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Samurais

 

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Samurais were a class of warriors that existed in Japan between the IX and XIXth centuries.

The samurai represented a wide populace numbering between 7 to 10% of the Japanese population, and the first Meiji era census at the end of the 19th century counted 1,282,000 members of the "high samurais", allowed to ride a horse, and 492,000 members of the "low samurai", allowed to wear two swords but not to ride a horse, in a country of about 25 million. ("Japan. A historical survey" Mikiso Hane).

 

Although Japan enjoyed a period of peace during the Sakoku ("Closed country") period from the 17th to the mid-19th century, the samurai class remained and continued to play a center role in the policing of the country. The status of the samurai was abolished after the Meiji restoration, but the former samurai continued to play a key role in the industrialization of Japan.

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