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Japanese Samurai Battle Drawing

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Following the Battle of Hakusukinoe against Tang China and Silla in 663 AD which led to a retreat from Korean affairs, Japan underwent widespread reform. One of the most important was that of the Taika Reform, issued by Prince Naka-no-Ōe (Emperor Tenji) in 646 AD. This edict allowed the Japanese aristocracy to adopt the Tang dynasty political structure, bureaucracy, culture, religion, and philosophy. As part of the Taihō Code of 702 AD, and the later Yōrō Code, the population was required to report regularly for the census, a precursor for national conscription. With an understanding of how the population was distributed, Emperor Monmu introduced a law whereby 1 in 3–4 adult males were drafted into the national military. These soldiers were required to supply their own weapons, and in return were exempted from duties and taxes. This was one of the first attempts by the Imperial government to form an organized army modeled after the Chinese system. It was called "Gundan-Sei" (ja:軍団制) by later historians and is believed to have been short-lived. The Taihō Code classified most of the Imperial bureaucrats into 12 ranks, each divided into two sub-ranks, 1st rank being the highest adviser to the Emperor. Those of 6th rank and below were referred to as "samurai" and dealt with day-to-day affairs. Although these "samurai" were civilian public servants, the modern word is believed[by whom?] to have derived from this term. Military men, however, would not be referred to as "samurai" for many more centuries.

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