Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan’s Military, 500-1300

William Wayne Farris

Harvard East Asian Monographs, 157.

The word samurai suggests the colorful figure of a lightly armored, mounted archer attended by two or three foot soldiers engaging in ritualized one-on-one combat, the aristocracy fighting man of the Kamakura Shogunate (1185-1333). Although some historians have considered the rise of the samurai as analogous to the rather abrupt rise of feudal knights in medieval Western Europe, Farris provides "evolutionary model" for Japan that traces the step-by-step adaptive development of local strongmen over more than half a millennium. Through analyses of military technology and tactics, social organization, economic base, and political skills, mainly based on Japanese primary sources, Farris demonstrates some of the underlying continuities in that development together with the rather late acquisition by warriors of those political capabilities that led to the dominance of the Shogunate over the Court. Japan's original Heavenly Warrior, the Emperor Temmu, declared in 684, "In a government, military matters are the essential thing" Farris's detailed descriptions and maps of major battles from the Korean Wars of the sixth century through the thirteenth-century Mongol Invasions underscore the validity of that judgment. Finally, Minamoto no Yoritomo triumphed as "the chief of all warriors" and established his Shogunate in 1185, giving a firmer political base to Japan's warrior elite.

Published by Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1992 | Hardcover

  • Language: English
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 0674387031
  • 16 x 23.5 cm
  • 493 pages
  • Book Condition: Used with signs of wear, namely on the outside text block. Interior as new.
  • 60.00 € (+ shipping)
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