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21

The usual explanation is that Japanese culture believed the soul resides in the abdomen. Since the ritual of seppuku or harakiri is usually meant to provide an honourable death, cutting open the abdomen was an act that "bares the soul", so to speak. The Meiji educator Dr. Nitobe Inazō wrote in his famous Bushido: the Soul of Japan that: [T]he choice of ...


17

As it is, all three are interesting for being completely different methods of achieving a high quality of steel. Equally interesting is that they are each of high quality in different ways. As for Tamahagane, the iron that was available in Japan was actually very poor compared to that found in Europe. It had a characteristically low carbon content, and the ...


16

Toledo steel was a very good steel, comparable to mainstream contemporary ones. It is based mostly on the content of the material and way of hardening. Now the best European steel for blades is not Spanish, but Swedish V10. With Damascus there is a wide-spread fallacy. What is now called "true damascus" - blades based on the way of smithing of two or more ...


12

Short Answer Roughly speaking, in the early decades after 1867: ~7% became educators ~16% became public servants ~25% became corporate employees the rest became unemployed or farmers Overview Most of them actually did not do particularly well. After the Meiji Restoration, the samurai became the new shizoku class and initially received stipends from ...


12

That crest is called a marunikatabami (丸に片喰 or 丸に酢漿草). The design is an encircled creeping woodsorrel flower. As such it is considered a variation of the more primary, and popular, katabami (片喰) crest, which is the same minus the circular border. The creeping woodsorrel grows extremely well as a wild weed; it is known for being difficult to uproot once it ...


7

That appears to be a maru-ni-mitsu-kashiwa (丸に三つ柏) crest, also known as a maru-ni-makino-kashiwa (丸に牧野柏). It is an encircled, three-leafed version of the kashiwa crest designs, one of the Big Ten styles of crests. These crests features an underlying design derived from the leaf of a Daimyo Oak tree. In Winter, dead leafs of a Quercus dentata tree do not ...


7

There is a Chinese saying (in pinyin), "Hao tie bu da ding, hao ren bu dang bing." (Good iron is not used to make nails. Good men do not become soldiers.) For most of Chinese history, soldiers were vilified, rather than honored. Hence, they would not generally be regarded as members of the upper class, which was occupied by landowners and philosophers. ...


7

In China, there were warriors similar to ronin - the xia. As a link, I found only those regarding their philosophy or literature about them. GURPS Martial Arts (it's no solid historical work and I didn't manage to find any better source) states they were more like Robin Hood than Lancelot - they were not upper class like samurai. Korean Hwarang are ...


6

The Meiji Restoration that took place between 1868 - 1912 saw many of the traditional rights and privileges of the Samurai class drastically changed or removed entirely. In 1869 all Samurai were renamed as Shizoku and the Samurai class ceased to exist. In 1869 members of the samurai class and quasi-samurai were legally categorized as either shizoku or ...


4

Well, there is something on the internet. I found an article which deals with the classification of samurai suicides by their motivations (along the lines of the discussion I had with Anixx in the comments). The authors have also compiled some statistics from a survey of Japanese literary sources (chronicles etc., I presume). They rightly call this ...


4

I do not have numbers but I am quite sure that in most cases the samurais killed themselves either when ordered to do so by the superiors or expected the superiors to order so. In fact the samurais in Japan enjoyed one privilege that the lower classes did not: they had the right to "honorably" commit suicide instead of being dishonorably executed. So ...


4

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_swordsmithing A couple of the claims written in the answers above need to be discussed with counter points; The ancient Japanese samurai sword that we are talking about was specifically developed to address the brittle nature of steel that time, no it was not brittle by yesterday's standard or today's. Precisely ...


4

The samurai used to change their masters a lot, especially in the Sengoku era. A rōnin who came from a defeated clan where his master has been killed can attach himself to another clan and serve as a samurai. In the movie Seven Samurai, several farmers hire rōnin to protect their farms from bandits. the movie describe them as noble heroes who stand up for ...


4

Apparently, Yoshioka Matashichiro was the 12 year old son of Seijūrō: This second defeat was a complete loss of face for the Yoshioka family and their school. Looking for revenge, the school challenged Musashi again. This time, 12 year old Yoshioka Matashichiro, the oldest son of Seijuro was chosen as the leader of the challenge. However, because of his ...


1

In addition to the soul is in the bowels explanation, I read recently that the reason they chose a painful easy to die is to punish themselves. So a samurai who had committed a capital offense was going to die, but by choosing a painful method of dying he is giving himself additional punishment to earn forgiveness. This may not apply to all seppuku cases, ...


1

These devices are calls Mons in Japanese languages and they are essential elements of Japanese heraldry. Mons are Japanese arms used to decorate and identify an individual or family. Since a Mon is hereditary, it is equal with a arms in concept but not in principles. Personally, I think Japanese heraldry has some similarities to Polish heraldry, because of a ...


1

missing connection/link between these two era of japanese history I think you are exaggerating the ideological transformation brought by Meiji Restoration. The main emphasis was economic modernization, not social equity. How did modernization of Japan in the Early twentieth century affect the Samurai and why was there such a strong influence of the ...


1

A portion of one of the ancient Damascus steel blades was removed and examined, the molecular structure was made up of a series of carbon nanotubes around iron nanowires. It's unknown as to how this was achieved, and hasn't been replicated by modern humans. It's sometimes referred to as Wootz steel. Ref Modern attempts at replicating Damascus steel involves ...



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