We all know a little bit about the ancient and legendary Japanese samurai, but most of our knowledge comes from things like movies and TV. Most of us see them as noble fighters who stick to a strict “code” throughout their lives. These ancient warriors are among the most well-known class of warriors in history. But in fact, there is much more to samurai culture as a whole that you probably don’t know. In order to bring you up to speed, here are 12 cool and interesting facts about the ancient samurai. Number 7 in particular is something you will likely find shocking.
#12 The Armor
While their armor might look a bit strange and over the top, each piece played a vital role. While the armor was of course supposed to protect, it also needed to be mobile. It was so well-designed that Americans actually based the first flak jacket on samurai armor. The next entry tackles a large misconception about the samurai.
#11 Large Number Of Samurai
In most people’s minds, the samurai were a very noble and elite class warriors, and almost an exclusive club. However, there were actually many more samurai than you think. At the peak of samurai culture, about 10% of Japanese citizens were samurai. As a result, most people born in Japan now have at least a little bit of samurai blood in them.
#10 Female Samurai
While the term “samurai” is meant for men only, there were a number of females trained in the same combat and strategy. For a while, it has been assumed that they were a small minority in the overall samurai population. However, research now shows they fought in more battles than scholars previously thought.
#9 The Weapons
When most of us think about the samurai, we associate them with a unique sword called a “katana.” However, samurai actually possessed and used a number of different weapons. In addition to swords of all sizes, they used bows, spears and eventually even began using guns, once gunpowder became more available.
#8 Samurai Were Extremely Well-Educated
In addition to being warriors, the samurai were extremely well educated. When the rest of the world struggled with literacy, the samurai could actually read and write very well. They were also talented in mathematics, art, calligraphy, and various other skills. They proved to be very diverse and cultured individuals as well.