今回は、海外でも忍者と並ぶほど人気の Samurai について、英語で簡単に説明する表現をご紹介していきます。



Samurai is a Japanese warrior who served a feudal lord during periods of civil war and also called “bushi.”

Bushi is a soldier whose occupation is to fight a battle.

The Japanese term samurai comes from the verb “saburau”, meaning “to serve someone.”

Samurai originally served nobles as security guards, but in the late 12th century, aristocrats lost their power and the warriors established their military government called the “bakufu.”

During the Singoku period, the age of provincial wars, the samurai families who ruled Japan in regional divisions fought for supremacy as Sengoku feudal lords.

In the Edo period, people lived in a social system of four classes called “shinōkōshō.”

Shinōkōshō was composed of warriors (Shi), farmers (No), artisans and craftsmen (Ko), and  tradesmen (Sho).

Shinōkōshō is the four classes of warriors, farmers, craftsmen and merchants in the Edo period in Japan.

Samurai were at the top of society, acting as moral examples for others to follow.

In 1867, Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu gave the reinstatement to the Emperor Meiji, and the era of samurai rule over Japan ended (the Meiji Restoration).

With the Meiji Restoration, the Edo Bakufu (Tokugawa shogunate) collapsed, and the social rank of samurai disappeared with this.

武士道精神 / Samurai spirits

The Japanese term “Bushido” is a moral code of samurai which came into common use from the Muromachi period to the Edo period.

Bushido involves not only martial spirit and skill with weapons, but also loyalty to one’s lord, justice, sense of honor, compassionate empathy, and the courage, if required, to sacrifice one’s life in battle or in ritual suicide.

A sense of honor and shame are also part of bushido, with honor seen as more precious than life itself.

Dying an honorable death was also of great importance to warriors who practiced seppuku, a form of taking one’s own life when taking responsibility for one’s own actions or to punish oneself.

Seppuku is a method of taking one’s own life that was considered honorable death among the feudal Japanese samurai class.

Samurai who lost a fight considered it a disgrace to be beheaded by the enemy, and thus he committed seppuku before he was caught by the enemy.

A samurai sometimes had to commit seppuku when he caused a scandal.

By the time Edo period, seppuku had become one of the five grades of punishment for wrongdoers among the samurai class.

When the site had been readied and the witnesses, inspectors, and “kaishakunin” (assistant) assembled, the doomed man would open his kimono, stretch out his right hand to grasp his knife, and cut into his belly from left to right.

Kaishakunin is an inevitable part of seppuku, since once the belly is cut, people suffer for a long time, and so the kaishakunin assists the person’s death by cutting off the neck of the person committing seppuku.

Upon the man’s making a prearranged signal to his kaishakunin (assistant), the kaishakunin’s sword would slash down, severing the head.




  • A samurai uses a toothpick even though he has not eaten.
  • Even when starving, a samurai acts as if he is full.


A noble-minded man will never lose his honor and pride even in poor circumstances.



Armor, helmets, and swords worn by samurai were not only used during battle, but also were traditional crafts, to be appreciated for their workmanship and the spirit of their makers.

Katana is a Japanese sword forged through an original method by an artisan called “tōkō.”

The Japanese sword is single-edged and curved.

Generally the hilt is long and made to be held with both hands.

Katana are thought to be the soul of samurai warrior, and they were a symbol of samurai society until the Edo period.

After the Meiji Restoration, possession of a katana became prohibited.

In recent years, katana are increasingly popular works of art instead of weapons.


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