Samurai were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan. In Japanese, they are referred to as bushi or buke. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was a verb meaning'to wait upon','accompany persons' in the upper ranks of society, this is 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 Japanese term saburai being the nominal form of the verb." According to Wilson, an early reference to the word samurai appears in the Kokin Wakashū, the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10th century. By the end of the 12th century, samurai became entirely synonymous with bushi, the word was associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class; the samurai were associated with a clan and their lord, were trained as officers in military tactics and grand strategy. While the samurai numbered less than 10% of Japan's population, their teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts.
Following the Battle of Hakusukinoe against Tang China and Silla in 663 AD which led to a retreat from Korean affairs, Japan underwent widespread reform. One of the most important was that of the Taika Reform, issued by Prince Naka-no-Ōe in 646 AD; this edict allowed the Japanese aristocracy to adopt the Tang dynasty political structure, culture and philosophy. As part of the Taihō Code of 702 AD, the Yōrō Code, the population was required to report for the census, a precursor for national conscription. With an understanding of how the population was distributed, Emperor Monmu introduced a law whereby 1 in 3–4 adult males were drafted into the national military; these soldiers were required to supply their own weapons, in return were exempted from duties and taxes. This was one of the first attempts by the Imperial government to form an organized army modeled after the Chinese system, it was called "Gundan-Sei" by historians and is believed to have been short-lived. The Taihō Code classified most of the Imperial bureaucrats into 12 ranks, each divided into two sub-ranks, 1st rank being the highest adviser to the Emperor.
Those of 6th rank and below were dealt with day-to-day affairs. Although these "samurai" were civilian public servants, the modern word is believed to have derived from this term. Military men, would not be referred to as "samurai" for many more centuries. In the early Heian period, during the late 8th and early 9th centuries, Emperor Kanmu sought to consolidate and expand his rule in northern Honshū, sent military campaigns against the Emishi, who resisted the governance of the Kyoto-based imperial court. Emperor Kanmu introduced the title of sei'i-taishōgun, or shōgun, began to rely on the powerful regional clans to conquer the Emishi. Skilled in mounted combat and archery, these clan warriors became the Emperor's preferred tool for putting down rebellions. Though this is the first known use of the title shōgun, it was a temporary title and was not imbued with political power until the 13th century. At this time, the Imperial Court officials considered them to be a military section under the control of the Imperial Court.
Emperor Kanmu disbanded his army. From this time, the emperor's power declined. While the emperor was still the ruler, powerful clans around Kyoto assumed positions as ministers, their relatives bought positions as magistrates. To amass wealth and repay their debts, magistrates imposed heavy taxes, resulting in many farmers becoming landless. Through protective agreements and political marriages, the aristocrats accumulated political power surpassing the traditional aristocracy; some clans were formed by farmers who had taken up arms to protect themselves from the Imperial magistrates sent to govern their lands and collect taxes. These clans formed alliances to protect themselves against more powerful clans, by the mid-Heian period, they had adopted characteristic Japanese armor and weapons; the Emperor and non-warrior nobility employed these warrior nobles. In time they amassed enough manpower and political backing, in the form of alliances with one another, to establish the first samurai-dominated government.
As the power of these regional clans grew, their chief was a distant relative of the Emperor and a lesser member of either the Fujiwara, Minamoto, or Taira clans. Though sent to provincial areas for fixed four-year terms as magistrates, the toryo declined to return to the capital when their terms ended, their sons inherited their positions and continued to lead the clans in putting down rebellions throughout Japan during the middle- and later-Heian period; because of their rising military and economic power, the warriors became a new force in the politics of the Imperial court. Their involvement in the Hōgen Rebellion in the late Heian period consolidated their power, which pitted the rivalry of Minamoto and Taira clans against each other in the Heiji Rebellion of 1160; the victor, Taira no Kiyomori, became an imperial advisor and was the first warrior to attain such a position. He seized control of the central government, establishing the first samurai-dominated government and relegating the Emperor to figurehead status.
However, the Taira clan was still conservative when compared to its eventual successor, the Minamoto, instead of expanding or stre
A tsurugi is a Japanese sword, akin to the Chinese jian. The word is used in the West to refer to a specific type of Japanese straight, double-edged sword used in antiquity; the current name for the sword, one of the Three Imperial Regalia of Japan is "Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi". Japanese sword mountings
The chokutō is a straight, one-edged Japanese sword, produced prior to the 9th century. Its basic style is derived from similar swords of ancient China. Chokutō were worn hung from the waist; until the Heian period such swords were called tachi, which should not be confused with tachi written as 太刀 referring to curved swords. The production of swords in Japan is divided into specific time periods: Jokoto Koto Shinto Shinshinto Gendaito Shinsakuto Chokutō was among the earliest in the history of Japanese sword-forging as its basic style and forging techniques originated in ancient China and were brought to Japan by way of Korea in the 3rd centuries, it was created before the development of differential tempering in Japanese swordsmithing. Chokutō come in hira-zukuri and kiriha-zukuri tsukurikomi which make them distinct from tachi and katana which use these forms; the distinctive feature of the chokutō is the straight blade, similar to the ancient Chinese swords found in China around the 2nd century BCE to the 10th century CE.
Though curved blades are as old as the sword itself, they did not become widespread in Asia and the Middle East until after the dominance of the Mongol Empire. Japanese warriors of the Kamakura Shogunate experienced the effectiveness and lethality of curved blades firsthand during the Mongol invasions of Japan. Rudimentary forms what would become the tachi began to eclipse the chokutō in popularity as the curved blades demonstrated greater ease of handling and lethality in mounted combat. Few examples of chokutō mountings remain, although enough to reconstruct their various typologies which always followed Chinese and Korean models. Japanese sword Tsurugi
The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been sourced during the era of the British Empire, it documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world; the British Museum was established in 1753 based on the collections of the Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It first opened in Montagu House, on the site of the current building, its expansion over the following 250 years was a result of expanding British colonisation and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the Natural History Museum in 1881. In 1973, the British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the British Museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997.
The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport, as with all national museums in the UK it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions. Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Parthenon Marbles. Although today principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities, the British Museum was founded as a "universal museum", its foundations lie in the will of the Irish physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, a London-based doctor and scientist from Ulster. During the course of his lifetime, after he married the widow of a wealthy Jamaican planter, Sloane gathered a large collection of curiosities and, not wishing to see his collection broken up after death, he bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for a sum of £20,000. At that time, Sloane's collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds including some 40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts, extensive natural history specimens including 337 volumes of dried plants and drawings including those by Albrecht Dürer and antiquities from Sudan, Greece, the Ancient Near and Far East and the Americas.
On 7 June 1753, King George II gave his Royal Assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The British Museum Act 1753 added two other libraries to the Sloane collection, namely the Cottonian Library, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dating back to Elizabethan times, the Harleian Library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford, they were joined in 1757 by the "Old Royal Library", now the Royal manuscripts, assembled by various British monarchs. Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf; the British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king open to the public and aiming to collect everything. Sloane's collection, while including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests; the addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary and antiquarian element and meant that the British Museum now became both National Museum and library.
The body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu House, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace, on the grounds of cost and the unsuitability of its location. With the acquisition of Montagu House, the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. At this time, the largest parts of collection were the library, which took up the majority of the rooms on the ground floor of Montagu House and the natural history objects, which took up an entire wing on the second state storey of the building. In 1763, the trustees of the British Museum, under the influence of Peter Collinson and William Watson, employed the former student of Carl Linnaeus, Daniel Solander to reclassify the natural history collection according to the Linnaean system, thereby making the Museum a public centre of learning accessible to the full range of European natural historians.
In 1823, King George IV gave the King's Library assembled by George III, Parliament gave the right to a copy of every book published in the country, thereby ensuring that the museum's library would expand indefinitely. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several further gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts and David Garrick's library of 1,000 printed plays; the predominance of natural history and manuscripts began to lessen when in 1772 the museum acquired for £8,410 its first significant antiquities in Sir William Hamilton's "first" collection of Greek vases. From 1778, a display of objects from the South Seas brought back from the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook and the travels of other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of unknown lands; the bequest of a collection of books, engraved gems, coins and drawings by Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode in 1800 did much to raise the museum's reputation. The museum's first notable addition towards its collection of antiquities, since its foundation, was by Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples, who sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts to
Japanese swordsmithing is the labour-intensive bladesmithing process developed in Japan for forging traditionally made bladed weapons including katana, tantō, naginata, tachi, nodachi, ōdachi, ya. Japanese sword blades were forged with different profiles, different blade thicknesses, varying amounts of grind. Wakizashi and tantō were not scaled-down katana; the steel used in sword production is known as tamahagane, or "jewel steel". Tamahagane is produced from iron sand, a source of iron ore, used to make Samurai swords, such as the katana, some tools; the smelting process used is different from the modern mass production of steel. A clay vessel about 1.1 m tall, 3 m long, 1.1 m wide is constructed. This is known as a tatara. After the clay tub has set, it is fired until dry. A charcoal fire is started from soft pine charcoal; the smelter will wait for the fire to reach the correct temperature. At that point he will direct the addition of iron sand known as satetsu; this will be layered in with more iron sand over the next 72 hours.
Four or five people need to work on this process. It takes about a week to complete the iron conversion to steel; because the charcoal cannot exceed the melting point of iron, the steel is not able to become molten, this allows both high and low carbon material to be created and separated once cooled. When complete, the Tatara is broken to remove the steel bloom, known as a kera. At the end of the process the tatara will have consumed about 10 short tons of satetsu and 12 short tons of charcoal leaving about 2.5 short tons of kera, from which less than a ton of tamahagane can be produced. A single kera can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, making it many times more expensive than modern steels; the swordsmiths will break the kera apart, separate the various carbon steels. The lowest carbon steel is called hocho-tetsu, used for the shingane of the blade; the high carbon steel and higher carbon pig iron, called nabe-gane, will be forged in alternating layers, using intricate methods to form the hard steel for the edge, called hagane, the springy metal jacket, called kawagane.
The most useful process is the folding, where the metals are forge welded and welded again, as many as 16 times. The folding removes impurities and helps out the carbon content, while the alternating layers combine hardness with ductility to enhance the toughness. Tamahagane is only made three or four times a year by Nittoho and Hitachi Metals during winter in a wood building and is only sold to the master swordsmiths to use once it is made; the forging of a Japanese blade took many days or weeks, was considered a sacred art, traditionally accompanied by a large panoply of Shinto religious rituals. As with many complex endeavors, rather than a single craftsman, several artists were involved. There was a smith to forge the rough shape a second smith to fold the metal, a specialist polisher, a specialist for the edge itself. There were sheath and handguard specialists as well; the steel bloom, or kera, produced in the tatara contains steel that varies in carbon content, ranging from wrought iron to pig iron.
Three types of steel are chosen for the blade. The high carbon steel, the remelted pig iron, are combined to form the outer skin of the blade. Only about 1/3 of the kera produces steel, suitable for sword production; the best known part of the manufacturing process is the folding of the steel, where the swords are made by heating and folding the metal. The process of folding metal to improve strength and remove impurities is attributed to specific Japanese smiths in legends. In traditional Japanese sword making, the low-carbon iron is folded several times by itself, to purify it; this produces the soft metal to be used for the core of the blade. The high-carbon steel and the higher-carbon cast-iron are forged in alternating layers; the cast-iron is heated, quenched in water, broken into small pieces to help free it from slag. The steel is forged into a single plate, the pieces of cast-iron are piled on top, the whole thing is forge welded into a single billet, called the age-kitae process; the billet is elongated, cut and forge welded again.
The steel can be folded transversely, or longitudinally. Both folding directions are used to produce the desired grain pattern; this process, called the shita-kitae, is repeated from 8 to as many as 16 times. After 20 foldings, there is too much diffusion in the carbon content; the steel becomes homogeneous in this respect, the act of folding no longer gives any benefit to the steel. Depending on the amount of carbon introduced, this process forms either the hard steel for the edge, or the less hardenable spring steel, used for the sides and the back. During the last few foldings, the steel may be forged into several thin plates and forge welded into a brick; the grain of the steel is positioned between adjacent layers, with the exact configuration
The Kabutowari known as hachiwari, was a type of knife-shaped weapon, resembling a jitte in many respects. This weapon was carried as a side-arm by the samurai class of feudal Japan. Kabutowari were around 35cm long. There were two types of kabutowari: truncheon-type; the dirk-type was forged with a sharp dirk-like point, which could be used to parry an opponent's sword, to hook the cords of armor or a helmet, or like a can opener to separate armor plates. The sharp point could pierce weak areas of an opponent's armor like the armpit area; the blade of this type of kabutowari was a curved tapered square iron or steel bar with a hook on its back edge. In combat, one could catch a blade with that hook, as with a jitte; some kabutowari of this type were mounted in the style of a tanto with a koshirae. The truncheon-type was blunt, cast iron or forged truncheon-like weapon resembling a tekkan or a jitte; this type of kabutowari had the same basic shape as the dirk-type kabutowari including the hook, but it was blunt and not meant for stabbing.
It would appear, according to Serge Mol, that tales of samurai breaking open a kabuto are more folklore than anything else. The hachi is the central component of a kabuto; this would require enormous pressure to split open. This idea that the kabutowari was somehow able to smash or damage a helmet kabuto is most a misinterpretation of the name which could have several meanings, as hachi could mean skull or helmet bowl and wari could mean, rip, crack or smash. In modern times there is no ryū known to train with kabutowari, although certain dojos within Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu still train with them, as an extension of jittejutsu. A number of weapons retailers in Japan still sell usable kabutowari. Hachiwara Defensive Weapons of the Samurai
Guntō is a Japanese sword produced for use by the Japanese army and navy after the end of the samurai era in 1868. In the following era, samurai armour and ideals were replaced with Western-influenced uniforms and tactics. Japan developed a conscription military in 1872 and the samurai lost the status they had held for hundreds of years as the protectors of Japan; the transition from hand-made blades to machined-assisted creations was hastening. Early in the production of guntō swords and artistic additions continued, but fell into heavy decline following Japan-wide increases in mass production. Thus, guntō swords became the standard in the new military, transitioning the swords worn by the samurai class to an advancing battlefield. During the Meiji period, the samurai class was disbanded, the Haitōrei Edict in 1876 forbade the carrying of swords in public except for certain individuals such as former samurai lords, the military and police. Skilled swordsmiths had trouble making a living during this period as Japan modernized its military and many swordsmiths started making other items such as cutlery.
Military action by Japan in China and Russia during the Meiji Period helped revive the manufacture of swords and in the Shōwa period before and during World War II swords were once again produced on a large scale. During the pre World War II military buildup and throughout the war, all Japanese officers were required to wear a sword. Traditionally made swords were produced during this period but, in order to supply such large numbers of swords, blacksmiths with little or no knowledge of traditional Japanese sword manufacture were recruited. In addition, supplies of the type of Japanese steel used for sword making were limited so several other types of steel were substituted. Shortcuts in forging were taken, such as the use of power hammers and tempering the blade in oil rather than hand forging and water tempering; the non-traditionally made swords from this period are called Shōwatō and, in 1937, the Japanese government started requiring the use of special stamps on the tang to distinguish these swords from traditionally made swords.
During this wartime period antique swords from older time periods were remounted for use in military mounts. Presently in Japan showato are not considered to be true Japanese swords and they can be confiscated; the first standard sword of the Japanese military was known as the kyū guntō. Murata Tsuneyoshi, a Japanese general who made guns, started making what was the first mass-produced substitute for traditionally made samurai swords; these swords are referred to as Murata-tō and they were used in both the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War. The kyū guntō was used from 1875 until 1934, many styles resembled European and American swords of the time, with a wraparound hand guard and chrome plated scabbard, the steel scabbard is said to have been introduced around 1900. Prior to 1945, many kyū guntō were distributed to commissioned officers to fill a demand for swords to Japan's expanding military officer classes. To distinguish individuality, wealth or craftsmanship, many swords were produced in batches as small as 1–25 to maintain the legacy of sword culture.
Styles varied with inspirations drawn from swords of early periods, familial crests, experimental artistic forms that the Meiji Restoration period had begun to introduce. Some examples have included European style silverworking, cloisonné, or metalwork and paint for artistic relief. After the Second World War's conclusion, most produced guntō were made to resemble the traditionally cloth wrapped shin-gunto swords, but out of a solid metal casting. On models the hilts were made of aluminum and painted to resemble the lacing on officer's shin-guntō swords; these swords are nearly always machine made. If the sword is all original, the serial numbers on the blade, tsuba and all other parts should match; the shin guntō was a weapon and symbol of rank used by the Imperial Japanese Army between the years of 1935 and 1945. During most of that period, the swords were manufactured at the Toyokawa Naval Arsenal. In response to rising nationalism within the armed forces, a new style of sword was designed for the Japanese military in 1934.
The shin guntō was styled after a traditional slung tachi of the Kamakura Period. Officers' ranks were indicated by coloured tassels tied to a loop at the end of the hilt; the corresponding colors were gold for generals. The blades found in shin guntō ranged from modern machine made blades through contemporary traditionally-manufactured blades to ancestral blades dating back hundreds of years; the Type 94 shin guntō officers' sword replaced the Western style kyu gunto in 1934. It had a traditionally constructed hilt with ray skin wrapped with traditional silk wrapping. A cherry blossom theme was incorporated into the guard and ornaments; the scabbard for the Type 94 was made of metal with a wood lining to protect the blade. It was painted brown and was suspended from two brass mounts, one of, removable and only used when in full dress u