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End Of Japanese Samurai By: David Watkins Japanese Feudalism Facts • For more than 200 years, from 1600 to 1868, the entire Japanese social structure revolved around support of the samurai military establishment. During that time period, though, there were no major wars. Most samurai served as bureaucrats. • The samurai class basically lived on a form of social security. They were paid a set stipend, in rice, and did not get raises for cost-ofliving increases. As a result, some samurai families had to turn to the manufacture of small goods like umbrellas or toothpicks to make a living. They would secretly pass these items on to peddlers to sell. Shogun Definition - a hereditary military dictator of Japan; the shoguns ruled Japan until the revolution of 1867-68 Daimyo Definition - the Japanese Lord of the Land (10th - 19th century Japan). It is literally "Great Names", these were the heads of powerful clans who controlled domains and provinces in medieval Japan Samurai Definition - a Japanese warrior who was a member of the feudal military aristocracy Code of Bushido • Of ancient origin, it grew out of the old feudal bond that required unwavering loyalty on the part of the vassal. It borrowed heavily from Zen Buddhism and Confucianism. In its fullest expression the code emphasized loyalty to one's superior, personal honor, and the virtues of austerity, self-sacrifice, and indifference to pain. For the warrior, commerce and the profit motive were to be scorned. The code was first formulated in the Kamakura period (1185 1333) and put into writing in the 16th cent.; the term itself, however, did not come into use until the 17th cent. • Japan. In the mid-19th century Bushidō was made the basis of ethical training for the whole society, with the emperor replacing the feudal lord, or daimyo, as the object of loyalty and sacrifice. As such it contributed to the rise of Japanese nationalism and to the strengthening of wartime civilian morale up to 1945. Samurai Weapons • • • The first samurai swords we're actually straight bladed, single edged weapons imported from Korea and China known as chokuto, which were later replaced with the curved blade variety at the end of the 8th Century. The name of the curved blade swords which replaced them was Tachi. The reason for this transformation was samurai found that a curved sword could be drawn from the scabbard more swiftly and provided a far more effective cutting angle. The point of a samurai sword is called a Kissaki. This is the hardest part of the sword to polish and forge and to hand create a quality one would require an extremely skilful artisan. The value of a sword is determined largely by the quality of the point. Samurai would use wooden swords (Bokken) for practice for safety reasons as well as for preserving their real swords from unnecessary damage Samurai Women • Nonetheless, for thousands of years, certain upper class Japanese women have learned martial skills and participated in fighting. • Between the 12th and 19th centuries, many women of the samurai class learned how to handle the sword and the naginata (a blade on a long staff) primarily to defend themselves and their homes. In the event that their castle was overrun by enemy warriors, the women were expected to fight to the end and die with honor, weapons in hand. • Some young women were such skilled fighters that they rode out to war beside the men, rather than sitting at home and waiting for war to come to them. Here are pictures of some of the most famous among them. Samurai Hair • A top knot is the most common hair style for Samurai’s. Hair is really important to Samurai’s. End Of Japanese Samurai • The Samurai rose to prominence in the Heian Period of Japanese history, which was between the periods of AD 794 to AD 1185. The powerful Daimyo began to hire these Samurai warriors to protect their properties. As the Japanese feudal lords grew in power, they continued to fight within themselves for more land and more power. This increased the importance of these Samurai Warriors. In 1192, a new military government was established by Minamoto Yoritomo, who was the ‘Shogun’ (the richest and most powerful Daimyo in the land) and the highest military officer. He also became the ruler of Japan.