Origins Of The Samurai

Author Adidas Wilson
3 min readNov 3, 2020


Since ancient times, an emperor has ruled Japan. However, in the late 1100s, military leaders started challenging the imperial court’s power. From the 13th century, Japan assumed a dual government structure.

Religious and cultural sovereignty was left to the emperor while the military elite was responsible for economic and political leadership. This went on up until the late 18th century. Samurai refers to the Japanese warrior class. The samurai originated in the 8th and 9th centuries. At that time, large landholdings were possessed by the imperial family and nobles, (related members of the aristocracy).

In 790–1184 (the Heian period), the imperial court and nobles based in Kyoto relied on the agricultural income from the landholdings. The samurai were birthed as a result of the need to protect the distant estates from invasion by local chieftains.

The nobles form the capital that went to protect these estates did not have the necessary authority and skills to offer security and effective administration in the remote districts. This prompted the court to appoint deputies from the local population.

These deputies established local and regional power by forming “warrior” — privately controlled militia. Warrior bands started as family organizations and grew to groups of fighting men who were not really connected through kinship. They were men that had vowed loyalty to their lords.

The First Warrior Government (The Kamakura Shogunate, 1185–1333)

In the late 11th century, the Minamoto/Genji clan was the most powerful military clan. They clashed with the powerful Taira/Heike clan in the mid 12th century. The Taira were eventually defeated after a series of clashes. The Minamoto proceeded to form a warrior-led government at Kamakura. The emperor appointed Minamoto Yoritomo, the leader of Minamoto, as the sei-i-tai shogun.

The Second Warrior Government: The Ashikaga Shogunate of The Muromachi Period (1338–1573)

The year 1333 saw the Kamakura shogunate overthrown and the Ashikaga shogunate took over. At this point, the samurai became more organized. They were loyal to one lord and followed a valued system that enforced courage, loyalty, and honor. The Ashikaga had the support of independent regional daimyo and…



Author Adidas Wilson

Adidas Wilson was born in Chicago, surviving a near death experience driving off a bridge in an 18 wheeler and getting hit by a train. Author and Motivator