Impressive Samurai Statues in Japan

Samurai were the elite officers and members of the nobility in Japan. Initially, they were protectors of estates and feudal lords. As time passed, they became more and more powerful and became a class by themselves. In the 19th century, Emperor Meiji abolished the samurai to modernize the country. However, these impressive samurai statues in Japan are proof of their profound historical and cultural influence.

Kusunoki Masashige / Tokyo

A legendary samurai who proved his worth during a very conflicted time, Kusunoki Masashige is considered the first ideal image of the samurai. In the Genko Civil War in the 14th century, he helped the emperor restore the empire and save it from a rebel military shogunate. Masashige was loyal to the emperor and Japan to the death.

kusunoki masashige one of the most impressive samurai statues
Derrick Alire

In 1336, a corrupt general ordered him to take a settlement that was too powerful. While this seemed like a sure death, even a suicide, Masashige did not question the orders, went to the town, and died. However, his influence never withered and in 1990, Japan awarded him with one of the most impressive samurai statues. The statue is pure bronze and 8 meters tall.

masashige statue
Masao Hanamura

Saigo Takamori / Tokyo

Known as the last samurai, Saigo Takamori was one of the most important samurai in Japan’s history. Although a samurai of the shogun, Saigo rebelled against the shogunate and helped Emperor Meiji come to power. Surely, Saigo was an undeniable factor in the Meiji restoration. He led a comfortable life until his rebellion due to the emperor’s views on the samurai.

saigo takamori one of the most impressive samurai statues

Takamori’s statue is one of the oldest samurai statues as its construction was in 1898. The statue is bronze and nearly 4 meters but it comes with a surprise. Unlike other samurai, Takamori was very calm and peaceful. His statue is just him wearing a kimono and taking a walk with his dog.

saigo takamori statue with his dog

Kato Kiyomasa / Kumamoto City

Kato Kiyomasa was a key player in one of the biggest invasions in world history. In 1592, Japan invaded Korea with more than 300,000 official soldiers. Kiyomasa was one of the commanders of these soldiers. Although the invasion did not succeed, Kiyomasa took control of many castles and displaced Korean lords.

kato kiyomasa one of impressive samurai statues
Vincent Huang

While a legendary samurai, Kiyomasa was different than many. Rather than a sword, he preferred a spear with which he was deadly. He was one of the Seven Spears of Hideyoshi, a true honor at the time. His bronze statue is one of the most impressive samurai statues. It is in his traditional armor in front of a castle he built which is one of Japan’s three premier castles.

kiyomasa statue

Takeda Shingen / Kofu

Aside from his skills as a fighter, Takeda Shingen was one of the biggest military geniuses in Japan’s history. He led several successful campaigns against other clans most of which he himself joined the battle. He was so strong and fast that people called him the” Tiger of Kai.”

takeda shingen one of impressive samurai statues

Takeda’s military intelligence and power as a samurai are celebrated every year in Japan. In the first or second week of April, for three days, the city of Kofu observes the Shingen-KO festival. Since he is the face of Kofu, his imposing statue is right at the entrance to Kofu station, greeting visitors.

takeda shingen in kofu

Hojo Soun / Odawara

The samurai who lived more than the rest with 88 years, Hojo Soun was the first head of the Hojo clan. Moreover, he was a cunning statesman and a skilled samurai. Through manipulation and deceits, he had the head of a castle murdered and replaced him as the lord. Later, he took control of the Izu region and made it his territory.

hojo soun one of samurai statues in japan

His statue is on top of a horse and ready to charge into battle. It is right at the entrance of Odawara station and is one of the landmarks of Odawara. The statue also represents one of his battle stories in which he tied torches to the horns of his oxen making the enemy believe that his army was three times bigger than it actually is.

hojo soun his horse and oxen
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