Retainer Samurai- All You Need To Know

Laura was in her daydream in front of the television. The undefeated battles of Samurai on screen made her dreamy. Her dream is about having her own personal Samurai to protect her everywhere!

Unlike Laura, it was my childhood dream too. Probably as yours. Though, my brother had a plan to be a samurai himself to protect others.

Now, it is not just a dream, to be or to have a samurai! Yes. There were such samurais in feudal Japan called the retainer samurai. Their job was to protect the lords as a personal protectors. They were superior heroes with inferior ranks. 

The international trend of having military-trained bodyguards for the country chiefs also resembles samurai retainers. But their training and motto were distinct.

Here we’ll present you the three-sixty degree information about the samurai retainers. We’ll dig into the history and jump over the trends. I hope you’ll read here all you need to know about the retainer samurai.

Who Are They?

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Centuries ago, feudal states were present in Japan. The feudal lords, called daimyo, felt a lack of protection. They needed someone heroic to protect them everywhere.

 In that era, samurais were the upper-ranked heroes. So, the culture of assigning a personal samurai to protect a daimyo started. This personal Samurai is the retainer samurai. 

Samurai retainers are specially trained military with no fear of dying. They believed in death for heroism rather than life with cowardliness. Samurai retainers always had to be honest, active, and dutiful. 

Despite being a strong person, a retainer samurai had to follow the orders of his lord always. Because he is a retainer, after all. And, the clearer synonym for the word retainer is a slave. 

They had to be always ready to die for the master. They were the upper-class superheroes with lower-class ranking.

When History Tells The Tale:

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In between 1603 to 1867, Tokugawa or Edo period was in Japan. Tokugawa shogunate was ruling Japan at that time. In that period, four social classes were present- 

1. Warriors (Samurai)

2. Artisans

3. Farmers and

4. Merchants

Mobility among the classes was forbidden officially. Samurai got the highest rank who lived in bushido ethic codes because the wars were the common phenomenon. Or probably as the military power is a heroic thing. 

The scale of measurement of the wealth of a samurai was ‘koku.’ Koku represents the amount of rice needed to feed a man for a whole year. Its amount is about 180 liters or 222.22 kg.

When the feudal system starts in the medieval period (1185-1603), some samurai warriors were appointed to protect the feudal monarchs called daimyo. These samurai warriors are the retainer samurais. 

The retainer samurais were usually paid for by rice and shelter. Sometimes, despite being from a higher rank, they lived almost like an orderly for their lords. 

The Meiji restoration period starts in 1868 in Japan. Most of the samurais changed their attitudes at this time. They started to take politics, bureaucracy, business, etc., as their livelihood instead of fighting.

Eligibility And Training:

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Anybody obtaining some special training and abilities can be a samurai. But obtaining such training is not that easy. 

The samurais were trained in special martial arts called ‘kata’ (shape or model). They had to be an extra-ordinarily expert at sword fighting. 

Being loyal is a must for a samurai. They can never fear death for the service. A retainer samurai should always be prepared to sacrifice his life for his lord.

Completing the seppuku ritual, a bushi can also be a samurai from a bushido school.

It is not a must for them to be unmarried as eligibility. They can marry and have a family. The higher-ranked samurais married the women from samurai families. The lower-ranked samurais could have a wife from the common people.

Their Outfit And Equipment:

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The special outfits and extraordinary equipment are used to add the final touch to the samurai heroism. The way they dressed and were equipped was distinct.

Outfit:

The outfit of a samurai was special. They wore enough shields for their own protection. The ancient pictures of the real samurais show that they wore knee-length coats and skinny pants. They also wore low-heel flat shoes covering the foot and shin area.

The hoody-like metal shield on their head gave them an unbeatable look. They used enough shields on their chest, back and hands too.

Equipment:

The samurai warriors used unique swords and knives as Katana. These are made with a combination of high carbon and low carbon steel. This combination made the swords sharp and flexible at a time. 

They used the bow and arrows too. Sometimes at the last part of the samurai age, samurai militaries used firearms too.

The Real-Life Of Retainer Samurais

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Minamoto Yoritomo was the first Japanese Samurai at nearly. He became the first permanent shogun and established his samurai government.

It is told that Afro-Japanese Samurai Yasuke was the first retainer samurai. He was a black samurai under the feudal lord Oda Nobunaga.

Tasukahara Bokuden, who was born in 1490, was of the deadliest samurais in history. He completed 19 duel fights and 37 major battles undefeated.

Oda Nobunaga (1734-1582) is the greatest Samurai who worked for restoration and peace.

Tommy gozen was one of the first female samurais.

The first and probably the only white Samurai in history was Anjin Miura or William Anjin. He used to be in the 1800s.

The last living samurai was Saigo Takamori. He was born on January 23 January 1828, and died on September 24, 1877.

Some of the other famous samurais among a lot are- Miyamoto Musashi, Tomoe Gozen, Kusunoki Masashige, Sanada Yukimura. 

Among them, Tomoe Gozen was a beautiful black-haired lady. She was considered as powerful as a thousand soldiers.

Now, there is no more living samurai in the world. Although, their descendants exist. But they are not samurais. They don’t even carry any weapon like their ancestors. Carrying sharp, deadly weapons is prohibited in modern Japan now.

Retainer Samurais In Movies, Books, And Games:

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Since about the 1900 century, Movie-makers have created lots of movies on the samurai cultures. A lot of cartoons, dramas and plays are also played. Books on samurais have been available too. 

But the present trend about the samurai warriors is with games. A lot of blood-warming samurai games are available to play on PC and smartphones. Few of these belong to the retainer samurais.

Movies:

Some of the movies about retainer samurai are-

• Harakiri (1962) 

• Samurai Assassin (1965)

• The 47 Ronin (1941)

• Gate of hell (1953)

• Chushingura (1962)

• Master Spearman (1960)

• Ghost Dog: The way of Samurai (1999) etc.

Books:

Few of the famous books on samurai retainers are-

• African Samurai

• Kanadehon Chushingura 

• Samurai Hunter

• 47 Ronin: the tale of the loyal retainers etc.

Games:

Among the enormous games on the google play store, some of the most famous games are-

• Samurai II: Vengeance

• Samurai Shodown II

• Glory Ages-Samurais

• Ronin: The Last Samurai

• Retainer Samurai FFXIV etc.

FAQ

Can Anybody Be A Retainer Samurai?

Anyone from any caste, color, or gender can be a retainer samurai with certain training and promises. Fifteenth-century Samurai Yasuke was an example of African Japanese Samurai. 

He had black skin and African origin. One of the strongest samurais Empress Jingu was a female samurai.

 Do The Retainer Samurais Still Exist?

No samurai is alive today. The culture of Samurai existed in pre-modern Japan. They generally used to be from 1551 to 1616 in feudal Japan. During the Age of Warring States, retainer samurais existed.

 What Are The Movies And Games About Retainer Samurai?

Some of the movies about the retainer samurai are-

• The 47 Ronin (1941)

• Ghost Dog: The way of Samurai (1999)

• Gate of hell (1953)

• Master Spearman (1960)

• Chushingura (1962)

There are so many games about samurais online and offline. In some of those, you can get retainer samurai too. Some of the samurai games are-

• Retainer Samurai FFXIV

• Ronin: The Last Samurai

• Samurai: The way of the warrior

• Neko Samurai

• Glory Ages: Samurais

• Samurai Showdown II

What Is The Difference Between A Retainer Samurai And A Bushi?

A Bushi is an ordinary human warrior. The rank of a bushi is below a samurai. But, a bushi can be a samurai. For that, the bushi has to go through some tests. 

Through the seppuku ritual, they can trigger a locker to train into a samurai. If a samurai works like a retainer swordsman of his lord or daimyo, he will be called a retainer samurai. 

How Was The Look Of Retainer Samurai? 

The look of retainer samurai was awful! Their long coats, shielded bodies, and covered heads made them mysterious.

 Carrying the unique samurai swords named Katana, Wakizashi, Tanto, etc., they got a deadly look against the enemies.

Wrapping Up

Finally, it is undeniable that each retainer samurai was a superhero with a non-super rank. They were reliable companions and trustable protectors to their lords. They didn’t fear even to sacrifice own life. 

But still, they were ill-paid and lowly dignified. Now, after centuries, we are talking, reading, and telecasting about them! Indeed, real heroes become famous after death! What do you think?

META: A post of retainer samurai was in the Edo period of feudal Japan. The samurai retainers were the trained high-class warriors who served the feudal lords or daimyo. 

They were honest heroes who ensured the protection of the daimyos keeping their own lives in bet. In return, the daimyo gave them shelter and livelihood.

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