Monday, June 4, 2007

Women Warriors of Japan

The following Article "The Role of the Arms-Bearing Women in Japanese History" was written by Ellis Amdur. Ellis draws upon the ancient Japanese myths and histories to bring these female warriors to life.

Another website "
Women Warriors - Female Samurai in Ancient Japan" actually focuses on medieval women in the Samurai class.

And the following website dedicated to the History of the Samurai, features a section on "
Female Samurai".

From the website "
Defensive Weapons of the Japanese Samurai" comes the following paragraph:

"Women from Samurai families were often trained to defend themselves with a rather extraordinary concealed weapon peculiar to their gender. When dressed formally, Japanese women usually wore one or more long pins, called kansashi, hidden in their hair. Kansashi were approximately six inches long and primarily served to keep a woman's long hair up and in place. The pins were also quite capable of piercing an attacker's chest or throat in an emergency."

Samurai women rarely took to the battlefield, but they were responsible primarily for the defence of the home and children. Like their men-folk, personal homour was paramount, and they were also prepared to die in defence on the honour of the family. As such, Samuarai women carried small daggers.

Other weapons used by female Samurai were the naginata (used at close range similar to a halberd), the kaiken (knife or dagger), and the bow and arrow. The kaiken had a secondary use - women, especially court women, used the kaien to perform jigai (ritual suicide by slashing of the throat).

Another role of Samurai women was the washing and preparation of the decapitated heads of the enemy. These were then presented to the victorious Samurai generals.

With the unification of Japan under Tokugawa Ieyasu, the role of Samurai women changed to a more domestic role.
Biography - Tomoe Gozen

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 17/9/2006)

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