For seven centuries, the Samurai were Japan’s warrior class. As a class of warriors and knights, they dominated society in feudal Japan. Their code or “Way of the warrior”, bushido (History of the Samurai-www), called for a life of duty, discipline and self control, on and as well as off the battlefield (History of the World- Houghton Mifflin Company- Boston288). His loyalty and bravery to his lord was much more important than his loyalty to his friends, family and even their emperor. Their philosophy was one of freedom from fear (World Surfari-www), and for these reasons, The Samurai were the ultimate stoic warriors. The word samurai was derived from the Japanese word for service, saburau(Grolier Electronic Publishing, 1993), for they served their masters faithfully. They would die if necessary for them. The Daimyo or feudal landowners used the samurai to protect their land and to expand their rights to more land. The Samurai would transcend their fear of death; this made them the stoic warriors that they were. As experts in fighting on horseback as well as on the ground they wore two swords. This was called Daisho(World Surfari-www).
The long sword was called the daito-katena(Ibid.). It was more than twenty four inches long. The shorter sword was called shoto wakizashi. It was between twelve to twenty four inches (Ibid.). Their swords were the “souls” of the worship. A good sword was tougher and sharper. The swords were tested before they were used by the samurai. The sword tester used the new blades to cut through corpses and bodies of condemned criminals. (World Surfari-www) The test results were put on the nakago, the small metal piece on the sword blade or handle (Ibid.). Another weapon, the nagita, was used by a foot soldier on a horseman. The foot soldier would cut. The tendons of the horse and disembowel them. The samurai went from military retainers, to military aristocrats, to military rulers (Japan, Richard Storry18). The medieval samurai were often illiterate, rural, landowners who farmed in-between battles. They were assassins of the night and at the same time keepers of peace. The samurai would spend his life perfecting his military skills.
Honor was one of the most important things to a samurai. If a samurai felt dishonored in any way he would commit seppuku. Seppuku means ritual suicide (Japan, Cultures of the World- Rex Shelley104). It is also called hara-kiri which means belly-slitting. This method of self-disembowelment was the only honorable form of death for a disgraced noble or a samurai. This method of self-disembowelment is still sometimes practiced in Japan. The Samurai were faithful to their masters. In fact they were more faithful to them than to their emperors and families. They had an unwritten code called Bushido, the way of the warrior. The Samurai could not ever be disgraced. If they were ever disgraced, they would commit ritual suicide, Seppuku. They lived plain lives and strived to improve their skills in fighting. Their philosophy was one of freedom from fear and for all of these reasons; The Samurai were the ultimate stoic warriors.
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