Samurai Project By: Ebba Adinew Period 6

Rise Of a Military Society

Japan became a military society by using shoguns, the supreme commander of the army, daimyo, who were large landholders, and the samurai. The shoguns were the actual rulers of Japan, since the emperor was just a figurehead. Daimyo had their own armies of well trained samurai. The samurai followed a code called bushido. It was an unwritten code of the samurai that stated that a samurai must have honor, loyalty, and that dying honorably was better than living a long life.

A samurai

Samurai Weapons, Armor, and Training

Samurai weapons included the katana, the kama, the tanto, and the wakizashi. A samurai went into battle under heavy armor. Samurai also learned martial arts and practiced Zen Buddhism.



The katana is a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. It was the primary weapon of a samurai.


The kama is a traditional Filipino and Japanese farming implement similar to a sickle used for reaping crops and also employed as a weapon.


The tanto is a short single or double-edged blade designed for poking or piercing, but it can be used for slashing as well.


Similar to the katana but shorter, the wazikashi was used as a backup sword, and is the sword used to commit seppuku, whch is a ritual suicide.


Samurai wore heavy armor. Under the armor, the samurai would be wearing a kimono and baggy trousers. Shin guards made out of leather or cloth protected the samurai's legs. The armor was made of small metal plates slathered in lacquer, a liquid made with alcohol, to strengthen metal, wood, etc. The metal plates were laced with silk strings. Boxlike metal plates protected the samurai's chest. Metal panels hung over the hips for extra protection.

Samurai Armor


The samurai were tought martial arts just in case things in a fight went hand-to-hand. The enemy better be well prepared! But, the samurai were not only taught physical things, but also spiritual things to. For instance, the samurai were to practice Zen Buddhism. They thought that Buddhism would spiritually bless them in battle and give them strength.


In battle, the samurai had a unique style of fighting. They would first shout their names, ancestors, heroic deeds, and their reasons for fighting. Then when the talking was over, the two armies would run towards each other and start fighting. Each fighter fought someone of their same ranks. When one side wins, the winning side would cut of the heads of their dead enemies and present them to their leader. The soldiers who brought heads would earn rewards such as swords, horses, and armor.

A battle betwEen gRoups of samurai

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

The samurai were taught how to use not only swords and knives, but also the bow and arrow, as well as martial arts, whenever it came down to hand-to-hand combat. The samurai were taught an important code called bushido. It was an unwritten code which meant that a samurai had to show honor and loyalty. If a samurai loses honor, for example, if they ran away feom the enemy, the samurai must commit seppuku, a ritual suicide. A samurai would rather kill them selves rather than face dishonor. Seppuku was commited with the wazikashi, their backup sword, slightly shorter than the katana.

Training in Writing, literature, and tea Ceremony

Samurai practiced calligraphy, "the art of beautiful writing." A calligrapher's main tools were a brush, a block of black ink, and paper or silk. Samurai also wrote poetry. A famous samurai poet was a man named Matsuo Basho. He invented haikus. A haiku had 3 lines, 1 line had 5 syllables, 1 had 7, and the last also had 5 syllables.

Example of a haiku

Spiritual training

As said before, the samurai worshipped Zen and Amida Buddhism. It was as important as learning how to use a weapon. Zen Buddhism expresses effort and discipline. It was the most applicable choice for a samurai. For Amida Buddhism, it was created by a monk named Honen. It was named for an Indian prince that believed that everyone deserves to go to paradise after death. After he died, it was believed that by uttering Amida's name would guarantee them to go to the paradise of the afterlife, instead of the endless cycle of rebirth.

Samurai bowing to a statue of Buddha

Women in samurai society

The role of women in the society of the samurai changed significantly. Women could be trained to use weapons. They could even become a samurai. Life for Japanese women in the 12th century was cool. They managed the household and promoted the family's interests. They rarely fought in battle, but were expected to follow Bushido just as good as the men. But in the 17th century, as the warrior culture developed, the women were seen more and more inferior to their husbands. Wives were expected to give birth to sons and even also to kill them self.

A female samurai


Created by Ebba Adinew

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