Differences And Similarities Between Medieval Europe And Japan

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TASK: What are the differences and similarities in the lives and the way in which the society worked of those who lived in Medieval Europe to that of those who lived in Medieval Japan?

Weapons and Army

Other differences and similarities between Medieval Europe and Shogunate Japan were those that lay between their use and choice of armour and weaponry, and in general their armies.

Both the medieval European knights and the Japanese samurai used horses as means of transport into battle. They also both wore armour and used swords. European armour was typically all-metal and was made or either chain mail or plate metal. Whilst this made them more protected, it also restricted their movement. In contrast, the Japanese samurais donned armour which comprised of lacquered leather or metal plates with silk or metal bindings. This light weight armour was advantageous in that it allowed the samurai to be quick and more agile. The drawback to this armour though was that it provided much less protection.

In Europe, the lords would build castles out of stone to protect themselves whilst the Japanese lords, known as Daimyo, built castles out of wood rather than stone.


A key similarity between Medieval Europe and Shogunate Japan was the fact that both had an established feudal system. While it was established earlier in Europe (around 800s CE), Japan established their feudal system at the close of the Heian Period and the rise of the Kamakura Shogunate (around the 1100s).
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