Following the fight of Hakusukinoe against Tang China and Silla in 663 AD, which led to a retreat from Korean affairs, Japan underwent extensive reform. One of the most important was that of the Taika Reform, issued by Prince Naka no O,e Emperor Tenji in 646 AD. This edict allowed the Japanese aristocracy to adopt the Tang dynasty political structure, bureaucracy, culture, religion, and philosophy. As part of the Taiho, Code of 702 AD, and the afterward Yo,ro, Code, the population was obliged to report on a regular basis for census, a precursor for national conscription. With an understanding of how the population was circulated, Emperor Monmu presented a law whereby one in 34 adult males has been drafted into the national military. These soldiers were obliged to supply their own weapons, and in return were exempted from duties and taxes. This was one of the 1st tries by the Imperial government to form an organized army modeled after the Chinese system. It has been called "Gundan Sei" ja:?,?,?, by afterward historians and is believed to have been short lived.
The Taiho, Code classified most of the Imperial bureaucrats into twelve ranks, each divided into two sub ranks, first rank being the highest adviser to the Emperor. Those of sixth rank and below were called "samurai" and dealt with day to day affairs. though these "samurai" were civilian public servants, the modern word is believed to have resulting from this term. Military men, but, could not be called "samurai" for many more centuries.
In the early Heian period, throughout the late eighth and early nineth centuries, Emperor Kanmu sought to consolidate and expand his rule in northern Honshu,, and sent military campaigns against the Emishi
, who resisted the administration of the Kyoto based imperial court. Emperor Kammu presented the title of sei'i taisho,gun ?,?,?,?,?,, or Shogun, and started to rely on the powerful regional clans to conquer the Emishi. experienced in mounted combat and archery kyu,do,, these clan warriors became the Emperor's favored tool for putting down rebellions, the most well recognized of which was Sakanoue no Tamuramaro. although this is the 1st recognized use of the "Shogun" title, it was a temporary title, and wasn't imbued with political power till the 13th century. now the seventh to nineth century, the Imperial Court officials considered them to be just a military part under the control of the Imperial Court.
Samurai on horseback, wearing o, yoroi armour, carrying bow yumi and arrows in a yebira quiver
Ultimately, Emperor Kammu disbanded his army. From this time, the Emperor's power slowly fell. While the Emperor was still the ruler, powerful clans around Kyoto expected positions as ministers, and their relatives bought positions as magistrates. To amass money and repay their debts, magistrates frequently forced heavy taxes, ensuing in many farmers becoming landless. Through protecting agreements and political marriages, they accumulated, or amassed, political power, sooner or later surpassing the conventional aristocracy.
Some clans were first made by farmers who had taken up arms to protect themselves from the Imperial magistrates sent to govern their lands and gather taxes. These clans made alliances to protect themselves against more powerful clans, and by the mid Heian period they had adopted feature Japanese armor and weapons.
Late Heian Period, Kamakura Bakufu, and the rise of samurai
Samurai o, yoroi armour, Kamakura period. Tokyo National Museum.
First the Emperor and non warrior nobility employed these warrior nobles. In time, they amassed enough manpower, resources and political backing in the form of alliances with one another, to set up the 1st samurai dominated government. As the power of these regional clans grew, their chief was usually a remote relative of the Emperor and a lesser member of either the Fujiwara, Minamoto, or Taira clans. although first sent to provincial regions for a fixed four year term as a magistrate, the toryo fell to return to the capital when their terms ended, and their sons hereditary their positions and continued to lead the clans in putting down rebellions during Japan throughout the middle and later Heian period. Because of their increasing military and economic power, the warriors finally became a new force in the politics of the Imperial court. Their involvement in the Ho,gen Rebellion in the late Heian period consolidated their power, which afterward pitted the rivalry of Minamoto and Taira clans against each other in the Heiji Rebellion of 1160.