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The Samurai would collect enemy heads. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Smithsonian Channel.

A Samurai's Collection of Human Heads (Video)

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Samurai, driven by the need to prove their loyalty and valor to their shogun masters, often resorted to a gruesome practice – the collection of human heads. The severed heads served as tangible proof that they had indeed defeated the right opponent, ensuring that they hadn't inadvertently slain a woman or child, an act that would tarnish their honor. This harrowing tradition had another incentive - the more heads a Samurai collected, the greater their stipend and the faster their chances of promotion.

It was a gory path to advancement, but in a society deeply rooted in hierarchies, such macabre tokens of success were highly coveted. Amidst the clashing of blades and the whispers of honor, the Samurai's collection of human heads paints a complex picture of a warrior's life. Not only a means of proving their loyalty, at the end of the day these grim tokens were how a Samurai got paid and supported his family.  In a world where the line between valor and brutality blurred, the act of decapitation, though chilling, was a means to an end for the Samurai, a journey into the darkest corners of their code.

Top image: The Samurai would collect enemy heads. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Smithsonian Channel.

By Robbie Mitchell

 
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Robbie

I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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