The Rise of a Military Society
Minamato Yoritomo came to power in 1185. He set up a military government, as they cared more for the armies than the people itself. They made a shoguns and samurais, and Minamoto declared himself the first shogun in 1192. Shoguns had the real power. There were emperors, but they were more as figureheads. The shogun had power because they were reliant on their armies. Daimyos were large lamdowners, and the shoguns were the leaders. Samurais were soldiers of the daimyo. they were used for attacking and defending the daimyos. Samurai had to be completely loyal to their daimyos, and would even kill themselves if their daimyo died.
Samurai Armor, Weapons, and Fightning
Samurai wore heavy armor over a kimono and baggy pants. Shinguards of leather/cloth protected the samurai's legs. The armor was durable but flexible, as it was made with rows of small metal plates wound with lacquer. It was laced with silk of different colors. They had a fierce front mask, and after a helmet was put on. The samurai would put incense in their helmets so that if their head was cut off, it would smell good. The samurai fought with bow amd arrows, spears, and swors called katanas. These katanas could slice through many things, and was an extremely deadly weapon.
Samurai were taught how to use their bows when they were young. After they learned this, they learned how to use the sword. After a while, their swords would grow in importance, and eventually would become the more valuable skill. They would be taught mental and physical techniques to help keep their mind in battle. The samurai used the Kenjutsu method in battle.
Samurai Training and the Warrior Code
Samurais were taught to fight at a young age. They first mastered the art of archery, and then being a swordsman. They were trained in military, mental, self-control, preparedness, writing and literature, the tea ceremony, and in spiritual strength.
Bushido is the unwritten honor code that all samurai lived by. The code told them to be honorable, loyal, and respectuful until death. Bushido was influenced by Zen Buddhism and Shinto, two major religions for the samurai.
When the daimyo was killed in battle, the samurai would suicide in a ritual known as Seppuku. If this was not done by a samurai, he was considered dishonorable. They were given their favorite food, then carved a circle inside themselves. A swordsman cut their head off to end their agony.
Training in Writing, Literature and Tea Ceremony
The samurai were taught calligraphy, a way of writing. The writing tool was dipped in ink until it reached the right comsistency, and then it was used to write. The writimg was very beautiful. Samurai also wrote poetry. A famous samurai is Matsuo Basho, who invented the haiku. They would use images to create a kind of setting. The samurai were taught the rituals of the tea ceremony, which created peace. Each part had to be done in a specific way. The samurai were taught to do this.
In the 12th century, a person named Honen made this religion called Amida Buddhism. Amida was an Indian prince. They said that everyone could go to paradise relying on the mercy of Amida. They prayed his name up to 70,000 times a day.
In Zen Buddhism, focus and disciplime were the two things that were highlighted. To reach enlightment, they would give up everyday thinking. Zen masters created gardens with carefully arranged gardens.
Women in Samurai Society
The role of women lessened as time passed, though they were respected at the start.
The wives of samurai were respected, and if their husband died, they could inherit it all. They may even go into battle along with their husband. This was the role of women in the 12th century.
As the culture of the warriors developed, the role of women declined. They were treated as inferior to their husbands. Girls did not even choose their husbands, snd women had no power at all. This was in the 17th century.