Rare photos of 19th-century samurai

Samurai is one of the most mythical figures in the Japanese culture. There are countless books written and movies made about their lives, and the myth of these solid Japanese warriors inspires people’s imagination to this day.

Samurai began their careers as provincial warriors before their group developed into a military class by the end of the 12th century. The well-trained, noble warriors, who numbered less than 10% of the population, were among the most respected members of the Japanese society. They played a key role in the social and political life of the island nation until the Meiji Restoration that began in 1868, tearing down the feudal system in Japan.

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