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Samurais (侍, samurai or bushido) were the warriors of premodern Japan. Samurais employed a range of weapons such as bows and arrows, spears and guns, but their main weapon and symbol was the sword.
The samurai trace their origins to the Heian Period campaigns to subdue the native Emishi people in the Tohoku Region. Around the same time, warriors were increasingly hired by wealthy landowners that had grown independent of the central government and built armies for their own protection. By the end of the 12th century, samurai became almost entirely synonymous with Bushi (武士, bushi), and the word was closely associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class. The samurai followed a set of rules that came to be known as bushidō. While they numbered less than 10% of Japan's population samurai teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese Martial Arts.
- Examples: Meira
- Wikipedia entry for Samurai