Samurai By: Caleb park, period:7

The Rise of a Military Society

The military government was established by a shogun; commander named Minamoto Yoritomo. Yoritomo came in power in Japan in 1192. He didn't take place of the emperor, instead, he set up a military government with its own capital in the city of Kamakura. He took the title of a shogun, also known as a commander-in-chief. Japan was under shogunate rule for the next 700 years. Yoritomo rewarded warriors, or samurai, with appointments to office and grants of land. In return, the samurai pledged to serve and protect the shogun. This is also known as the lord-vassal. Samurai were famed for their courage and skill. (Definition of samurai) - "those who serve." Traits that samurai needed to contain in themselves are to be honest, brave, and immensely loyal to his lord. Samurai were also educated in variety of areas's consisting of art, writing, and literature. The shogun ruled with the help of warrior lords called daimyos, who were supported by samurais. Shogun has weakened as daimyos became increasingly powerful. Samurai now allied themselves with their daimyo lords.

Samurai armor, weapons, and fighting.

A samurai went into battle dressed in heavy armor. They wore a colorful rove called a kimono and a baggy trowser. Leather made of cloth protected the legs. Samurai armor design- made of small rows of small metals plates coated with lacquer and laced together with colorful silk cords. Armor was strong, yet flexible for he samurai to move freely. Boxlike panels covered the samurai's chest and back shoulder guards and panels hung over the hibs for additional protection. For the intimidating looks, they wore ferocious looking iron masks. They were made to frighten and protect the face. They also wore a helmet which had burned incense in it. The head would smell sweer if it were cut off in battle. They used bows, arrows, spears, and swords as weapon tools. The samurai's most prized weapon was a hand to hand combat with his sword. Japanese sword makers were the finest. Flexible enough not to break, yet hard enough to be a razor sharp. (Kantana and long sword)


Extensive training (required) Samurai practiced on other objects for practice. Young samurai were trained and taught by archery masters. They learned mental and physical techniques. Swordsmanship and fencing was just as difficult and demanding. They had to learn fighting techniques such as, staying out of range of an enemy sword, fighting in tight spaces, and being against more than one enemy. Many times in battle, the samurai would break or lose his sword. They learned how to continue the fight by using other weapons such as wooden staffs and metal fans.

Trained to fight against a senior sword-master. They had to learn how to defend themselves on the battlefield. Your classmates watched our lessons, and I was a disgrace to appear weak or afraid.

Material Arts- styles of fighting, or self defense, such as modern day judo and karate, that mostly began in Asia.

Becoming a Samurai

1. Began at birth, had to be born from samurai parents, or adopted.

2. As a future member of the army, you could not be left-handed. You were trained to use your right hand.

3. You were taught to communicate unselfishly with other boys. Once you hit 7 years old, you start going to school.

4. At age 10, you would spend 10 hours at school. You learned to fight along with other school subjects.

5. You learn about battle techniques and hear stories about the past victorians and top samurais. They also learned metal discipline, good manners and respect for elderly.

6. At age 13-15, you officially became an adult, after taking part in the "genbuku" ceremony.

Genbuku ceremony

7. As well as a new, adult hairstyle, you would be given a suit of armor, ready for battle

Mental training

A samurai's education in the art of war included mental training. A samurai learned self-control so they could overcome the fear of fighting or even death. They also learned to be always alert and prepared to fight. A samurai was taught to endure pain and suffering by days without eating, marched barefoot on the snow, and held stiff postures without complaining. Another mental technique they had for samurai warriors was to think of themselves as already dead.


The code of honor and morals developed by the Japanese samurai.

Samurai values/ideals/Custom

The code of Bushido governed a samurai's life. It called on the samurai to be loyal, honest, and fearless of death. Samurai's were expected to value loyalty and personal honor even more than their lives. Samurai were also expected to guard their personal honor.

Quote- " Though a time come, when mountains crack, and seas go dry, never to my lord, will I be found doube-hearted."

Seppuku (ritual suicide)

There was a punishment for not living up to the code of bushido. This was called "seppuku"also known as ritual suicide. Seppuku became a elaborate ceremony. The samurai was prepared by taking a bath, unbending his long hair, and putting in white clothes used for dressing a corpse. He was served his favorite food. When he finished eating, a sword was placed on his tray. Then, took the sword and slice it across his stomach trying to create a perfect circle. The swordsman behind the samurai, cut the samurai's head off to quickly end his agony.


Training in writing, literature, and tea ceremony

The tea ceremony was a spirit of harmony, reverence, and calm. The tearoom was very simple. Had decorations, paintings, and artistic flower arrangements.

Samurai practiced calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing. The main tools were a brush, a block of ink, and silk or paper.

Samurai also wrote poetry. Matsuo basho invented the poetry of haiku. A haiku has three lines of 5, 7, and 5 making 17 syllables in total. A haiku port uses images to set a mood or idea.

Spiritual training

Amida Buddahism- a monk named Honen founded a popular form of Amida Buddahism. Honey taught that believed could reach peridise by relying on the mercy of Amida Buddha.

Zen Buddahism was another form of Buddihism. Zen stressed self reliance, and achieving enlightenments through meditation. Zen Buddhists meditated for hours, sitting erect and crossed-legged without moving.

Women in samurai society

In the 12th century, the women of the warrior class enjoyed honor and respect. By the 17th century, samurai women were treated as inferior to their husbands.

12th century- A samurai's wife helped mange the household and promote the family's interest.

17th century- As the warrior culture developed, women's position got weakened. The samurai men were ordering and was the commander of the household. Girls did not even choose their husbands. Women were completely under control by their husbands.


Created with images by Neeta Lind - "Samurai" • Androfire - "Samurai Swords" • nuzree - "muay thai fight fighter" • madmrmox - "aging samurai"

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