Rise of the Military Society
When Minamoto Yorimoto came to power to Japan in 1192, instead of taking place as emperor, he took place as shogun and set up a military government with a capital of Kamakura, which started a new era that marked a beginning in Japan history. Samurai, professional warriors, became Japan's ruling class.
The military government was led by a shogun, who ruled with help of warrior-lords called daimyos. Which in turn, they were supported with large numbers of samurai. The samurai pledged to protect the shogun and in the 14th century Japan resembled the lord-vassal system of Europe. Because of the samurai's loyalty to their leaders, they were rewarded with appointments to office and grants of land.
The samurai were expected to be honest, brave, and intensely loyal to his lord. The word samurai means "those who serve." For the samurai's it was more important to die an honorable death than to live a long life. The samurai were fearless fighters and devote Buddhists, which helped them prepare to face death and their duties.
Samurai Armor, Weapons and Fighting
The samurai went into battle dressed in heavy armor, since it was needed for them to be protected. The first thing on was a robe called a kimono and baggy trousers, and to protect their legs they wore leather or cloth shin guards. But, the actual armor itself was unique and different, lined with small metal plates coated with lacquer and was laced with silk cords. To protect their chest and back, they wore boxlike panels of armor. The samurai's would wear metal sleeves to protect their arms and broad shoulder guards and panels that hung over his hips to provide extra protection. To look fierce to their opponents, they wore a mask that was mean looking, yet still protected his face. Last but not least was the helmet, which they burned incense in it before putting it on.
Military Training and Fighting Skills
Learning the skills of the samurai to extensive training. They had to learn archery, fencing and/or sword fighting. The samurai's were apprenticed by archery masters that taught the mental and physical techniques. They also learned how to breathe and shoot properly by riding on a galloping horse. In s wording Fighting they learned how to make their opponent make the first move, how to stay out of range of their enemy's sword, and how to fight fight against their enemy in tight spaces or against more than one opponent. When they would either lose or break their swords in battle, they learned how to fight using other object such as a metal fan or wooden staffs. Another option was martial arts.
The samurai had a unique style in battle.
1. Messages from opposing sides met to decide the time and place if combat?
2. The two armies faced each other a few hundred yards apart.
3. The samurai shouted their names , ancestors, heroic deeds, and reason for fighting.
4. Then the armies charged with samurai firing arrows as they urged forward.
5. After battle they would clean and mount their Oppenheimer heads and show to the warlord that they really killed their foes.
Samurai Training and the Warrior Code
Metal and Physical Training:
The samurai's education of war also included mental training. This was key to their training, especially since they had to learn self control to overcome their emotions, Like the fear of death. To learn how to handle pain, they went days without eating, walked barefoot in the snow, and had stiff posture for over long periods of time. The samurai were trained to develop a "sixth sense" about danger and came from tough training.
The code of Bushido:
The samurai code developed over servearl centuries, and in the 17th century it took for as Bushido, " Way of the Warrior." This governed the samurai's life. It required the samurai to be honest, fair, and fearless in the face of death. They valued loyalty and honor even more than their life. Their job was to be loyal to his master, and if his lord died he would avenge his death.
If one did not live up to Bushido, the price of pay was ritual suicidqe, or seppuku. The would also do this if they did a shameful deed, committed a crime, or insulted a person of higher rank. When seppuku was performed guests were invited. To prepare they would take a bath, unbide their hair, and put on white clothes, and was served his favorite foods. When finished eating he took a sword and plunged into his stomach trying to make a circle. To put him out of his agony, a swordsman would quickly cut off his head.
Most samurai studied Buddhism, the two popular forms were Amida and Zen. The samurai were drawn to this, and especially zen.
In the 12th century a monk named Honen founded Amida Buddhism. They believed that all people could reach paradise. They taught that believers could reach paradise by relying on Amida Buddhism. Amida was an Indian Prince and when he became Buddha he set up a paradise named Pure Land. To enter, one must prayerfully repeat Amida's name over and over again. When the believer died he would go to the Pure Land.
Zen was another form of Buddhism, the samurai liked it because of its emphasis on effort and discipline. To achieve enlightenment and self-reliance, you meditated. Zen Buddhists would meditate for hours to reach enlightenment. To become enlightened it required giving logical thinking everyday. Zen masters used puzzling questions called koans. They also created zen gardens to aid their meditation . It symbolized nature, like rocks on the sand could represent islands in the ocean. Zen helped samurai learn discipline, focus on their minds, and conquer the fear of death.