Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Exploding Samurai Myths

Below is an excerpt from an article that appeared on Spacious Planet. The whole article may be read here. The article is accompanies by some really great pictures.

7 Samurai Myths

Samurai Myths
The popular image of the Japanese Samurai warrior as a well educated, spiritual and honorable gentlemen does not tell the whole story. Each generation tells the story of the Samurai according to its own values and attitudes rather than based on history. Some common myths about Samurai include:

1. Seppuku for honor
In popular mythology Samurai are quick to commit Seppuku to preserve their honor. Seppuku (切腹) is a Japanese term for ritual suicide by cutting into the stomach with a short sword called a wakizashi or knife called a tant�.

2. Samurai don't retreat
Studies indicate that Samurai were as practical on the battle field as any other warrior. Reports written by Samurai warriors indicated they sometimes attacked and then retreated when they began to experience casualties.

3. Samurai were dependent on swords
The Samurai warrior is usually portrayed as being entirely dependent on his sword (katana) for fighting. Indeed, the Bushido teaches that the katana is the Samurai's soul.

4. Samurai Gentlemen
In popular lore Samurai were all loyal and law abiding. Modern romanticism about Samurai portrays them as diligent followers of the Bushid� code of conduct.

5. Samurai were few
The first comprehensive survey in the Meiji era counted the Samurai at 1,774,000 out of a total population of about 25 million people.

6. Samurai were merciful
Samurai are often portrayed as having modern ideas about fairness and justice. Samurai are even depicted as being protectors of the poor and weak against the tyranny of the elite.

7. Samurai were all battle hardened
The Edo era saw an extended time of peace during which no major battles were fought. During this long peace many Samurai became scholars, bureaucrats, administrators or leisurely gentlemen rather than warriors.



Memento Mori said...

The Seppuku was also practiced when captured by the enemy to avoid being tortured and dying a dishonorable death.

Chris Hellman said...

Hardly an explosion - a gentle reminder for those without much of a historical background, perhaps.
Nice pictures, though.

My blog has some info on this kind of stuff for those interested...

Rick Matz said...

Chris's blog is at:

It's going on the blogroll! Well work visiting.

Chris Hellman said...

Thanks Rick,
I appreciate it.
I will reciprocate when I get a blogroll up and running.