Japan became a Military Scociety by a shogun named Minamoto Yoritomo. In 1192 he led more than just an army he ruled the whole country.
A shogun was a military leader. Shogun ruled on the emperor's behalf but usually in their own interest.
A daimyo was a Japanese lord with large landholdings and a private samurai army, who paid no taxes to the government.
A samurai was a trained warrior of the Japanese aristocracy.
Samurai Armor, Weapons And Fighting
The samurai's most prized weapon was his sword also called a Katana in Japanese. A Katana was flexible enough not to break.
"Yumi" Japanese Bow and Arrow
Another weapon a samurai went into battle with is a bow and arrow also called a Yumi in Japanese.
A samurai went into battle dressed in heavy armor. Under the armor the samurai wore a robe called a Kimono and baggy trousers.
Samurai Training And Fighting
The way the first samurai trained and fought was "The way of the horse and the bow." Later on the art of swordsmanship became more important than archery.
Samurai Training And The Warrior Code
Samurai were trained physically by learning how to fight without weapons by using martial arts. They also learned how to breath properly and how to shoot at their enemies while riding on the back of a galloping horse. They also learned the art of swordsmanship and fencing.
Samurai were trained mentally by learning self-control so that they could overcome emotions that might interfere with fighting, especially the fear of death.
Small Samurai began practicing the basics of fencing with wooden swords at the age of 3, being given a real weapon, a mamorigatana sword for self-defence, between the ages of 5 and 7.
What Is Bushido?
Bushido is the code of conduct of samurai warriors, which required that they be generous, brave, and loyal.
What Other Values/Ideals/Customs Samurai Lived Up To?
By the most peaceful 17th centuy, samurai were expected to be students of culture as well as fierce warriors.
Samurai also practiced calligraphy the art of beautiful writing.
Another aspect of culture that samurai studied was the tea ceremony. The tea ceremony fostered a spirit of harmony, reverence, and calm.
Samurai were expected to value loyalty and personal honor even more than their lives.
Seppuku (ritual suicide)
The price for failing to live up to the code of Bishido was seppeku, or ritual suicide.
There were many reasons for seppeku, including preserving personal honor and avoiding capture in battle.
Samurai might also perform seppeku to atone for a crime, a shameful deed, or an insult to a person of higher rank.
Some samurai also killed themselves if there lord die, as a form of protest against a wrong or an injustice, or to shame their lord into behaving better.
Amida Buddhism was created in the 12 century. These Buddhists believed that all people could reach paradise. Amida had been an Indian prince. When he became Buddha, it was said, he set up a western paradise called the pure land.
Zen Buddhism was appealed to many samurai because of its emphasis on effort and discipline. Unlike Amida, Zen stressed self-reliance and achieving enlightenment through meditation
Women In Samurai Society
In the 12th century, samurai women enjoyed considerable status. A samurai's wife helped manage the household and promote the family's interest. Though women rarely fought they were expected to be as brave and loyal as men.
In the 17th century, samurai men were the unquestioned lords of their households.
Girls did not even get to choose their own husband. Families arranged the marriage for their daughters to increase their position and wealth. Wives were expected to bear sons and look after their husbands. Sometimes wives were expected to kill themselves when the men died.
The position of women in samurai society declined over time. The role of women in samurai society changed by as the warrior culture developed.