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What is "samurai"?

Samurai are the so-called knights in Japan. At first, they served the emperor and other nobles and performed practical affairs, but from around the 12th century, their power became so strong that they even took part in Japanese politics.

During the Edo period (1603-1867), the Tokugawa family of samurai were in charge of politics for generations, but as the country became more stable and civilized, samurai began to focus on politics rather than fighting and were finally abolished during the Meiji period (1868-1912), when Japan began to develop into a modern country with relations with Western nations.

Tokugawa Ieyasu (the first leader of Edo)

Samurai today

Today, the Samurai is known and popular not only in Japan but also in the rest of the world through their roles in period dramas and other productions. Films made by Akira Kurosawa, in particular, are internationally acclaimed and very popular.


Recently, Samurai-themed games have also become popular, including Ghost of Tsushima, a game created by a foreign game maker that successfully combines the beautiful nature of Japan and the Samurai.

Seven Samurai (1954, Akira Kurosawa)

Ghost of Tsushima (2020, Sucker Punch Productions)

Learn more about Japanese history:

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