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22

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 ...


10

This is the mitsuwari-ken-hanabishi (三つ割り剣花菱) crest, a rather obscure design used by the Aki Clan (安芸氏) of (surprise, surprise) Aki Dstrict in the Tosa Province of Shikoku. The Aki Clan is said to be descended from Soga no Umako, a powerful minister in Ancient Japan whose descendants were later exiled from the capital after a power dispute in the royal ...


9

There are no set ages for participating in combat. Generally speaking however, the first battle for a young samurai was in their early teens, roughly around 15 years old (opportunities permitting). Examples include Hōjō Ujiyasu at Ozawahara in 1530 (15), Takeda Nobukatsu at Temmokuzan in 1582 (15), and Date Masamune against the Sōma clan in 1581 (14). Cases ...


5

(I think the question really has two parts: (a) effects of the samurai's ethics, and (b) the effects of something called "bushido". I will address them in order.) Legacies of the Samurai In the early years of the Meiji Renewal, the samurai were enrolled as the shizoku, and saw their privileges and stipends gradually abolished. The bulk of them were ...


3

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 ...


1

Sakura (cherry blossom): Some information: The traditional Japanese values of purity and simplicity are thought to be reflected by the cherry blossoms. In the aesthetic sense cherry blossoms are a symbol of transience and ephemeral beauty; they last briefly from about a week to ten days and then scatter. Also see: Dower, John W., Elements Of Japanese ...


1

There is no minimum age for a kid to be officially enlisted in a military unit without performing any duties and with the parent drawing his salary as a form of graft. No doubt babies have been officially enlisted. Judging by several examples from significantly different times and places, it is possible for a child as young as five to be a soldier in some ...


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

Korea had a Yangban class which might be compared with samurai status but was closer to the Chinese scholarly ruling class. Most historians hold that the scholar class achieved power in China (or Chinese dynasties of whatever race, except perhaps the Mongol Yuan one) while the warrior class gained power in Japan. During the late 17th, 18th and early 19th ...



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