The Rise of A Military Society
Japan became a Miltary society by a shogun named Minamoto Yoritomo who created a miltary government in the city of Kamakura in 1192. Shoguns were the supreme commander of the army that ruled on the emperor's behalf. Daimyo were estate owners who paid no taxes to the government and had their own private army of samurai. Samurai protected the daimyo while the daimyo gave land to the samurai. The daimyo gave loyalty, protection and miltary power to the shogun.
Samurai Armor Weapons and Fighting
The samurai wore heavy armor with a robe and trousers. To protect their legs they wore shinguards. The armor was made of small metal plates with lacquer and silk cords. Samurai used swords, bows, and spears during battle. Their most prized weapon was the sword.
Samurai were required to have extensive training. They were taught through archery to master physical and mental techniques. This included to shoot accurately without thinking and also had to shoot arrows while riding a horse. Another miltary training for the samurai was for them to learn how to fence and to use martial arts. Also they used other objects as weapons like metal fans and wooden staffs.
Samurai Training and Warrior Code
To become a samurai, included stages. The first stage of becoming a samurai was to be born in a samurai family. Secondly, they had to fence with a wooden sword, and had to protect itself from surrounding danger. Samurai were trained mentally with self control so they could overcome their fears like death. They also mentally trained to develop a sixth sense. Samurai physically learned self control. They learned to endure suffering and pain. Samurai lived by a code called Bushido that was a warrior code for honor, loyalty, and bravery. They also worshiped Zen Buddhism. Seppuku is a ritual suicide when a samurai is captured in battle or has done a crime.
Training in Writing, Literature, and Tea Ceremony
The Samurai were expected to be cultured. This included writing and literature. They practiced caligraphy which is an art of beautiful writing. They also learned to write poetry that was later known to be haiku. A haiku had three lines of 5,7, and 5 syallables that had a total of 17 syallables. The other aspect of culture was the tea ceremony. It encouraged a spirit of harmony, reverance and calmness.
Amida Buddhism believed that all the people could reach paradise. To reach pardise believers had to rely on the mercy of Amida Buddha. While Zen Busdhism believed that achieving enlightenment was by meditating. Samurai favored Zen Buddhism because of its effort and discipline. Zen Buddhists meditated for hours to reach enlightenment.
Women in Samurai Society
The role of women in the samurai society changed from having equal status with men to having no power. In the 12th century, women were able to take care of the household and the family's interests. They were also expected to be loyal and brave as men. Sometimes they fought in battles. However in the 17th century, women's status had declined. The father of the girls had full control of their daughters. The fathers would arrange their marriages. After the marriage, they had to obey their husbands. In a samurai's family women were completely under men's control.