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Samurai Weapons, Samurai Armor and the Samurai way of life

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Female Samurai

In traditional Japanese, the term 'Female Samurai', strictly speaking, is a technically incorrect usage of the word Samurai. 'Samurai' was a gender specific term used to indicate only the male members. However, in modern parlance, 'Female Samurai' has become the commonly accepted term for the women members of the Samurai class.

Throughout history, the warring class has been mainly a domain of men. However, the story of the Samurai includes several female samurai who demonstrated extraordinary fighting prowess, the spirit to defend one's honor and the strict adherence to the duty required of her towards her fellow warriors.

The naginata was a popular and widely used weapon among the womenfolk of the samurai. Consisting of basically a long pole with a curved blade at one end. Perhaps due to their slighter builds, female samurai were often given extensive training in the use of this weapon to fight with the enemy and defend themselves when required. Not surprising, many women became highly skilled in the use of the naginata.

Japanese epics and historical recordings mention several incidents of extreme courage and sense of duty exhibited by the female samurai. There are even prominent stories of the Samurai women taking upon themselves, the political duties of their deceased husbands. One woman, Hojo Masako, is believed to have been hugely responsible for rallying the Samurai together and having them stand by the shoguns.

Clearly, these snippets of history show us the kind of stature women enjoyed in the early Japanese samurai society. In fact, the laws in those times, gave clear rights to the women to stake an equal claim as their brothers in matters of property inheritance.

In the household, the women were accorded a high position in administrative matters. They controlled the household finances while also managing the domestic helpers. In addition to these duties, they were often summoned to fight in times of war. Also, the womenfolk of the male samurai were largely responsible for bringing up the children and raising them along the Samurai ideals of loyalty and courage.


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The high esteem given to women both in the household and as warriors lasted from the 11th up through 16th century. However, by the 17th century, when various clan struggles arose, women were sadly reduced to being pawns in the hands of their fathers and brothers. They were often given off in marriage to other samurai in exchange for political favors and alliances.

During this time, the general feeling arose that women were only necessary to bring forth children and were not fitting as comrades in war. Such sentiments, interestingly, resulted in a general trend of homosexuality among the samurai, when men started to seek companionship in other men due to the lack of female company.

Despite such alienation, the women of samurai were still expected to show moral values and a sense of bounded duty towards her husband. The act of a wife giving up her life or honor for the sake of her husband was a very popular theme in Japanese drama.

And even though warrior women were being suppressed, stories of female samurai displaying their martial prowess still surfaced from time to time. Especially during the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877 and in 1868, when the shogunate and the imperial army fought. During these battles, samurai women played a brave and important part.

One celebrated women, Nakano Takeko, is known to have been highly skilled in the use of the naginata and sword. During the struggle between the shogunate and the supporters of imperial restoration in 1868, she charged into the enemy lines and fought bravely to cut down many a man. Unfortunately, she was eventually shot to death. Her head was removed by her sister to prevent the enemy from obtaining it.

A monument to Nakano Takeko was erected in the Hokai temple in Aizu Bangemachi, Fukishima province. Her courage, loyalty and understanding of honor well represented her sisters of the Female Samurai.

About the Author:  Scott Harker is the publisher of several websites including: Sherlock Holmes Pastiches, Next Vacation - Go Sailing, and Ovarian Cysts.



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samuri weapons

News About Female Samurai

Netflix's VP of original content explains female-centric programming - The Straits Times
Posted on Sunday August 20, 2017


The Straits Times

Netflix's VP of original content explains female-centric programming
The Straits Times
Controversial Netflix shows such as teen drama series 13 Reasons Why, which explores a teen suicide, and comedy drama Orange Is The New Black, about life in a women's prison, would probably have never been greenlit by a traditional television network ...

You've heard of Gal Gadot, but meet the original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter appearing at Comic Con - The Desert Sun
Posted on Friday August 18, 2017


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You've heard of Gal Gadot, but meet the original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter appearing at Comic Con
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It's earned almost $800 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing live-action film ever directed by a woman and the second-most-popular female-directed film of any kind, behind “Frozen,” which had male and female co-directors. ..... What: Comic ...
Patty Jenkins In Final Negotiations On Historic Deal To Helm 'Wonder Woman 2'Deadline
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Brothels and blossom: Japan's grandest journey – in pictures - The Guardian
Posted on Wednesday August 16, 2017


The Guardian

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Kesai Eisen was commissioned in 1835 to create the first images that would come to be known as The Sixty-Nine Stations Along the Kisokaidō, as the ancient route between Kyoto and Edo (or present-day Tokyo) was known. Eisen was later replaced by ...

VIDEO: Samurai sword used in club robbery | Northern Star - Northern Star
Posted on Sunday August 06, 2017


Northern Star

VIDEO: Samurai sword used in club robbery | Northern Star
Northern Star
MONDAY 1.44pm: A SAMURAI Sword, knives and a bar were used in the armed robbery in Ballina overnight, when two staff members being held hostage ...

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Fire Emblem Warriors Adds Cordelia And Female Robin, Has A ... - Siliconera
Posted on Tuesday August 01, 2017


Siliconera

Fire Emblem Warriors Adds Cordelia And Female Robin, Has A ...
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Nintendo and Koei Tecmo revealed in this week's issue of Famitsu magazine that Fire Emblem Heroes is adding Cordelia and Robin (female) as new characters ...

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Japan Cinema Now: A new spin on the epic battle for Japan's future ... - Asia Times
Posted on Friday August 18, 2017


Asia Times

Japan Cinema Now: A new spin on the epic battle for Japan's future ...
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Leave it to master storyteller Masato Harada to delve into one of Japanese history's watershed episodes, and to emerge with a powerful reinterpretation that ...

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The 25 hidden TV gems you need to see - The Guardian
Posted on Sunday August 20, 2017


The Guardian

The 25 hidden TV gems you need to see
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Helped by the samurai warrior he hallucinates when he needs encouragement to do something crazy, the flavours of the feasting provoke heady Proustian wistfulness. JS ..... The men fight demons but the women do not simper nearby. They run businesses ...

The Last Samurai Women - a Story of Nakano Takeko