The samurai served many functions in Japan. However, the role in which they are best known is that of warrior. But what is it that makes a samurai different from other warriors in other parts of the world? Wearing armor and using a sword is not enough to make someone into a samurai.
Although the samurai and the role they played in Japan changed throughout the centuries, there are four factors that define the concept of the samurai:
- The samurai is a well-trained, highly skilled warrior.
- The samurai serves his daimyo, or master, with absolute loyalty, even to the death. In fact, the word samurai means, "those who serve."
- The samurai is a member of an elite class, considered superior to common citizens and ordinary foot soldiers.
- The samurai's life is ruled by Bushido, a strict warrior code emphasizing honor.