What is samurai?

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What Does samurai Mean

Samurai is a Japanese term that, in our language , is written and pronounced as samurai (with an accent in the A ). The concept was used in ancient Japan when, under the feudal system, there was a military caste who served the lords ( daimyo ).

The samurai were these soldiers , who occupied a lower class with respect to the status of the nobles . Its origins date back to the 10th century ; in periods of war , its social importance increased.
These warriors used to travel on horseback and have armor . According to the time, they used bows , swords or other weapons. Over the years the samurai also adopted a very strict code of discipline and honor that regulated their behavior.

When a samurai, for some reason, did not have daimyo, he was qualified as rōnin . Rōnin found it difficult to join a new clan as the daimyo often shunned them.
Saigō Takamori ( 1828 - 1877 ) is considered to be the last samurai. This warrior and politician was the leader of a samurai rebellion that faced the Japanese government of the time.
Beyond being part of the tradition and culture of Japan , throughout history there were also foreigners who were declared samurai. It is believed that the first foreigner to access the title was the Englishman William Adams ( 1564 - 1620 ).
It should be noted that samurai are recurring figures in the field of fiction , whether in books, movies, etc. On occasion the samurai are portrayed as heroes with honorable behaviors, while in other cases they are displayed as dark and lonely characters.
The armor of the samurai
The oldest armor was found in the kofun (Japanese name for megalithic burial mounds or ancient tombs), and they are called tankoo . For its manufacture, solid iron and leather straps were used to hold the armor plates together; It is worth mentioning that its design contemplated that they were used standing up.
The skirts known as kusazuri served to protect the samurai from the waist down, while using curved plates to cover the shoulders and arms up to the elbows. The first models of armor used laminar lacquer to prevent the weather from causing damage or deterioration to the metal surface, and this was maintained for several generations.

The samurai's helmet, for its part, exhibited a kind of visor on the back, as well as metal teeth on top to keep the pheasant feathers attached to their structure .
It is important to note that iron was used only in the regions of the body that demanded greater protection , since it is a much heavier material than the rest. For the other pieces, it was combined with leather. For reference, the classic samurai armor is called yoroi and its weight is estimated to be around 30 kilograms . On the other hand, the materials that were used for underwear, used both under armor and normal samurai clothing, were cotton and linen.
The base of the defense clothing was called do , and over the centuries it began to leave behind the yoroi to cover the body, giving way to the origin of the armor known as do-maru . This is considered an evolution of the previous one, which brought benefits such as the simplicity of its manufacture and the comfort that it provided to the soldiers in the heat of battle .
As early as the 16th century, the samurai began to use the armor called toosei gusoku , which could be translated as modern armor and was characterized by the inclusion of parts that served to protect the face, thigh and back .

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