How Did The Samurai Influence On Japanese Culture

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The samurai were some of the world’s greatest warriors that ever lived. They strongly influenced Japanese culture by adopting Buddhism from China, increased Japan’s social standards by having extremely high standards for their education and lifestyle, and they affected Japan’s politics by serving the country’s military leaders, influencing their actions and decisions. The samurai were one of the most vital influences on Japan, playing a key role in developing Japanese culture, social standards, and politics. Their adoption and acknowledgement of Zen Buddhism allowed the Japanese to freely study Buddhism causing significant change in Japan’s culture. Zen Buddhism focuses on the inner life, finding enlightenment through meditative practices,…show more content…
Apart from fighting, a very important aspect of the samurai’s life was education. An ancient saying aspired to by warriors was bun bu ryo do: "the pen and sword in accord". This meant that in order to be a great warrior, you do not only need to be a good fighter, but also well educated. This became a big influence on the Japanese culture, making it very important for the man and woman to be well educated. The samurai continuously influenced the classes with their ideals of high literacy and education. Such was the influence of these elite warriors that during the Edo period (1603 - 1868) levels of literacy were higher than that of central Europe. The samurai also affected the social standards in Japan by allowing women to be samurai and giving them an important role in society. This caused increased equality between men and women. The women were in charge of protecting the homes and looking after the family while the men were off in battle. In addition to these important roles, the women were also trained in martial arts and skilled in the use of the naginata (a type of lance). A famous female samurai warrior was Tomoe Gozen, the wife of Minamoto Yoshinaka (a general of the Heian period). There are accounts that she fought bravely against the Taira clan during the…show more content…
During the twelfth century Japan was in a state of civil unrest. Many rebellions and battles were taking place for political power between the Taira and Minamoto clans. The first battle that took place between them was the Hogen Rebellion in 1156. The Taira clan won this battle and gained power over most of Japan. The Taira clan was more aristocratic, getting the women to marry emperors and attempting to gain control through the emperor rather than expanding their military. The Taira and Minamoto clan clashed again in 1180 at the Gempei War. This war ended in 1185 with the Minamoto clan coming out victorious. A great importance of this war was the creation of the shogunate (a military commander ruling Japan). This meant that the emperor held his godly status, but the shogun had all political power. This new central government ran a lot better than the previous form of government when the emperor had all the power. The new centralized government with the shogunate reduced the power the individual clans had, which effectively eliminated the civil wars which plagued the land for a long time. This let them focus more on external threats, rather than worrying about internal conflicts. This is clearly evident because for the next 150 years after the shogunate formed Japan was in relative peace, only to be disturbed by the mongols which was an external threat. The samurai also played a key role in Japan’s

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