Samurai, or the famous Japanese warrior class, are nowadays represented as noble and loyal men who fought to protect their feudal lords. But the truth is, they were everything but noble! Check out these 12 Petrifying Facts About the Samurai You Never Knew!
1. Women of Low Status Had to Pay in Order to Become Their Wives
You heard us! A Woman of no noble origin had to pay a significant amount of money in order to become the wife of a samurai. With this, they gained a better status but became their husband’s servant, to be honest. They had to be available 24/7.
2. You Insult Them – You Die
The Samurai basically had the right to kill everyone that insulted them. Well, two conditions needed to be fulfilled: a warrior had to pull his sword immediately after being insulted and there had to be at least one witness. But, you do realize how easy it was for them to make a witness out of their own servant, right?
3. They Frequently Murdered People Just for Fun
“Tsujigiri” or “crossroad killing” was not exactly legal, but only a few samurai were punished for doing it. It is an act of trying out a new weapon on the first person the Samurai encounters on the street at night.
Tameshigiri is testing a newly made sword on someone who is a criminal (because they were not considered humans). When a bidder wanted to buy a new sword, the seller would be nice enough to demonstrate the weapon’s strength on someone.
5. Not so Faithful at All
During the Sengoku period of Japanese history when the country was a mess and in constant wars, switching sides and choosing a more powerful master was a completely common thing. Makes sense to us.
They were masterless samurai who often wore women’s clothing and roamed the streets looking for trouble. They had no responsibilities and were problematic, with only one thing on their mind: looking for someone to pick a fight with.
7. The Samurai Kind of Thought They Were Gods
Even after losing their master (which basically meant they were beneath common people when it comes to social status) they would refuse to work because it was unacceptable for them. Although poor, they were proud and acted like real Samurai no matter what.
8. Brotherhood Contract
A Samurai Sensei (teacher) had the right to make a lover out of his young apprentice, supposedly with the boy’s permission. This was a part of the “contract” and would usually last until the boy became an adult.
9. Target Practice
The Inuoumono technique was very popular among the Samurai at the time. It implied a warrior running on a horse and practicing shooting with a bow by aiming at running dogs.
Bushido is a strict code that the Samurai followed, and it was revived during WW2. The Japanese government was convincing people they needed to fight the way their ancestors did and sacrifice their lives for the Japanese nation.
11. The Wife of a Samurai Had to Kill Herself if Her Husband Made a Mistake
Seppuku or ritual suicide is committed when a samurai messes up big time. But what is really odd is the fact that their wife had to suffer too. They had to perform the so-called female seppuku.
12. At Some Point, They Massively Started Quitting Their Jobs
After a prominent politician Tokugawa Ieyasu showed up on the scene, Japan encountered a period of peace and prosperity. That meant no wars and no jobs for the Samurai. So, many of them sold their weapons and became farmers.