I was trying to estimate the number of warriors who were part of the samurai class. I am mainly interested in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Trying to search for that, I came across this. It states that in the end of the Tokugawa period, samurai and their family members comprised 5-6% of the total population. Which actually raises the question of whether the expression "family members" of the samurai class includes children, women and elders or not. And please remember, my question here is about the number of capable samurai warriors who were ready to join battles under their Daimyo's command. Also please note that the end of the Tokugawa period is closer to 19th century than to the 17th century, but I am also clueless on how to account for the time difference on the number of the samurai class.

Another important question is the population of Japan during this period. Any numbers would actually be useful.

  • 1
    Yes, family members include family members, i.e. every children, wife etc. Note, samurai were not a class during the Sengoku period in the sense as in the Tokugawa period.
    – Greg
    Aug 12, 2015 at 2:37
  • How do you define the Samurai class for the period in question?
    – Semaphore
    Aug 12, 2015 at 5:27
  • 1
    It would help if you respond to concerns for defining "samurai" for the period you're interested in. BTW, the population of Japan should be a separate question, but the common numbers goes from 8 to 12 million over the period, though other estimates exist.
    – Semaphore
    Oct 19, 2015 at 9:55
  • @Semaphore. Sorry for not responding to your earlier comment, I didn't notice it. I don't really have a definition for the samurai class for that period, but I am only interested in estimating the number of the samurai warriors. So if I just said that 5% of say 10 million population made the samurai class, and assume that 1 in every 5 was a warrior, and so I conclude that about 100,000 samurai warriors existed in that period, would that be incorrect ? Oct 19, 2015 at 20:37
  • @AbanobEbrahim The problem is there was no samurai class per se during the Sengoku period. But if you just want a rough estimate of the number of people who later became the Samurai population of Edo, that seems roughly reasonable.
    – Semaphore
    Oct 20, 2015 at 1:03


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.