Beginning in the 12th century, powerful families established huge estates and a feudal system emerged. The samurai
or military class came to power at this time reducing the emperor to a mere figurehead. These samurai
shoes are called tsuranuki
. They are made of bear fur, which symbolizes the intrinsic ferocity, strength and courage of a samurai
warrior. The samurai
ruled Japan until 1868 when the Meiji emperor was restored to power.