The Samurai were feudal Japan's answer to Europe’s knights in shining armor, or the Roman legionary, except they had a far larger rule book, and an equally larger set of stones. And they did their best to look fabulous while they did it.
In the 8th century, the Japanese looked to the East and saw how China was doing shit better then anyone else. An organized military sounded like a good idea to steal, especially when your neighbors to the East had a very nice one. So they drafted something like one out of every four males and started training them to be warriors. However, the Japanese have always done things a bit different from the rest of the world (this is not a recent phenomenon) so they also put pressure on them to learn poetry and art. Basically anything that takes a lot of time, effort, and practice was required of these poor bastards. Little did they realize that one day Americans would just teach corn-fed boys to shoot a gun and totally be able to kick their ass. But for centuries that whole dedication and training thing paid off.
Because there were unemployed writers around Japan, someone decided to collect the code of the Samurai into what we call the Bushido code. Basically, it took away a lot of the fun of being the biggest badass with a sword in town by limiting the hell out of what you were allowed to do. It also required more poetry and art.
By the Fifteenth Century the Samurai were stressing the importance of serving one's master. How someone convinced the baddest guys with swords to be someone else's bitch is still not clear to historians. We suspect it had to do with pussy... lots of pussy.
A dedication to their masters, a strict ethical code, and a complete lack of fear about death meant that the Japanese were going to be formidable enemies indeed. It was completely out of character when the Japanese under the leadership of Admiral Togo had a sneak attack on the biggest Russian Pacific port in 1904. Who would have ever expected a nation built on warrior honor to do a sneak attack on a bunch of boats across the water from them? Luckily the world discovered the truth about the sneaky Japanese military and Admiral Togo. Unfortunately nobody told the United States. Or the US was too busy hiding it's head up their isolationist asshole.
Russia, 1904 ......................................................................Pearl Harbor, 1941
"The Japanese Learned More About Making Lots of Dark Smoke in those Thirty Years Then Most Nations Would Ever Learn"
While the European knights believed in putting on heavy one or two piece sets of armor to cover their bodies in a bulky atrocity of silver, the Japanese were practicing cutting edge fashion. They covered themselves with dozens of little panels of armor that quite frankly explain why modern Japanese youth are so fascinated with robots.
The Fall 1414 Line of Armor Consists of Fabulous Matching "Everything Panels."
Lets say you're a samurai and you bring great dishonor to your family (like maybe you disobeyed your master's orders, or maybe you pulled a Rick Pitino and your mistress needed an abortion). Well luckily the Samurai has an ap for that: Seppuku.
Samurai carry three swords, one is really long and used for battles outdoors, one is a medium blade and is used for battling indoors and in tight places (insert "your mother joke" here). The last is used to cut his own bowels out. Yeah, that's right. See, in Seppuku you give your long blade to your best friend and have him stand behind you with the directions of "you better cut my head off quick you fucker." Then you take the little blade and ram it into your stomach and slice up your innards until they fall out and become outtards. Then your friend puts you out of your agony. Then --poof-- your family have their honor back (but don't have their father back). Your best friend is then free to screw your wife (probably).
Westerners used to call this Haraikiri but this is considered racist now. Apparently the Japanese don't care for the folksy callings of the now dead but still mocked Cubs broadcaster.
Hey Norm, If you were a hotdog... would you eat yourself?
That movie Last of the Samurai was utter shit. Seriously, they might have well called it "Dances with Samurai" (because it was about as historical a handjob to Samurais' awesomeness as Dances with Wolves was towards Native Americans). The fact that by the time Americans were running around Japan trying to teach the Western ways of war (point gun here), the Samurai were mostly accountants and civil servants. Also, the Samurai of that age lived in the freakin' cities instead of out in nature (a case of Hollywood deciding for image over historical accuracy). Also, who taughtTom Cruise's character to dodge bullets while the rest of the Samurai die like red-shirted Starfleet newbies? And why did that Taka woman sleep with Cruise when he killed her husband? What the fuck is going on in this train-wreck of a movie?
Giant Jesus Lookalike Attacks Fuedal Japan, Film at Eleven.
Don't make fun of the Poetry stuff (to their faces). The Samurai are the reasons we have the saying: "It's not gay if the participants can kick your ass for making fun of it."
"Ugh, No, I Said "Poetry is WAY"... then I got interupted before I could add "Awesome."