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'The way of the warrior, I've found, is to die'
(Yamamoto Tsunetomo 1651-1721)
In Japanese, the word 'Samurai' derives from the verb, sabarau, "to wait on, serve" and in Japan, as in most countries there have been warriors since society began. However, in Japan 960 a.d. a 'Warrior Class' started exert considerable control over all state, regional and district matters. The Emperor, who had by now been relegated to a figurehead of divinity, constantly fell under the influence of the dominant warlords, whose general aim was to become 'Shogun'.
Kusunoki Masashige is remembered for his part in the restoration of the Emperor Go-Daigo in 1333. His unswerving loyalty for his Emperor led him to fight a major guerrilla campaign from the mountains of Yoshino and in particular from his fortress of Chihaya. The Regent Hojo Takatoki was forced to send three armies against Masashinge who fought a stubborn defence which was so inspirational that Go-Daigo returned from exile to try to re-establish himself.
There followed a classic 50 year period of Samurai history with the fall of Takatoki and then civil war between Go-Daigo, his descendants, and Ashikaga Takauji who finally became Shogun. Go-Daigo was forced into the mountians of Yoshino to continue to 'rule' his supporters.
Kusunoki Masashige took his own life in 1336 after the Battle of Minatogawa, leaving his son Masatsura to continue the struggle in the name of the Emperor.
Stands 13" tall.