What is a Samurai?

Introduction Samurai (侍, /ˈsæmʊraɪ/) were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan from the 12th century to their abolition in the 1870s. They were the well-paid retainers of the daimyo (the great feudal landholders). They had high prestige and special privileges such as wearing two swords. They cultivated the bushido… Read More


Serving Indolently or Well…

“If a man who serves indolently and a man who serves well are treated in the same way, the man who serves well may begin to wonder why he does so.” Asakura Toshikage (1428 to 1481) Asakura Toshikage was the Daimyo of Echizen, a province on the Japan Seas coastline. Like many of the lords… Read More

Kuril Islands: Japan & Russia in 1945

“In 1945, two days after America bombed Hiroshima, Joseph Stalin declared war on Japan and Soviet troops attacked Japanese-held territory. They grabbed the southern Kuril islands, even though Russia had acknowledged them as Japanese since 1855. For two years the islanders lived alongside the occupiers. A touching photograph in an exhibition in Nemuro shows Russians… Read More