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The Japanese have always been known throughout the world for their excellence in battle and warfare Since Japan is such a small country they needed to use their situation to their advantage For example to get an edge over invading attackers they had to use there island as a defense fortifying defense But that was the strategy of it What everybody thinks about when they hear Japanese warfare is the Samurai The samurai were the members of the military class the Japanese warriors Their importance and influence grew during Heian Period 794-1185 when the powerful landowners hired them for the protection of their properties In the latter phase of the Heian period the most powerful military families the Minamoto and Taira had taken over political control over Japan and fought wars for supremacy When shogun Minamoto Yoritomo established a new government Kamakura in 1192 the shogun the highest military officer became the ruler of Japan The samurai stood at the top of the social hierarchy and had many privileges On the other hand he was supposed to be a good example to the lower classes by following the principles of Bushido the way of the warrior Some of a samurais most important principles were loyalty to his master self discipline and respectful ethical behaviour After a defeat or another dishonourable event many samurai chose to commit suicide by cutting their abdomen with a sword in order to preserve their honour Such ritual suicide is called seppuku or harakiri The samurais most prized possession was his sword The samurais sword was to the samurai what a limb is to any human The sword was part of the samurai and without it not only did the samurai lose his fighting skills but also his honor So in essence a samurai was nothing without his sword A Japanese sword is not only a sword As a chief instrument of Samurai warriors it had been handed down with
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