What Was the Role of a Samurai?

The samurai were a military class of elite warriors in Japanese history who promoted education and influenced Japanese culture. Samurai lived by “bushido,” or “the way of the warrior,” meaning they adhered to a code of honor and courageousness.

The samurai embraced self-discipline, mindfulness, ethics and intelligence. They were known for their katanas, or samurai swords, which symbolized the brave soul of a warrior. Not only were they skilled in war, but they also came into political power and protected the land. They promoted literacy in Japanese culture. They also promoted Zen Buddhism and meditation, which gave them philosophical strength in battle. Samurai art styles also impacted Japanese art as they often produced ink paintings, rock gardens and poetry, such as haikus. Some samurai even became monks.