The Samurai in 100 Objects

The Fascinating World of the Samurai as Seen Through Arms and Armour, Places and Images

Stephen Turnbull

Date Published :
July 2017
Publisher :
Frontline Books
Series :
In 100 Objects
Illustration :
150 full color illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781473850385
Pages : 248
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
In stock


From lowly attendants (samurai literally means ‘those who serve’) to members one of the world’s most powerful military organizations, the samurai underwent a progression of changes to reach a preeminent position in Japanese society and culture. Even their eventual eclipse did not diminish their image as elite warriors, and they would live on in stories and films.

This proud and enduring tradition is exemplified and explored by the carefully selected objects gathered here from Japanese locations and from museums around the world. These objects tell the story of the samurai from acting as the frontier guards for the early emperors to being the inspiration for the kamikaze pilots.

The artifacts, many of which are seen here for the first time, include castles, memorial statues, paintings and prints associated with the rise of the samurai along with their famous armor and weapons. The latter include the Japanese longbow, a thirteenth century bomb and the famous samurai sword, but not every artifact here is from the past. In a Japanese souvenir shop was found a cute little blue duck dressed as a samurai complete with helmet, spear and surcoat, dressed authentically as the brutal samurai Katō Kiyomasa, who was responsible for a massacre at Hondo castle in 1589!

About The Author

STEPHEN TURNBULL is an Honorary Research Fellow at Leeds University and the author of more than fifty books on the military history of Europe and the Far East. He lives in Horsforth, Yorkshire.

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