When the Japanese samurai adopted the Way of Life (bushido), it meant that they were making a promise that said that they would to stay loyal to one’s master, uphold self discipline, and conduct themselves morally.
The Japanese samurai is well known for their ritual of suicide after a defeat, where that the samurai cuts himself in their abdomen with their own swords- (Seppuku).
The Samurai first came into the lime light in the Heian Period of Japanese history in the periods 794-1185 A.D. The Daimyo hired the samurai to serve and protect their properties.
The importance of the Samurai grew when the feudal lords continued to fight amongst themselves for land and power. From 1573 to 1603 Toyotomi Hideyoshi forbade the samurai to wear arms. After this the importance of samurais grew even larger.
1192 marked the date of when the new military government that was started by Minamoto Yoritomo began. Yoritomo was the first shogun and highest military officer. Later he became the ruler of Japan.
Between wars, the Japanese samurais spent time working on farms. They found respect in learning. Many samurai were very skilled in calligraphy and poetry.
In 1573 to 1603, Toyotomi Hideyoshi unified Japan as a whole, and also introduced the caste system. The samurai was forced by Hideyoshi to choose between the life of a farmer and the life of a warrior. In the caste system the samurai were in top ranking, followed by the farmers, artisans, and merchants. Each caste had its own hierarchy. This started the culture of Japan.
At this time, the samurai were required to live in castle towns. Their form of income came through the daimyo in form of rice. This went along for about 250 years. From 1615 peace was in Japan. While the significance of martial arts decreased, many samurais became bureaucrats, artists and teachers. The end of Japan’s feudal era was in 1868. Thus the samurai class was eliminated.