Samurai and Bushido

By: Ana Karina Maldonado


The word "Samurai" roughly translate to "those who serve" and they live up to its namesake.

The history of the samurai trace back to the Heian Period, around the same time, warriors were increasingly hired by wealthy landowners that had grown independent of the central government and built armies for their own protection.


The Bushido was the unwritten Samurai code of conduct that stated true warrior must hold that loyalty, courage, veracity, compassion, and honor as important, above all else. An appreciation and respect of life was also imperative, as it added balance to the warrior character of the Samurai.
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Feudal Japan's cast system

The Japanese society witnessed various form of classification on the basis of different factors. One such way of segregating the society was the caste system. Castes Japanese Feudal hierarchy describes the classification of feudal Japan but on the basis of caste system.

The caste system in Japan was quite complex. Normally people think it as four tier caste system but in actual practice it also consisted of another caste – Burakumin. The detailed description of the Castes Japanese Feudal hierarchy is described as below in a manner starting with the top most caste levels and ending with the lowest one.

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The Touchable Class

This was the actual four tier caste system of the feudal Japan. These people by any mean were to serve the royal class people including the king, shogun, royal family and the daimyos. These got further sub divided as:

  • The Samurai – The armies guided by the honorable Daimyos consisted of dominant brave warriors which were known as Samurai in feudal Japan. These were elite warriors for the kingdom. A ‘Samurai’ tag for any Japanese family was considered to bring great respect to the family. A Samurai was even allowed to kill the lower caste people whom he felt discourteous.
  • The Peasants / Farmers – The Farmers or peasants were superior to other caste systems except the Samurai. The reason was that they work in farming fields for producing Japan’s food on which other castes and classes depend upon.
  • Craftsmen / Artisans – Their work was with metal and wood and produce products for the Japanese people needs.
  • Merchants – These were shopkeepers and travelling traders. They were considered meanest caste since they did not manufacture any products.

Feudal Japan had its own shunned untouchable caste that was ostracized & disliked by other people. They were referred to as the Burakumin. These Burakumin people had been the victim of harsh discrimination and banishment in the feudal Japan.A separate hamlet or village was there in feudal Japan for these outcasted people where they were to live away from other Japanese and crossing their territory was a crime in feudal Japan. This outcast was to take over those occupations that were considered ‘impure’ by the feudal Japanese.

Dairy of a Samurai

Honorable Dairy,

It has been month since I have left the house in order to pursue the goal of becoming a samurai in order to being my family's name honor and fortune with the eros I have earn in protecting the higher class. In my training I have came to learn about the that the samurais obeyed a strict moral code, which is called bushido, and I strongly believe in it teaching of its chivalry and beliefs.

I have train for many hours and was taught self-discipline. I am to be expected to be an role model for the rest of society. To be gallant, compassionate to those who were weak, fair to everyone and loyal to my master. I have also came to learn on how to wield a sword in order for me to use in battle.

If one day you get news of my passing on the battle field I strongly hope that my family do not weep in sorrow for me, be be proud on the fact that I have achieved my goal as a samurai and died honorably.


Shung Yui