10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

Samurai were legendary warriors, and perhaps the most famous Japanese class. They were noble warriors, to fight against the evil (and each other) using swords and fearsome armor, and follow a strict code of ethics, which ruled the whole of their lives. In fact, popular legends tell of a samurai's not all. For example:

1. Women samurai

10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

The word "samurai" is traditionally used only in relation to men. Japanese bushi class to which they belong, made it possible to teach martial arts and women - such women were called onna-bugeisha and participated in the war, along with the men. Their weapon was usually naginata - spear taller than a man with a razor blade, like a long curved sword. These weapons than the rest was relatively easy and quite effective.

Historical texts suggest that female warriors among all Japanese women of noble origin was not enough - traditional Japanese noblewoman satisfied with the role of housewives. However, recent studies show that women participated in the fighting much more often than it is written in the history books. For example, a DNA analysis was carried participants remains a major battle, and found that 35 of the 105-minute belonged women.

2. Armor

10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

The most unusual attribute of the samurai is, perhaps, their strange, but beautiful and richly ornate armor. Unlike the armor of European knights, samurai armor is designed primarily for mobility.

Good armor had to be durable, but flexible enough to allow the owner to move freely on the battlefield. It was a leather or metal plates, varnished carefully fitted to each other with leather or silk braids. Hands were protected by massive rectangular shields, and the place remained elbow clearance. Right hand often left without protection for maximum freedom of movement. The strangest part of the armor - a helmet kabuto: bowl was made of chained together metal plates, while the face and forehead armor protected, tie in a circle for the head and under the helmet. The most popular design was the helmet, similar to the famous helmet of Darth Vader - such headgear could protect the wearer from the swords and arrows from all sides.

Also on many helmets were decorations and the connecting separate parts, including baleen Meng demonic mask at the same time protecting the face and terrifying enemy. To provide soft as leather liner used handkerchief.

Although samurai armor over time undergone significant changes appearance to the untrained observer generally remained the same. In fact, the Samurai armor was so effective that the US Army has adopted them design their body armor.

3. Homosexuality

10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

The samurai were uncomplexed people when it comes to sexual relations. Like many other cultural warriors, for example, the Spartans, the samurai is not only considered homosexual relationships as normal, but actively encouraged them. Sexual relations occur, usually between young students and a teacher who trained them - this practice was known as vakasyudo ( "the way young people") and practiced by almost all members of the bushi class.

Although vakasyudo considered one of the fundamental aspects of the way of the samurai, history has preserved this little information - for example, in mass pop culture this fact almost never advertised.

4. Western samurai

10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

Readers who have seen the movie "The Last Samurai", know that in special circumstances a non-Japanese could fight on the side of the samurai, or even himself to become one. It was a special honor, which includes obtaining the samurai weapons and new Japanese name. It could only have a special leaders like daimyo (lords-land owners) or shogun (warlord). Known four Western men who received the title of samurai: adventurer William Adams, his partner Jan Joost van Lodensteyn, Navy officer Eugene Kolach and arms dealer Edward Schnell. Adams was the most wealthy and influential man of the four - he became an adviser to the shogun himself.

5. The amount of

10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

Many people think that the samurai were few elite troops like modern Russian special forces or small, strictly defined aristocratic caste. However, virtually all social class consisted of bushi samurai. Originally the word "samurai" means "those who often visits the nobility." Over time, the value has changed and has become associated with the class bushi secondary and tertiary levels, especially with the soldiers.

This means that these warriors were quite a few. At the peak of its prosperity to the 10% of Japan's population belonged to the samurai. So that at least half of the residents of modern Japan in the veins flows the blood of the samurai.

6. Fashion

10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

Samurai can be called rock stars of their time: their clothing style strongly influenced the fashion of the era. However, except for special occasions, the samurai themselves in daily life dressed unobtrusively. Although their everyday costume was difficult, every aspect has been designed to meet the needs of soldiers.

The suit was to provide the speed and freedom of movement. The usual outfit consisted of a hakama pants and kimono or hitatare - androgynous vest, pounces on her shoulders. A normal part of the costume had a gun, and hitatare could be instantly reset in case of attack. Kimono were made of silk, which provides both a beautiful appearance and cool. As used shoes wooden shoes or sandals. The most common hairstyle was a beam. With the exception of the Buddhist monks who shaved their heads, people of all classes wore a bundle for hundreds of years. The habit of combining the hair strand with a partially shaved head may have evolved out of necessity - with shaven forehead was more convenient to wear a helmet.

7. Weapons

10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

The samurai used various weapons. Originally it served as a sword weapon called chokutō - a smaller version of the thin straight swords, later used by medieval European knights. With the improvement of arms samurai gradually moved on curved swords, which eventually turned into a katana. Katana, perhaps, be called the most famous kind of sword in the world and certainly the most iconic weapon of the samurai.

Code of the Samurai Bushido dictated that the samurai's soul lies in his skating, and it is erected it to the rank of the most important weapons. Usually katana used in tandem with daishō, shortened copy of the primary sword that was a status symbol - daishō had the right to wear exclusively samurai.

However, the swords were not the only weapon. Not less frequently used or Yumi bows, because, ultimately, personal courage on the battlefield has become valued less than tactics and planning. When in the XVI-th century there was gunpowder, the samurai abandoned bows in favor of firearms and cannons. Preference tanegashima - flintlock guns, popular among the samurai of the Edo period and their servants.

8. Education

10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

The members of the class samurai were much more than just soldiers - most of them received an excellent education. At that time I could read very few Europeans, but the level of literacy among the samurai was extremely high, as they were trained and mathematics. Bushido dictated that a samurai must strive to improve themselves in many ways, including the non-martial arts. That is why the samurai had a considerable influence on the culture they wrote poems, paintings and monochrome ink were experts in the tea ceremony - it was the usual aspects of their culture. They also study subjects such as calligraphy, literature and floristry.

9. The physical characteristics of

10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

An impressive armor and weapons are often forced to appear samurai giants, and that is how they are portrayed in modern pop culture. However, this is far from the truth: the majority of samurai were stunted - so samurai XVI-th century had a fragile thin body and an increase from 160 th to 165-year-cm For comparison - the growth of European knights of the same period ranged from 180 th to 196. ti see.

Moreover, the noble samurai, may have been not so purebred, as they would like. Compared with the average Japanese, their skin was much lighter and had more body hair. Their profile, namely the shape of the nose, as much to remind European. Ironically, this may mean that the samurai is actually descended from ethnic Aina Group, considered inferior by the Japanese, often becoming targets of discrimination.

10. Suicide

10 interesting and little-known facts about the Samurai

One of the most frightening things known about the Way of the Samurai is seppuku - ritual, also known as hara-kiri. Samurai had to kill himself if he was not able to follow bushido or captured. Seppuku could be a voluntary act, and punishment, but in any case it was regarded as a very honorable way to die.

Most people are aware of the "field" version harakiri - the quick and dirty business. It was necessary to pierce the stomach itself short blade and move it from left to right - in fact, the Samurai gutting himself. it usually helps to perform the ritual of another samurai who at this moment the first cut off the head, because otherwise the soldier would have died very slowly and painfully. However, the full ritual of seppuku - the process is much longer and more complex. It began with the ceremonial bathing, then the samurai wore white clothes and take your favorite food at the end of the meal he had to put a blade on an empty plate. After that, he wrote a song of death - in fact, his last words. When the poem was written, you need to grab the blade samurai was wrapping the pre-hand cloth so as not to cause injury, and rip his stomach.

Of course, in the final part of the ritual was supposed to be one with a sword, which, when cutting off the head tends to leave a small strip of flesh in the neck that his head fell forward, and remained in the arms of a dead samurai. And if the head is pulled back toward the casual audience, it could mean eternal shame.