|Weapons||Katana, Naginata, Yumi, Kanabo|
|Activities||Fighting for their daimyo (warlord)|
|Battle Status||Won vs. the Viking|
Lost vs. the Spartan
|Experts||Tetsuro Shigematsu (Samurai descendant)|
Brett Chan (Samurai weapons Expert)
"Among the pantheon of warriors, the Samurai is surely the greatest."-
Tetsuro Shigematsu, Samurai descendant
The Samurai, Japan's lightning-fast dealer of death;
the Viking, battle-crazed berzerker who terrorized Europe.
- Height - 5' 3"
- Weight - 135 lbs
- Gear - 65 lbs
- Armor - Steel and Leather plate and Kabuto helmet
- Symbole - Japanese script for Samurai
Japan was settled as early as 40,000 BCE. The Yayoi period established many of Japan's earliest major kingdoms led by their Daimyos; the strongest in Yamato, Kanagawa. Japan would remain a series of divided kingdoms and clans until the industrial era, but these kingdoms regularly unified with each other against invaders from mainland Asia. Japan (aka Nihon) means 'sunrise land'.
Samurai means 'to serve' in Japan, as they served the Daimyo and protected their land. Samurai were skilled fighters and were paid in food or land. They started as tax collectors and many were corrupt, but soon gained enough money to develop their own armies. In times of peace, the Samurai would duel each other to maintain their reputation as swordsmen. This was a common practice among Ronin; Samurai who lost their master, went AWOL or became criminals. In the 1500s, 10% of Japanese men were Samurai.
Sword hunts, especially the one of 1588 led by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, forced the majority of Samurai to forfeit their swords. At the same time, the Samruai refused to adopt the Arquebus as they saw it as anti-traditional and dishonorable. Ironically this made Samurai defenseless while giving common peasants more weapons, as many were willing to ignore the unethical nature of the musket in favor of its effectiveness in battle.
This opposition against western technology escalated when the Tokugawa Shogunate launched the Sakoku policy. In the 1630s the christian population of Japan, most of which were influenced by western powers, led a revolt against the Samurai. In the aftermath of the Shimabara Rebellion in 1638, the extreme isolationist policy of Sakoku was formed: executing emigrants and immigrants automatically. However it is this repressive policy that allowed Japan a moment of peace that lasted for over 200 years.
This peace ended in 1853 when the American Perry Expedition used massive frigates known as 'Black Ships' to intimidate the Japanese. Realizing the technological potential of industrial guns and modern industry, many Japanese imperialists rejected the traditional mentality of the Samurai and focused on westernization. However this created a division between the traditionalist Samurai under the Shogun and the westernized Emperor.
The Samruai led uprisings against the Emperor due to the shifting modernization. The Stipends were a national tax that funded the Samurai; but in 1873 the Emperor abolished the tax and the Samurai feared that they were losing their political status as modernization made them look irrelevant. The Boshin War of 1868-69 and the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877 led to the rise of Imperial Japan and the popularity of weapons from the late 1800s made the Samurai no longer effective on the battlefield. These wars clearly showed this, with many skilled sword wielding Samurai getting slaughtered by conscripts using modern rifles, Gatling Guns and cannons. With this: the Samurai lost their once iconic political and military power.
Yet Samurai clans still exist today as peaceful families and neighborhoods. Before Imperial Japan; the Samurai refused to affiliate themselves with relatively normal careers like being merchants or losing their political dominance. The Japanese Empire replaced the military's heretical Samurais with mass conscription; as modern guns made skill and wealth irrelevant for the common soldier. With the Samurai's traditional lifestyle and power threatened; Saigō Takamori launched the Satusma Rebellion between January 29 to September 24, 1877. However the Samurai were quickly defeated; and they eventually accepted this end of an era.
Several experienced Samurai generals did remain in the Imperial Army however; with the Russo-Japanese War demonstrating Samurai generals using modernization (both tactically and technologically) to overshadow the Russian Empire. Imperial Japan would also demonstrate similar Bushido military philosophies from the past; with Imperialist soldiers willing to commit to Banzai charges with Katanas and Bayonets or pilots committing Kamikaze murder-suicides (if they ran out of fuel or ammo).
|Weapon Range||Samurai Weapon||Kills||Back For Blood||
- The katana was tested first against three bamboo mats, and managed to cut them all in one clean swipe in under a third of a second. It was tested next on pig carcasses, and managed to cut through two pigs cleanly. Finally, it was tested against another pig carcass wearing Viking chainmail, which it impacted but failed to significantly damage.
- The naginata proved itself as a quick ranged weapon by slicing a dummy with several quick cuts, taking off part of the head in one, slashing the face in the second, and stabbing the heart on the last.
- The yumi bow was shot at two dummies from 45 feet while calling out where he would hit his targets. He also showed the yumi's accuracy by shooting out dummy eyes at 25 feet.
- The Kanabo (a Japanese war club). He was able to shatter a pig's femur and break off a part of the shield, although half of the studs in the club were knocked out in the process. The kanabo was measured at 470 psi, and it was theorized that an arm behind the shield would suffer at least one broken bone.
The Samurai wore a type of steel Lamellar known as dō-maru or or "body wrap". It was constructed from small scales of metal laced into plates with cord and lacquered. Then each plate was laced together to form the armor. Due to the weight of iron, armor makers limited its use to the most vital parts of the armor and used leather for the remainder. The Samurai also wore a particularly flat, wide steel helmet known as Kabuto.
Deadliest Warrior: The Game
- Close-Range: Katana, Nodachi
- Mid-Range: Naginata, Yari
- Long-Range: Yumi (daikyū), Yumi (hankyū)
- Special Weapon: Kanabo
- Finisher: The Samurai brings his kanabo down on his opponent's shoulder, forcing him to his knees. He then grabs the hilt of his sword and unsheathes it, decapitating the opponent in a single swing. The Samurai sheathes his sword and gets in a kneeling position.
The battle starts with the Viking throwing his Great Axe to the ground as the Samurai approaches him with his Yumi Bow and Naginata in hand. He lets out a battle cry and then pulls out an arrow. He fires at the Viking and hits him in the shoulder. The Viking pulls out the arrow and looks up, only to find a second arrow coming at him. It hits him in the nosepiece of the helmet and dazes him. The Viking gathers his senses and pulls out two spears and charges at the Samurai. When he gets close, he hurls them both at the Samurai. The Samurai attempts to dodge them, but he is struck by one and thrown to the floor.
The Viking pulls out his Great Axe and rushes at the Samurai. The Samurai gets up and grabs his Naginata. The Viking swings his axe but is blocked by the Naginata. The Samurai twists his Naginata and throws away the Viking's axe. He hits the Viking with the Naginata, but the damage is slightly reduced by the Viking's chain mail. The Viking recovers his Great Axe and begins swinging wildly at the Samurai. With a heavy blow, he knocks the Naginata out of the Samurai's hands and kicks the Samurai. The Viking swings the axe at the Samurai's back, but like the chain mail against the Naginata, the Samurai's armor manages to prevent the axe from tearing into the Samurai and killing him.
The Samurai pulls out his Kanabo club and hits the Great Axe, once again knocking it out of the Viking's hands. He tries to swing at the Viking, but the Viking blocks with his Shield. The Samurai begins to savagely hit the Shield with his Kanabo, and manages to chip off a small portion. The Viking then gets up and charges at the Samurai with his Shield. He pushes the Samurai all the way to a bridge and then off of it. The Samurai falls into a ditch below and loses his club.
The Viking draws his LongSword and jumps down. The Samurai manages to get up and pulls out his Katana. The two begin to clash swords, with the Samurai getting in blows at the Viking. The Viking swings at the Samurai, but the sword just slides off of his armor. He tries to once again push the Samurai. The Samurai moves out of the way, and the Viking crashes into a tree. The Samurai swings at his legs and forces the Viking to his knees. The Samurai raises his sword and thrusts it into the Viking's back. He pulls out his sword, and the Viking falls to the floor. The Samurai turns over the Viking and prepares to thrust his sword again, but sees that the Viking is dead. He cleans the blood from his sword and puts it away, and then turns around and slowly limps away.
According to the experts, the Samurai won because he had better armor and better technique, while the Viking focused solely on brute strength and force.
Back For Blood Special
The battle begins with the Samurai walking through a forest with his Naginata and Yumi Bow in his hands. As he is walking, the Spartan emerges from behind a giant rock and eyes the Samurai. The Samurai, sensing danger, thrusts his Naginata into the ground and watches the Spartan. The Spartan grunts and holds out his Javelin, ready for battle. The Samurai takes an arrow and fires at the Spartan. The Spartan jumps down from the rock and towards the Samurai, knocking the arrow away with his Spartan Shield. He throws the Javelin at the Samurai, but aims too high and misses completely. The Samurai readies another arrow while the Spartan pulls out his Spear and charges at the Samurai. At the last second, the Samurai aims for the Spartan's legs and shoots, but it goes in between them and hits the floor. The Spartan tries to hit the Samurai with his Spear, but the Samurai dodges and picks up his Naginata. The two begins swinging at each other until the Samurai hits his shield. The Spartan uses the Shield as as a wall and shoves the Samurai all the way up to a tree. The Samurai tries to stab the Spartan with the Naginata, but the Spartan parries with his Spear and breaks the Naginata in two with his Shield. The Samurai, undeterred, grabs the Spartan's Spear and flips over the Spartan, causing him to release the Spear. The Samurai throws it away and pulls out his Kanabo club. He starts to viciously swing at the Spartan, but the Spartan uses his shield to cover his body and block the blows. The Samurai stops briefly to regain his strength, but the Spartan draws his Short Sword and stabs the Samurai's ear. The Samurai shrieks in pain and backs away while the Spartan, now furious, gets back up and starts advancing towards the Samurai. The two stop in the middle of a field while the Samurai grabs ahold of the handle of his Katana. The Spartan makes his move first and thrusts the Short Sword at the Samurai, but the Samurai dodges and swings his Katana. The Spartan, however, blocks it with his Shield and shoves the Samurai away. The two stand off again, and the Spartan once again tries to stab the Samurai. The Samurai avoids it and again tries to hit the Spartan, but the Spartan blocks and hits the Samurai with his Shield. The Samurai gets up and readies himself and his Katana. The Samurai makes a quick thrust at the Spartan in an attempt to finish him off. The Spartan, however, effortlessly blocks again with the Shield and thrusts his Short Sword. It cuts into the Samurai's stomach and leaves him frozen in place. The Spartan swings the Shield into the Samurai's face and knocks him to the ground. The Spartan walks up to him and thrusts the Short Sword into the Samurai's neck, killing him. He pulls out the sword and watches as blood spurts from the Samurai's neck.
While both the Samurai and the Spartan were skilled warriors, the Spartan's shield was what gave him the advantage. Its size easily allowed the Spartan to protect himself from all of the Samurai's weapons, and was durable enough to endure the Kanabo which was the only weapon that could possibly destroy it. Besides that, the Spartan has experience defeating the Persian Immortal, an enemy just as disciplined and skillful as the Samurai.
- Samurai swordsmen always carried two swords; the second being a spare.
- Although famous for their love of honor and the code of "Bushido", samurais in history can be disloyal or fight dirty when they want to be, famously seen in the Battle of Sekigahara. Corruption was also common among Samurai. The code "bushido" didn't actually exist as a whole, and the term was actually just invented in the 20th century.
- It was common for Sumo Wrestlers to become warriors during times of war. They practiced Sumo along with typical Samurai martial arts to perfect their killing potential while complementing their large size. It was not uncommon for Samurai or Ronin to become Sumo during peacetime.
- The Chonmage hairstyle was vital to the politics of a Samurai. His social status could be crippled if he gave up this hairstyle or made no attempts to follow it. This hairstyle was designed primarily to anchor the Kabuto helmet onto a Samurai's head. Non-Samurai would be arrested or executed for sporting a Chonmage.
- Japan saw shields as dishonorable, which is why Samurai are rarely depicted with any shields. Because Japan was a relatively isolated island; they never faced significant threats from an effective shield-bearing enemy army.
- Africans were so uncommon in the isolated island of Japan that the Portugese slave Yasuke became instantly famous whenever the Portugese traders who owned him went to a Japanese town. Oda Nobunaga discovered Yasuke and made him one of his main retainers; a Samurai directly in charge of maintaining a Daimyo's weapons. Yasuke was known for his tall height and massive strength. There is much debate over Yasuke's fate after Oda was defeated by the traitorous Akechi Mitsuhide. Historians concluded that Yasuke either was executed after capture or was sent back into Portugese slavery; since Yasuke was never mentioned again after Oda's death. 
- Early Japanese Shogun Sakanoue no Tamuramaro was believed to have had African ancestry, although this is difficult to confirm.
- The reason why Japanese Samurai rarely use shields was because they wanted to use Pavises instead to block projectiles, and believed that Yari pikes were better than a shield for protection in close combat due to the range of a pike. Shields would also be cumbersome for Yumi archers, and most Samurai used archery in combat. It should be noted that some shields did exist during the Sengoku Jidai, but they still were uncommon. Previously; early Medieval Japanese armies did have small rectangular shields. 
- History and Mythbusting of the Samurai 
- For his profile shots, the Samurai was portrayed by Lance Masa, who later played the Yakuza boss. However, Masa did not portray the Samurai in the final battle.
- The Samurai appeared in the Spartan/Ninja episode as enemies of the Ninja.