In Japan, a samurai is a warrior who swears loyalty to a lord. He is trained in sword fighting and archery, and has a code of honor known as bushido. The samurai is an emblem of Japan and has influenced Japanese culture, art, manga, and fashion.
During the feudal era of Japan, samurai wore their armor and sword, and served their landowners as private security contractors. Their role was to defend their masters and their families against intruders, and they were expected to uphold a code of honor to ensure that they could be trusted by their masters.
The samurai were part of a system that began to develop after the nation underwent a series of reforms in 646 A.D. The country was experiencing a social crisis and needed to adopt a new form of government, which involved a system of re-appropriating land and assigning it to a few powerful landowners. This change, called “Taika,” was implemented in order to re-establish a strong sense of order and stability.
After this period, samurai became leaders of their clans and were able to influence the political structure of Japan. As a result, the samurai became a key player in Japanese history and a symbol of power for many centuries to come.
The samurai’s older writing technology was in the form of small suzuri Go To Website or a calligraphy set that they carried in their arrow stands, similar to the traditional tachi and ko-ga (Marshall, 2009). Around 1185 AD, samurai began carrying yatate, which were portable self-contained writing sets that made them easy to carry while on religious pilgrimages. This was also a great advantage during the Edo period, as citizens were allowed to travel to religious pilgrimages.
This technology allowed samurai to document their journey and spread the word of Shintoism, as well as draw illustrations of the pilgrimage. This new portable writing technology also helped to expand the samurai’s literary and artistic world.
Writers who used yatate during the Edo period include the Genji samurai Kiso Yoshinaka, who is documented as using yatate in his writing (Marshall, 2009; Stutler, 2009). The story Heike Monogatari explains that samurai used yatate to record their pilgrimage, and it was later popularized by the painter Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849).
How Was Samurai Education?
The samurai’s education was a complex system that included both a literary arts and culture component and a skill-based component. The text provides brief descriptions of bun and bu, the two most important components of a samurai’s education, as well as several excerpts from samurai authors. Students are asked to paraphrase each excerpt and note any questions or conclusions they have.
After the reading activities are completed, students are asked to demonstrate what they have learned about samurai by writing two haiku poems. One poem addresses a topic that the samurai would have likely considered when he was a child, such as battle or death, and the other is about something more personal, such as family or nature. The two haiku poems can be read side by side and can help students think about the samurai’s “real” and “imagined” life.