The Rise of a Military Society:
How did Japan become a military society?
When Minamoto Yoritomo came to power he set up a military government. He and his successors rewarded warriors, or samurai's, with appointments to office and grants of land. The rise of the samurai brought a new emphasis on military values in Japanese cultures.
Shogun: Supreme military commander. Ruled on the emperor's behalf.
Daimyo: Japanese lord with large landholdings and a private samurai army.
Loyalties: The shoguns would give land to the samurai's in exchange for loyalty and protection.
They used heavy armor made out of many metals such as iron. They had many rows of small metal plates coated together with lacquer and were laced together with silk. Metal sleeves covered his arms. Under they wore colorful robes (called kimono's) and baggy trousers. They used iron masks meant to frighten the opponents as well as protect their face. Shinguards were made of leather or cloth and protected their legs. There were boxlike panels of armor that covered the chest and back, and shoulder guards were also worn.
Bows and arrows, spears, and swords. The swords were flexible enough not to break but hard enough to be razor sharp and could cut off heads.
Young samurai's had to learn archery and shoot without thinking (even in horseback). They learned how to breathe properly and had to learn how to fence and force an enemies to make his first move.
Samurai Training and the Warrior Code:
Becoming a Samurai:
You had to be born into a samurai clan but boys could be taught as little as age 7. Girls could also become samurai's too.
Young samurai's had to practice archery. They also learned to fight using martial arts and other weapons.
They had to learn self control and how to endure pain and suffering onto their opponents.
The code samurai's had to follow. It translates to "the way of the warrior" and it taught samurai's to be honest, fair, and fearless in the face of death.
Other Values and Customs:
Were expected to value loyalty and personal honor. The duty was to be loyal to his lords, even gladly dying for him.
Means a ritual suicide. Some reasons for preforming seppuku included: to preserve personal honor, avoid getting captured, atone for a crime, or when their lord/daimyo died. They may be ordered to preform seppuku for doing a crime that is punishable.
Training in Writing, Literature, and Tea Ceremony:
Samurai's practiced calligraphy (the art of writing), and wrote poetry. A famous samurai poet was called "Matsuo Basho", who invented haiku. Haiku poems were poems with 3 lines- 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and 5 syllables.
The tea ceremony fostered a spirit for harmony, reverence, and calm. Also it served as an important way to form political alliances among samurai.
How the Tea Was Prepared:
A tea master invited guests to a small room that was decorated with simple scroll painting or artistic flower arrangement. Then, the tea master prepared hot water and mixed it with a powdered green tea.
A monk named "Honen" founded a form of Amida Buddhism. He said that believers could reach paradise by the mercy of Amida- who was an Indian prince who set up a western paradise called "the Pure Land". Believers could enter the Pure Land by prayerfully repeating Amida for more than 70,000 times a day.
Appealed to many samurai's because of its emphasis on effort and discipline. Stressed self-reliance and achieving enlightenment through meditation. Also to become enlightened, you have to give up all logical thinking. Zen masters created gardens for people who want to mediate.
Women in Samurai Society:
Role of Women:
The position of a women in samurai society declined over time,
Life in 12th Century:
Enjoyed considerable status. A wife helped manage the household and promoted family's interests.
Tomoe Gozen: A famous, female samurai warrior who killed several enemies in a battle.
Koman: Another famous, female samurai warrior who saved her clan's banner by swimming to shore with arrows in her mouth.
Life in 17th Century:
Samurai men were the lords of the households instead of the women. The women couldn't even choose their own husbands at this time and had to have arranged marriages by their parents for increased wealth and better position.