In Japanese, thay are uisually referred tae as bushi (武士, [bɯ.ɕi]) or buke (武家). Accordin tae translator William Scott Wilson: "In Cheenese, the chairacter 侍 was oreeginally a verb meanin 'tae wait upon', 'accompany persons' in the upper ranks o society, an this is an aw true o the oreeginal term in Japanese, saburau. In baith kintras the terms war nominalised tae mean 'thae that serve in close attendance tae the nobility', the Japanese term saburai bein the nominal form o the verb." Accordin tae Wilson, an early reference tae the wird samurai appears in the Kokin Wakashū (905–914), the first imperial anthology o poems, completit in the first pairt o the 10t century.
Bi the end o the 12t century, samurai becam awmaist entirely synonymous wi bushi, an the wird wis closely associatit wi the middle an upper echelons o the warrior cless. The samurai war uisually associatit wi a clan an thair laird, an war trained as officers in militar tactics an grand strategy. While the samurai nummered less nor 10% o then Japan's population, thair teachings can still be foond the day in baith iveryday life an in modren Japanese martial airts.