View Full Version : Samurai trivia

Oct 24, 2005, 14:32
Did you know that :

- Samurai could be female. Samurai status was inherited by all descendants (male and female) of samurai, and women samurai were expected too fight fiercely to protect their village/town while the men had left.

- Homosexuality was common among samurai. The word did not exist in Japanese, and such kind of man ot man love was more common than love relationship between spouses. Marriage among the samurai class were always political alliance, and male samurai were advised to sleep with their sword, to protect themselves from their wife.

- Ikebana (flower arrangement) was seen as a martial art, as it helped the samurai to concentrate his mind on a single object.

- Samurai battles were typical a series of one to one fights. They cut their opponent's head as a proof of their victory. Samurai would perfume their hair with incense to make it more pleasant for their enemies.

- Ninja were typically samurai too. Instead of fighting for their honour, they operated in the utmost secrecy, in exchange for money.

- The Bushido ("Code of the warrior") was developed during the peaceful Edo period (http://www.wa-pedia.com/culture/edo_period_era.shtml) when the samurai had become mostly state administrators, writers and artists and most of them had never fought in battle. It became an idealised and romanticised version of the code of honour of the true samurai that preceded them. The chivalresque values of protecting the weak and fighting for the emperor arised during that peaceful period. Before that, the samurai were more selfish and brutal, and often did not hesitate to sacrifice their own family members to preserve their personal honour.

Oct 25, 2005, 03:43
...- Homosexuality was common among samurai. The word did not exist in Japanese, and such kind of man ot man love was more common than love relationship between spouses....

The movie 'Gohatto' directed by Nagisa Oshima refers to this subject. It is a well-filmed movie.

Oct 25, 2005, 07:07
Homosexuality was also common among ancient warriors in the Medditeranean, like Greece.

Other Samurai tidbits:

Zen Buddhism is one of the few buddhist sects known by its Japanese name in the west due to its popularity among the Samurai.

Samurai would often follow their master in death by commiting suicide. The practice became so common that the Shogun eventually had to ban it and enforce that ban by executing the surviving family members of those who did it.

Nov 12, 2005, 20:23
I think this is the typical crude "how to bluff your way into bushido" stuff.

- "Samurai could be female"
Women could be fighters, but I don't think they could be samurai and take the oath and serve the shogun. Just as farmers could be fighters, but not samurai. The truth in what you say is that japanese women weren't the quiet docile types depicted in some movies.

- "Homosexuality was common among samurai"
Depends on what you consider homosexuality. Since most samurai prefered the company of men, sex with men occured when there was a need for sex. I wouldn't say most of them were homosexual.

- "Ikebana was seen as a martial art"
An 'art' or an 'martial art'? I think the interesting thing is that samurai practiced flower arrangement, while westerners think of this as a typical female activity.

- "Samurai battles were typical a series of one to one fights"
Samurai battles were dominated by the use of bow and arrow, with considerable distance between the opponents.

- "Ninja were typically samurai too"
Ninja are not samurai. In fact, they were forbidden by law to practice bushido. But since ninja had a hidden identity, who can say? Maybe there were one or two samurai that were ninja in their spare time.

- "The Bushido was developed during the peaceful Edo period"
Bushido was developed much earlier, but was formalized and written down during the Edo or Tokugawa period. When the samurai had to lay down their arms, feodal Japan was no more and the samurai were replaced by an national army, the samurai took to other activities including writing, poems etc.

Nov 15, 2005, 06:49
Very interesting material indeed. :cool:

Doc :wave: