5 Things They Never Told You About the Samurai

  • April 27, 2010
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2.

The Samurai Weren’t That Different From Farmers

The Samurai were a very diverse social group. Among the non-aristocrats they certainly stood above everyone else but in the samurai social hierarchy, you could find both: a) warriors who were basically the politicians of their times, greatly respected and feared, and also b) the ones who only owned 3 square feet of land in some one-chicken village in the farthest corners of the country. Guess which group was the largest.

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Their dominion over the land was unquestionable, no one is arguing that, but it was common for these so called warriors to live with the local peasants in very close communities, the only thing separating them from the plebs was that their hut was bigger than the rest’s. Not by much though.

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Oh sure, when it came to ganging up on some local a?*hole the samurai kicked more a?* than a nuclear powered a?*-kicking machine, but rest of the year they had lands to govern, crops to plant and harvest, and the middle to low level samurai did most of that stuff themselves, as in by using their own 2 hands. Not really something they covered in the Bushido Code. Oh right…

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1.

There Was No Such Thing as the Bushido Code

As in, there never was a written down, revised or reviewed set of rules on how to be an archetypal bada?* warrior of an oriental feudal land. The Bushido Code / The Way of the Warrior, is in the same league as the “code” of washing your hands after peeing. Everyone knows it, it’s not actually codified in any law books and not that many people follow it.

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The Code was more of an idea of ancient Japanese chivalry. Usually people who weren’t warriors themselves expected them to act accordingly to it. The problem is, a life strictly by the (nonexistent) Bushido book often got you killed – not really everyone’s cup of tea. It is not to say that all samurai were opportunistic cowards with less right to walk the Earth than a rabid weasel with AIDS. They simply, like all rational humans, thought of survival first and honor second.

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And that (like it or not) very often called for them to be cunning, to switch sides and to stab family members in the back. You can talk about honor and s?*t like that till you are blue in the face, but it doesn’t count for squat if one day your entire clan gets wiped out because you bet on the wrong bastard to win the war.

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Written by Cezary Jan Strusiewicz – Copyrighted © www.weirdworm.com Image Sources

Image sources:

  • - The Samurai Were Rampaging Pedophiles: http://i3.6.cn/cvbnm/6e/d0/3b/d108d77364144563c2dcb3a74c597470.jpg http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb137/jinazers/gohatto.jpg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/ff/Japanesepederasty18thcentury.jpg
  • - The Samurai Were About As Faithful As a Lonely Housewife: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_vwt55TQq-3k/SWVFY7uAWVI/AAAAAAAAD8w/uwr1Nwn4r4A/s320/pizza+delivery.jpg http://ferdyonfilms.com/Samurai%207.jpg
  • - At One Point, the Samurai Simply Quit Their Jobs: http://saberandsword.com/images/00-7X81.jpg http://www.thecartorialist.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/ronin2a.jpg http://www.seraphicpress.com/images/seven_samurai3.jpg
  • - The Samurai Weren’t That Different From Farmers: http://www.pri.org/thumbnail.php?file=japanese_farmer_gulleveck_158181772.jpg&size=article_medium http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e189/drunkenmaster42/SevenSamurai1.jpg http://gallery.sjsu.edu/oldworld/asiangate/AgeOfSamurai/images/origins4.jpg
  • - There Was No Such Thing as the Bushido Code: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2313/2311749860_dfc2245539.jpg http://images.paraorkut.com/img/funnypics/images/s/scared_by_samurai-12305.jpg http://www.e-budda.pl/midcom-serveattachmentguid-0a3538f012bb11dc920e95be1e68018a018a/bushido.jpg

Sources:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shudo
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sengoku#Notable_people
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokugawa_period
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai#History
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushido
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