Japanese Samarai Warriors History, Facts and Information

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The Samurai warriors became the teachers of virtue to the lower classes. (4) Samurai warriors could and would execute peasants for any reason. Executions were dolled out quick and without warning. Due to this power of life or death over the majority of the Japanese population, Samurai Warriors developed the idea that they were superhuman (1:51).

  • In the former feudal system of Japan, the class or a member of the class, of military retainers of the daimios, (Samarai) constituting the gentry or lesser nobility. They possessed power of life and death over the commoners, and wore two swords as their distinguishing mark.

The Samurai class in 1871 became illegal and Bushido diffused into Japanese culture (4). The emperor replaced the feudal lord as the devotional object. The hierarchy created by centuries of the feudal system continued. In effect, everyone still knew his or her place in society. In explaining their destiny as the leading race, the Japanese also fell back upon theories of proper place, which had long been used to legitimize inequitable relationships within Japan itself¯ (1:9).

In addition, Samurai Bushido became the foundation of the public educational system. Therefore, the way of the warrior became the foundation of society and Japanese nationalism. Samurai tradition together with military rule and martial law dominated Japanese culture for centuries. Duty, honor, loyalty and self-sacrifice became a way of life (4).

To maintain the hierarchy within a warriors society, the ruling classes must dominate. To dominate subordinates, one must remove the heart of the subordinate by any means: weapons, hands, and/or psychology. If a subordinate still has heart even though dominated, he has ambition to overcome. Therefore, the subordinate was still a threat to the hierarchy and must be beaten into submission. (2). Upper class Japanese brutally mistreated Japanese peasants. Superior officers in the Japanese Army and Navy brutally mistreated Japanese soldiers. Many Japanese soldiers were from the peasant class. The bullied often becomes the bully. A captured enemy soldier becomes the subordinate because he has been conquered. (1:15) Making subordinates grovel and showing no mercy secured domination. These values fueled the Japanese soldier in battle. In attempting to consolidate their control over northern China in WWII Roots, the Japanese subsequently turned to rural Pacification¯ campaigns that amounted to indiscriminate terror against the peasantry¯ (1:43).

Cleary, Thomas, The Japanese Art of War: Understanding the culture of Strategy, Sambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. Audiocassette

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