw.

Poetry: Samurai warriors were also supposed to know how to write poetry. Famous samurai poet, Matsuo Basho, invented the short poetry haiku. Haiku poems consist of 3 lines with 5,7, and 5 syllables, with a total of 17 syllables. A haiku poem typically uses images to tell a mood or idea.

Tea: Samurai also studied and were introduced to the tea ceremony culture. The tea ceremony brought upon the spirit of harmony, clamness, and peacefullness. This was also an important aspect of bring political alliances to samurai. The ceremonies began when a tea master brought in guests into a tiny room, in which they would enter a low doorway that guests would need to craw through. The room rarely had decorations, a painting or flower arrangement at the most. As the master made and served the tea, guest were silent. Then, they would share there thoughts and admire the tea and utensils. The master would make the tea by boiling water over a fire. Then he would add in green tea powder from a tea caddy into a bowl. Water would then be put into the bowl with a woodem dipper and stirred with a bamboo stick. The guest would then hold the bowl, bowed to the others, and take three sips, cleaning the part in which they drank from with a tissue.

Spiritual Training

Zen Buddhism
Amida Buddhism

Amida Buddhism: Amida Buddhism is a type of buddhism that all people could reach paradise. It was founded by a monk in the 12th century named Honen who taught believers that they would be able to reach paradise if they would put their trust to Amida Buddha. It has been said that once Amida became a Buddha, he set up a western paradise known as Pure Land. According to Honen, peopke would need to repeat his name "Amida Buddha" very day to get into Pure Land. When a believer died, he said that Amida would take him to Pure Land.

Zen Buddhism: The other type of buddhism called Zen was more dedicated to samurai due to the expectation of effort and discipline. Zen Buddhism taught "self-reliance and acheiving enlightment through meditation. Believers of Zen Buddhism had to meditate for hours, sitting legs crossed without moving, in order to reach enlightment. To become enlighted, you would need to stop logical thinking, and answer questions called koans. Simple gardens were created to give buddhists somewhere to meditate that resembled nature. Zen emphasized samurai to be "discipline, focus on their minds, and overcome the fear of death."

Women in samurai society

Women Samurai

Samurai Women: During the time of the 12 century, samurai women had a reasonable ranking. They typically helped with taking over the house and keeping the family going. After her husband died, she would be the one to be in charge of the land and perform the duties of a vassal. Therefore, the women had to be as brave as the men, although they rarely fought. Occasionally, the women would have fight in battles with the men, such as Tomoe Gozen.

However, as time went on until the 17th century, the position women held decreased, and men began taking over the household.Women lost several of their privileges. In fact, girls could not choose their husbands, and marriages were arranged by families. The wives would have to watch over their sons and husbands, and in some circumstances, would have to kill themselves when their husbands died. During their daily life, they went to bed late and awoke early, and had several chores to accomplish. They lived a simple life and could not attend plays, singing, or other entertainment options. Women who were peasants actually did have freedom and respect, but a samurai women was fully controlled by the husbands.

Thank You for watching and learning about the history of a samurai's life!!

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