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were there female samurais? 2004/7/25 14:14
lifestyle? how were they different from the men? what happened to them after the meiji restoration?
by cheng  

No 2004/7/25 19:55
No. There were not. Is this a test to find out who the insane feminists are? Aside from legend has any major culture had female warriors?

Anyway, the Feudal system was very organized. Everything decended to the eldest son. If you had no sons there was a way to get one. Men in noble families trained to be samurai, women trained to be beautiful (art, caligraphy, poetry, even wearing a dress is a freaking science!)

Everyone had their duties, but stabbing men in the head with a katana was not one of the womens. Sorry if that is disappointing.
by Kieas rate this post as useful

samurai or in other words bushi 2004/7/25 22:10
What you are asking is a little bit like "Was there any male midwives?"

Samurai was a male's occupation. Females had the important role as "the wives of samurais."

The traditional Japanese wedding gown commonly used today comes from the samurai class dress. The set includes a small knife the bride sticks in her obi belt. This is the proper dress code of a grown female of samurai class. She was to use it to protect the home in case the enemy barges in during the absence of the husband. Otherwise, her job was to support her samurai husband by making a comfortable home for him to return to.
by Uco rate this post as useful

what happened to them after meiji? 2004/7/25 22:13
The wives? They kept on supporting her husbands, and during war time, learned to use weapons so that they can protect their homes in case the enemy barges in during the husbands' absence.
by Uco rate this post as useful

research Tomoe Gozen 2004/7/25 23:05
What about Tomoe Gozen? Was she real or a fictional character? I thought she was actually a "onna-musha"or bushi if not an official samurai. I think that title only went to the men, but she was close.
by VoodooChylde rate this post as useful

Fantasy 2004/7/26 01:45
Basically the number one rule of Japanese fiction is "If you make the character a chick, more people will buy it!"

Theres some pretty hysterical media where all the main characters are wildly attractive women when it makes no sense.

Also, was the knife really for fighting? I thought it was for suicide in a worst case scenario. If it was for fighting Id be so proud to have a wife like that.
by Kieas rate this post as useful

Yes 2004/7/26 04:27
In the time of war and there were few soldiers the wemon would baisicly get drafted.
by KCK rate this post as useful

Samurai as a social caste 2004/7/26 09:13
During the Edo Period, the samurai were considered a social caste. Women also all belonged to one of the social castes (and could only marry within their own caste). So from that point of view, you could say, yes, there were female members of the samurai class.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Female Samurai's 2004/7/26 13:16
Yes! There were definitely female samurai's, however, I don't know exactly what era.
by Joseph rate this post as useful

Hmm 2004/7/26 16:47
Come to think of it, it depends on your definition of "samurai".

Kono onna wa samurai desu
(This woman is a samurai): not likely to happen

Kono onna wa samurai no tsuma/musume desu
(This woman is a wife/daughter of a samurai): normal

Kono onna wa buke no de desu
(This woman comes from the samurai class):

Kono onna wa bushi desu
(This woman is a samurai):
Very weird

Kono onna wa bushi no tsuma/musume desu:
(This woman is a wife/daughter of a samurai):

As for Tomoe-gozen, I did an extremely quick check on the internet and couldn't find any expression mentioning she is a "samurai". My dictionary says that Tomoe was a "brave beauty of so and so family."

About the knife, any person who watches samurai TV in Japan has seen many scenes where a female samurai family member threatens her enemy with the knife. And when I got married, the costume clerk told me that that was what it was used for as she tucked in the knife for me. Pity I had to return the whole costume set after the ceremony.

KCK, I'm not really sure what you're talking about. No woman actually camped or traveled to the battle field, as far as I know.
by Uco rate this post as useful

There were female warriors 2004/7/30 00:43
Japan had Kunoichi's, or female ninjas. They were very important in the overall scheme of things. They were trained in traditional Ninjutsu combat as well as the more devious psychological aspects of things.
by paradoxbox rate this post as useful

Women warriors in any culture? 2004/8/29 16:35
In answer to kieas' (preumably rhetorical) question as to whether, outside of legend, any major culture has had a tradition of female warriors, the answer is yes. The Kingdom of Dahomey in west Africa was famous for its army of women warriors who were subject to a regimen similar to that of young Zulu men. These women were the terror of the neighboring peoples of western Africa and were universally acknowledged to be far superior as soldiers to their male counterparts. The regime under which they acted lasted for about 50 years and their military dominance of the region was ended only by the massive intervention of the colonial French army (whose officers also recognized and recorded these women's military prowess, ferocity and valor) during the 19th century. Also, there is substantial historical and archaeological evidence of female warriors among the Scythians and other related peoples of Asia Minor and the centrall Asian steppes, ranging over a period of at least several centuries. Those are two examples that spring immediately to mind; presumably there have been others (i.e., beginning in the 20th century the USSR and Israel) and the evidence is there for those who are interested - it just takes an ability to look beyond stereotypes.
by pmicocci rate this post as useful

Ninja 2005/3/17 09:28
There were most definately women ninjas, there were special schools for them. Also the Okinawans learned karate regardless of their sex. And, wasn't there a slory about a woman who fought alongside her husband-samurai? I've heard that one alot.
by Shinonome no Suki rate this post as useful

Tomoe Gozen & others 2005/4/28 21:26
There is some historical evidence (according to the pages below) about "female samurai", though no reliable info on Tomoe Gozen as a samurai.

Here are a few links I found:




Also, for more info on kunoichi, see

Ninjutsu: The Art of Invisibility
Donn F. Draegar,Donn F. Draeger,Akira Tsuchiya (Illustrator) / Paperback / Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc. / November 1990

by devichat rate this post as useful

Yes there are female saumrai 2005/6/10 21:06
In the Kamukura period of japan,women that are married to a samurai had equal status and rites,and women of the kamukura period where the ones defended the home and castles.They had controll of the houseohold.

Tomo Gozen was real and a ffemale samurai too.

But later periods in japan,women started to loose thier equal rites as men,but this didnt stop form having onther female warrior.

Nakano Takeko, she was in arpound where women dindt really had equal rites with men,but she was one heck feirce warrior.She was form teh Aizu clan that supported the shugonate,then they awere attacked.When the army was almost wiped out the women whoo were left in the castle organized a a group of female units to defend.Nakano Takeko killed many men and her troops too!upon after a few hours she was shot in her chest by an arrow.Yuki (Nakano Takeko sister) took her head and brought it to home with honour,today tehres a statue in a shrine in japan of Nakano Takeko.
by Akiko rate this post as useful

were there female Samurai? 2005/6/18 14:53
There is hardly anything I can say that others haven't. But don't you think that a woman could trick people into thinking they were men? Yes. Many women have posed as men before. Also in some instances there were units of women formed that were on horseback and used Naginata and Spears
by ''Hougyoko'' rate this post as useful

Even in end Edo era 2005/6/24 15:04
Have you guys heard of the warriors team "Shinsengumi?" I live where they are from (west suburb of Tokyo), and when the leaders of Shinsengumi firstly gathered a team of ronins in February 1863, there was one female kenshi (sword-person).

In that year she joined the team and travelled together to Kyoto, although she did not stay until Shinsengumi was established.

In Ikenami Shotaro's "Kenkaku Shobai" series there's a lady named Mifuyu, who has been learning Kenjutsu and was dressed like a man. The lady (there's a name, but I could not find it, sorry) was also dressed like that way.
by Shinnosuke rate this post as useful

Yes and no 2005/7/11 08:20
There were female samurai but not in the same sense as their male counterparts and many were the wives of male samurai. A good example is the Lady Buntaro Mariko in the novel 'Shogun' by James Clavell. The book is fiction, but it is based on actual events that took place during the beginning of the Tokagawa Shogunate.

I believe the late Clavell did a lot of research for his novel, but I'm not positive. I do apologize if I'm wrong.
by Angela rate this post as useful

The knife thing... 2005/7/12 08:58
About the knife thing, to answer Kieas' question " Also, was the knife really for fighting? I thought it was for suicide in a worst case scenario. If it was for fighting Id be so proud to have a wife like that. "

The knife was actually for fighting. A woman would stick the butt of the knife to her gut and charge at the enemy.

Also, it was for suicide as well. Instead of plunging it in the stomach like a man would, they'd go for their jugular, to avoid marring their beauty. It was an honorable way to die, I think.
by Pixi rate this post as useful

Arrogance/Ignorance Will Get You Nowhere 2005/8/14 11:56
More to the point of the matter is what YOUR ATTITUDE -- be you woman, man, girl or boy -- is TODAY.

Most MEN and BOYS who practice martial arts (at least in the U.S.) are warrior-wannabees, and are a joke to the true discipline of martial arts ethos and practice.

I.e., martial arts (or war) are hardly gender exclusive. The criterion of a truly good warrior is what resonates in his/her spirit, mind, and intentions -- a rare depth of character and integrity in the individual which, correspondingly, expresses itself through his/her physical prowess.

As to the existence of women warriors in history, it is well to remember that history is written by its victors. I.e., "history" is biased in favor of those who wish to keep silent those who question or, by their mere presence, threaten the status quo.

As such, in societies hostile to true individual female autonomy and power, history would hardly acknowledge the existence of such women warriors. invisible. But, given the desire for the human spirit to be free, no matter the culture, no matter the circumscribed codes of a given community, there are undoubtedly girls and women among the rest who dare question the restrictions imposed upon their sex, who will, at great cost, struggle (however tacitly, however discreetly) to break free.

That said, who is anyone to say, definitively, that -- in the absence of archaeological/anthropological evidence to the contrary -- no female warriors ever existed in Japan (or elsewhere), and in whatever form or manner of subterfuge such a girl or woman may have been required to live/fight as she saw fit and consistent with her inner reality and experience.

(Nice point, by the way, by a previous posting, on the matter of the West African tribe of women warriors.)

Have a little more guts, people. The world is what you make of it.

by zanshin rate this post as useful

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