The Samurai Art Museum

The SAMURAI ART MUSEUM, in the Zehlendorf locality of Berlin, introduces you to extraordinary examples of samurai art originating from between the 8th and 19th centuries. These treasures include armour, helmets, masks, swords and many other exhibits of Japanese art from that period.

The samurai, Japan’s legendary and influential military class, is widely considered by westerners to be both mysterious and fascinating. These Japanese nobles are the subject of countless myths and legends. But who were these samurai really? And what were their lives like?

Until now, there have been very few collections of samurai art open to the public. With its unique Janssen Collection, the SAMURAI ART MUSEUM gives visitors an insight into the cultural life of Japan in a past age and makes these impressive works of Japanese art available to a wider audience.

In particular, the museum aims to show visitors that there is more to objects such as armour, masks, helmets and swords than just their function. Far more importantly, they are unique, timeless works of art, made with the utmost precision.

Armour from the Momoyama period (1573-1615)

Samurai Art

Medieval Japan was shaped by terrible power struggles and blood-soaked family feuds. In this period, a warrior- and arms-based culture unlike any other in the world developed in Japan. Initially, the samurai were simply soldiers employed to serve the emperor and noble clans. Then, through the increase in status of certain clans and the establishment of a military aristocracy, the samurai rose to become a ruling class. They held the highest rank in the military society in which they lived and were an influential force in politics, art and culture.

At the heart of samurai art and culture is their way of life, called BushidoBushido translates as ‘the way of the warrior’ and, in premodern Japan, was the source from which the samurai’s code of honour, moral principles and virtues stemmed. Much of Bushido philosophy is taken from the teachings of Shinto, Buddhism and Confucianism. These virtues were first identified all the way back in the Heian period (794-1185), but continued to develop, becoming properly established during the Edo period (1615-1868). From then on they served as the social and moral code of the Japanese people.

A hoshi kabuto, a bowl-shaped helmet from the Nambokucho period (1336-1392)

Each bushi (warrior) thought and acted according to the ‘seven virtues’ of rectitude, courage, benevolence, courtesy, honesty, honour and loyalty. These virtues also influenced the combat skills, such as sword fighting, archery and handling a spear, that were essential to the samurai, as well as entirely peaceful activities such as the tea ceremony (chado) and calligraphy (shodo). These virtues live on today in modern Japan.

The Samurai Art Museum aims to offer insight into this cultural life that is such a fascinating part of Japanese history. In addition to this, the museum acts as a location for encountering and interacting with other cultures.

We look forward to your visit!





Responsible for the content:
The Samurai Art Museum
Clayallee 225 D
14195 Berlin-Zehlendorf

Tel. (0049) (0) 30 213 27 80

Managing director: Peter Janssen
Commercial register entry: 186873B
Local court: Charlottenburg

Fotografie: Exhibits by Manfred-M. Sackmann / Museum by Ruben. W. Meier
Design & programming:



We take your personal data protection very seriously. We treat your personal data confidentially and according to legal data protection regulations, as well as according to this privacy statement.

The use of our website is usually possible without providing personal information. As far as it is possible, personal data (for example, name, address or email address) will be collected on our websites on a voluntary basis. This data will not be passed on to third parties without your express consent.

We wish to point out that there are inherent safety risks in transmitting data over the internet (e.g. communicating by email). It is not possible to completely protect data against access from third parties.


The service provider of the websites automatically collects and stores information in so called server log files, which are automatically transferred to us by your browser. These are: browser type and browser version, the operating system used, referrer URL, hostname of the accessing computer and time of server request.

This data cannot be traced to specific persons. This data will not be merged with other data sources. We reserve the right to check this data at any time, if there is concrete evidence to suggest illegal use.


We would like to point out that the information on this website may contain technical or content errors, and we reserve the right to update these websites at any time without prior notice.

The content of this website may not be copied, distributed, changed or made accessible to any third party for commercial purposes. All published works or parts of works found on this website, for example, texts, illustrations or images, are protected by copyright. Any further publication, duplication, distribution or other use of all or part of these requires the written consent of the Samurai Art Museum.

The Samurai Art Museum complies with the applicable data protection laws in the collection, use and processing of personal data. All personal data provided by you is only used internally, for example, to answer your questions or to process your orders.

This website may contain hyperlinks from third party websites. The Samurai Art Museum explicitly dissociates itself from the content of these websites and is not responsible for their content.