The Samurais Influence On Culture And Culture In Japan

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The Samurais Influence On Culture And Culture In Japan

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Japan: History, Geography, Economy \u0026 Culture

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Samurai were a class of highly skilled warriors that arose in Japan after the Taika reforms of A. The reforms forced many small farmers to sell their land and work as tenant farmers. Over time, a few large landholders amassed power and wealth, creating a feudal system similar to that of medieval Europe. To defend their riches, Japanese feudal lords hired the first samurai warriors, or "bushi. Some samurai were relatives of the landowners they protected, while others were simply hired swords.

The samurai code emphasized loyalty to one's master—even over family loyalty. History shows that the most loyal samurai were usually family members or financial dependents of their lords. During the s, the weak emperors of the Heian Era lost control of rural Japan and the country was torn apart by revolt. The emperor's power was soon restricted to the capital, and across the country, the warrior class moved in to fill the power vacuum. After years of fighting, the samurai established a military government known as the shogunate. By the early s, the warriors had both military and political power over much of Japan. The weak imperial line received a fatal blow to its power in when Emperor Toba died without a clear successor.

His sons, Sutoku and Go-Shirakawa, fought for control in a civil war known as the Hogen Rebellion of In the end, both would-be emperors lost and the imperial office lost all its remaining power. During the civil war, the Minamoto and Taira samurai clans rose to prominence. They fought one another during the Heiji Rebellion of After their victory, the Taira established the first samurai-led government and the defeated Minamoto were banished from the capital of Kyoto. The two clans fought once more in the Genpei War of to , which ended in victory for the Minamoto.

Following their victory, Minamoto no Yoritomo established the Kamakura Shogunate , retaining the emperor as a figurehead. The Minamoto clan ruled much of Japan until In , an external threat appeared. Fortunately for Japan, a typhoon destroyed the Mongols' ships, and a second invasion fleet in met the same fate. Despite such incredible help from nature, the Mongol attacks cost the Kamakura dearly. Unable to offer land or riches to the samurai leaders who rallied to Japan's defense, the weakened shogun faced a challenge from Emperor Go-Daigo in After being exiled in , the emperor returned and overthrew the shogunate in The Kemmu Restoration of imperial power lasted only three years. In , the Ashikaga shogunate under Ashikaga Takauji reasserted samurai rule, though this new shogunate was weaker than that of the Kamakura.

Regional constables called " daimyo " developed considerable power and meddled with the shogunate's line of succession. By , the daimyos were ignoring orders from the shogun and backing different successors to the imperial throne. When the shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, resigned in , a dispute between backers of his younger brother and his son ignited even more intense fighting among the daimyo. In , this squabbling erupted into the decade-long Onin War, in which thousands died and Kyoto was burned to the ground. Between and , various daimyos led their clans in a fight for national dominance, and nearly all of the provinces were engulfed in the fighting. The code was called bushido. The word, bushido, simply means, the way of the warrior. One of the beliefs bushido empahasised was that dying for their masters was more honorable than to live without showing courage.

Samurai armour with a sea shell helmet design. A lot of people in the higher classes, including samurais were strong followers of zen buddism during feudal Japan. The popularity emerged during the Kamakura period. Bushido was also a result of the rising popularity of zen buddhism as they believed its philosophy gave them inner strength during battle and embrace death rather than be afraid of it.

Samurais were considered very powerful figures during feudal Japan and, therefore, had a number of privileges over common people. For example, they were allowed to wear two weapons in public, one long and one short sword. This enabled them to display their high social status and gain respect from those in the lower classes. Furthermore, they were allowed to punish or kill anyone who had offended them in anyway. Although it was rare, there were some female samurais. The roles of female samurais differed significantly from male samurais. For instance, it was not very often that female samurais fought in battle. Their roles were seen as more protecting their families, as well as assisting their samurai husbands with taking revenge on his behalf.

Typically, weapons that female samurais carried was a smaller dagger or a lighter naginata, opposed to heavy katanas handles by male samurais. A full suit of samurai armour from the feudal Japan period. During battle, samurais often wore helmets made from iron plates to protect themselves from arrow attacks. Some samurais wore iron masks for a number of different reasons; to protect their faces and to intimidate the enemies.

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