Samurai , member of the Japanese warrior caste. The term samurai was originally used to denote the aristocratic warriors bushi , but it came to apply to all the members of the warrior class that rose to power in the 12th century and dominated the Japanese government until the Meiji Restoration in Emerging from provincial warrior bands, the samurai of the Kamakura period — , with their military skills and deep 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 , that continue today.
The Age of the Samurai: | Asia for Educators | Columbia University
As servants of the daimyos, or great lords, the samurai backed up the authority of the shogun and gave him power over the mikado emperor. The samurai would dominate Japanese government and society until the Meiji Restoration of led to the abolition of the feudal system. Despite being deprived of their traditional privileges, many of the samurai would enter the elite ranks of politics and industry in modern Japan. During the Heian Period , the samurai were the armed supporters of wealthy landowners—many of whom left the imperial court to seek their own fortunes after being shut out of power by the powerful Fujiwara clan.
Tomoe Gozen ? Before the samurai became a formalized caste in the Edo Period , women were trained to use naginata spears and kaiken daggers to protect communities with few male fighters. In fact, the legendary Empress Jingu is said to have led an invasion of Korea in the year after her emperor-husband was slain in battle, though whether this invasion ever actually happened remains a matter of debate.
In , Japan began to be governed by warriors or samurai. Until this time the government had been bureaucratic in theory, but was actually aristocratic i. Even after , civil government at the Emperors court continued and the law and the state were not changed, but a new samurai class came to power and increasingly became the real rulers of the country.