Samurai: Way of the warrior C&C

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Apr 16, 2003
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This is a research paper i wrote, coments and critz what needs changing

Bushido, the Honor code for the Samurai class. The samurai were not mercenary warriors, roaming Japan and fighting for whatever warlord would pay them the most. They were bound to a specific lord, or daimyo, and also bound to their communities by duty and honor. The samurai served his daimyo with absolute loyalty and did anything asked of him., even if he was ordered to kill himself. A samurai would not hesitate when ordered to commit Seppuku, know as Suicide. Seppuku was usually executed when the samurai had violated the Bushido code, or was in the face of failure. Although it was suicide, it was a properly prepared ceremony in which a sharp, short blade wrapped in paper was lain next to the samurai waiting for his execution. The samurai would then pick up the blade, cut from his left side to his right, cutting through the stomach, and end with a quick jab upwards towards the heart. Later, seppuku became more common, but out of respect, a second samurai would cut the samurais head off, before any pain was experienced. This act was out of honor and respect for the fallen enemy.
The samurai were highly trained, highly skilled warriors of the military class. They were considered to be a member of the Elite class and deemed superior to common citizens and foot soldiers. They mastered martial arts, and trained continuously to be the best of the best. Westerners classified them as just a warrior class, but in fact they were much more. They were a class of simplicity, yet complexity. Under the code of Bushido they were trained to be quite in mind, but strong in spirit. Bushi meaning. “warrior” and do meaning, “the way” In translation, “The way of the Warrior.”
Although they were excellent fighters, they lived normal lives. They were poets,

politicians, teachers, fathers and farmers. They fought other battles than just the ones on a battle field.
While farmers farmed and poets wrote, there would be breaks in between periods for tea. Tea ceremonies were very important as well as eating rice. Rice was considered to be a measure of wealth, but rice wasn’t the only food they would eat. Rice was accompanied by some of the following when available: Potatoes, radishes, cucumbers, beans, chestnuts, persimmons, various nuts, tofu, yams, sour plums, apricots, peaches, apples, oranges, ect… The sea provided seven types of food, seaweed, abalone, carp, bonito, trout, tuna, octopus, jellyfish, and clams. Some of these were hunted with harpoons and nets. The most popular drink, besides tea, was Sake. An alcoholic drink, drank by many samurai, in fact alcoholism wasn’t unheard of among the samurai class.
Samurai guarded their weapons carefully, not letting anyone handle them, that sword was their life. It was three sets of blades, a Katana, the main sword used by all samurai. The Wakizashi, a smaller sword, often used if the katana was lost, or the battle needed a second sword. Together, the two were called daisho meaning, “large and small” The katana being dai (large), and wakizashi being sho (small). For the final blade, it was named tanto, used as the seppuku blade, or the ritual blade.
The blacksmiths who created the katanas are regarded as the finest sword makers in

history. They figured out a way to keep the blades sharp, where as other swords go dull, and

their cores brittle and prone to breaking. The core was made of a soft metal that wouldn’t

break. Then the core was covered with layers of harder metals that were repeatedly folded and

hammered until there were literally millions of layers of metal smothered together. This created
an edge so sharp, one slice could cut a human in half with one strike.
In the beginning of the samurai, samurai were horse-riding archers. Firing a bow from a moving horse and hitting a target required a lot of skill, and years of continuous practice. Swordsmanship came later in Japan when teachers started to use wooden swords to train their students by never relaxing their guard. This was accomplished by hitting their students randomly throughout the day and night. For 1,500 years samurai fought for their emperor, defending his empire in countless battles and never ending campaigns. The samurai believed in a saying, “Fate is in Heaven, the armor is on the breast, success is with the legs. Go to battle firmly confident of victory, and you will come home with no wounds. Engage in combat fully determined to die, and you will be alive; wish to survive and you will surly meet death. When you leave your home determined not to see it again you will come home safely; when you have any though of returning you will not return.” The warrior must not think this will change, for his fate is always determined.
The urbanization of Japan is one of the reasons samurai became extinct. With a growing economy, and a lack of food, farmers were needed. With the increasing population fewer farmers were producing rice to feed the population. The luxurious living enjoyed by the shoguns and daimyos started to wear away at the economic system. Japanese, and lower class samurai started to grow dissatisfied with the shogunate because of the worsening economic conditions.
The Americans arrived in Edo bay during this time, and offered to open up trade

between the two countries. This set off a dispute and a split in Japan. Many wanted to keep
their old ways of Japan, but the other half knew they would not be able to stand up to their
enemies technology. Thus, Japan opening trade ended isolationism, making it a world power. Japanese samurai became less used, and were given a bond either to invest in a business or land. This sent most samurai back to the city for work or to land for farming. In 1876, a ban was put on samurai wearing their swords…The Samurai no longer existed.
The spirit of the samurai warriors still live in Japanese citizens today, and continue to take an effect in the world. Bushido is still practiced, and some martial artists even train will Samurai swords. Katanas are still made, but are being sold as low as 35,000 dollars. A 1,500 year reign ended, but not forgotten.
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Dec 18, 2001
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references and a bibliography would be nice - you could have just made it all up - use quotes and things :)

oh, and lay it out better - more paragraphs and a proper structure :)

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