Term PaperXX - Perseverance of Culture and Philosophies: A...

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Perseverance of Culture and Philosophies : A Comprehensive Look at the Relationship between the Samurai and Kamikazes
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With careful analysis on Japanese history, one should undoubtedly be able to see the countless cultural similarities between the samurai and the kamikazes. In reality, the kamikazes in the 20 th century have adopted numerous customs from the samurai, dating back to the 6 th century. A comparative approach will be used on revealing and organizing the relationship between the two praised military units by means of extensive and detailed research. The focus will be on their philosophies in the midst of their history and culture as the solid foundation. Difficult and unanswered questions will be tackled and resolved to the fullest extent, in order to truly comprehend the reasoning behind the several theories of the arguably most important noble soldiers of Japan – the samurai and the kamikazes. Samurai are known as a military retainer of a Japanese daimyo practicing the code of conduct of Bushido, or the warrior aristocracy of Japan, 1 according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary. However, both of these definitions are in fact quite blunt to the reality of the meaning, as there is much more to be uncovered. The authentic meaning of the word stems from the Japanese word “saburau,” which means “to serve,” hence a samurai is technically a servant, more specifically the servant of a lord. In the early years (7 th and 8 th century), civilian public servants were referred to as “samurai,” and it took a few centuries for the military nobility to be referred to as “samurai.” The samurai, or noble military men, before the 14 th century dating back as far as the 5 th century were in truth much different then the more modern-day samurai and many misconceptions are made. For instance, in this time-period, samurai were nothing more than illiterate, but skilled warriors, who were only praised for their skill in combat. It was not until much later that the samurai entirely followed a code of conduct and lived their 1 Merriam Webster Dictionary
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life by it. However, historians still argue about the date in which the code, known as Bushido, was formulated, which ranges from the 12 th to 17 th century. By the 14 th century, samurai were expected to be literate and more affiliated with the nobility. This was however too much to ask for because of their stressful lives, as only a few decided to follow these ancient guidelines, such as: “The pen and the sword in accord.” 2 By the turn of the 17 th century, most samurai had completely changed their ways and instead of being skilled military men, they turned into administrators, couriers, and bureaucrats. The strange reasoning for this is due to the lack of warfare during the Edo period (1603-1868), also known as the Tokugawa Era. Sadly, their corresponding swords stood as symbols rather than weaponry used for fighting. On the other hand, the intellect and knowledge of everything from nobility to religion increased tremendously as that time was not used for military teachings. The daimyo, or lords of the samurai, would
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Term PaperXX - Perseverance of Culture and Philosophies: A...

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