Informative Samurai Essay Izaiah
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The History and Culture of Samurai

Samurai for most of the time were extremely loyal, they were so loyal they practiced a method called Seppuku or was also called Harkiri, where they would cut open their stomachs committing suicide to show honor instead of falling in the enemies hands. Samurais had a number of practices out of loyalty, and had a number of duties that kept society in order. Samurais were higher up in society and to tell if someone was a samurai, they would always carry their samurai sword wherever they went to show people they are a samurai. Samurais were a major part of Japanese culture and history and have a rich history but often people have many misconceptions about how they were actually like because of the stereotypes they use in movies.

A common misconception is that many people think the samurai sword was their main weapon, but it was actually bows, spears, and later on guns that decided most battles (Drixler & George 15) The samurai sword was more of a status symbol than an actual weapon. Many people admired the samurai sword for its beauty and mystery of its craftsmanship and people often paid lots of money for them. One Italian visitor to Japan noted that his host paid 4,500 ducats for a single famous sword-16 times its weight in gold. A samurai carried his sword or swords around to show their status. Quite often they would be at their homes too so they could impress visitors with their family's history and rank. They could also sometimes give it away as a gift. The swords were not only beautiful but they were among the sharpest and toughest in the world. Today they would even be considered impressive feats of engineering. Over a long time through trial and error they were able to create a beautiful and powerful sword. The samurai sword remains one of the greatest swords today because of their combination of beauty and power.

The Samurais way of life consisted of following the Bushido, a strict way of life for samurai stressing loyalty and honor for their country and family. It had 7 virtues to follow. They were not always loyal and could sometimes even be disloyal to their Shoguns. As Samurais followed the Bushido they were also trained from birth in fighting and they learned to become masters of the bow. At home their wives who were most of the time there had the role of raising the children and had to make sure they were brought up with the proper samurai ways. Samurais were always busy, in a typical day they would wake up eat, meditate, train, and then go collect taxes, or guard land for their Daimyo (one of the great lords-shogun). Shoguns are military commanders. Samurais lived a very busy and eventful life and were always following the Bushido.

Samurais were around for a long time. From about the early 1100s to the late 1800s. Weapons and armor began to develop around 660 bc but the first shogun Minamoto Yoritomo didn't appear until 1185. A Shogun was a military leader and Minamoto started to set up his samurai government giving samurais certain rights such as being allowed to carry your sword in public etc. Guns were introduced to the samurai in about mid 1500s and were now one of their more used weapons along with their bows and spears. Samurais continued to thrive but in 1867 Emperor Mutsuhito regained power then a year later introduced the five articles of oath which began ending the samurais. Later he also made it so anyone can join the army and in 1876 he ended samurais by passing a law that you couldn't wear your sword around. Samurais had a rich history and were a major part of Japanese history and in martial arts teachings they still teach many lessons samurais were taught.

Samurais were a particular interesting part of Japanese history for me because of all their cool weapons and armor and how aesthetically pleasing their things were. They have a real interesting history which include their swords and how many misconceptions people have of them. Another part I enjoyed about samurais was how loyal they were and how they always followed the Bushido and lived a busy and interesting life. The samurais played not only a major role in the past but even today as their teachings are passed on and people look back at them and are inspired by them.

Izaiah Asher Peer Review

Works Cited +++

Books

Turnbull, Stephen R.. The samurai : a military history. New York:Macmillan, 1977. Print.

Storry, Richard, and Forman, Werner. The way of the samurai. New York: Mayflower, 1981. Print.

Drixler, Fabian Franz, Peabody Museum of Natural History, Fleming, William D, Wheeler, and Robert George.

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