Samurai 侍 / Bushi or Buke 武家
were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan. In Japanese, they are usually referred to as bushi (武士, [bu.si]) or buke (武家). According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning "to wait upon" or "accompany persons" in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean "those who serve in close attendance to the nobility", the pronunciation in Japanese changing to saburai. According to Wilson, an early reference to the word "samurai" appears in the Kokin Wakashū (905–914), the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10th century. By the end of the 12th century, samurai became almost entirely synonymous with bushi, and the word was closely associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class. The samurai were usually associated with a clan and their lord, were trained as officers in military tactics and grand strategy, and they followed a set of rules that later came to be known as the bushidō. While the samurai numbered less than 10% of then Japan's population, their teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts.
The Last Samurai In Rare Photos From 1800s.
The Meiji Restoration of 1868 took power from the warlords that had been the de facto rulers of Japan and consolidated it under the Emperor Meiji. With the Restoration came many changes, including the creation of a modern, western-style, conscripted army in 1873.
The famous Samurai, who despite making up only 10% of the Japanese population, and who wielded a tremendous amount of power, lost their right to be the nation's only armed force, and eventually, even their right to wear a sword in public.
Onna-bugeisha 女武芸者, "female martial artist" was a type of female warrior belonging to the Japanese nobility. These women engaged in battle alongside samurai men mostly in times of need. They were members of the bushi (samurai) class in feudal Japan and were trained in the use of weapons to protect their household, family, and honour in times of war. Women learned to use naginata, kaiken, and the art of tanto Jutsu in battle. Such training ensured protection in communities that lacked male fighters.
During the peaceful years of the Edo period, the naginata became a symbol of status and often formed part of the dowry of women of the nobility. Later in the Meiji era, it became popular as a martial art for women; many schools focusing on the use of the naginata were created.
Significant icons such as Tomoe Gozen, Nakano Takeko, and Hōjō Masako are famous examples of onna-bugeisha.
* The color in most photos is hand made.
During the Meiji period (1868–1912) Japan was already known as “the land of photography”. Numerous photographs were produced, yet they suffered significant loss with time. More importantly, it introduces some forgotten Japanese masters of photography like Ueno Hikoma, Uchida Kuichi, Yokohama Matsusaburō, and Kajima Seibei.
Privet collection of Bujinkan Greece