Who are samurai? What role did they play in Japanese history? What are the Laws of Bushido? What qualities should a samurai have? Why do some people nowadays strive to observe the norms of behavior characteristic of the samurai?
Over time, the central government in Japan weakened. The provincial rulers strove for complete independence. In this they relied on Japanese samurai knights.
Samurai are warriors who received land from the ruler of the region or another noble person for their service. The bulk of the samurai came from wealthy peasants. Another way was to provide land to domestic servants. The top of the samurai class was replenished also at the expense of the rulers of the provinces.
The life of a samurai was based on the Laws of Bushido (translated from Japanese – “The Way of the Warrior”). Faithfulness to the master, modesty, courage, and readiness for self-sacrifice were glorified as norms of behavior. The samurai, going on a campaign, took three vows: to forget your home, forget about your wife and children, forget about your own life. A persistent custom was the suicide of a samurai after the death of his master.
There were continuous wars between the samurai groups, which undermined the economy and the integrity of the country. In 1192, the leader of one of the groups appropriated the title of shogun (commander-in-chief) and became the de facto ruler of Japan, pushing the emperor out of power. The shogunate institute existed in Japan until the second half of the 19th century.
In the XIII century. the Japanese managed to repel the Mongols’ attempt to seize their country. However, then a strife broke out, ending with the overthrow of the shogun from the Minamoto dynasty. After years of struggle, the Ashikaga shogunate was established in the country.
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