Rare Hand-Painted Photos Capture the Final Years of the Last Living Samurai

The Samurai followed a strict code of honor known as the bushido which can be translated to “way of the warrior.”

It is an obligatory set of values inspired by both Confucianism and Zen Buddhism, that stress honor, loyalty, martial fearlessness, discipline, family, and general kindness.

The portraits of this collection capture the final years of the last living Samurai. In 1868 the end of feudalism led to the prohibition of wielding a sword for anyone other than the new national armed forces which ultimately led to the end of the Samurai. However the bushido still carries on as the national moral code of the new Japan.

Hand-Colour photograph of a Japanese Samurai warrior by Franz von Stillfried-Ratenicz. Dated 1881. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Hand-Colour photograph of a Japanese Samurai warrior by Franz von Stillfried-Ratenicz. Dated 1881. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Japanese samurai warriors, 1900. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Japanese samurai warriors, 1900. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Japanese samurai, aristocratic warriors in the service of a lord, circa 1865. (Photo by Felice Beato/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Japanese samurai, aristocratic warriors in the service of a lord, circa 1865. (Photo by Felice Beato/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Two Japanese samurai in fire dress, circa 1865. The one on the left wears a jingasa hat, and the one on the right wears the traditional indigo tabi socks of the samurai firefighter. (Photo by Felice Beato/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Two Japanese samurai in fire dress, circa 1865. The one on the left wears a jingasa hat, and the one on the right wears the traditional indigo tabi socks of the samurai firefighter. (Photo by Felice Beato/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

2003-5001_2_23391_33, 31/1/06, 12:41 pm,  8C, 5461x3677 (1157+2928), 112%, bent 6 stops,  1/15 s, R42.5, G25.1, B45.5

A Japanese samurai in traditional dress.   (Photo by Felice Beato/Getty Images)

A Japanese samurai in traditional dress. (Photo by Felice Beato/Getty Images)

circa 1867:  A Japanese soldier armed with a sword.  (Photo by Felice Beato/Henry Guttmann/Getty Images)

circa 1867: A Japanese soldier armed with a sword. (Photo by Felice Beato/Henry Guttmann/Getty Images)

1867: A Samurai warrior in armour. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

1867: A Samurai warrior in armour. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Photographic print of a Samurai warrior wearing armor and holding a sword. Dated 1877 Photo by: (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)

Photographic print of a Samurai warrior wearing armor and holding a sword. Dated 1877 Photo by: (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)

circa  1880: A Japanese Samurai warrior. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

circa 1880: A Japanese Samurai warrior. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Three samurai warriors in armour, circa 1880. (Photo by Kusakabe Kimbei/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Three samurai warriors in armour, circa 1880. (Photo by Kusakabe Kimbei/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A samurai in armour, Japan, 1882. A photograph from Labor and Porcelain in Japan, by the United States Consul-General, Yokohama, 1882. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

A samurai in armour, Japan, 1882. A photograph from Labor and Porcelain in Japan, by the United States Consul-General, Yokohama, 1882. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

Japanese Samurai warrior with tattoos. Vintage photograph from japan 1890. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Japanese Samurai warrior with tattoos. Vintage photograph from japan 1890. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

'K. K. Mission nach Ost-Asien und Süd-Amerika ' Japan.  'Ein Daimio in Kriegsrüstung '. About 1870. Photograph by Wilhelm Burger. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

‘K. K. Mission nach Ost-Asien und Süd-Amerika ‘ Japan. ‘Ein Daimio in Kriegsrüstung ‘. About 1870. Photograph by Wilhelm Burger. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

1860's photo of a Japanese Samurai. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

1860’s photo of a Japanese Samurai. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Japanese Samurai warrior, Vintage photograph from japan 1867. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Japanese Samurai warrior, Vintage photograph from japan 1867. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Japanese Samurai warrior, Vintage photograph from japan, 1867. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Japanese Samurai warrior, Vintage photograph from japan, 1867. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Felice Beato; portrait of a Japanese samurai, in traditional dress. 1863-68. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Felice Beato; portrait of a Japanese samurai, in traditional dress. 1863-68. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Photographic portrait of a female Samurai. Dated 1800. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Photographic portrait of a female Samurai. Dated 1800. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

 

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