Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Once and Future Warriors: The Samurai in Japanese History

By Karl Friday The samurai exercise a powerful hold on popular imaginations, both in and out of Japan, rivaling cherry blossoms, geisha, and Sony as Japanese cultural icons. Emerging during the early part of the Heian period (794–1185), these warriors— known as bushi, tsuwamono, musha, mononofu, and other names at various times in their history—dominated the political and economic landscape by the early 1200s, and ruled outright from the late fourteenth to the late nineteenth century. T...