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Word Count: 1,439
Before a coherent analysis of Musuis Story can be presented it is essential that the role of the samurai in Japanese society is understood It is also imperative to understand that the samurai as a class of warriors emerged from a Japan that was in a state of constant civil war Their sole purpose was to Afind a way to die to make a conscious effort to think of death and resolve to pursue it and if they were ready to discard life at a moments notice they and the bushido the way of the samurai would become one In this way throughout their life they could perform their duties for their masters without fail Hence they were fiercely loyal to their immediate commanders who were in theory completely loyal to the Emperor If they failed their master in any way they could only regain face and secure an afterlife through a gruesome-ritual-suicide known as seppuku and this could only occur upon avenging those who had wronged their master When they were not engaged in combat they enforced order in society which could entail swift and sometimes fatal punishment of any peasant artisan or merchant whose only crime may have been an improper display of respect for a samurai All the while they were to live frugal lives They despised money and the people who handled it Their way was a way of the heart and spirit and not of the intellect or of material things This bushido code worked well while Japan was constantly at war but in 1603 Tokugawa Ieyasu was named shogun and peace reigned for two hundred and fifty years thereafter During the Tokugawa Shogunate the samurais role changed dramatically for many reasons but essentially he became a warrior without a war The long period of peace eroded the meaning of bushido and the samurai legacy faded It is in the last fifty years of the Tokugawa Shogunate
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