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An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


-Term for nobility of pre-industrial Japan.
-They followed a set of rules that came to be known as bushido.
-While they made up less than 10% of Japan's population, samurai teachings can be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts

-In the early Heian period, basically the late 8th and 9th centuries, Emperor Kammu decided to expand his rule in northern Honshu. He introduced the title of Seiitaishgoun or shogun, and began to rely on these powerful soldiers to remove any of the Emishi people.
-These soliders, skilled in mounted combat and archery(kyudo), these warriors became the emperor's preferred tool for removing rebellious people.
-The title of shogun was not used until the 13th century.
-These clans formed alliances to protect themselves from other clans, and by the time of the Heian period, they adopted characteristic Japanese armor and weapons, and that is how they laid the foundation for Bushido, their code of honor
-In the 14th century, a blacksmith named Masamune created a two-layer material for soft and hard steel for swords. This gave the item a much more improved cutting power and endurance. This led to the creation of Japanese swords(katana) being used.

-Samurai developed their own cultures that influenced Japanese culture as well. This culture associated with the samurai included tea ceremony, monochrome ink painting, rock gardens, and poetry. These were adapted from the Chinese arts. Zen monks introduced them to Japan and they were allowed to decline due to interest of powerful warriors.

-In general, samurai warriors were aristocrats, and priests who had a very high literacy rate in Kanji.
-How samurai got their names is they combined one kanji from his father or grandfather, and one new kanji.

-How samurai got married is it was arranged by someone with the same or higher rank
-Marriage was a necessity for those in upper ranks, and for lower ranked samurai, it was a formality.
-Most of them married a woman from a samurai family, but for lower ranking members, marriage to commoners was okay.
-If a samurai wanted a mistress, her background was given a very strong looking over by a higher ranked samurai.
-A samurai could divorce his wife for various reasons, with approval from a superior, but it was nonexistent. A reason for divorce could be that the wife could not produce a valuable son, but the adoption was the answer for divorce. And even if he simply did not like his wife, he could divorce her. If the wife were cast off because of dishonor, she could commit jigai(a female's seppuku)
Japanese swords
-I.e. Katana(long sword), wakizashi(side inserted sword)
The Yumi(longbow)
-Major weapon of the Japanese military
-Made from bamboo, wood, rattan, leather
-Had a range of 50 meters

Pole weapons

Staff weapons
-Bo(bamboo staff)

Chain weapons
Kusarigama(chain sickle)

-Early armor made from leather or iron
-Later armor was made from iron
-Had a helmet, called a kabuto, to protect the samurai's face from weapons

Pop Culture
-There have been films made over the years to feature these warriors.
-The Seven Samurai(Akira Kurosawa) was made in the 1950s and is entirely in Japanese language with English subtitles. This one rocks!!
-In Japanese comics(manga) or animation(anime), the Samurai are very popular topics. They mostly feature a good guy who is a samurai or a former samurai who possesses martial arts skills. Even American comic books have adapted the Samurai into their comics.

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