Samurai

Barbara J. Feldman

Japanese samurai warriors lived in medieval castle towns, and were paid by their local lords or governors as both military men and administrators. They were an important part of society, and at times accounted for about ten percent of the population.

  • Asian Art: Lords of the Samurai5 stars

    The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco presents an excellent online companion to their Samurai exhibition of 2009. It includes an introduction to "Who Were the Samurai?", a gallery of selected museum pieces, and a directory of modern samurai movies, books and manga. For teachers, there are lesson plans and iTunes lectures for grades K-12. Look for them under "Educator Packets," then enter the keyword "samurai" in the search box.

  • Kids Discover: Samurai Vocabulary5 stars

    This PDF from Kids Discover is a free handout that accompanies their very inexpensive Samurai issue. The vocabulary packet includes word cards and suggested activities, a crossword puzzle, a word search puzzle, a word matching worksheet, sentence completion handout, and answer keys. "MARTIAL: having to do with war; suitable for war. Samurai begin their martial training at a young age."

  • National Geographic: Photo Gallery: Samurai5 stars

    Part of its Japan travelogue, this Samurai photo gallery features historical reenactments and present-day samurai sightings. For example, with a photo of a fully-dressed samurai warrior in a convenience store, the caption reads, "Today becoming a samurai costs just a hundred dollars for rented gear and the courage to appear in public." Be sure to see the Kyoto Fire Department photo, where the trainees don "warrior-like headgear to practice their skills."

  • PBS NOVA: History of the Samurai5 stars

    "For more than 800 years, the samurai helped to lay the foundations of Japan's culture. Their reverence for honor, duty, and service remains ingrained in Japanese society even today. Together with their renowned martial capabilities, these characteristics made the samurai what historian Stephen Turnbull calls 'the knights of old Japan.'" Click the Launch Interactive button to view Samurai history summarized in an illustrated slideshow. The same history lesson is also available in a printable format.

  • The Samurai Archives5 stars

    Samurai Archives is a wiki run by two history fans, C.E. West and F.W. Seal. It is a great resource for high-school reports, and includes research on topics such as Famous Samurai, Famous Women, Samurai Culture, and Samurai Battles. The navigation can be a bit frustrating, as there is no chronological order to the articles. Best bet is to come here for specific information, and use the search function to find it.

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!


    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Samurai." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 11 Dec. 2012. Web. 29 Aug. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/samurai/ >.


  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published December 11, 2012. Last modified March 9, 2014.

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