Free Essay on the Samurais - Japan's Warrion Class
The Samurais, The Ultimate Stoics
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 "soul's" 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
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