Are there samurai in today’s Japan?
A samurai is a member of a powerful class of warriors who mastered martial arts and were engaged in military affairs. The samurai class ruled Japan until about 140 years ago, but in today’s Japan there are no samurai. The origin of the samurai dates back to the middle of the Heian period (794-1192), when powerful clans of farmers, and military officers, who had guarded noblemen and their residences, were interchanged to form the samurai class. Soon after this time, the samurai class grew powerful. In 1192, the first Samurai-run government was established in Kamakura, and the samurai class ruled the nation for over 680 years, until the Meiji Restoration of 1867. As the world has seen via the Hollywood production, The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise, samurai warriors are popular subjects for movies, TV dramas and shows. There are no real samurai, however, in today’s Japan.
The Bushido influence of Samurai lives on somewhat in Japanese society today through self-sacrifice and honor in the Japanese culture. Although there are no Samurai living by the Bushido code today and there have not been for more than a century, the practices and traditions still widely live on in other forms, such as Kendo, martial arts mastery, and chivalry.