Interesting facts about samurai

Despite the fact that the term "samurai" was used in Japan to refer to the military nobility, it actually means service. The samurai was literally a servant. In our current understanding, samurai are associated with elite troops or a military closed caste. At the height of samurai rule, the number of samurai reached 10% of the country's population. The samurai were fearless warriors and probably became the most popular segment of the population in ancient Japan.

Samurai women.

The word "samurai" is a strictly masculine term, and there were also women in the Japanese social class "Bushi" who received similar training in swordsmanship and combat strategy. The samurai women were called "Onna Bugeisha" and they fought alongside men.

If the samurai used the katana, then the weapon of women, as a rule, was the naginata - a spear taller than a human being with a blade resembling a long curved sword. Such a weapon, compared to the rest, was relatively light and quite effective.

Archaeological excavations have proved that in the battle of 1580 at Senbon Matsubaru, "female samurai" also participated, 35 skeletons of women were discovered after DNA analysis. Even they practiced the Harakiri ritual, if they were forced by their husband or the local captain, only in comparison with the men, they cut their throats.

Western samurai.

Who watched the film "The Last Samurai" knows that in special, rare conditions, a stranger could receive the status of a samurai.

History knows of four Western men who were awarded the status of a samurai: the Englishman William Adams, the Dutch Jan Josten van Lodenstein and Edward Schnell, and the naval officer Eugene Kollak.

Samurai physical characteristics.

Formidable weapons and massive clothing made the samurai look like giants. In fact, most samurai were small in stature. The 16th century samurai was between 1.60 and 1.65 meters tall. During the same 16th century, for example, the growth of a European knight reached from 1.80 to 1.96 m.

Samurai sword.

In Japan, only samurai were allowed to wield weapons. They could kill any person, be it a man, a woman or even a child, for no reason, without reporting to anyone, but the main condition was that the victims were lower in social status.

The samurai carried a variety of weapons. In the 4th century they carried a sword called "Chokuto", it is unknown whether this sword is Japanese or imported from China. Closer to the 15th century, the Chokuto was replaced by the Katana, the samurai curved sword.

Samurai is a local judge.

Since the thirteenth century, samurai have also served as local judges in accordance with the rules laid down by the shogunate government. Punishments were based not only on the seriousness of the crime, but also on the social status of the offender: the higher the social status, the more severe the punishment.

Marriage and family in the samurai world.

The marriage was considered valid only after the birth of the first child. If a woman could not give birth to an heir to a samurai, then a samurai could freely take a concubine for himself without the consent of his wife. A samurai could divorce his wife, or he could disown his wife, in which case the children stayed with him.

Samurai, who could not afford the luxury of having more wives, made mistresses for themselves without any scandals from their wife. In samurai families, the woman was respected, she ran the house and took care of the upbringing of children. The samurai's wife had to be able to shoot well from a bow and perfectly wield a halberd. If necessary, then fight alongside her husband.

Same-sex samurai relationships.

Like many other warrior cultures, such as the Spartans, samurai not only considered same-sex relationships normal, but also actively encouraged them. Sexual relations usually occurred between young students and the teacher who trained them - this practice was known as wakashudo ("the way of youth") and was practiced in the samurai environment from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. It was believed that shudo has a beneficial effect on young men, teaching them dignity, honesty and a sense of beauty, as opposed to women's love, which "softens" men.

Code of the Bushido Samurai.

The word bushido consists of three characters. The first two make up the word bushi - the essence of a warrior. The third hieroglyph - "to" - indicates the path. Bushido demanded unquestioning loyalty to the feudal lord, suicide in cases where the honor of the samurai was disgraced, the prohibition of lies and attachment to money.

A ritual custom of samurai suicide.

Called "Harakiri, " which meant "ripping open the belly, " or, in a more elegant Chinese word, Seppuku, was a voluntary act of suicide to avoid humiliation of captivity, to demonstrate faith in one's master, or to protest against the unfair behavior of a direct superior.

For the execution of the ritual suicide "Seppuku" a special dagger was taken, a place was chosen (in some medieval houses there were rooms or courtyards intended for this purpose), where witnesses were present. One of the witnesses, the samurai's best friend, beheaded or cut the carotid artery after ripping open the abdomen by the samurai.

Before the Seppuku ritual, a captive samurai was allowed to compose a farewell poem, which was then sent to his family along with the prisoner's head and ashes.

I hope you enjoyed the article "Interesting facts about the samurai" and learned for yourself something new about the life of a samurai in Ancient Japan.