We see them in our anime and read about them in our manga. We know they wield a sword and according to our manga, are very powerful but, what do we really know about Samurai? Who were they? What did they do? Are they still around? The samurai as we know were warriors. They were the aristocrat of the warrior cast. The Samurai first came to power in the 12 century when the first dictatorship took over Japan. This was known as the shogunate.
The Samurai were not only warriors. They introduced customs to Japan that still survive to this very day. The first is the samurai code known as bushido. The bushido code was honor, discipline and morality. Over the decades this code found its way into the everyday lives of all Japan as a code of conduct. In the Muromachi period the samurai developed the Tea ceremony and flower arranging.
In the 19th century things started to change. The influence of the samurai started to fade. Many once proud samurai families were struggling to survive. The younger samurai seen the changing and knew they needed to adapt to it. Many took part in a movement to oust the current regime. This movement was known as the Meiji Restoration of 1868.
While there is no longer samurai since the social class was abolished more than one hundred and fifty years ago; their decedents still get some respect from it. Those who hold a surname from the feudal period have gotten more from the higher ups in Japans social hierarchy. You can find the source for my blog below.