Samurai and Knights: the Warriors of Japan and Europe

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Samurai and Knights, the role where they start off young and train into strong warriors, the role who fights for their masters and fight in wars to protect their people, they who are strong, loyal, and cunning. The warriors of Japan and Europe, the samurai and knights. Around a thousand years ago, two completely different areas, Japan and Europe, had a devastating fall and at the same time both Japan and Europe had a role for people who would soon be loyal warriors who fought for their country and masters. The warriors of Japan and Europe , the samurai and knights, have more of a difference than similarity, all the way from childhood training, armor ups and downs, and the way they act on the verge of death.

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Before samurai took their role as warriors, they went to school where they studied different combinations of training and learnings, for knights they started by learning how to ride a pony and trained with wooden swords. In the document of the PBS series “Japan: Memories of a Secret Empire” it states, “The young warriors studied kendo (the art of fencing with bamboo sticks), the moral code of samurai, and Zen Buddhism (At about age 14 the trainees officially became samurai in a ceremony called genpaku)”. This mainly focuses on how they trained before officially becoming samurai, a samurai childhood. Before becoming an eligible samurai they had to learn the samurai codes, and when they did they became an official samurai at age 14. But it was not really like that for the knight’s end. According to the PBS series “Warrior Challenge” it says, “Knights [began training at age four or five] with learning to ride a pony…by the age seven or eight, he could be sent to serve as a page to his father’s overlord or to a powerful relative…by the age of 14, pages were eligible [to become] a squire…if a squire [gained approval from] an examining knight, he would usually [become] a knight at around the age of 21”. Knights had a lot of different training by different ages, from riding a pony, serving powerful people, training with wooden swords, becoming squires, then becoming a knight.. If he were to be approved by an examining knight that is. Unlike the samurai, knights would still be a squire at age 14 and were considered to be fighting men then when adulthood hits at age 21 they would supposedly become knights. Both samurai and knights started their training at a young age, but a knight’s training had different types of training at different ages.

The end of samurai and knights, death, a sudden event that occurs whenever it comes and goes, these events were written in poems before death struck them. In the samurai poems by Chikmasa and Ota Dokan in the 1800’s it says, “One day you are born, you die the next…had I not known that I was dead already I would have mourned my loss of life”. In the first half of Chikamasa’s poem it focuses on how you live, you die, but life goes on, which is leaning to the circle of life, living and dying and the samurai being re-born to serve their master again; In the second half on Ota Dokan’s poem, it focuses on how the samurai should have treated their everyday as if it were their last. In the poem of the knight’s death, whereas the author is unknown, it goes about a pleading knight, “I beg for Thy mercy for all the sins, greater and lesser, which I have committed from the hour of my birth until this day when I lie here overcome by death!”. In the sentence the knight asks for forgiveness from the gods after being held on the brink of death after a supposed battle in Spain, pleading for his sins to get into the gates of heaven. The poem then ends with a scene of angels descending to him from heaven after the plea of the knight. The death of samurai and knights were different, in conclusion the samurai was in a more calming state than the pleading knight.

The armor of the samurai and knight is one of the most important parts of a warrior when in battle. On the info of the samurai armor it says, “Small iron scales were tied together, lacquered, and then bound into armor plates with silk or leather cords…samurai did not wear armor on their right arm so they could easily draw their bow”. Samurai did not wear armor on their right arm so they could easily wield their long ranged bow and snipe their enemies from afar and a lesser risk. Their armor was pretty flexible, but the only disadvantage was when it becomes wet it gets heavier. On the info of the knight’s  armor it says, “Knights began to wear complete suits of plot armor, constructed from metal”. Though the armor is better with protection it weighs more, 40 to 60 pounds to be exact. The knights themselves did not just wear armor, but their horses too for a better way of their knights not dying for they would be at a disadvantage in battle. Both types of armor were good for protection of course, but samurai armor was more in the flexible side while knight armor was more in the heavy protection side.

A samurai and knights role as a warrior has more of a difference than most may think, however if you look more into it their differences outweigh their similarity. The childhood of a samurai focused on physical training, poetry, and spiritual discipline and became samurai at age 14 while knights went through a lot of different training through different ages in life then supposedly became a knight at age 21. The samurai death was in a more calm state than the death of a knight who pleaded for forgiveness from his sins while the samurai wished they treated their life better. A knight’s armor was heavier and lessmoveable than a samurai armor which had a more flexible way of fighting with their long-ranged weapons. In conclusion, samurai and knights have quite a bit of similarities, but the difference outways the similarities.

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