A 'lil History of Japan...
In the 1100s Japan's government started losing money and therefore lost authority over the people.
Now, Daimyo, or landlords did not even had to pay taxes.
The Shogun, or the most important Daimyo, basically ruled the country and emperor became nothing more than a figurehead.
The Shogun, which also meant, "supreme commander of the army", led more than just the army, he led the country....
These wealthy Daimyo and great Shoguns now had to be protected...so they hired their own Samurai army.
Samurai were Japanese warriors that swore their loyalty to Daimyo or Shoguns, in exchange for land or money. This was known as the "lord-vassal system".
They always had to be willing to go into battle, even if it could have meant certain death.
Samurai wore heavy armor for protection. Some of these were...
- Dou- iron or leather chest plate
- Kabuto- iron or leather helmet
- Haidate- thigh guards that were tied around the waist and covered the thighs.
Samurai also used weapons like the Katana
The Katana was the most important weapon and the first sword a samurai learned to use.
But even before a Samurai could wear armor and handle weapons, they had to go through serious...
The Japanese had to take training very seriously....
They would have to go through MANY different types of training before they could become honorable samurai warriors.
Some of these were...
Samurai would practice their patience and endurance by practicing in the cold snow, often barefoot, or even naked.
Samurai trained hard with their weapons and armor
Studying literature, writing, and haiku
Japanese believed samurai were the "students of culture" and demanded they learn the art of literature.
They learned different writing styles of poems.
One writing style was Haiku, a poem with 3 lines, with 5, 7, and 5 syllables on each line.
This was another cultural tradition that samurais had to master.
The tea ceremony encouraged harmony, reverence, and calmness.
Japan's samurai believed in many different things that helped them stay focused and self discipline.
One thing they lived by was the Bushido. This was the unwritten code of conduct for all samurai and demanded loyalty, honor, and bravery.
Zen Buddhism was another religion that appealed to many samurai.
It stressed the importance of self discipline and helped samurai focus in carrying out their jobs.
Amida Buddhism was yet another type of religion that samurai appreciated.
Amida Buddhism encouraged samurai to be generous and kind to the poor.
Women in Samurai Society
The role of women in the samurai society was very different in Japan.
Since Samurai men had vowed their loyalty to their lords, they often could not protect their families.
So the women of the family would learn to fight and handle weapons in order to protect their families while the men were away.
In the 12th century, women had a higher status than men.
Women were able to inherit land.
Some women could even become samurai.
The status of women started declining
Kaibara Ekke's "Learning For Women", he wrote that women should stay home and depend on their husband.