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Discussion The Samurai Essay


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Discussion The Samurai

Prior to 1868, Japan was a country controlled by numerous semi-autonomous feudal lords who depended on an agrarian economy for income and the Samurai for law and order (Cohen 140). Tokugawa shogun, the head of a divided Japan lost power to Emperor Meiji who took to task uniting the nation into one with a highly bureaucratic and centralized government administering over a well-educated populace devoid of feudal class restrictions (Cohen 140). The Samurai diminished in importance as the new ruler encouraged most of them to take up political offices while the others were offered government bonds to renounce the Bushido Code. The Meiji leader also sought to form an army and navy that accepted all willing conscripts in the same manner making social class irrelevant.

The Samurai were oppressive against the common peasants and therefore had to be abolished to allow for the development of a unified Japan (Cohen 142). Gradually, wearing of the Katana blade was outlawed while the top knots of hair were eventually cut off in favor of European style haircuts. The Samurai were an educated class and quickly moved to take business opportunities and other professional obligations enabling for development of technologically astute industries (Cohen 143). This was critical for the effective ad quick transformation of Japan into a modernized state with a robust internal governance structure and foreign policy.

Remnants of the Samurai Code continue to exist in modern day Japan albeit in very different spheres. Stoic and brave responses to economic downturns and subsequent resilience are associated with modern day adherence to the Bushido Code. It is also common in Japanese sport with the national soccer team referred to as the Samurai Blue. Martial arts are widely practiced in the country and uphold the traditional cultural belief systems ascribed to by the ancient Samurais.



Work Cited

Cohen, Mark. “The political process of the revolutionary samurai: a comparative reconsideration of Japan’s Meiji Restoration.” Theory and Society 43.2 (2014): 139-168.