In the Heian period, the imperial court relied on agriculture, produced in distant estates. The wealthy landowners of these estates hired warriors to defend themselves from raids by local chieftains.
during the 12th century, political power started to be shifted away from the Emperor. The Genpei War of 1180 to 1185, pitted the Taira clan with sworn loyalty to the emperor, against the Minamoto clan, And the Minamoto’s victory established the Kamakura Shogunate, a hereditarian military dictatorship.
The samurai warrior is raised by his master, and taking steps of a strict code named Bushido, the way of the warrior.
In battle, the warrior would decapitate his defeated enemy and mount the head on a spike. every samurai who was defeated or become dishonor, Seppuku or Harakiri needed to be done.
The way to be done is by taking a suicide, the warrior has to cut his belly with a dagger. As part of Bushido, also in case a samurai lost their master were expected as well to commit the Harakiri. Those who did not Ronin , sometimes there was a stigma followed to being masterless Ronin, and some have found other ways of making a living with their weapons, becoming mercenaries or turning to crime.
Samurais were experts in fighting both on horseback and on the ground They used a variety of weapons: bows & arrows, spears and eventually guns. The main weapon was the sword and it was their first symbol as well .
During the 13th century period, Masamune Okazaki invented the main dual of soft and hard steel, as it is the main characteristics of the katana.
The sword weapon has come to have the largest significance and eventually samurai would have to carry double types, the katana which is a long sword and the wakizashi which was the shorter one.
In 15th century, the Shogun’s power was wasting. and a century long period of fighting for controle, between local and lords.
Oda Nobunaga succeeded in uniting half of the clans in the late 16th century. But he was betrayed by one of his vessels and committed Seppuku before the national unification was completed.
Stability was finally brought in the 17th century, with the beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate headed by Tokugawa Ieyasu. At this moment, the social order was also paused with the samurai, at the top of the social hierarchy. However, despite their great social position the material well-being of some samurai started to decline.
With a stable peace the importance of martial skills declined, And a lot of samurai start their careers as a teachers or bureaucrats.