During the Tokugawa shogunate, samurai more and more became courtiers, bureaucrats, and administrators rather than warriors. With no warfare since the early 17th century, samurai slowly lost their military function throughout the Tokugawa era also called the Edo period. By the end of the Tokugawa era, samurai were aristocratic bureaucrats for the daimyo,s, with their daisho,, the paired long and short swords of the samurai cf. Katana and wakizashi becoming more of a symbolic emblem of power rather than a weapon used in daily life. They still had the legal entitlement to cut down any commoner who didn't show correct respect kiri sute gomen ?,?,?,?,?,?,? , however to what extent this right has been used is not recognized. When the central government forced daimyo,s to cut the size of their armies, unemployed ro,nin became a social problem.
Theoretical responsibilities between a samurai and his lord typically a daimyo, increased from the Genpei era to the Edo era. They were strongly emphasized by the instructions of Confucius and Mencius ca 550 BC, which were obliged reading for the educated samurai class.
The conduct of samurai served as role model behavior for the other social classes. With time on their hands, samurai spent more time in pursuit of other interests like becoming scholars.
The relative peace of the Tokugawa era has been shattered with the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry's big U.S. Navy steamships in 1853. Perry used his superior firepower to push Japan to open its borders to trade. previous to that only some harbor towns, under rigorous control from the Shogunate, were allowed to partake in Western trade, and then, it was established mainly on the idea of playing the Franciscans and Dominicans off against one another in exchange for the crucial arquebus technology, which in turn was a big contributor to the downfall of the classical samurai.
From 1854, the samurai army and the navy were modernized. A Naval training school has been established in Nagasaki in 1855. Naval students were sent to study in Western naval schools for some number of years, starting a tradition of foreign educated future leaders, like Admiral Enomoto. French naval engineers were hired to build naval arsenals, like Yokosuka and Nagasaki. By the end of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1867, the Japanese navy of the shogun already possessed eight western style steam warships around the flagship Kaiyo, Maru, which were used against pro imperial forces throughout the Boshin War, under the command of Admiral Enomoto. A French Military Mission to Japan 1867 has been established to help modernize the armies of the Bakufu.
The last showing of the original samurai was in 1867 when samurai from Cho,shu, and Satsuma provinces defeated the Shogunate forces in favor of the rule of the Emperor in the Boshin War 18681869. The two provinces were the lands of the daimyo, that submitted to Ieyasu after the fight of Sekigahara 1600.
Emperor Meiji abolished the samurai's entitlement to be the only armed force in favor of a more modern, western style, conscripted army in 1873. Samurai became Shizoku ?,?, who retained some of their salaries, but the entitlement to wear a katana in public was sooner or later abolished with the entitlement to execute commoners who paid them disrespect. The samurai came to an end after hundreds of years of enjoyment of their position, their powers, and their capability to form the government of Japan. but, the rule of the state by the military class wasn't still over. In defining how a modern Japan should be, members of the Meiji government decided to follow the footsteps of the United Kingdom and Germany, basing the country on the idea of noblesse oblige. Samurai weren't a political force under the new order. With the Meiji reforms in the late 19th century, the samurai class has been abolished, and a western style national army has been established. The Imperial Japanese Armies were conscripted, but many samurai volunteered as soldiers, and many advanced to be trained as officers. most of the Imperial Army officer class was of samurai origin, and were greatly motivated, disciplined, and very trained.
The last samurai clash was arguably in 1877, throughout the Satsuma Rebellion in the fight of Shiroyama. This clash had its genesis in the last rebellion to defeat the Tokugawa Shogunate, leading to the Meiji Restoration. The newly made government instituted radical changes, aimed at decreasing the power of the feudal domains, as well as Satsuma, and the dissolution of samurai position. This led to the finally premature rebellion, led by Saigo, Takamori.