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Beheaded samurai warriors examined

Researchers are examining the beheaded bodies of samurai warriors to better understand the wounds they suffered, their fighting styles, and the practice of taking heads as trophies.

Very large numbers of fighters had been beheaded – many almost certainly as a result of trophy-taking practises by the emperor’s forces. In 14th century Japan, victorious warriors often only received rewards for success in war if they proved their achievements by presenting the decapitated heads of enemy warriors to their leaders.

Decapitated enemy heads thus became a bizarre currency of a military accounting process which rewarded victors only if they could furnish proof of their military accomplishments.

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Story: David Keys, The Independent | Photo: Channel 4

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