Samurai Info

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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
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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.
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