Medieval Europe and medieval Japan shared many similarities, but also some conflicts. One of them was the soldier or warriors that fought for land. In Japan and medieval Europe, the samurai fought on horses while in Europe they used horsemen. Both fought to defend their homeland against foreign invaders. The warriors are very similar. In Europe and Japan, two distinct warriors classes emerged during the Medieval Era. Samurai and Knights were these two warriors. History records them as an example of sacrifice and courage. No one had ever seen before such a brave and dedicated’military group’. Despite the fact they came from different cultures, there were many similarities between them. Samurai and Knights both had similar duties. They were hired as guardians to protect land and people. Ironically, Samurai and Knights both came from noble families because expensive horses, armor and weapons required extensive training. They were the highest social class and enjoyed many privileges. They were also expected to set an example for those of lower social status and follow the rules of their faith. The most important principles of a samurai or knight are loyalty, discipline and courage. They had one purpose: to serve the lord, and to succeed.
The medieval knights’ battle tactics would allow them to crush the Japanese samurai but, in a one-on-1 battle, they would triumph with their training and respect.
A warrior’s training and code of behavior were among the most important values that shaped society. Bushido is a code that was derived from Zen Confucianism. Bushido and society often combine powerful social and political messages. Japan maintained the teaching that a smart, strong student is obligated to become a farmer. The term chivalry refers to the code of ethics and style that medieval European knights followed. Chivalry was a combination of values such as honour, courtesy courage and virtue. It was founded on a mix between military, religious, and cultural ethics. Chivalry began as a code of conduct for knights but evolved into a cultural context during the Renaissance. Bushido principles emphasize honor, loyalty, martial art skill and courage. Chivalry was important in the shaping of medieval society and Bushido is still today. Chivalry is a code of conduct that encourages men to act in accordance with their morals, while Bushido focuses on the service of superiors or daimyo. Although they were not in contact, their similarities are many. Zen Confucianism, due to the intense training a Samurai had to undergo and the laws they were required to follow, was the most disciplined and structured practice.
Weapons can be used to win or to kill. Weapons include anything that can harm or kill other living beings. Different cultures used different weapons in medieval times. Swords, spears and bows and arrows are the most popular weapons. The samurai chose the katana to be their main weapon. They also used a 12-inch wakizashi for close combat and seppuku. Medieval European Knights had their initials inscribed on the longsword handle as a sign of culture. Knights didn’t just have 2 or 3 weapons, but they had different classes of swordsman. The samurai were covered from head-to-toe in armour with great mobility. To top it off, they had an intimidating face. The light armour leaves them very vulnerable during battle. Samurai were also vulnerable to enemy attacks because of their light armour. They were vulnerable to firearms, arrows, and light armour. Since the Japanese only discovered firearms in the 13th Century, Japan was left vulnerable by modern countries. Knights from medieval Europe faced similar difficulties with their weaponry and armour. Knights were slowed down by the heavy armour and difficulty in moving. The armour became rusted over time and was cleaned by the armor squire. The amount of materials and the cost of their armor were important factors. In the past, knights wore shiny iron armour because it was expensive. In this case, the samurai wins due to their light and compact weapons. They can kill more quickly.
Battle tactics are what separates the winners from losers in a war. Hastings’ battle was an excellent example. The Normans placed their archers in front of the shield walls to skirmish them, removing numbers one by ones. The shield walls did not collapse when they sent their infantry into the battle. The Normans started to retreat when they heard that their king had died. They were still fighting. The shield wall collapsed and pursued the Normans. Normans appeared out of nowhere and wiped out the group chasing them. The battle continued and the Saxons lost because their battle plan failed. European knights excelled at battle planning and tactics. The cavalry was one the most powerful troops in early medieval times. However, as other forces and infantry took over the role of the army towards the late medieval period, the importance of the cavalry began to diminish. Knights could also use a cheat to spread out different classes for maximum damage and impact. Knights would ride on horses and use crushing attacks to destroy defences and fight in the open. Knights used trebuchets, catapults as well as trebuchets for long distance damage. Samurai tactics were very simple. It was the warrior’s instinct to kill and avoid being killed. The downside was that some samurai used horses which were often heavy and slow, but their riders understood Kyuba no Michi or the way of the horse and bow. The main element of their strategy was intimidation. This worked well most of time. It was considered a disadvantage to be a medieval Knight because you would die as if by default due to poor leadership and training. The knights of old were not like the ones we know today. They were wealthy and fruitful. In most cases, those who faced the knight were defeated. The crusades was a prime instance where the knights overpowered the Muslims. With their intricate battle plans, I believe that knights could easily defeat an army of samurai.
The medieval Knights’ battle tactics would make them trample on the Japanese Samurai, but when they faced off against each other the samurai won because of the codes of respect and their training. The samurai has been known to be one of the best-trained warriors in history. In the Chivalry, a knight would swear to fight and serve a lord only if they paid him. In terms of armour and weapons, the samurai was a step ahead. This is important in combat. The samurai’s katana had a light, sharp blade and was agile. This was in line with their Karuta armour which was built for mobility and safety. Knights had large, dull swords that were heavy and slow. They needed to use force in order to cut someone. The samurai’s armour weighed 12 kilograms more than theirs, so they couldn’t run. It was the battle tactics that were most important for knights to win battles. In summary, in a battle between samurai and knights the European would win but the Japanese would lose in a battle of 1v1. However in battles between armies the European would win because they would pick off the samurai by using their battle techniques.