Samurai Info

SAMURAI - Japanese
Connections to…The Samurai’s
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
 Therefore, shoguns always
treated the emperors with
 Emperors carried out religious
ceremonies and safeguarded
Japanese tradition.
 However, it was the shogun
who ruled the Japanese
Shogunate History
 First shogun was Minamoto
 Military governments of the
shoguns called
 First = Kamakura Shogunate
 Second = Muromachi
Shogunate (1333-1573).
 Third = Tokugawa Shogunate
 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
Zen Monks
Peasants (mostly farmers)
Samurai Training
 Samurai means “those who
 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
 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
 COURAGE: be brave even
against impossible odds; don’t
 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
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
 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
 When it rained the chords
became soaked making the
armor weigh even more.
 Dressing in battle gear was
 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
 Castles towns were big
because they housed the
daimyo, his family, his
servants, and much of his
 The castle itself also served
as the political and economic
center of all the lands the
daimyos owned.
Japanese Castle Town
 Mostly built on high hills
 Moats were first line of
 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
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