On In History

Stunning 130-YO Images of Japanese Samurai Warriors for Whom Honour Was Everything

I guess you've heard about the Samurai Warriors. But for the ones who haven't, here's a little bit of information about these fearless warriors. The Samurai, also known as Bushi were the warriors of premodern Japan. They were the cultured warriors of Japan. The Samurai devoted most of their time to combat; they were expected to be loyal in the case of provocation from the enemies. The Samurai would give everything they had in their power to fight until the last breath. They had a range of weapons such as spears, guns, bows, and arrows, but their main weapon was the SWORD.These fascinating set of photographs date back 130 years and show exactly the life of the Japanese Samurai warrior tribes. The most shocking image is the one that shows a warrior totally soaked in blood with the sword plunged deep into his stomach.

Samurai warriors in their colorful attire equipped with their swords ready to fight.

The Samurai originated in the Heian period dating back to 710 BC and in particular campaigns to subdue the native Emirishi in the Tohoku region of the northern part of Honshu. 

A Samurai warrior staging Seppuku or Hara-Kiri in Japan.

Seppuku or Hara-Kiri is a tradition used by the Samurai warriors who wanted to die with honor. This is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. It was an elaborate ritual which was performed in front of spectators.

Samurai warriors overseeing the ritual suicide of one of their own warriors (dressed in white).

Over the centuries, the Samurai became more and more powerful and eventually became the 'warrior nobility' of Japan. They followed a set of rules that came to be known as Bushido- 'the way of the warrior'.

Here's a group of Samurai warriors with their arms and armour.

The unwritten and unspoken code emphasized frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and honor unto death. But the code also evolved to stress heroic bravery, fierce family pride, and selfless, at times senseless devotion of master and man. 

Women in a traditional Japanese shop back in the 19th century. Felice Beato took this photograph.

Earlier there were many warring factions, but later these wars reduced in number.

One of the first war photographs taken around the time of 1862 by Venetian-born Felice Beato.

The Samurai warriors wore plate armour and a vast array of weapons including the bow and arrow, spears, guns, and the Samurai SWORD.

A Samurai warrior blowing into a shell.

Slowly as peace seemed to endure during the Edo period, many became teachers, artists or bureaucrats as the need for martial skills became less important. When Emperor Meiji came to power, he began to abolish the Samurai's powers and began to introduce a western style conscripted army from 1873.

Three Japanese Samurai warriors in armour ready for battle with their weapons. 

The right to wear a katana (sword) was soon lost along with the power to execute anyone who disrespected them in public. However, its influence is still seen today in the Japanese culture- modern martial arts.If you found the Samurai warriors interesting, then don't forget to SHARE!