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Samurai is a Japanese warrior class from the old days of Japan. During meiji restauration, samurais were forced to give up their sword (and find another job). Those who disobeyed or engaged to defend what they thought was the emperor's ultimate wish, were killed. This extinction of samurais was described in a Hollywood movie "Last Samurai".

Here, I try to tell you something what you don't know about samurais. Since a broad general knowledge can be found from Internet, I try to mention here things that would be new to you. I hope you find at least one interesting point from this article.

Samurai's typical clothes are a simple kimono on which over are hakama trousers which are comfortable and allow free movement on legs.

Ordinary Life of Samurai

All samurais were not always living a hardly strict life in military barracks. But there was also a lower class of samurai, that did their daily job, a very normal work, for example as supervising the food resources of a clans. Daily life of a samurai was far from exciting battles of honour, but could include tasks such as fishing, and repairing of a boat.

Also all samurais were not rich but some of them had a very low wages and had to do a side job while working for their clan as a samurai. Some of them had to farm a land to provide a food for their family. This was especially true often in the days of famine. This was wonderfully described in Yoji Yamada's famous movie called Tasogare Seibei (Twilight Samurai).

It is to be noted however, that a samurai was not only a samurai when he was at work, but was samurai 24 hours per day. Samurai had to follow his ethic, called Bushido.

Samurai Code

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Samurai must remain loyal for his master and clan, and be ready to sacrifice his life in battle if needed. If samurai failed to perform his duty, he had better to perform seppuku, a ritual suicide in order to save his face. Those who betrayed their master or broke the clan rules, was not offered this chance to save their faces, but were offered a less painfull execution, mostly decapitation.

Sometimes samurai became a masterless one. Those were called ronin. Life of a masterless samurai was hard and they had to work hard to make their living. Some of them even gave up their status of being a samurai and sold their sword.

Samurais could not participate festivals and it was also not appropriate for samurai to get drunk in public. Either, samurai should not appear with a woman in public, except those who were married, ofcourse.

Despite this, a red light districts were especially popular among a higher class of samurais who had money to waste, and samurais were regular and welcomed customers for geishas.

Most of the samurais lived pretty normal life. They lived in their own house (paying back their mortgage), providing income for their family which consisted usually a grandfather and a mother, a wife and often children.

Perhaps most strict code was kept by special group of samurais called Shinsengumi, the militia type of group which was organized to protect the law and imperial order in Japan. Those were the samurais that fought to death in the meiji restoration. Perhaps the most famous samurai was Toshizo Hijikata, the starter of this group.

There are also few other famous samurais, such as Akamatsu Mitsusuke (1441) or Hattori Hanzo (1541-1596), who was Tokugawa retainer and reputed ninja leader.

Skills of a Samurai

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Besides of skills of using his sword, samurai should also know literature, fine arts, and have a good social manners. Therefore samurai seems a little a bit similar to geisha. But it seemed not appropriate for samurai to play a musical instrument, but there might be some exceptions for this. In general, everything that seemed fun for the normal people, was forbidden from samurais. This is because samurai is on the job for 24 hours per day and must remain in perfect alert. An entertainment might distract him from a possible enemy attack.

Katana was not the only weapon of the samurai, but there were also a class of Japanese archers who were skillfull with their bows. These skills are still practised as Kyudo, and is still quite popular.

See also: Katana, hakama, geisha, ninja


hay thanks for this info i found is very interesting
but i was wondering where did u learn this info?
#1 - chris - 10/21/2008 - 17:19
There are several good books about samurai and Japanese culture. I recommend reading, rather than popular movie, etc.
To start, I recommend to check out this book (available in amazon)
Samurai: An Illustrated History (hardcover).
#2 - Jaakko Saari - 10/21/2008 - 18:02
Nice article
Keep up the good work!
#3 - Martin - 11/17/2008 - 14:19
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Thanks!! Keep up the Fabulous work!:-)
#4 - Danielle - 02/18/2009 - 02:41
This article is astonishing!!!
I needed information on samurai's and I checked every website but they didn't have the information I needed!!!
But I looked up on this website and my eyes were popping i can't believe it!!! I've finally got the information i needed!!
Thanks!! Keep up the Fabulous work!
#5 - Robin+ - 02/22/2009 - 22:05
Awesome infor on Samurai
Awesome info dudes and dudets
You have the right information that i need for my project
Thanks a million

#6 - Kenny - 04/16/2009 - 20:19
great info peoplz

#7 - brainna - 04/17/2009 - 13:44
:-P this was helpful for my project :-P
#8 - Blood spot - 04/18/2009 - 01:37
thanks for making this blog it helped me out so much on my samuria project for socail studies
#9 - haley taber - 05/11/2009 - 13:55

Do you know any books on samurai history other than Samurai: An Illustrated History. And for Jaakko that I belive is finnish, onko mitään esim. suomen kielellä tai Suomesta saatavilla.
#10 - Teemu - 08/04/2009 - 10:42
OMG good work lol
u should also include some info about the clothes and other things even what their family relationships would be like!
keep up the great work lol
#11 - Warrior Gal - 10/21/2009 - 02:45
this site is good
#12 - omgg - 11/04/2009 - 23:44
That sucks, jeez what kind of idiot made this kind of website:-o
#13 - Whatver Ass - 11/17/2009 - 02:57
Thanks a million
Thank you sooooo much, this site really helped me for my asian/samurai project, and now i know a little more... ;-)so yah, thanks a million, and great job. really great job.:-D
#14 - sara - 12/02/2009 - 15:24
#15 - Peter - 05/03/2010 - 15:27
I'm Japanaese!!! Looking at this website offends me and my family. >)
#16 - Ethan Go - 05/03/2010 - 15:29
this is awesome information and i am glad some one made tthis website because everyone else gave me information that i did not need. thanks
#17 - Remy - 12/14/2010 - 22:28
omg i was looking for this information for soooo long for a project and now i have it!!!! thank you sooo much!!!!!!!!
#18 - monique - 09/14/2011 - 06:08
yipppie dodaa
this gave me some good info for a school projectt THANKS MUCH :-D
#19 - becca - 09/14/2011 - 14:00
beautiful, simple, informative- let the haters do what the where born to do - HATE
you site is great
#20 - crieweik - 12/28/2011 - 05:12
Ethan Go.
Japanese* Only one a. If you are Japanese, learn to spell it.
#21 - Caroline...? - 03/07/2012 - 18:54
thanks not
you should be ashamed of this love it is just awfall crap none of those people like there just saying that to make you fell good
#22 - campbell - 04/16/2012 - 03:46
#23 - BWOOD - 06/27/2012 - 22:25
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