The samurai were an aristocratic class of warriors who imposed and maintained peace in Japan for more than two centuries during the Tokugawa or Edo period, 1603–1868. While they maintained a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, as a result of the peace the samurai themselves were transformed over time into an educated, cultured elite—one that remained fiercely proud of its military legacy and hyper-sensitive in defending their individual honor.
This book provides detailed information about the samurai, beginning with a timeline and narrative historical overview of the samurai. This is followed by more than 100 alphabetically arranged entries on topics related to the samurai, such as ritual suicide, castles, weapons, housing, clothing, samurai women, and more. The entries cite works for further reading and often include sidebars linking the samurai to popular culture, tourist sites, and other information. A selection of primary source documents offers firsthand accounts from the era, and the volume closes with a selected, general bibliography.
- Highlights important events related to the samurai and overviews the background of the samurai
- Offers more than 100 alphabetically arranged reference entries for authoritative information about the samurai and their world
- Includes sidebars of interesting facts, notes the role of the samurai in popular culture, and mentions various tourist sites for readers to visit
- Provides suggestions for further reading, and an end-of-work bibliography directing users to other important works about the samurai
- Features more than 50 photos related to the samurai and their world