Monday, October 19, 2009

Japanese Reading This Summer - 4 (Origin of Samurai)

The more I thought about Kanetsugu Naoe and his lord, Kagekatsu Uesugi, I was ought to think the origin of Samurai. It is because what they protected was the spirit of Samurai in its origin. Good books always make readers to think something related.

Image - Kanetsugu Naoe (Public Domain)

This general looks like quiet scholar.

Before the age of Samurai and Shogun as the top leader of Samurai, there were the time for Emperor and Aristocrats in Japan. Although Emperors and Aristocrats were worriers and fighters before that, by 8th century, Emperor and Aristocrats became just for governing the nation and separated themselves from fighting.

Image below (Public Domain)
Armor of Kanetsugu Naoe.
Decoration of his helmet is
a character meaning "Love"

Later 8th century, however, Imperial government had a lot of problems fighting against northern tribe. They formed worrier group who could fight for them. They might have compared to gradiators in ancient Roman. These worriers formed were called "Saburau" -original word for "Samurai"- meaning "service, or wait on" to the Emperor or Imperial government. "Samurai" of this age were servants!

Long time, they were kept in the status of 2nd grade citizen. They were unable to even talk directly with the Emperor even on the strategies of fighting. As they become large in number, they needed a leader. It was early 9th century, first Shogun as the leader of "Saburau" was appointed. Since Japanese government that time, with the intention of keeping their status of being 2nd grade citizen, Samurai family was kept being Samurai for generations after generations.

For the nature of their mission to be professional soldiers, their children were educated and trained for being Samurai. They are taught that loyal to emperor, loyal to elders in their clan, fight until the very end, death rather than surrender, no betrayal, etc ... These basic spirits of "Samurai" deeply relate to Uesugi and Naoe spirit.

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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. interesting to know the origin of Samurai.

The warriors just had to do what they were told and follow orders.

Interesting too that their families were kept bound to the emporer, or royal family .. and so loyally tied - as were our serfs .. peasants to the nobility.

Good to know -
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Shaw said...

Hello Hilary,

I see several things here. Samurai was borne to be servants to government, gradually gained power to lead entire Japan.

People trusted them to leave politics to them, since they were generally disciplined, etc...

Thank you for your comment.
Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

Marketing Unscrambled, learn to earn 14 said...

Hello Shaw,

Thank you for telling us about that beautiful armor.

That is so interesting to learn more about the origin of Samurai.

This is also why so many people today put their children into martial arts. For the discipline and confidence that they can get from it. Also being able to take care of themselves, if needed. It is also good exercise. So many benefits that come from it.

Have a great day.

Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

Shaw said...

Hello Dan & Deanna,

Thank you for your comment. Yes, martial arts discipline young kids. Martial arts are not skills for fighting against enemy, but building status of mind to win against your weaknesses.

Best wishes,
Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link