#26 Samurai さむらい

Twice a month, my friend and I organize the event, “Let’s talk about Kyoto in English and Japanese”. Today’s theme was Samurai.
I took memo of useful expression 🙂

(All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.)

There’s useful expression memo:

The word “samurai” is derived from the word “saburau”, which means “to serve”.

It’s believed that the forerunners of the samurai were men who served the nobility as guards, roughly 1,000years ago.

At the end of the 12th century, Minamoto no Yoritomo established the Kamoakura shogunate, and the reign of the samurai began.

During the age of civil war in the 16th century, samurai warriors fought and died in the battles for land expansion and power. A series of superstar warlords emerged. It was an era when military strength was the key to gaining political power.

The beginning of the 17th century opened a stunning new chapter in the history of the samurai.
The Edo period shogunate was established in what is now Tokyo, and therefore, around 250 years of peace world reign throughout Japan. Fighters by trade, the samurai had no choice but to embark on a completely different way of life.

During the Edo period, the shogunate promoted the teaching of Chu His Confucianism, a school of Chinese philosophy. And the samurai incorporated these ideas into everyday life.

A strong spiritual backbone became the hallmark of samurai values.

Be loyal to your master.
Observe proper etiquette.
Do what’s right without hesitation.
Show compassion for the weak.


The advent of the Meiji era in the late 19th century brought and end to the age of the samurai, but their spirit remained the basis of Japanese moral values.

Other useful expression we studied:

Hiragana are derived from Kanji.

Dash soup stock is the key to Japanese cuisine.

After the Meiji restoration, many Japanese started to adopt a Western way of life. (明治維新の後、多くの日本人は西洋風の生活様式を取り入れ始めました)

*儒学(Confucianism)は孔子(Confusius, 前551-前479)の政治論理思想を研究する学問。一方、朱子学(Chu Hsi Confucianism) は南宋時代の中国の儒家、朱熹(Chu Hsi, 1130-1200)が大成させた新しい儒学説。朱子学の特徴である大義名分論は封建体制の維持に論理的支柱を与え、江戸時代には官学として重視された。

The tea ceremony is often regarded as hallmark of Japanese culture.

The advent of Hiragana characters encouraged many Heian ladies to become writers.

With the advent of the Meiji period in 1868, Japan started a process of modernization.

Ito Tadataka, the late Edo period surveyor and cartographer, was the first person to create very detailed maps of Japan.

The architectural style used for traditional tea house is referred to as sukiyaki-zukuri.

All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.

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