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Samurai in Shogunate Japan
Transcript of Samurai in Shogunate Japan
Meet my friend Sam.
Sam U. Rai. He is showing his armour to us.
- Samurai had two sets of armour: one for when they are in battle, another for ceremonies.
- The armour, in the early periods, was made of small scales of lacquered leather tied together in tiny rows using miniscule silk threads.
- The underarms were the most vulnerable to the opponent’s weaponry. So iron was padding that area.
- The most valuable part of weaponry for a Samurai was the sword.
- Apart from the Daimyo, Samurai were the only people that were permitted to carry two swords.
- These swords were:
> a wakizashi , a shorter sword, about 50 cm.
> a katana, a longer sword, about 61 cm.
- Worn together, they were called daisho.
I appreciate your patience.
Thank you for listening
- “Samurai” means “those who serve” in English.
- They were professional warriors, classed lower in the feudal hierarchy whom they pledged loyalty to: the Shogun and Daimyo.
- They were based in Japan.
- The Samurai were formed in the 12th century.
- Both males and females were accepted to be Samurai.
- Males fought in the wars whilst females guarded properties in their own territory from being destroyed.
- Samurai were relied upon greatly by the Daimyo to conquer warring states and to protect their own land.
- In 1615, Japan wasn’t at war anymore, so Samurai services were no longer required.
- Because of this, Shoguns taught Samurai skills not usually associated with fighting.
- These included: a development of basic skills, such as reading, writing and accounting; writing poetry; practicing calligraphy and practicing the tea ceremony.
- All of the above were also practiced in a Samurai’s spare time.
- But a normal day would be guarding properties, train, be on the watch for any attackers and attending to his master.
The Daily Life of a Samurai
- Samurai fighters believed that death was nothing to be afraid of; it was an honour to be killed in the wars.
- In some instances, Samurai committed seppuku or hara kiri, meaning ritual suicide.
- In most cases, this involved the warrior disembowelling themselves.
- The main cases are:
> If their Lord or servant died
> If they offended a Shogun
> If they survived a lost battle
> If they fell into the hands of an enemy, alive
- To prove their loyalty and warrior-ability, it was essential for new Samurai to behead an enemy during the battle.
- This is what the warrior would do if they wanted to:
> Climb the ranks of his profession
> Have his/her name marked on a well-made arrow
> Get professional writers to write stories of their success
- It is also said that if one beheaded an enemy, the head was displayed to the Gods in the hope that they will achieve greater success in future battles.
- The main impact of the Samurai was the “Bushido Code” (Way of the Warrior). The Samurai have practiced this code and the Medieval Japanese people have been influenced by the important warriors and they too believed in the principles and values of the Bushido.
- The Bushido meant that you not only had to be a skilled fighter, but also a respectful, loyal and honouring person.
- The honour of becoming a skilled Samurai was only acquired once they have endured through a tough several years of training. They also had to have been given permission by Shoguns, the more powerful warriors.
- Minamoto Yoritomo, a famous Shogun warrior, promoted virtues including honour, loyalty and courage to the Samurai, values that were somewhat similar to the Bushido.
Was there an impact?
Info: Pearson Australia Group ltd pty
Nelson History Essentials 2