The samurai or bushi were the warriors of premodern Japan. They later made up the ruling military class that eventually became the highest ranking social caste of the Edo Period Samurai employed a range of weapons such as bows and arrows, spears and guns, but their main weapon and symbol was the sword. Samurai were supposed to lead their lives according to the ethic code of bushido "the way of the warrior".
Netflix is releasing a new documentary drama about Japan's samurai warriors
The Age of the Samurai: | Asia for Educators | Columbia University
In , Japan began to be governed by warriors or samurai. Until this time the government had been bureaucratic in theory, but was actually aristocratic i. Even after , civil government at the Emperors court continued and the law and the state were not changed, but a new samurai class came to power and increasingly became the real rulers of the country. Some form of military leadership remained the form of government in Japan until , when a centralized bureaucratic government came into being with the Meiji Restoration. The following reading describes the various warrior governments from to , outlining the specific characteristics of each.
As servants of the daimyos, or great lords, the samurai backed up the authority of the shogun and gave him power over the mikado emperor. The samurai would dominate Japanese government and society until the Meiji Restoration of led to the abolition of the feudal system. Despite being deprived of their traditional privileges, many of the samurai would enter the elite ranks of politics and industry in modern Japan.
Bushido , or "the way of the warrior" is the guiding philosophy of the samurai - frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery and honour unto death. If you fancy dressing up as a samurai and wandering authentic samurai film sets, why not pay a visit to Kyoto's Toei Eigamura? A kind of Japanese Universal Studios, this film-studio-cum-theme-park makes a great day out and will give you an insight into the way samurai culture is reproduced and revered on Japanese film and TV.