Samurai is battle specialists during Warring States Period (this period is overlap on Muromachi period and Azuchimomoyama period) until the end of Edo period (1603-1868) who served as force of high social position.
The word “Samurai” came from “Saburau” which means to serve. With a simple way to say, Samurai is a public kind of servant.
However, the definition of Samurai changed over time.
During the Warring States Period, Samurai became a name of force that has and dominate Katana sword even without a lord as mercenary with Katana sword.
People who was called Samurai, had to dominate their sword and military science and they had mind based on “Bushido”, which does not spare no effort or even life to realize an order for a lord.
Originally, Samurai was a kind of a job as a guardian for high social position people. Samurai of this period was born in high social position family and their position was high, too. But over time, the sign of the time changed warring period, people demands higher battle skill guardians. Even a person who was born in a poor family could be Samurai if the person gets a great result.
The most famous person of Bushi, Samurai and Shogun is Hideyoshi Toyotomi. He was born in a farmer but got a chance to be samurai and little by little obtained the lord’s trust. Finally, he made unification of whole country to finish Warring States Period.
During Edo period, nations enjoyed peaceful life and Samurai’s main justification of existence became weaker but as the top of the country was Shogun, there was not a large problem. However, after Shogunate, during Meiji period (modern history) Government prohibited to carry on Samurai sword and Samurai disappeared.
Ninja appeared around 12th century of the history. They worked for a lord and their main function were espionage, subversive activity, infiltration tactics and assassination.In general, people think their uniform color is black. But actually, black color will stand out in the night darkness. So they used dark brown or deep dark blue for their wear.There are three Ninjutsu (Ninja technique) books which were written during Edo period (1603-1868). As its secret, the techniques were oral instruction. Commonly, Ninja suggest their whole position and man Ninja. Women Ninja calls as “Kunoichi”. This is comes from a Japanese symbol Kanji “Onna” (means woman) by separating each stroke.
What is Bushido? Actually, Bushido is mind that Samurai (Bushi) must live to be as to be Samurai.
There is no written rule of Bushido. The most of it introduced in proverbs and handed down orally over time in the history.Bushido has strong and strict binding authority on their action and it is in their mind as morality of Samurai.
This is not a thing a person invented. Bushido developed in the history by them. The beginning of Bushido and Samurai matches in history.
As mentioned, Bushi got their position and fame by obtaining chance with result. Increasing the number of Samurai, a group set up an organization. And an organization to work needs a rule. The rules origin comes from the battle field manner such as not be meanness.That mind and Buhddism, Confucianism affected each other. As the result Bushido was born based on the mind of charity, righteousness, loyalty and filial piety.
Mind of charity and love to people. And act based on logical and moral.
Strongly respect to the lord and parents.
It says “the living way of Samurai can be found in the way of dying”. This sentence is too famous in Japan. This is a part of a book of Samurai “Hagakure” published around 1716.
This means Bushido is really the "Way of Dying" or living as though one was already dead, and that a samurai retainer must be willing to die at any moment in order to be true to his lord. Perhaps a Samurai can make it without loosing the life and mind however even the result is succeeded that Samurai is no a Samurai. He is a coward. The book is not saying Samurai’s life is so cheap. It wanted to say consider and be lived with the mind, Samurai can be a true Samurai master and never miss the choice. Don’t be in decisive if you have Bushido.
Can you live out Bushido?
Oyoroi is one of the Japanese armor type which uses on a horse with a bow during Heian – Kamakura period (794-1333).
This armor became a standard high class Samurai wear until the end of Samurai period and it was developed as a tool of ostentation in a battle field, too.
It started to put in the middle of Heian period.
The front part protection board covers upper part of eyes.
The bottom part of helmet which protect neck.
Parts to protect from the body to thigh and it is separated some parts.
This is a horse riding and hunting shoes. Normally, the material is fur of deer or boar skin.
This is an IFF parts and Samurai’s dressing up parts.
Shikoro which is curved to outside.
There are variable size of Sode depends on period and taste.
This protect from the end of Kusazuri to knee.
A part to protect shin.
Katana is a sword made by with Japanese unique smithery.
Of course, there were many cutlery but Katana is established in the end of Heian period (794-1185) which is curved single edge sowrd.
It classifies with its length as Katana, Wakizashi and Tanto.
Many of says the attraction of Japanese Katana is its simple functional beauty.
Japanese castles were building during the middle age. It was a defense facility from their enemy force.
During the Warring States Period, using mountain or hill build a base with bare function such as moat, wall, sandbag, watchtower and gate.
Originally a battle was using bow, spear, and Katana but added gun from Portugal, a new demand was occurred. The base was enough to protect from conventional weapon but it didn’t work for gun. So against gun threat, base construction use more stone than wood. The place of the base changed to a plain instead of top of a mountain.
A base become a castle and started to use for daily work not only for battle.
Japanese castle changed from a base to a castle as mentioned and lord started to build a castle for ostentation, too.
Little techniques of Samurai Lord
There is a popular Samurai Lord Masamune Date. His armor is model for Darth Vader’s looks of Star Wars. Masamune Date has like this story.
The Shogun, Hideyoshi Toyotomi was a mischievous person. A day he set a monkey on a passage and enjoyed as a surprise. Masamune heard that mischievous and buy up the monkey wrangler to train the monkey secretly. When Shogun Hideyoshi Toyotomi invited Masamune Date to Shogunate castle, Hideyoshi set a monkey as usual and he was waiting. When Masamune passed where the monkey was standing by, he showed just a little bit of his iron folding fan. The Monkey was scared and Hideyoshi couldn’t get fun. Hideyoshi thought “that one eye samurai lord has something different from the others”.
As like this, samurai lord was prepared for all possibilities to change everything to work positively. Especially, Masamune was good for those laying the groundwork.