Long before the modern-day archetype of the male samurai warrior, Japanese history was dominated by powerful female samurais. They were trained to use weapons and martial arts long before the existence of the established samurai class.
They were known as the Onna-Bugeisha, and they were highly educated in science, mathematics, and literature. Female warriors were in the noblest class of feudal Japanese society, and would fight alongside men during warfare. Young women in Japan have taken a renewed interest in this honored tradition.
Photo from 1800s vintage collection