The samurai class as a whole sought to be part of their own warrior class, or even a part of the upper class; anything but the commoner class. The samurai had individualistic attitudes in every aspect of their lives and it was an obvious characteristic of these warriors. Samurai battled an individual fight for honor, seeking power and status, affecting their culture socially and militarily, occasionally leading to corrupt methods of power gain. The sense of necessary honor was very unique to the samurai society. It enabled samurai to develop a culture derived from their individualistic ways.
He fought for control of his country and to keep Japan free from outside influences. (Turnbull 1) This aristocratic warrior class arose during the 12th century wars between the Taira and Minamoto clans and was consolidated in the Tokugawa period. Samurai were privileged to wear two swords, and at one time had the right to cut down any commoner who offended them. They cultivated the martial virtues, indifference to pain or death, and unfailing loyalty to their overlords. Samurai were the dominant group in Japan.
Duty was his primary obligation. Samurais are to lead their lives and follow the bushido religion. Bushido stressed loyalty to one's master, self-discipline and respect, and also ethical behavior. After a defeat, some Samurai chose to commit a ritual suicide called Seppuku rather than be captured or die a dishonorable death. Samurai became an expert at fighting both from horses and on the ground.
The Tale of the Heike is a collection of tales that depict the livelihood of warriors during the Heian and Kamakura period. These tales illustrate that warriors during this period spent their existence dedicated to their duty to the Buddhist Law and that the growing contention arose from each warrior’s devotion and loyalty to the Buddhist Law. The tales communicate that a warrior’s duty was to protect the Buddhist Law which in turn meant to protect the imperial authority. Written letters between the Onjōji to the Kōfukuji Temples avow that the “great virtue of the Buddhist Law is that it guards the imperial authority; the imperial authority endures because of the Buddhist Law.” Furthermore, the letters articulate that whether one is “southern capital or northern, we are all disciples of the Buddha.” Middle Captain Shigehira’s plea to the Buddha, before his execution, exemplifies this. Shigehira declared “I was not acting of my own free will when I committed my grave sins; I was merely trying to do my duty.
The fundamental philosophy of the samurai is that of detachment from the self. In the opening of Hagakure, Tsunetomo states that “the Way of the Samurai is found in death”. Death is not to be feared by the Samurai, it is to be embraced. The relationship between the samurai and his master is of the utmost importance, and only through detachment can the samurai fully and properly serve his master. These are two core, fundamental philosophies of bushido, and are influenced heavily by two other prominent schools of thought of the time, Zen Buddhism and Confucianism.
For the Samurai this was the Bushido and strict rules of chivalry for the Arthurian knights. The Samurai saw the Bushido as not just any set of rules that had to be followed by but a way of life. It was an honor that could not be broken. This is one of the distinct differences between the Samurai and the Arthurian knights; honor. Honor was of the utmost importance in Japan.
Bushido or the way of the samurai introduces samurai as both men of culture and as warriors. The art and culture of samurai encompasses more than 800 years of Japans history as well as its creative past. From the 12th century through the modernization of Japan. Bushido is art because art can be interpreted as in many ways such as art is something people create to express something or ideas, or it can be interpreted as another form for the art of war, or perhaps as a fine art in of itself. Samurai have many connections to art such as calligraphy, painting, their armor which was meant to show their power and evoke fear, their swords which instantly identified them as a samurai and a follower of Bushido, and poetry most famous were the death poems
The Samurais, The Ultimate Stoics For seven centuries, the Samurai were Japan's warrior class. As a class of warriors and knights, they dominated society in feudal Japan. Their code or “ Way of the warrior”, bushido(History of the Samurai-www),called for a life of duty, discipline and self control, on and as well as off the battlefield (History of the World-Houghton Mifflin Company- Boston288). His loyalty and bravery to his lord was much more important than his loyalty to his friends, family and even their emperor. Their philosophy was one of freedom from fear(World Surfari-www), and for these reasons, The Samurai were the ultimate stoic warriors.
The vassal chose the lord himself, so therefore, the vassal is under the lord's rule and needs to follow the agreement. On Japan's view of feudalism, their feudalism wasn't based on contract. On page 122 and 124 of The Tale of Heike, it implies personal relationships with the lord and vassal. “Despite his predicament, [the lord] still thought of [his vassal].”3 When the lord dies, the vassal kills himself saying, “For whom do I have to fight now?”4 This helps prove that Japanese feudalism was based on a personal relationship with lord and vassal because the lord and vassal actually cared for each other. Even through major problems, the lord and vassal's actions showed how close their relationship was with each other.
Respecting an unfamiliar culture without knowing anything about that foreign culture is impossible. According to Midgley, respecting a culture requires a favorable judgment that is made by understanding. For example, Midgley mentions the ancient Japanese practice of a samurai trying out his new sword by slicing a wayfarer. While we might not live in Japan we are supposed to praise the samurai for his actions. A samurai must do such actions to honor himself as a samurai and not let down his emperor.