The Story Between Samurai And Japan

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The Story Between Samurai And Japan

The Story Between Samurai And Japan

), but it applied to all members of the country’s warrior class that rose to power in the 12th century and dominated the Japanese government until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

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From the provincial warrior bands, the samurai of the Kamakura period (1192–1333), with their military skill and great pride in their stoicism, developed a disciplined culture distinct from the earlier quiet refinement of the imperial court. Samurai lived an austere lifestyle, and the samurai culture produced many uniquely Japanese arts, such as the tea ceremony and flower arranging (ikebana), which continue today.

The ideal samurai was supposed to follow an unwritten code of conduct, later formalized as Bushidō, that held courage, honor, and personal loyalty above life itself; Ritual suicide by disembowelment (seppuku) was institutionalized as an alternative to respect dishonor or defeat. The proper method of performing the act was to plunge a short sword into the left side of the stomach, pull the blade laterally to the right, and then turn it upward.

), but came to apply to all members of the warrior class that rose to power in the 12th century and dominated the Japanese government until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

From the ranks of provincial warriors, the samurai of the Kamakura period (1192–1333), with their military skill and great pride in their stoicism, developed a disciplined culture distinct from the earlier, quiet refinement of the imperial court. During the Muromachi period (1338–1573) under the influence of Zen Buddhism, the samurai culture produced many uniquely Japanese arts such as tea ceremonies and flower arrangements that continue today. The ideal samurai was supposed to be a stoic warrior who followed an unwritten code of conduct, later formalized as Bushidō, who held courage, honor, and personal loyalty above life itself; Ritual suicide by disembowelment (seppuku) was institutionalized as an alternative to respect dishonor or defeat.

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A samurai in full armor depicted on a Japanese plate, 1850–75; in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

At the beginning of the Tokugawa period (1603–1867), the samurai, who represented less than 10 percent of the population, were made a closed caste as part of a larger effort to freeze the social order and stabilize society. Although they were still allowed to wear two emblematic swords in their social positions, most samurai were forced to become civil bureaucrats or take up some trade during the 250 years of peace that prevailed under the Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship). Moreover, the rise of cities and the expansion of a merchant economy during early 18th century Japan led to the flowering of a vibrant urban culture, which eventually replaced the austere lifestyle of the samurai. At the same time, the economic position of the samurai, who lived primarily on fixed allowances, was eroded. Despite their high social rank, a growing number of samurai families suffered poverty at the end of the Tokugawa period.

Lower samurai, eager for advancement and achieving a new sense of national purpose in the face of Western powers during the mid-19th century, participated in the movement against the Tokugawa regime that resulted in the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Class The samurai lost his privileged position when feudalism was officially abolished in 1871. Disgruntled former samurai rose up in rebellion several times during the 1870s, but these revolts were quickly suppressed by the newly established national army. Almost 500 years ago, a tall African man arrived. in Japan. He would go on to become the first foreign-born man to achieve the status of a samurai warrior.

The Story Between Samurai And Japan

Known as Yasuke, this man was a warrior who rose to the rank of samurai under the rule of Oda Nobunaga – a powerful 16th century Japanese feudal lord who was the first of the three unifiers of Japan.

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In 1579, his arrival in Kyoto, the capital at the time, caused such a sensation that people climbed over each other to get a glimpse of him and some were crushed to death, according to historian Lawrence Winkler. Within a year, Yasuke had joined the upper echelon of Japan’s warrior class, the samurai. Before long, he was fluent in Japanese and riding alongside Nobunaga in battle.

“His height was 6 shaku 2 suns (about 6 feet, 2 inches)… he was black, and his skin was like coal,” a fellow samurai, Matsudaira Ietada, described him in his diary in 1579. Height the average Japanese. the man in 1900 was 157.9m (5 feet 2 inches) so Yasuke would have towered over most Japanese in the 16th century, when people were generally shorter due to worse nutrition.

There is no record of Yasuke’s date or country of birth. Most historians say it came from Mozambique but some have suggested other countries such as Ethiopia or Nigeria. What is known, however, is that Yasuke arrived in Japan with an Italian Jesuit named Alessandro Valignano on a tour of inspection, and appears in recorded history only between 1579 and 1582.

Some experts say he was a slave, but it’s hard to say. Floyd Webb and Deborah DeSnoo, filmmakers working on a documentary about him, believe that he was a slave to be speculative at best. Webb believed that because of his command of the Japanese language, Yasuke would be viewed favorably.

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“It would have been impossible for Yasuke to rise to the rank of samurai in just one year without a warrior background,” DeSnoo said. “Samurais often began their training in childhood.”

Yasuke met Nobunaga shortly after arriving in Japan and piqued his interest, the filmmakers say, by being a talented conversationalist. Yasuke already spoke some Japanese and the two men got along well, according to academic Thomas Lockley, who wrote a book about Yasuke. According to Lockley, Yasuke entertained Nobunaga with stories from Africa and India, where Lockley believed Yasuke had spent some time before going to Japan.

The African warrior and the Japanese warlord had much in common. Nobunaga was a great fan of martial arts and spent a lot of time practicing them. He was also an eccentric person, who according to Webb, often dressed in Western clothes and sought the company of highly disciplined and intelligent people.

The Story Between Samurai And Japan

He understood Japan’s cultural language and enjoyed dancing and performing Utenzi – a historical form of Swahili narrative poetry celebrating heroic deeds, Mr Webb added. This suggests that Yasuke could have come from Mozambique, as some historians believe, because Swahili is still spoken in some northern parts of the country.

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Likewise, Nobunaga was a lover of Noh Drama – a classical form of Japanese musical theater – and it is widely reported that he was a patron of the arts. Nobunaga grew fond of Yasuke and treated him like family – the African was among a group of people who chose to eat with him.

When Nobunaga gave Yasuke the rank of samurai the idea of ​​a non-Japanese samurai was unheard of. After that, other foreigners would also get the title. As the first foreign-born samurai, Yasuke fought important battles alongside Oda Nobunaga. It was also there that night, one of Nobunaga’s generals, Akechi Mitsuhide, turned his back and set the warlord’s palace on fire, trapping Nobunaga in one of the rooms. Nobunaga ended his own life by committing seppuku, a ritual suicide.

Before killing himself, he asked Yasuke to behead him and take his head and sword to his son, according to historian Thomas Lockley. It was a sign of great confidence. Yasuke’s legend came to an end shortly after that, in 1582. The fall of Nobunaga at the hands of a treacherous general caused the exile of the first black samurai, possibly back to a Jesuit mission in Kyoto.

Although his fate and the last years of his life remain unknown, Yasuke lived on in the imagination of many Japanese who grew up with the children’s book Kuro-suke (kuro which means “black” in Japanese) by Kurusu Yoshio. The book, which dramatized Yasuke’s life, ended on a bitter note: after Nobunaga killed himself, Kuro-suke (Yasuke) was taken to a temple where he dreamed of his parents in Africa and cried.

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Unique news content gathered from other sources by the editors of the Milwaukee Independent and redistributed with editorial permission. The samurai, members of a powerful military caste in feudal Japan, began as provincial warriors before rising to power in the 12th century and the beginning. the country’s first military dictatorship, known as the Shogunate. As servants of the daimyos, or great lords, the samurai backed up the authority

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