Member of the Japanese warrior class that developed alongside the late medieval system of land ownership by feudal lords known as shoen.


Due to the weakness of the central government in the medieval period, local nobles were able to recruit their own fighting forces, and the founding of the Kamakura Shogunate in 1192 ushered in an era of military rule that lasted until the Meiji Restoration of 1868. The relationship between the samurai warrior and his lord was governed by a code of conduct known as bushido, which emphasized honour, glory, heroism, and loyalty. Many samurai found Buddhist religious teachings, particularly those of zen, helpful in remaining mentally concentrated in battle and in developing an attitude of calm detachment in the face of death.

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Cristóbal Vila, June 2008, Zaragoza, Spain