[Photos] Japan’s Last Samurai

The adoption of the Meiji Restoration in 1868 signaled the beginning of the end for Japan’s samurai’s who enjoyed centuries of prominence in the country's feudal ranks.

This warrior class served as Japans’s military nobility, wielding great power despite representing less than 10% of Japan’s population by the early Tokugawa period (1603 – 1867).

Fortunately, the Samurai's twilight overlapped with the dawn of photography, allowing us to see Japan’s samurai in the years following the Meiji Restoration and the abolition of feudalism, a period that saw this discontented group rise in rebellion numerous times, only to be violently suppressed by the country’s newly westernized military.

[Photos via Mashable]

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