さむらい
Samurai
侍
ショーン ライリー
と
ライアン マーチ
ぶしどう
The Way of the Warrior
武士道
Bushido is the code of conduct the samurai followed. It is split into
seven different sections.
 義 (ぎ) - Recitude, or morals.
 勇(ちゅう) - Courage
 仁 (ジん) - Benevolence
 礼 (れい) - Respect
ぶしどう
The Way of the Warrior
武士道
 誠 (まこと)- Honesty
 誉 (よ) - Honour
 忠 (ちゅう) - Loyalty
Others that are sometimes added to these:
 孝 (こ) - Respect for Elders
 智 (ち) - Wisdom
 悌 (てい) - Care for Elders
In response to Pearl Harbor :
“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible
resolve. “
-やまもと つねとも
Famous Samurai
There are several famous Samurai in Japan, but we will just highlight
two of the well-known ones!
むさし みやもと is Japan’s most famous samurai. He fought 48 sword
fights, and lost none. Throughout his adventures, he wrote the now
famous book; “The Book of Five Rings,” which is still commonly
studied today. After his forty-eighth battle, he was self-declared as
‘unbeatable’ and went on to become a hermit who lived in a cave. He
possessed a high-ranking in all aspects of bushido, and as such was
greatly respected by mostly all of Japan.
やまもと つねとも is famous for many of the quotes he has provided us
with. You will see many of his quotes along the bottom of the pages.
He also wrote the Hagakure, a famous bushido book.
ろにん
Rouge Samurai
炉人
A Ronin, which literally translates into ‘drifting person,’ is a
Samurai who lacks a master. Historically, they have been viewed as
dangerous and not a positive part of the era’s society.
みやもと むさし, one of the famed Samurai we talked about before,
was a Ronin himself. While it may seem cool to be free of anyone
else’s control, having the reputation of a Ronin was rarely a positive
thing and was quite disreputable.
“A military man can scarcely pride himself on having 'smitten a sleeping enemy'; it is
more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten.”
-やまもと つねとも
びき
Weapons
武器
The samurai are known to use the famous ‘かたな,’ and though they
did use that weapon, they used a variety of weapons. These weapons
included;
だいしょう –
A combination of a Katana and smaller blade, Wakizashi.
This is what most samurai would use as their basic weapon.
ゆみ –
Meaning longbow, many samurai were taught the art of
きゅじゅつ,
やり –
the skill of the bow.
The spear would not become popular for Samurai until the 15th
century. It was more a more strategy-oriented weapon.
よろい
Armor
鎧
Samurai armor is nothing like what medieval armor. It was not
made so much for protection, but for flexibility and speed. I lacked
the weight of a knight’s armor, and as such was easier to maneuver
around in and walk in. There was no need for help when putting to
armor on, as it was an easy process. Here are the steps!
一ど ー A silk robe was put on underneath the armor.
二ど ー The trousers (leggings) were put on.
三ど ー The samurai would then put on his shoes and tie his leg armor.
四ど ー Next, the arm plates we applied.
五ど ー The body armor was put on over the kimono.
六ど ー The protective “skirt” was put on.
七ど ー The shoulder pads were put on.
八ど ー The helmet was placed on the head.
せっぷく
Stomach-cutting
切腹
Seppuku is a type of suicide, considered honorable by the samurai. It
would involves taking a たんとう (short sword) and stabbing oneself in
the chest. This could be voluntary, or it could be demanded on behalf
of a Samurai’s master, which is known as おいばら. Eventually, the
ritual of Seppuku became a long ritual, which involved these steps:
First, the man would dress in his ceremonial robes. Then, he
would prepare for his death by writing a ‘death poem.’ After, with his
attendant standing by, he would open his kimono and plunge the たん
とう into his abdomen. Finally, the attendant would perform a だきくび
cut, which put a fast end to the samurai’s life. It was essentially
decapitation, but the head was still attached by a small tendon.
"I have found that the Way of the samurai is death. This means that when you are
compelled to choose between life and death, you must quickly choose death."
ーやまもと つねとも
Effects on Modern Society
The samurai have had various effects on today’s world. There
are manga (and in lieu of that, anime) based on the way of a samurai,
and many modern versions of entertainment have at least some form
of samurai influence. Here are some examples of the effects of the
samurai:
 Do you remember the comic and eventually television show ‘Usagi
Yojimbo?’ Probably not, but I bet you have probably seen the main
character before. He is a hare that is based on the famous swordsman
Miyamoto Musashi.
 Where to begin with the video game references? Mitsurugi from
Soulcalibur is a noticeable addition, as is Sodom from the Street
Fighter Series. Both these characters are based on samurai.
Effects on Modern Society
 Miyamoto’s book, ‘The Book of Five Rings,’ is used as a business
strategy for companies and lawyers.
 Star wars was influenced by the samurai, specifically the story of the
Seven Samurai. Darth Vader’s helmet is very similar to that of a
samurai warrior’s.
 Various forms of entertainment, such as anime and manga, are based
on Samurai. Some of these examples include ‘Samurai X’ and the
‘Super Sentai’ series, known to us as ‘Power Rangers.’
 Ronin have also inspired many characters and shows, such as the
character bluntly named ‘Ronin’ from the marvel series
‘The Avengers.’
Interesting Facts
 Though it was rare, females could also be samurai of the fighting
variety.
 Samurai believed their soul was in the katana they carried.
 A samurai’s name was usually comprised of one kanji from his father’s
or grandfather’s name, and one あたらしい kanji.
 Samurai, though seen as ruthless and sometimes un-intelligent in
many media portrayals, often were very literate.
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