Whether it is through the martial arts, the peaceful arts, or their beliefs, the samurai continue to influence life to this day. The Samurai’s ethics are major in Japanese society as well as business; the idea of Bushido exists in society today as the Japanese business ethics illustrate honor and duty to Japan. To be a Samurai was a huge honor and it took an abundance of training and extensive hours of practice. Samurais had to be completely dedicated to their lifestyle; they repeated their schedule day after day: wake up in the Samurai village, meditation, hours of training, dinner, and sleep.
Their routine was very rigorous however; it was compensated when they went into battle. Samurais were an elite group of warriors who were very skilled in battle and killing. Many may say that the Samurais were very violent and provocative group, however, the Samurais were always on the defensive. Though the entire movie, the Samurais never picked the fight, it was always the Americans- or in any case, it was never the Samurais who were picking the fights. The Samurais’ code of honor, Bushido, was much like a knights’ code of honor, chivalry; the only difference was “seppuku”.
Seppuku was the traditional suicide after a battle was lost. The leader of the losing team was to commit suicide by carving a figure 8 into his abdomen because he shouldn’t live with the shame of losing a battle. If the man could not complete the figure 8, the leader of the opposing side would cut off the loser’s head. This was all part of honor; however, many people saw it as barbaric and couldn’t understand this ritual. The Samurai were trained warriors and their job was to kill predators so any way they are viewed; they were still violent peoples so in a way it was a good thing that the tradition was discontinued.
The weapons the Samurais used were swords, bow and arrows, and a spear; no fire arms. In the movie, The Last Samurai, it was said that the “sword is part of the soul”. The Japanese took this very seriously; training took up most of a warriors’ day. The samurai rose to power out of the constant fight for land in feudal Japan. They became experts at fighting from horseback and on the ground. They trained in armed and unarmed combat. They wore many layers of armor and used only the sword passed down from previous generations.
As mentioned previously, the Samurai were trained warriors and their job was to kill predators so in a way it was a good thing that the tradition was discontinued. However, much like the Samurai, soldiers fighting the war today are much more aggressive than the Samurai and they are armed with much more lethal weapons than a sword. Others may view this as hypocritical that the centuries long tradition was put to an end yet we continue to fight and kill to get what we need; we aren’t even fighting to protect our people like the Samurais were, we are fighting for something that we want.