Samurai: a powerful warrior class in Japan

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Study Guide Answers for Chapter 22

The Rise of the Warrior Class in Japan


samurai: a powerful warrior class in Japan

code of conduct: rules of behavior

shogun: the head of the military government of Japan in the era of the samurai

daimyo: a local lord in Japan in the era of the samurai

martial arts: styles of fighting or self-defense, such as modern day judo or karate, that mostly

began in Asia

haiku: a Japanese form of short poetry with three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables

Amida Buddhism: a form of Buddhism that teaches that all people can reach paradise by relying

on the mercy of Amida Buddha

Zen Buddhism: a form of Buddhism that emphasizes effort and discipline

code of Bushido: a code of conduct that governed samurai life; called for honesty, fairness, and

fearlessness in the face of death

seppuku: ritual suicide

kamikazes: World War II Japanese suicide pilots; “divine winds”

Essential Questions

1. Military rule was established in Japan during the 12th century when Minamoto Yoritomo

took power in 1185. In 1192, Yoritomo took the title of shogun, or commander in chief.

More samurais became part of the ruling class.

2. The military government in Japan was ranked according to shoguns, daimyos, and samurais.

• Shogun: commander in chief

• Daimyos: warrior-lords; loyal to the shogun and supported by samurais

• Samurai: professional warriors

3. Samurai warriors wore heavy armor with a helmet, iron mask, shoulder and shin guards, and

metal sleeves. As weapons, samurai used swords, bows and arrows, and spears. Samurai

warriors were physically prepared for battle by training under masters. They learned fencing,

horseback riding, and martial arts. They prepared mentally by learning how to endure pain

and suffering and developing a “sixth sense” about danger.

4. Japanese culture was evident in samurai training in the study of writing and literature, tea

ceremony, and Buddhism. Samurai practiced calligraphy and wrote poetry. They studied the

tea ceremony, which fostered a spirit of harmony, reverence, and calm, and practiced

Buddhism, which taught discipline and focus.

5. Amida Buddhism was developed by Amida, an Indian prince. According to Amida

Buddhism, Amida became a Buddha and set up a western paradise called the Pure Land.

Samurai were drawn to Zen Buddhism because of its emphasis on effort and discipline.

6. The Bushido code of conduct governed the samurai’s life. The code called for samurai to be

honest, fair, and fearless in the face of death. Samurai values and traditions influence modern

Japanese society. Japanese soldiers in World War II were observing this code of conduct

when they killed themselves rather than surrender, and martial arts are still studied

throughout Japan and the rest of the world.

7. As the warrior culture developed, the position of samurai women declined. Samurai men

became unquestioned lords of their households and women lost authority. They were

expected to obey first their fathers, then their husbands, and then their sons. Women did not

choose their own husbands and were sometimes even expected to kill themselves when their

husbands died.

8. Medieval Japan and medieval Europe had both differences and commonalities. Both cultures

were based on ties of loyalty and obligation between lords and vassals. Both had rulers who

rose to power as military chiefs. In Europe, however, the ruler was the king, whereas in Japan

the shogun ruled in the name of the emperor. Also, the code of conduct was stricter in Japan,

where a samurai sometimes had to kill himself to maintain his honor.


Rise of Yoritomo to power as first shogun 1192 C.E.

New capital established in Edo (present-day 1603 C.E

Tokyo) .

Final form of samurai code, Bushido 17th century C.E.

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