Japanese Ashigaru: The “Samurai of the Land”
Samurai were the elite warriors of Japan’s ruling class, and the foot soldier was generally of peasant stock; however, their status subtlety changed over the course of the 16th century.
By Eric Niderost In the 17th century samurai were elite warriors, members of Japan’s ruling class. They were born, not made; you had to come from a samurai family to be considered samurai. Their exalted status was proclaimed by the daisho, or matching pair of swords, each samurai proudly wore. The samurai were justly famous, but the backbone of any army was the Japanese ashigaru, or "foot soldier." The foot soldier was generally of peasant stock, but his status subtlety changed over the cours