Tag: samurai

Tozando 2017 Essay Contest Winning Article

Death in Samurai Literature from Practical to Idiolization

by Edward N. Smith Death comes to us all at the end of our life’s journey, regardless of the path we walk. Inescapably, it pursues us; hiding in the shadows, it waits patiently for our time when our road runs out. Across human societies, culture and class mark subtle differences Read More

Atago Shrine on Mount Agato

The Belief System of Commanders During the Warring States Period

The Japanese people’s reverence of nature dates back to ancient times and is rooted in the religious worship of nature, especially since the prosperity of Sangaku Shinko. This roughly translates as ‘mountain worship’ and originated as a practice in Shugendo in the 7th century as an amalgamation of beliefs and Read More

The Loser’s Big Stage

The previous article on seppuku was met with a lot of responses, so I would like to write a follow-up. As mentioned, seppuku initially was not someone one did to take responsibility for a mistake, but was done in order to follow a deceased master to death or to kill Read More

Seppuku – Why did the samurai cut their own bellies?

When watching historical plays you often see samurai committing Seppuku. He would hold a dagger and plunge it into his stomach, cutting it until his own death. It is a shocking custom of the Samurai, famously known outside Japan as Harakiri. Seppuku was only allowed for samurai, and it was Read More

A Samurai’s Working Schedule

A 5 working day week has become the norm in Japan, but the concept of a “day off” is a something that was only introduced into Japan in the Meiji era. Up until the Edo period, there was no concept of a “week”, and therefore no “days off”. In other Read More

Burei-uchi – Samurai Defending their Honor with their Lives

When you watch historical plays, you often see a scene in which commoner touches a samurai’s shoulder, whereupon the samurai immediately draws his sword and cuts him down. This is called “burei-uchi”, meaning “striking for improper manners”. Another term used is “Kirisute Gomen” which means “permission to cut down”. There Read More

Samurai meals

Japanese food is surged in popularity worldwide and is loved for its healthiness. The Japanese food or washoku that we eat now has gone through many changes, yet still keeps some traditional elements. But what about in historical times, when they did not have all the foodstuff we have today? Read More

Japanese Language and Samurai Aesthetics

I have written a number of entries about the Japanese sword and Japanese idioms, which has gained much more response than I had imagined. For this edition, I would like to take things a little broader, focusing not only on the sword but on the “samurai” as we explore more Read More

Win And Tighten The Thongs Of One’s Helmet

There is a Japanese idiom that directly translates as “win and tighten the thongs of one’s helmet”. When you win a fight and take of your helmet in relief, an enemy might attack you unexpectedly. Even after you win, you should not let your guard down but apply extra caution. Read More

Japanese Samurai Armor 101

Japanese Armor, or Katchū (甲冑; armor and helmet), depending on in which period it was made they can largely be categorized into two categories, Ō-yoroi (大鎧; great armor) and Tosei-gusoku (当世具足; modern armor) armors. The Ō-yoroi first appears during the middle and late Heian period (794~1185) and became more widespread Read More