Throughout history, there were many groups that were able to influence society. And because of that, they are still known in this day and age. Groups such as Vikings are popular and are often referenced today. But they, as well as other groups, are not as referenced as the Samurai from Japan.
From all the way back to 646 AD, these warriors soon developed from a group of farmers to one of the most dominant. They became very important in Feudal Japan with dominant political and military standing.
The Samurai Code
The Samurai had a moral belief or unique code that became the core of these warrior’s culture. With this, their culture still affects Japan’s modern-day society. It influences today’s social customs that derive from the beliefs of the warrior.
When looking at the ethical morals and views of the world today, many standards draw back to the Samurai. This class offered a lot to the improvement of social values that people follow today.
It’s vital to look at past cultures and events to enrich and improve the future. And with the Samurai ideals, these make society better in self-fulfilling ways. Whether it’s to imbue positive values or applied to become successful, the Samurai ideals are invaluable in influencing society.
The impact of the Samurai in Japan’s culture is great. Plus, their contributions’ cultural aspect is more powerful than their achievements in war. All in all, the Samurai were warriors of skill, and used a plethora of weapons for battle. They also developed distinct rituals and even promoted Japan’s isolation.
From the 13th century, the conduct of the Samurai were greatly influenced by Zen Buddhism. It trained the warriors to become one with the sword. Plus, their free mind provided them with mental edge over the opponent.
Zen meditation helped calm the mind. It gave the Samurai philosophical strength to deal with the inevitable. Today, there are a lot of Japanese who continue practicing Zen meditation. It helps them get through their busy lifestyle which is common for the Japanese.
A Samurai’s Influence in Literature & Art – Is it Possible?
Because they had a high status, the Samurai learned how to write and read. They also knew arts, mathematics, and had great skills in music, literature, and tea making.
Zen was able to influence and complement the Samurai code. Because of these warriors, Zen practices like tea ceremonies and Haiku (poetry) flourished. Today, people in Japan still write Haiku and practice the art of calligraphy. These marital, philosophical, and spiritual traditions were all due to the Samurai.
Generally, these Samurai warriors are the focus of almost all literature and praise. Yoshikawa Eiji who created Taiko, wrote about Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s life in detail. In this book, he described Azuchi castle established by Oda Nobunaga. He described and claimed this as the center of art and culture.
During the Sengoku and later periods, exercising the ideals of the Samurai was vital and a must. Soon, people of the later times became captivated by this. It allowed them to imagine and practice these, instilling them into their lifestyle.
The time of chaos had the Samurai warriors build castle towns that flourished. Not only that, but they also contributed to religion, poetry, the arts, and Bujutsu (war arts).
Samurai and Tea?
Like loyalty and respect, Zen gardens and tea ceremonies are still popular today. These are Samurai practices from the past that are still alive today.
The Cha Do or Cha No Yu (tea ceremony) is very much fixed in the Japanese society. Today, it is still practiced as a hobby, and there are places where tourists can experience this too. Offered across Japan are tea ceremonies of various levels of authenticity and formality. These are usually done in culture centers, traditional gardens, and even hotels.
The best destinations to enjoy Japanese tea culture are Uji and Kyoto.
Influence in Business Practices
The business practices of the Japanese are all based on simple influential qualities. They may appear as simple words, but the thing is, these are difficult to practice. The qualities are respect, loyalty, courage, trust, calmness, tolerance, patience, and perseverance. Qualities that the Samurai practiced during the feudal period.
To know their position in the business, a person has to go deeper than just studying and learning the basics. There is more to knowing the outward proof of social behavior like politeness. One should look at the context of Japanese culture which has developed for centuries.
The Samurai Code – What’s Its Connection to Sports?
Corporate Bushido may be out of fashion, but is still a great influence when it comes to Japan sports. Baseball coaches call their players as Samurai. The international soccer team is the Samurai Blue. In press conferences, coaches often invoke the Bushido as part of their discipline. Today, the Bushido Code is a set of ideals defined as hard work, fighting spirit, and fair play.
Another place where the Bushido’s mentioned is in the world of Martial Arts. Judo, Kendo, and other martial arts practitioners study the classic Bushido principles.
There are times when foreign martial artists go all the way to Japan to study their preferred sport. They are often devoted to a historical yet appealing version of the Samurai Bushido. These practitioners consider this as a classic cultural value of the country.
The Ritual of Seppuku, Applied in Modern Society?
The formal ritual of Seppuku was an act of self-disembowelment. Here, a Samurai would choose to take their own lives instead of living in shame and disgrace. They’d rather die than accept defeat or humiliation, and would avoid the shame of being a captive.
The Samurai would also choose to commit Seppuku if they ever failed the lords they serve. Though this was all based on the severity of their mistakes since the Samurai put a lot of emphasis on virtues. These are honor, discipline, loyalty, and bravery to their lord.
Generally, Seppuku was how the Samurai warriors display all their wills. It was also a way for them to keep their pride and honor in tact. The act of doing Seppuku is still a popular theme when it comes to movies and dramas today. But it is something that has almost completely disappeared from Japan’s modern times.
One example would be the book called 47 Ronin. It is a story of 47 Samurai warriors who wanted to take revenge for the death of their master. It is a continuously-told story until this day and is also exhibited via different types of media.
There are even news organizations reporting about a company-man-like Seppuku called the Karoshi. This is when people work themselves to death for the company that they are working in.