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Feudal Japan: Samurai

Samurai: Their Origin And Impact

Samurai or Bushi means 'one who serves'. Samurais were the members of the guardian clan of imperial court who eventually became the warrior administrators when Japan was reigned by the Feudal Lords. When court rule weakened and feudal system flourished, these men rose to power.

Their time is roughly around 1185-1868, an era when they held warrior governments like Military rule for around 700 years. Several Samurai governments like Kamakura, Ashikaga, Tokugawa etc., mushroomed with their own specific characteristics and unique traditions.

Their contribution during their reign

With time, Samurai began to imply the trained soldiers who were experts in wielding sword along with other weapons like bows and arrows. Their fighting techniques were the pre-cursors to the Japanese name of martial arts and sword training that have carried on even to the present day. Sword wielding and Kendo, a martial art form of fencing are primarily rooted in Samurai traditions and combat techniques. But these nobles were not just men of action for the sake of fight. They were chivalrous men who lived by exemplary personal and professional standards known as the Bushido Code. Samurai, who were local administrators, had to safeguard their own people from the aristocrats who began to exploit civilians for economic benefits. Their unwavering conduct guided by strong reasoning brought exceptional decisiveness in their rule. They knew what was right and had the courage to take the right action. Love and mercy for their people made them fully aware of their role as an administrator who had to make sure his people lived happily in times of peace as much as in times of war. They set examples for their children and civilians alike to live a life of manliness, both in war and outside of it. As much as they believed in their inner strength, they were also very polite and courteous in their conduct expressing true noble traits.

A glance at how they lived their lives

These warriors lived a simple life. Money was believed to hinder wisdom so much that even counting machines and use of abacus was condemned in their life. A class built on abstinence as the way of starving senses and a focus on the inner light so as to breed able leadership qualities in themselves. These warriors held patience as high as force. Shooting tempers on provocation was considered a sign of dishonour to a Samurai. Aggression on the battle field was a necessity for their way of life but impatience was not accommodated in any way.

Samurai warriors were most loyal to their chiefs and Loyalty was a supremely important trait upheld by these men. Though a very distinct virtue of the Feudal era, Samurai were most popularly known for their loyalty more than anything else. Reasoning was their strength but beyond logic every Samurai warrior lived a life of high moral standards being the human models of morality for their successors and people alike. Samurai warriors believed that character building was the primary education that every human aspiring to be a Samurai should be imparted. A man's action guided by his superior intellect and a heart of virtues was the true symbol of living a Samurai life.

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