As can be inferred from the short little trailer above, we are here to talk about the Samurai!
We understand that not much is known about the Samurai other than badly made films (ha), so we are here to shed some light on who a Samurai really is and how to become one. If you have always harboured a deep rooted desire to become a Samurai, well look no further as we tell you what it takes to become one!
Firstly, who exactly is a Samurai, you ask. To put it simply, the Samurai were the warriors of premodern japan. Initially, the samurai were just people who served the great lord and backed the authority of the shogun. However, by the end of the 12th century, the samurai took on a whole new role, and instead of being associated as merely serving to the shogun, they were now seen as part of the middle and upper class echelon. The samurai took over the governing system in the Kamakura era, and overtime became one of the highest social classes and ruling classes of Japan. While there were only a few of them, numbering up to 10% of the Japanese population, their teachings can still be found in modern day life, and in modern day martial arts as well. The traditional samurai code of honour, discipline and morality known as bushido–or “the way of the warrior”–was revived and made the basic code of conduct for much of Japanese society.
And now that you’re all caught up, let’s get down to business (yes Mulan reference yes we am aware Mulan is Chinese and not a Japanese Samurai)
Steps to becoming a samurai
1. Have military training
- As a warrior meant to protect the country and people they love and cherish, having military training would inevitably be one of the first things that needs to be mastered by an aspiring Samurai
- Out of all the different types of military and physical mastery that an aspiring Samurai would need to learn, learning how to use the Katana (sword) would be one of them
2. Have mental training as well
- Being a warrior is not an easy feat, especially on the mental health
- Firstly, while it takes a toll on the men being away from their family and loved ones, having to withstand and undergo harsh physical training conditions can make them mentally weak
- They have to gather enough mental tolerance to not give up easily and lose the battle
3. Learn the code of bushido
Bushidō (武士道) or the “Way of the Warrior” describes a uniquely Japanese code of ethical conduct adhered to by the samurai. It is loosely similar to Western concepts of chivalry, and yet it is more. Bushido encompasses a system of morals and values. It serves as a code of daily living for the samurai (and now, the modern Japanese citizen).
There are seven principles of Bushido, as can be seen in the image below
4. Be skilled with all your weapons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN6-J70D1Dk
5. Don your armour well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91x5bPf2Eag
6. Learn the battle style of the samurai
And there you have it! The simplest, and most basic methods needed in order to become a Samurai!
Here's some ways you can have an authentic Samurai experience without having to make a life-long commitment to becoming one!
Near Kyoto, in Otsu, you can learn how to become a Samurai at "Samurai Kembu", and you can read about someone's personal experience (complete with pictures) with this programme here.
Apart from this, there is an authentic Samurai house you can stay at here.
Who can be a Samurai? Well, sorry to burst your bubble and sorry for click-bait, but the bad news is that as of today, no one can really become a Samurai! You could only become a Samurai if your father was one, and as such, it was a hereditary position. Although Samurai no longer exist, we figure your best bet would be to track down the family line and maybe try to marry into one of the families that used to be Samurai? LOL JOKES ASIDE, even if you cannot become a Samurai in stature, you sure can emulate them through their methods of fighting, and definitely through their way of life. We hope this little bout of bad news doesnt stop you from living your dreams though!