Modern history

Samurai and the Warrior Culture of Japan, 471–1877: A Sourcebook

Samurai and the Warrior Culture of Japan, 471–1877: A Sourcebook

In addition to providing excerpts from classic tales of Japan’s warrior past, this volume draws on a wide range of lesser-known but revealing sources―including sword inscriptions, edicts, orders, petitions, and letters―to expand and deepen our understanding of the samurai, from the order’s origins in the fifth century to its abolition in the nineteenth. Taken together with Thomas Donald Conlan’s contextualizing introductions and notes, these sources provide a rare window into the experiences, ideals, and daily lives of these now-sentimentalized warriors. Numerous illustrations, a glossary of terms, and a substantial bibliography further enhance the value of this book to students, scholars, and anyone interested in learning more about the samurai.


Section I. The Story of Swords: Understanding the Warriors of Ancient Japan (471–900)

Section II. Warriors and the Court (900–1150)

Section III. The Wars of the Twelfth Century (1150–89) and the Creation of a Warrior Government

Section IV. The Age of Kamakura Ascendancy (1221–1333)

Section V. The Rise of the Ashikaga and the Life of Ashikaga Takauji (1305–58)

Section VI. Warfare in the Fourteenth Century: Warrior Experiences (1331–92)

Section VII. The Ashikaga Decline and the Ōnin War (1441–77)

Section VIII. The Rise of Regional Hegemons (Daimyō) (1450–1557)

Section IX. The First European Encounter (1543–87)

Section X. The Late Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century Transformations: The Creation of the “Samurai” (1575–1691)

Section XI. The Samurai of the Tokugawa Era (1603–1867)

Section XII. Abolishing the Samurai (1868–77)


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