This research paper discusses the role samurai warriors in the ancient Japanese society, other than that of serving the interests of the few wealthy and powerful landowners, who were benefitting at the expense of the majority of peasants and tenant farmers…
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In addition, how did the institution of Samurai warriors affect the political system of the Japanese society? The military nobles of ancient Japan are referred to as Samurai. The term was associated with the top and the middle ranks of the Japanese society, a warrior class.1 This class of skilled warriors developed after the Taika reforms which introduced heavy taxes and the redistribution of land. This, in turn, resulted in many small farmers selling their lands and engaging in tenant farmers, since the reforms favored the owners of large tracts of land1. This system served to create a social system where there were a few wealthy farmers wielding immense power and a large population of those who had low income, namely, peasants and tenant farmers who barely had enough for themselves. Consequently, wealthy and powerful landowners and farmers required to protect their interests against the large groups of Japan citizenry who had fewer resources. This saw the birth of the Samurai warriors tasked to protect the interest of the mighty, wealthy and powerful landowners1. While some of these Samurai warriors were hired individuals, others were the relatives of the wealthy farmers. There was a fundamental principle that guided the institution of Samurai warrior, loyalty to the master. ...
The wealthy landowners have organized themselves in clans that amassed wealth by influencing the laws of the land to impose higher taxes on the peasants and the tenant farmers, to make them lose more lands to them. These organized clans eventually established protective agreements that, in turn, allowed them to wield more powers than the traditional ruling aristocracy2. These clans, some of which were made by a formation of alliances of landowners to guard themselves against the collection of taxes by the authorities, established armies to fight for them against the authorities. Such alliances and eventual establishments of armies and weaponry by the farmers’ clans finally created a tradition of Japanese armor that was the basis of the foundation of the Samurai warrior institution. The Samurai grew stronger and started to collect certain taxes but eventually emerged as the political ruling power in Japan1. By 1100, the Samurai had already moved in to fill the vacant position that was left by the loss of control of the traditional Japanese aristocracy. Consequently, they wielded both political and military power over Japan6. The further factor that promoted the rise of the Samurai to power was the death of emperor Toba in 1156 without appointing an heir. His two sons struggled to rise to emperorship and ended up in a civil war in which both lost. The civil war led to the fight between two Samurai clans, the Minamoto and Taira Samurai clans, for power in which the Taira clan won. Consequently, Taira clan established the first Samurai government, and the Minamoto clan was expelled from Kyoto3.
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