Historically, Japanese samurai were warriors that followed a strict code and were diligent in their martial art training and their devotion to the art of the samurai sword. The samurai were the highest of four main classes in Japan, with the others being farmers, artisans, and merchants. In feudal Japan, a samurai was employed by a lord and alotted a wage, measured in rice, depending on the merit of the samurai. The origins of samurai are thought to go back to the Heian period (794-1192).
The samurai are often known for their moral code, called bushido, that stressed the importance of loyalty to the samurai's lord, even to the point of offering up one's life to do the right thing. One of the more well known accounts of bushido are contained in the book Hagakure.
Samurai trained with many weapons, but the sword held a special place in their practicing, fighting, and way of life. Training with wooden swords, an art known as kendo that is still practiced today, samurai honed their skills as well as learned the principles of strategy. Samurai were the onle ones who could carry swords, and they usually carried two, a long one, known as a katana, and a short companion sword, called a tanto.
In addition to just being warriors, samurai were known for their appreciation for writing and the fine arts. The ability with the brush was admired along with the skills with the sword. It was common to write poems, especially for certain occasions. The writings and paintings of Musashi Miyamoto are considered to be among the most famous works of that period.
Human Samurai and Ashigaru guards are the single most common foe across the franchise. They come in a variety of appearances and use a variety of weapons. Depending on the adaption they tend to inhabit lower difficulty stages or change appearance as the game progresses. Unlike their more thuggish or supernatural counterparts these guards don’t exibit any real unusual abilities or skills but can effectively used thrown implements quite skilfully. They tend to dress and appear in a more traditional Fuedal Japanese style and can be observed performing appropriate actions of that time in some adaptions. While it varies from game to game in most respects they are far from cowardly but can be routed by performing mass damage in small amounts of time, causing them to run helplessly until they are a far away from their attacker.
Katana Guardsmen: The legendary sword of Japan the Katana is a weapon of great fame. Recognisable anywhere it is the one tool Feudal Japanese warriors are most known for. Coming in a variety of types the katana saw use as the main stay weapon of all Fuedal armies. In the Tenchu universe it is the standard weapon of most types of guards and the style of usage varies from foe to foe. However in combat it is ill-advised to take on the challenge of directly facing multiple Katana Guardsmen as they will attack in unison and can cause great damage. They boast no real strengths and weakness but their range and the usual (comically so) sluggishness of standard guards.
Yari (Spear) Guardsmen: Boasting a lengthy shaft with a straight, double edged blade at the end of it. The Yari was a very common pole-arm weapon in Feudal Japan and was used primarily to create literal “living” fortifications that acted as a deterrent for horse-mounted attacks and also as a “wall of spikes” against foot charges. Within the Tenchu universe the Yari can be found of Samurai Guardsmen and soldiers who can quite deftly use them to perform both thrusting and slashing attacks. Most of these guardsmen will attempt to keep the player at bay to avoid attacks and also to “push” them around to gather more attackers. While not overly effective against the players mobility they can be a considerable threat in tight environments and in numbers. While level placements are random in most cases it is best to dispatch of Yari Guards in open space or away from small environments.
Yumi (Bow): The Yumi is a traditional bow that is native to Japan. It is notable for it peculiar shape, the upper limb of the bow is actually twice the size of the lower limb. As with most traditional “Longbows” it stands roughly the same height of its user and can be loosed at spectacular ranges and velocities. Historicaly the Yumi was weapon that took great skill and strength to use and master. Those who used it outside of massed battle and formation could spend years attempting to learn to use it effectively and properly. The arrows used by the Yumi were some of the largest of their kind and some were made in such a way that they would let off a distinctive “whistle” when loosed. In the Tenchu universe the Yumi Guardsmen can be considered are serious hazard. They tend to have larger areas of sight and depending on the adaption at higher elevations to allow maximum usage of their sight. They will always stay at a range and fire arrows that can stagger and cause great injury. Consecutive hits can cause the player to fall over in some cases. They are however quite helpless in close range and suffer from a lack of melee attacks. It is important for one to locate them and either avoid or dispatch of them if one wishes to take a “high” approach to stages.
. Some Guards will exhibit abnormal behaviour in many stages and will perform scripted actions such as urinating, speaking to one another of greeting Non-Combatants and other Guards with a wave.
. In many Tenchu games, whether a running gag or attempt at immersion it is not uncommon to see a group of guards drunkenly celebrating. This is usually composed of two individuals sitting down and clapping and one dancing.
. Guards can humoursly be seen “tripping” over invisible objects while activly pursuing or hunting the player. This can be exploited as the “objects” do not tend to disappear.
. Guards do not suffer from infighting and tend to “forgive” hits from allies.