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|Arabian in the land of the Samurai|
|Written by Hussam Zahran|
|Saturday, 14 June 2008 18:20|
No, No, I wasn’t really there, it’s just a dream to ride the time machine and go back to Edo period, man, I don’t know whether they’ll understand me or not, no, not regarding the Language, I can learn Japanese and in fact managed to start fine tuning myself to it, but what I mean is: will we be able to understand each other’s mentality? As Arabian knights fought with swords, they didn’t have something called “Ritual suicide” (seppuku), why did they choose to do that, hadn’t they had any evaluation for life?
Ok, let’s leave my dreams for a while and let’s talk about the Samurai, hardcore Samurai, actually the term attracts lots of people, especially form the west to know more about Japan as well as Karate too, maybe 80% of those who are interested in Japan started with these two, well, Japan has much much more to offer, there’s calligraphy, origami, Japanese theater, festivals (matsuri), manga and much more.Many of the things you see in Japanese performing arts like the theater and festivals were derived from religious performances in the past done for the Gods (Kami). Now, about the Samurai, they were present in parts of Japanese history (almost in the last millennium), these parts were:
The Heian period: (794-1185)
Samurai or Bushi was the name of the Japanese warrior class members,they were Confucian in nature, they had virtues such as loyalty to the master,self discipline and ethical behaviour, they had many weapons that marked that class like bows and arrows, spears ad guns, but their most famous and their symbol was the sword.
The Heian period: The importance of the Samurai grew because landowners hired war men to protect their properties, there were two military clans “Minamoto and Taira” who had grown very powerful towards the end of the period and fought battles of supremacy against each other.
Kamakura period: In 1185 Minamoto defeated Taira and Minamoto Yoritomo established a new military government in Kamakura in 1192.As shogun,the highest military officer, he became ruler of Japan.
Muromachi Period: During the chaotic “Era of Warring States” (sengoku jidai, 1467-1573), Japan consisted of dozens of independent states which were constantly fighting each other. Consequently, the demand for samurai was very high. Between the wars, many samurai were working on farms. Many of the famous samurai movies by Kurosawa Akira-a prominent Japanese film director, film producer, and screenwriter-take place during this era.
Azuchi Momoyama period: Toyotomi Hideyoshi reunited Japan and introduced a rigorous social castle system which was completed by Tokugawa Ieyasu and his successors.Hideyoshi forced all Samurai to choose between a life on the farm and a warrior life in Castle towns, not just that, he forbade anyone but the Samurai to arm themselves with a sword.
Edo period: The Samurai ca at the top of the social hierarchy, followed by farmers and artisans, all Samurai were forced to live in castle towns and received their wages from their lords (daimyo) in the form of rice bushels, there were masterless Samurai called ronin who caused minor troubles during the early Edo period.This period marked the Samurai class coming to an end, because when Osaka castle feel in 1615, the only potential rival to the Tokugawa shogunate was eliminated and relative peace prevailed in Japan for about 250 years declining the need for martial skills and most Samurai became bureaucrats, teachers and artisans. In 1868 Feudal era in Japan came to an end and The Samurai class was abolished.