Analyze and explain the role of the samurai in Japan’s military society of the 12th century
Samurai were a highly educated class of noble warriors who served in Japan's feudal period for land-owning lords. Although Japan has long had professional fighters, the increasingly militarized civilization and many wars of the 12th century transformed the highest order of warriors into a new social class of noble, intellectual masters of martial arts. These are the samurai in their purest form. By the end of the 12th century, Japan's dependence on military leaders had risen to the point that a new constitutional structure was created, headed by a strong military government known as the shogun. As servants of the daimyos or great kings, the samurai strengthened the shogun's legitimacy and vested him with authority over the Mikado (emperor). Samurai would continue to control the Japanese government and culture until the Meiji Restoration of 1868 when the feudal regime was abolished.
Samurai were deemed aristocracy as integral representatives of the shogunate system, considering the fact that they did not own property and were financially sponsored by the lords under whom they battled. While samurai, or warriors comparable to samurai, existed in Japan for decades, it was not until the Kamakura Shogunate that the samurai grew into a dominant social class. According to the samurai's importance to land-owning lords, these warriors gained considerable political and social influence of their own. They were held in high regard, and their advice was sought at the imperial court. Samurai were hired by feudal lords (daimyo) to protect their domains from competitors, to fight government-identified foes, and to engage in combat with aggressive tribes and bandits. As a consequence, samurai may live in barracks, castles, or their own private residences. As samurai gradually united into groups headed by strong warlords, they were able to usurp a weak imperial court in the 12th century CE, under the control of warlords such as Minamoto no Yoritomo.