Writing Samurai is a step-by-step creative writing course for primary-age learners. It is a fun, educational way to learn creative writing skills at your own pace. It includes writing assignments and monthly tests, along with sample compositions. You will also learn about the writing techniques used in these model compositions.
The samurai of Japan were mounted warriors who resorted to swords during battle (Marshall, 2009; Deal, 2007). These samurai fought with an honor code and strict moral standards that emphasised loyalty and honour. They also had a keen interest in reading and writing. They were instrumental in the spread of literacy.
In the era of the Genji samurai, the samurai used traditional calligraphy sets to write their reports on battles and land transactions for their lords and generals. The yatate was invented during this period to replace the calligraphy set and was a portable writing technology that could be carried anywhere.
It was shaped like a fan and when closed, revealed a brush and ink retainer english creative writing singapore soaked in a cloth that was dipped into liquid ink, similar to a calligraphy scribbling pad. This made it more efficient and portable than a calligraphy set, which was cumbersome to carry during battles or on journeys.
Although no documentation has been found to confirm the invention of a yatate, it is highly likely that it was invented by samurai as a more portable writing instrument for war and travel. This may have been because they needed a writing device that was more convenient for reporting to their lords during conflict, as calligraphy set were cumbersome and time-consuming to carry while on the battlefield (Marshall, 2009; Stutler, 2009).
The yatate was later passed on to merchants and commoners during the Edo period of Japan and woodblock prints show that they were carried by travelers as well as the samurai (Kato, 1997; Kato, 2003). They were often used to record religious pilgrimages or to sketch images from their journey.
A great number of “gesaku”, or frivolous written works, are documented from this era which indicate the popularity of writing and the influence of the yatate on literary culture. A large number of samurai, merchants and commoners wrote novels, poetry and prose during this period and the yatate may have been one of their main writing instruments.
It is possible that samurai influenced the development of this portable writing technology as they were known to be respected and regarded as intellectuals. They were also involved in the formation of schools to educate their children, which suggests a positive attitude towards literacy.