Samurai are icons of Japanese culture—inspiring movies, manga, and myths—but who were they really?
Dating back to the feudal era, samurai first began as armed imperial guards, but would later be regarded as one of Japan’s highest social castes. Also known as “warrior nobility,” samurai were part of Japan’s ruling class for over five centuries.
What’s more, samurai are still relevant today, appearing in anime, comics, movies, novels, video games, etc. Known for their iconic armor, katana (samurai sword), and swift fighting style, as well as their disciplined way of life, samurai are as recognizable as they are popular.
Learn more about the history, traditions, and myths associated with these iconic Japanese warriors in this guide to all things samurai.