Samurai Armor, Weapons, and Fighting
They wore heavy armor made of small metal plates coated in lacquer and laced with colorful silk cords. under that they wore a colorful Raul robe call a kimono and baggy trousers. They also wore shinguards made of leather and cloth to protect his legs. This armor was strong yet flexible.
Samurai fought with bows and arrows, spears, and swords. The bow could be up to eight feet long, so that it would require a lot of strength to use it. They would ride of horseback while shotting their enemies. In hand-to-hand combat, they would use their spears to knock the riders off their horses. The samurai most prized weapon was their sword. Flexible enough not to break, but was razor sharp and was strong.
They did mental and physical training. They learned how to make their enemy do the first move, stay out of range from the sword, and how to fight in close areas. They also learned martial arts. The idea for that was to use their enemies strength against them. The mental training was to learn self-control so they could overcome emotions so they didn't get distracted in battle, especially the fear of death.
Amida Buddhism - Found by a monk named Honen. These Buddhists thought that all people should go to paradise, Honen taught that believers could reach paradise by the mercy of Amida Buddha. Amida was a Indian prince, and when he became Buddha, he created a western paradise called the Pure Land. Honen told that believers could enter the Pure Land only if they said Amida's name 70,000 times a day. If they did that, when those believers died, Smida would escort those believers to the Pure Land.
Zen Buddhism - This type of Buddhism was the one samurai liked better because it emphasized effort and discipline. Unlike Amida, Zen stressed self-reliance and achieving enlightenment through meditation. To reach enlightenment, Zen Buddhists meditated for hours, sitting erect and cross-legged without moving. They create gardens to aid meditation. To reach enlightenment, they have to give up everyday, logical thinking. Masters posed puzzled questions called koans.
Women in Samurai Society
The position of women in samurai society declined over time. At first, women of that warrior class enjoyed honor and respect. By the 17th century, samurai women were treated as inferior as their husbands. During the 12th century, samurai women enjoyed considerable status. A samurai's wife would helped manage the household and promote the family's interest. Some women fought along side men. In the 17th century, as warrior culture developed, women's position decreased. According to one saying, when they were young, women they obeyed their father; when grown, their husband; when old, their sons. Not all Japanese women were treated the same way. Peasant women were treated with som respect because they were working alongside their husbands. But in samurai families, women were completely under men's control.
The Rise of Military Society
In 1185, Minamoto Yoritomo came to power in Japan. In 1192, he took the title of shogun, or commander-in-chief. Yoritomo did not take the place as emperor. Instead, he set up a military government with his own capital in the city of Kamakura. Increasingly, professional warriors-samurai-became Japan's ruling class. This military government was ruled by a shogun. In the 14th century the shogun ruled with the help of warrior-lords called daimyos. In turn, the daimyos were supported by large numbers of samurai. Over time, the position of the shogun weakened while daimyos became increasingly powerful. Daimyos began to treated their land as independent kingdoms. Samurai now allied themselves with their daimyo lords.
Training in Writing, Literature, and the Tea Ceremony
By the more peaceful 17th century, samurai were expect to be students of culture as well as fierce warriors. Two important aspects of culture were writing and literature. Samurai practiced calligraphy, the beautiful form of writing. Samurai also practiced poetry. One famous samurai poet called Matsuo Basho, invented a new form of short poetry that was later called a haiku. Another aspect of culture that samurai studied was the tea ceremony. The tea ceremony fostered a spirit of harmony, reverence, and calm. It also served as an important way to form political alliances among samurai.