By the end of the 7th century, a fairly strong centralized state had been formed on the territory of modern Japan. The 8th century is often called the golden age of ancient Japanese statehood. The heyday of the society is associated with the emergence and traditions of samurai. It was a feudal class which enjoyed great respect and admiration among all other classes of the state. The samurai culture was important for ancient Japan because it has led to social and cultural development of the country and contributed to the growth of its military affairs.

The Japanese civilization and its people were formed as a result of a range of complex ethnic mergers of settlers who overcame the water barrier that separates the Japanese islands from the mainland. All the tribes inhabiting the territory of Japan had a primitive communal system of the society. Since then, one of the leading stereotypes of the Japanese worldview, the ability to absorb the skills and knowledge coming from contacts with other peoples, has been formed. For many years, the Japanese state is trying to ideologically substantiate the existing and newly created cultural and historical values. One of the peculiarities and uniqueness of the Japanese civilization is the culture of samurai.

Samurai is the Japanese military-feudal caste. The word samurai originated in the 8th century from the ancient Japanese verb samurai, which means to serve a man of the upper class. Hence, samurai means a servant. Samurai in Japan were also called bushi, which means warrior. The title of samurai in ancient Japan was inherited. The bulk of samurai were runaway peasants and free hunters seeking freedom and land allotments at the border of the empire. They spent their life in endless campaigns and wars, defending state borders and building defensive structures. Gradually, the number of samurais increased, and soon feudal lords began to represent whole armies. Centrifugal tendencies appeared in the country, weakening the central government. With the growth of military strength, relations between feudal lords became tenser, and they began to seize each others lands. In the process of feudal civil strife, influential families aligned with considerable military forces, which were only partly at the imperial service. Sometimes samurai received land plots with peasants and became feudal lords themselves. Hence, samurai were a new force that was formed from wealthy peasants and directly connected with the land and respected the rules and regulations.

The culture of samurai played the chief role in the social development of the country. Under their impact, a new value system and way of life developed in the Japanese society. Thus, the society was united by one idea and faith in samurai and their activities.The lifestyle of most samurai was based not on preference but on necessity. Besides, a great value in Japanese residents and samurai in particular was religion. Religious foundation is one of the reasons for distinctiveness and importance of the Japanese samurai culture. It was formed as an amazing synthesis of several religions: Shinto, Buddhism, and Confucianism. This feature of samurai contributed to the unusual worldview of the Japanese.

Secondly, samurai and their activities contributed to the development of the cultural sphere of ancient Japan. Samurai culture has evolved from the Spartan culture of Zen Buddhism into an extravagant culture of theatrical style. The samurai heritage refers not only to material culture but also to traditions and rich life experience of the people. Traditions and customs of samurai united the cultural sphere of ancient Japan. The appearance of samurai made Japan a unique country.

The culture of the samurai also played an important role in the military affairs of Japan. Samurai, who were driven by personal honor and the fidelity code, formed the elite of the Japanese army. New challenges, technologies, and adversaries tested the strength of the samurai commanders from generation to generation. As a consequence, samurai developed a unique type of battle, which became a distinguishing feature of all Japanese types of martial arts. They laid the main emphasis on the moral side and development of the spiritual abilities of the samurai, the psychic balance of the warrior, and then on the formation of a physically developed personality. Due to samurai and their military art, the country preserved order and discipline.

Samurai were a new force, which formed from wealthy peasants and was directly connected with the land. The first samurai appeared in Japan in the early 8th century. Generation after generation, samurai warriors ruled Japan, protecting the Land of the Rising Sun from external threats and maintaining order and justice in it. During its thousand-year history, samurai turned from warriors into the true elite that became a symbol of Japan. Being the ruling class of the feudal society, they developed a system of vassalage, uniting the lord and his servants. Such a union contributed to the exceptional growth of the military and economic might of samurai and the whole country. Due to the appearance of samurai in ancient Japan, the formation of a new history and culture of the country as a whole began. Samurais played an important role in the states social development and military affairs and created a cultural environment for the residents of the country.

About the author: Victoria Brown is a master in Literature at Maryland University. She is currently working as one of the best writers at the Essays Professors She also studies male psychology.