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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Samurai

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The privileged Japanese warriors, who were carrying katanas, and were guided by the Bushido code kept their honor until death.

Since childhood, these fearless warriors have been taught self-discipline, building a sense of duty. They rejected material goods and any form of fear – especially that of death.

In the period from 1603 to 1867, they became the ruling military class and the highest social class in Japan. Bold samurai always kept their honor in front of their needs.

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These are the most interesting facts about samurai.

Honor above all

The very word “samurai” means “one who serves in the name of honor.” Seppuku explained how important was this principle in the lives of the samurai. It is a voluntary act or punishment that implies that the samurai who don’t follow consistent bushido – “warrior’s path” – either die at the hands of their enemies or commit suicide.

The most famous form of this ritual suicide involves the warrior stabbing his stomach with a blade and moving it left to right. Afterward, the other samurai decapitates him, otherwise, death would be too painful.

They weren’t just warriors

The samurai weren’t different from other warriors around the world just because of an unusual armor and katana. They were politically active and educated, they wrote poetry, made flower arrangements, knew maths well …

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They didn’t just use katanas

Although “the samurai’s soul is in his katana”, they most often used the chokutō, a thinner and shorter version of the straight swords. As sword-making techniques progressed, more crooked swords were used – until katanas developed.

However, they were’tt the only weapons the samurai used. They also used wooden weapons such as sticks, chainsaws, longbows (Yumi), spears (Yari and Naginata) … After developing the technology, they started using cannons and a rifle tanegashima .

There were also women samurai

Although at that time women in other cultures were in a subordinate position and were waiting for their spouses, fathers, sons, and brothers to return from the wars, women in Japan were in a different situation. Namely, they had political influence and were part of this fearless and elite class. The Japanese known as Onna-bugeisha fought side by side with men and followed the same code of conduct and philosophy of life.

However, instead of the katana, they mostly used a naginata, a spear more than one and a half meters long with a curved sword on top.

Wakashūdo 

Homosexuality among the samurai wasn’t a taboo topic. Moreover, experienced warriors who were teaching younger men and boys were allowed, if they agreed, to make love with their students.

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