Sample Cultural & Ethnic Studies Research Paper Summary on Japanese Samurai

Japanese Samurai

The Japanese culture is distinct to Japan. However, the Japanese people are believed to have originated from the Koreans and the Chinese who migrated from their lands into present day Japan. The continued life within Japan led to the establishment of the Japanese culture, which has no identity with the Korean or the Chinese origins. One of the distinctive cultures associated with the Japanese is the Samurai culture. The Samurais developed as a result of constant battles during expansion. In order to acquire more lands and thus expand their territory, Emperor Kammu, who was by then in charge of the Japanese population contacted the help of the Shogun clan who were natives in the area. The clan comprised of experts in archery and combat and they trained the Japanese on the art of war. After the decline of Kammu’s power due to the disbandment of his army, the Kyoto clan took control of the Japanese, imposing high levies on the people.

The oppression by the Kyoto clan made farmers among the Japanese o form warrior groups. The groups adopted the Samurai weaponry and resisted the Kyoto rule. In addition to this, they refused to pay the levies set by the Kyoto. This eventually led to the establishment of the Yorimoto governance which replaced the Kyoto governance. The Yorimoto government used the Samurai networks instead of provincial administration in service delivery. In this way, the warriors acted instantly in cases of oppression and crime and when there was the perception that they were being regarded lowly. In the later years however, the traditional Samurai roles have been slowly eroded to be replaced by the more modern military practices. However, some Samurai’s still exist, retaining the garments as a sign of power. The garb is however prohibited from being worn in public.

The Samurai success was attributed to several factors. The training of the Samurais began at an early age, focusing on discipline and loyalty. In addition to this, the importance of resilience and avoidance of fear were also stressed among the Samurai. The Samurai recruits were trained in aspects such as Samurai war, wielding the Katana sword and to perform martial arts. During training, the warriors were encouraged to practice compassion and courage while also protecting their honor. They were also expected to show respect and appreciation for life. The Samurai were expected to be good at note taking and learning hence was immensely educated in arts and writing. The training involved diet training activities since the Samurai were expected to be effective at maintaining discipline in body and mind through enhanced meditation practices.

The Samurai were allowed to marry from different social classes despite social stratification among them. The high ranking Samurais were allowed to marry from within their ranks while the lower ranking Samurais were only allowed to marry from within their ranks or from lower ranks such as among the peasants. In addition to this, marriage amongst the Samurais involved the issuance of dowry by the bride’s family. Since divorce required that the dowry paid be refunded, this was a very rare occurrence among the Samurais.  The Samurai wives were also trained in martial combat since they were expected to protect their families in the absence of the husbands and also to uphold the family dignity. Despite being a prestigious position, the Samurais faced high levels of social stratification amongst themselves especially with regards to ranks. Although the Samurai culture has long faded in impact, the imprints made by the culture are still felt through the various training programs that exist in Japan and the representations in comic books.


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