Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai

Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai

Jacob Miller - November 25, 2017

Samurai were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan.

Samurai is a masculine term, but in the Japanese Bushi class – the social class Samurai came from – many women also received training in martial arts and strategy. These women were known as Onna-Bugeisha. When the remains from the site of The Battle of Senbon Matsubara in 1580 were DNA-tested, 35 out of 105 bodies were found to be female.

Samurai were also very open-minded when it came to sexual relationships. Same-sex relationships were encouraged. The practice was known as wakashudo.

The Samurai were far more educated than most warriors of their time. Samurai literacy rates were extremely high.

Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A Group of Samurai circa 1890 – an Illustration from the the booklet Au Japon, Types, Costumes and Moeurs. Daily Mail
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A group of Samurai or Japanese warriors with their ancient arms and armor, circa 1870. Daily Mail
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A Harakiri scene of the Samurai – warriors overseeing the ritual suicide of one of their own (dressed in white). Daily Mail
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A photograph taken and colored by Felice Beato of women in a traditional Japanese shop back in the 19th century. Daily Mail
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A Samurai warrior in Japan poses in traditional armor and footwear blowing into a shell. Daily Mail
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A Samurai warrior staging Seppuku or Harakiri in Japan – the ritual of taking one’s life through disembowelment. Daily Mail
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A Samurai poses for a staged photograph, with some rocks and a plant for realism. Hulton Archive
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A Samurai shows off his full body tattoos. lifebuzz
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A Samurai soldier in colorful armor poses for a photograph. lifebuzz
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A woman photographed in traditional Samurai armor. lifebuzz
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
An archer posing with his bow and arrows. lifebuzz
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
An elderly Samurai man poses for a photograph with his sword and his fan. Getty Images
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
One of the first war photographers Venetian-born Felice Beato took this photo around the time of 1862. Daily Mail
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Samurai swords or katanas were the most common and popular weapons used by these warriors. Universal History Archive
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Three Japanese Samurai warriors in armor and ready for battle with their weapons on standby. Daily Mail
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Three Japanese Samurai warriors pictured in their colorful war attire and equipped with a number of swords circa 1890. Daily Mail
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A Samurai shows off his full body tattoo. Universal History Archive

Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
An armored Samurai poses for a photograph. lifebuzz
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Samurai were admired for their intricate and elaborate apparel. Their uniforms heavily influenced Japanese fashion. Universal History Archive
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Samurai of the Chosyu clan, circa 1860s. Wikimedia Commons
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Two geishas receive a visiting samurai, circa 1880. Hulton Archive
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Three young boys dressed as Samurai, early 1900s. All That Is Interesting
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Samurai pose for a picture. New York Public Library
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A group of men pose together in military uniform. Hulton Collection
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Samurai warrior ca. 1890. Wikimedia Commons
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Samurai on horseback, late Meiji Period (1868-1912). All That Is Interesting
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A Samurai warrior among the trees ca. 1901. All That Is Interesting
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Three men practicing Kendo discipline, derived from the ancient tradition of the Samurai in 1890. The Sun
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A rickshaw driver carries a wealthy young woman as her man-servant accompanies on foot, circa 1890. The Sun
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Four warriors pictured in their traditional dress around 1900 as the ancient swordsmen were in decline. The Sun
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Samurai pictured in 1865 wearing traditional Yoroi armor and showing their weapons and banners. The London Photograph Fair

 

Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A Samurai performing ritual suicide. thechive
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
Samurai archers perfecting their craft. thechive
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
A mounted archer aims from horseback. thechive
Rare and Surprising Photographs of the True Last Samurai
An elderly archer takes aim. thechive
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