Samurai weapons, Samurai armors and the Samurai way of life, hold a fascinating sway on the imagination. These legendary warriors held to a code of honor that still resonates in the Japanese culture of today.
Samurai, the historically famous warriors of Japan, were known for their bravery, sense of honor, fighting skills and, of course, for their elaborate armors and weapons. They were an elite class of warriors who loyally served their masters, the daimyo.
Though thought of as, basically, the classic, essential soldier, most Samurai were well-educated and highly versed in literature and the fine arts. They had many pursuits outside of the arts of war. Samurai were, in general, followers of Bushido – which translates as “Way of the Warrior.” They studied Confucianism and Buddhism to form a code of conduct which guided their actions on the battlefield and off.
Samurai were skilled in the use of a range of weapons such as bows and arrows, knives, spears and guns; but their most famous weapon and their symbol was the sword.
Thanks to countless romantic representations in movies, the word, Samurai, has come to signify the superhuman warrior. Actually the word finds its root in samorau (or saburau). This is a verb in Japanese that means “to serve”.
History tells us that the Samurai first came into being out of the need by the feudal lords of Japan to have skilled, close protection bodyguard armored bodyguards to protect themselves from robbers and the warriors of rival clans. Over time, the samurai (also known as Bushi) became a class unto themselves, creating new power structures in Japanese society with elaborate traditions.
One tradition was the use of the Samurai sword. The Samurai sword had a distinctive and exotic look. But beyond its artistic and aesthetic value, it was indispensable to the warrior, owing to its various uses in a battle.
But a sword cannot stop the march of time… The Samurai warrior clan slowly slipped into decay and eventual extinction, due mostly to the abolishing of feudalism in the late 1800s. Without feudal lords to protect, who would need the services of a specialized “bodyguard?”
Still the Samurai lives in legend and in our imagination, today, as true warriors to be respected and admired. And along with the “bodyguards” who used them, the Samurai weapons and armor continue to awe people due to both their artistic appeal as well as their practical uses.