The education of the samurai began at an early age. From the age of 3, they were trained in the basics of self-defense and fencing using wooden swords. A young child would then be given a miniature katana sword, known as a mamorigatana around the ages of 5 to 7 once they had mastered their wooden sword training
Young samurai boys would be often sent to the home of relatives who would provide them with self-defense lessons, sword fighting skills, and often military tactics. The wealth of the samurai family played a big role in determining what kind of skills they would learn.
For some of the wealthier families, they would have facilities that could be used to teach archery and horse riding. Samurai children of wealthy families were often sent to dedicated academies, where they would learn a comprehensive range of skills and attributes. Here they would also learn about the arts, and ensure that their military tactics skills were honed diligently.
Etiquette and intellectual knowledge were also given a high level of importance. This would historically be taught by their father and would include lessons and historical storytelling on issues such as humility and the importance of serving your master. Poetry and Japanese literature played an important role in the development of these skills.
Samurai daughters were trained less comprehensively, and brought up mostly under the wing of their mother, learning household duties such as cooking, and care of the home. They were given training in weapons such as the naginata and tanto.
They would be encouraged to also read literature, but would also learn Japanese syllabic symbols, and kanji, in an effort to ensure that they could successfully deal with all areas of household administration.
What is a Samurai and Why is the Education Important?
Samurai were a warrior class in feudal Japan. They followed a strict code of honor and discipline called bushido, which means “the way of the warrior.” The samurai’s code was built on a set of moral principles that supposedly defined the essence of the samurai.
Education is important for their swordsmanship and to learn about samurai’s history.
When Did Samurai Start Educating their Children?
Many samurai were educated at home by their parents or tutors. It was even claimed that some samurai were taught how to write Chinese characters, though this is disputed.
Education of the Samurai class was more formalized with the establishment of the Kokugaku, or National Learning school in 1801.