SAMURAI - Japanese Warriors Connections to…The Samurai’s Tale Japanese History (11851868) Japan was ruled almost continuously by military warlords called SHOGUNS. Japanese emperors lived in Kyoto, the capital, and were religious and cultural leaders. Japanese believed that their emperors were directly descended from the Sun Goddess. Therefore, shoguns always treated the emperors with respect. Emperors carried out religious ceremonies and safeguarded Japanese tradition. However, it was the shogun who ruled the Japanese Shogunate History First shogun was Minamoto Yoritomo. Military governments of the shoguns called SHOGUNATES. First = Kamakura Shogunate (1192-1333). Second = Muromachi Shogunate (1333-1573). Third = Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867). Samurai’s Tale takes place towards the end of Muromachi blending into Tokugawa. Shogunate finally came to an end in 1868 and the emperor gained full power again. Feudal Society in Japan Emperor (little power) Shogun (all the power) Daimyo (large land owner) Samurai (warriors loyal to Daimyo) Zen Monks Peasants (mostly farmers) Artisans/Craftspeople Merchants Samurai Training Samurai means “those who serve.” Samurai must be born to samurai parents or be adopted by them. Most importantly, samurai boys were taught two basic skills-how to survive and how to kill. This included being taught sword fighting, wrestling, jujitsu, and archery. However, they also learned reading, writing, the proper way to walk, bow, and hold chopsticks. During peaceful times, samurai wrote poetry and Samurai Code-Bushido Bushido is the samurai code. Samurai’s honor or code is more important than their religion. A samurai who lost his honor was expected to kill himself in the ritual of seppuku or hara-kiri. LOYALTY: be loyal to master at all costs. COURAGE: be brave even against impossible odds; don’t retreat. HONESTY: never lie. JUSTICE: always act in a just and fair way toward others. BENEVOLENCE: show love, affection, and sympathy toward others, but no weakness. POLITENESS: always treat people in a proper manner with politeness. Samurai Arms Samurai fought with swords, lances, bows plus arrows, and later guns. Long sword = katana. Short sword = wakizashi. A good sword took a long time to create and would be decorated. Some swords were thought to have super-human powers. A few swords were given names. A sword could cut off an opponent’s head with one stroke. Young samurai received first sword at 5. Sword training focused on speed and accuracy. Began at 13 until age 22. Lances = about 8 feet long. Bows = about 7 feet long. Samurai Armor Much of samurai combat was hand-to-hand. Helmets were made of iron and were elaborate. Attached to brow were crests in the shape of horns, dragons, and fantastic creatures. Emblems identified warrior; symbolized bravery and were meant to scare enemies. Arm guards were made of small iron plates. Neck guard made of iron plates coated with lacquer and laced together with silk. Lacquer helped to stop rusting. Metal plates protected the knees and lower legs. Samurai Armor Continued Body armor made of iron plates and tied together with silk or leather chords. Body armor weighed about 25 pounds. When it rained the chords became soaked making the armor weigh even more. Dressing in battle gear was hard. After putting on a kimono, loose pants, and an outer jacket and pants, they had to strap on armor. Some hung their armor from the ceiling and had it lowered onto their shoulders. Japanese Castle Town Rich, powerful daimyos built large, beautiful castles. Castles were surrounded by high walls and moats. Builders designed castle towns for protection. Castle towns also showed off the daimyo’s wealth and importance. Castles towns were big because they housed the daimyo, his family, his servants, and much of his army. The castle itself also served as the political and economic center of all the lands the daimyos owned. Japanese Castle Town Security Mostly built on high hills Moats were first line of defense. Outer and inner stone walls help to stop intruders. Inner stone walls had hidden holes or trap doors used for dropping heavy rocks or boiling liquids. All windows were barred. Samurai shot arrows and guns through slits in walls. Samurai stood watch at the gatehouse and watchtower. The keep was the highest part of the castle. That is where the daimyo and his family lived.