The idea of the sword-wielding samurai, warriors beholden to a strict ethical code and trained in deadly martial arts, dominates popular conceptions. As early as the late seventeenth century, they were heavily featured in literature, art, theater, and even comedy. This legacy continues in film, and countless renditions of samurai history in anime, manga, and video games. Much as they capture the modern imagination, the samurai commanded influence over the politics, arts, philosophy and religion of their own time, and ultimately controlled Japan from the fourteenth century until their demise in the mid-nineteenth century. On and off the battlefield, whether
charging an enemy on horseback or currying favor at the imperial court, their story is one of adventures and intrigues, heroics and misdeeds, unlikely victories and devastating defeats.
- Author is a leading scholar of Japanese and samurai history
- A lively and approachable introduction to the samurai class and its influence on Japan
- Critiques the role of the samurai in the media and pop culture
About the Author(s)
Michael Wert, Associate Professor of East Asian History at Marquette University
Michael Wert is Associate Professor of East Asian History at Marquette University. Specializing in early modern and modern Japan, he is the author of Meiji Restoration Losers: Memory and Tokugawa Supporters in Modern Japan.