SAMURAI

Samurai were warriors from Japanese noble families, who served in private armies recruited by daimyo (local lords). They fought in civil wars that raged in Japan from around 1159. In 1603, the Tokugawa SHOGUNS restored peace. Samurai then became local officials and administrators.

WHAT WAS THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR?

Samurai swore a solemn oath of loyalty to their comrades and their lord. They aimed to follow a code, called the bushido (the way of the warrior). This called for self-discipline, skill, bravery, honor, obedience, and self-sacrifice. Many samurai also followed the teachings of Zen Buddhism.

SHOGUNS

From 1192 to 1867, Japan was ruled by a series of powerful army commanders with the title of shogun. Japan’s emperors had great prestige but little real power.

WHO WAS THE FIRST SHOGUN?

In 1192, the warlord Yoritomo, who was the head of the mighty Minamoto clan, defeated rival nobles to become the most powerful man in Japan. The emperor gave him the title of shogun, which means “great general.” Yoritomo set up a new, military government, far away from the imperial court.

FIND OUT MORE

Buddhism

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Pin the Star on the Christmas Tree Game
Looking for a great Christmas game to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Star on the Christmas Tree game for loads of family fun!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!