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Transcript of Samurai Timeline
Samurais began training when they were thirteen years old. They were taught to be brave, strong, and alert. They were also taught to live by the samurai code of rules, also known as Bushido. Their most important skill was sword fighting and had to fight unarmed. If they weren't training to fight other warriors, they were studying meditation to clear their minds.
Decline of Samurai
Samurais were professional trained warriors defending their properties. Samurai means
and they hadn't always been born into their class. They started off as tax collectors, collecting tax from commoners. Soon they began conquering lands and served for their lord the Daimyo, which were Japan's large landowners.
The samurai used many different weapons to protect themselves. The main sword that they used was the Katana, it was the largest and sharpest sword that they carried and was considered the
of the samurai. Another sword they would use was slightly smaller than the Katana, and was called the Wakizashi. Lastly, the smallest sword they used was the Tanto. Samurais slept with a Tanto to protect themselves at night from their spouse. Later on, they started using guns, bows and arrows, and spears.
Bushido literally meant
"the way of the warrior"
. It was a code of conduct that samurais had to follow in order to teach them how to behave. It included honor, loyalty, and skill in battle. One aspect that Bushido was very well known for was dieing an honorable death rather than living a dishonorable one. If they were to live a dishonorable one, it is highly suggested that they commit
, which is when one cuts their abdomen.
Both Buddhism and Confucianism helped influence samurais to be fair. Buddhism also taught them how to behave off of the battlefield. For example, how to raise children, dress appropriately, and care for elders.
Self-discipline was a major influence on samurais. They thought that having self-discipline would help make them better warriors, so they practiced ikebana, performed tea ceremonies, and meditated. It was also very common to write a poems before going into battle. All of these practices helped calm the samurais soul.
When samurais began to use guns as part of their weapons, they realized that it wasn't as honorable as fighting with swords. When fighting in battle, samurais were supposed to fight fairly and face-to-face, however, having someone hide and shoot from a distance wasn't considered honorable at all. This lead to Japan going into isolationism. During this time, it was also Japan's Golden Age, which meant there were no wars, so many samurais became administrative bureaucrats because they had nowhere to fight. In 1853, United States ships sailed into Japan and forced them to open their trade. So as quickly as possible, they become a modern army and were ready to fight.
Samurais wore very light armor, however, it was still heavy enough for them to protect themselves. The armor included extremely intricate details and crazy crests on their helmets.