View Full Version : Samurai bodyguards?

Neil Hawkins
13th December 2000, 22:57
Was there any special corps or groups that provided specific bodyguard duties to the Shogun or Daimyo?

I have been wondering if they were purely soldier/bodyguards as seen in Europe or wether they recieved some special training in bodyguarding. With the specialised assassination techniques used against the rulers, I would have thought it would require special skills, but have not come across any specific references.

The story of Yojimbo is a good one, but there is not much that distinguishes the character as anything more than a skilled samurai, more skilled than the low class samurai employed by the two gangster factions.

Now-a-days there is a strong association between the samurai and the bodyguard. Films like "The Bodyguard" and "Ghost Dog" have reinforced this, but is there any historical basis for such an association?



Nathan Scott
14th December 2000, 01:14
Hello Neil-san,

I hope you don't mind, but I was passing through and took the liberty of cleaning up the double thread-submission since there is no mod for this forum.

Good question, BTW. I'm afraid I don't have anything solid to offer on this topic. I'm under the impression that the more highly trained, senior ranked Hatamoto-types were allowed to be closest to the Shogun/Daimyo, so they would logically be the most trusted and take the initiative to intervene during an assasination attempt. But it's quite likely that there was some kind of additional security as well - I'll be interested to find out.


Karl Friday
14th December 2000, 15:38
Originally posted by Neil Hawkins
Was there any special corps or groups that provided specific bodyguard duties to the Shogun or Daimyo?

It appears that, for the most part, bodyguarding was just one more function performed by samurai for their lords--that is, that it wasn't really considered to be a special kind of job for a special class or group of individuals in medieval and early modern Japan. Daimyo simply used retainers and family members for this kind of protection.

There are a few noteworthy exceptions, though. Tokugawa Ieyasu, for example, employed guerrillas ("ninja") from Koga and Iga--the famous Koga-gumi and Iga-gumi--to guard his Edo castle in the early 1600s.

Just some guy
15th December 2000, 11:56
Dr. Friday,
I realize that this has nothing to do with the subject at hand but, I just can't help myself. I have heard that youve been writing another book. I was wondering if you had any Idea of when it would be coming out. After reading "Legacies of the Sword" I can't wait to read "Hired Swords" and you next one. Good luck with everything.
Chris Baker.