Samurai and Medieval Japan By : Eesha PATEl, period : 5

The Rise of a Military Society

  • The beginning of a Japanese Military Society was when shoguns took over and became practical rulers of Japan.
  • Shoguns, meaning supreme commander of the army, ruled on the emperor's behalf but his own interest came before the emperor's Minamato Yoritomo was the first shogun ; he was the start of Japan's Military Society
  • A shogun was appointed by the emperor to get rid of those who were against the government ; they became practical rulers of Japan when enough power was gained
  • Daimyo were large landowners who paid no tax to the government and had private armies of samurai
  • Samurai are mentally and physically trained warriors ; completely loyal to owners ; believe that an honorable death is more important than a long life with family ; master was more important than anything else
  • Samurais were very loyal to owners ; would do anything for them

Samurai Armor, Weapons, and Fighting

This is what samurai's armor and weapons looked like.
  • Samurai used a two handed sword called a katana
  • They were mentally trained to be completely loyal to their master ; their master came before everyone and everything else, even the samurai's own family
  • Samurai were physically trained to fiercely fight battles for their masters
  • Their military training began in their childhood and they were supposed to protect themselves and their families throughout their whole lives

Samurai Training and the Warrior Code (Bushido and Other Values)

  • A samurai's training started when he was 3 which was fencing with wooden swords ; at the age of 5-7, the young warrior was given a real sword for self protection ; samurai were trained since childhood so that they knew how to defend themselves properly and protect his family
  • Samurai were physically trained to fight in wars with a katana and mentally trained to be loyal to master above all
  • Samurai followed Bushido ( samurai code of honor : called for honor, loyalty, and bravery )
  • Bushido (also known as the Way of the Warrior) was a value system of discipline and honor in which the samurai lived and died in the service of their lords
  • Samurai showed respect toward the gods and generosity towards the poor ; Zen Buddhism was important in samurai's lives
  • If samurai's master dies in battle, they do Seppuku (ritual suicide) ; they kill themself by stabbing themself with their katana

Training in Writing, Literature, and Tea Ceremony

  • Samurai had to be educated in writing and literature as well trained to fight
  • They practiced calligraphy and write poetry
  • Samurai also had to study the culture of tea ceremonies as they encouraged harmony, reverence, and calmness

Spiritual Training

  • Samurai followed either Amida Buddhism or Zen Buddhism ; following these two forms of Buddhism was very important of being a samurai
  • In Amida Buddhism, their belief was that everyone can reach paradise by relying on the mercy of the Amida Buddha
  • In Zen Buddhism, their belief was to be self-reliance and to achieve enlightenment by meditation. This religion stresses effort and discipline

Women in Samurai Society

  • Women didn't have that much freedom until the samurai society came through and they were able to become samurai and learn how to use weapons
  • Women who had warriors in their families had to learn how to handle weapons to protect their families while the men were away fighting in wars or battles
  • Some women even became samurai warriors
  • Life in the 12th century :
  • daimyo or shoguns ruled Japan
  • samurai fought battles and wars and were owned by daimyo or shoguns
  • daimyo fought among each other for power and wealth
  • Life in the 17th century :
  • the Tokugawa family ruled Japan ; they were shoguns
  • there were four classes below the shoguns :
  • Military lords
  • Peasants
  • Artisans and craft workers
  • Merchants


Created with images by madmrmox - "edo_samurai_16" • Jim Epler - "Odawara Castle"

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