The Samurai Warrior
The samurai ideal was that of a stoic warrior who followed a code of conduct that held bravery, honour and personal loyalty above his own life. Military dishonour and defeat was to be avoided at all costs. Where this was not possible, ritual suicide by disembowelment should be performed. But the samurai culture is also credited with helping to popularise some of the Japanese traditions still found today, such as the tea ceremony and even ﬂower arranging.
MEMPO Covering all or part of the face, most of these masks had a small hole under the chin to drain sweat. KABUTO A samurai’s helmet was a status symbol as well as a means of protection. YODARE-KAKE Usually made from rows of iron or leather plates, the yodare-kake protected the throat. TEKKO Padded gloves protected the hands from enemy blades. KOTE Armoured sleeves were attached to a padded cloth backing and laced onto the arm. KUSAZURI A skirt of plates attached to a leather belt and laced to the bottom of the chest armour protected the hips, groin and posterior. YUMI By the 3rd century BC, the samurai bow (yumi) measured nearly two metres. Its string (tsuru) was usually made of hemp. SUNEATE To protect the lower part of the tight. It was worn under the Kusazuri. KATANA A very long sword, often measuring over 61cm.
THE WEAPONS Samurai warriors used two swords, as a symbol as distinction of the samurai caste. ese started o straight but were later curved for resistance and sharpness.
THE ORIGIN OF THE SAMURAI Originally a term used to describe aristocratic warriors (known as bushi), the word samurai eventually became associated with members of Japan’s warrior class who dominated government between the 12th and 19th centuries. e rituals, cultures and the code of honour of the samurai evolved during Japan’s many historical periods.