What class were samurais

The story of the samurai

The samurai were at the top of the social hierarchy and enjoyed many privileges. On the other hand, they were expected to be good examples to the rest of the citizens and to follow the principles of Bushido (the way of the warrior). The most important principles of a samurai were absolute loyalty to his master, strict self-discipline and selfless, courageous behavior. Many samurai also followed the teachings of Zen Buddhism.

When a samurai lost his honor, he would often kill himself by cutting open his stomach with his sword. This type of suicide, preferred to a life without dignity, is called seppuku (or hara-kiri, "cutting the stomach").

The sword (katana) is the hallmark of the samurai.

During the peaceful Edo period there was little war for the samurai to wage and they also engaged in intellectual studies such as literature, history, or the arts such as the tea ceremony.

During the 17th century, unemployed samurai (ronin) caused difficulties for the government.

After the Meiji Restoration (1868), the samurai class disappeared as a social class.

In ancient Japan, certain classes (including the samurai) were distinguished by being able to carry a sword. The weapon conferred a number of rights and duties on the wearer. It was summarized in the term "Bushido" (way of the warrior). "Bushido" meant truthfulness, courtesy and loyalty to his master. The path of war required absolute self-control, courage and bravery in every situation. The sword was part of the family tradition and was passed on from generation to generation as the most important heirloom. The swords were given names, were in league with magical powers and were compared to forces of nature such as lightning. The swordsmiths themselves were often samurai or members of the court nobility. Even the rank of emperor was not too high to practice the art of swordsmithing, like Emperor Gotoba. One of the most famous master blacksmiths was MASAMUNE. These swords were characterized by exquisitely forged blades of extraordinary sharpness. According to legend, the character of the famous master swordsmiths carried over to the blades they made. The blades of the great master MASAMUNE were considered to be of high standing and mercy, those of the master MURAMASA brought bad luck.

The swords handed down from that time are among the most precious goods of Japanese culture.

How to recognize a good sword - Clive Sinclair(unfortunately only available in English)