Samurai, a term that roughly translates as “those who serve,” refers to the legendary warrior class that played an important role in Japanese politics and society from the late eighth century until the mid-nineteenth century. Shōguns, or supreme military leaders, governed Japan as de facto rulers until 1867 when the military government was abolished and the emperor returned to power. The values emphasized by the samurai included loyalty, courage, honor, and personal cultivation, and profoundly affected the art, craft, and design produced during this long era. Read more.
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