Samurai (侍) were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan.
In Japanese, they are usually referred to as bushi (武士, [bɯ.ɕi]) or buke (武家). According to translator William Scott Wilson: “In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning ‘to wait upon’, ‘accompany persons’ in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean ‘those who serve in close attendance to the nobility’, the Japanese term saburai being the nominal form of the verb.” According to Wilson, an early reference to the word samurai appears in the Kokin Wakashū (905–914), the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10th century.
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