History of the Samurai

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March 12, 2015 – Samurai – the name alone makes countless eyes shine all around the world. Fascinating stories revolve around these honourable warriors with their elaborate, colourful armour, their slender swords and their steady courage. A Japanese proverb thus reads: “The flower of flowers is the cherry blossom. The Samurai is the man among men.”

Yet the Japanese term Samurai does not mean king, let alone emperor. On the contrary, it refers to a servant or protector. While the term Samurai is predominantly used in the West, the Land of the Rising Sun prefers Bushi for this warrior cast of pre-industrial Japan.
From that term derives Bushido, hence “the path of the warrior” with its unwritten moral code for Samurai warriors: self-sacrifice, absolute loyalty, bravery, maximum weapon mastery and being on constant stand-by to fight. While this is strongly influenced by Zen-Buddhism, the simbiosity to European knights of the Middles Ages is evident as well.

At first, the Samurai were loyal servants of the emperor until they, as shoguns, assumed power in the 12th century. For more than 700 years, Samurai from old, influential clans were the true emperors in Japan. It was as late as 1868 that pro-imperial feudal lords put an end to the Samurai regime.

Cook Islands / 2015 / 5 Dollars / Silver .999 / 1 oz / 38.61 mm / Antique-Finish / Mintage: 999 pcs.

For Cook Islands, Coin Invest Trust has taken up the timeless Samurai topic. The reverse of the coin shows two coloured Samurai warriors fighting in a stylized landscape. The combination of colour and polishing makes this relief so special. In the background there are a pagoda and an entrance gate to a sanctuary. A stand with the family crest is attributed to each warrior. The inscription at the top reads HISTORY OF THE SAMURAI, of which the Japanese translation is also given. Below, the year of issue is stated, 2015, and an authentic piece of Samurai armour is inserted into a separate field.

The coins are minted by B.H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt GmbH. Collectors can purchase the issue through specialty dealers.

For more information on this coin or other coins designed by CIT please visit the website of Coin Invest Trust.

Articles, pictures and videos on the history of the Samurai you may find here.

Karl F. Friday wrote an article on “Bushido” from a medieval historian’s perspective.