East Asia Essay

792 Words 4 Pages
East Asia

During the years between 1000 and 1400 the East Asian region saw extensive change and development concerning the nature of the elites that ruled respective countries. In China there was the growth of the examination culture, Japan experienced the emergence of the Samurai, Korea saw the growth of the Yangban, and Vietnam became content with a tribute system to China. Each of the respective countries grew and developed independently and for the most part were able to distance themselves from China and begin to form their own national identity along with their own system of ruling elites. In China there is a definite beginning to the new political elite which stems from the transition from the Tang to Song dynasties
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In Japan the transformation of a the political elite develops into a new military order. This transformation takes place during the Heian Period of Japan. The capital is moved to Kyoto and so with it all the Uji, or large landholders of Japan. The Uji become a very self-centered self-referential group of elites and eventually become very detached from what is occurring outside the capital. The imposition of the Shoen, tax-free estates, placed a heavier burden on peasants and small farmers to pick up the slack of the Shoen. As a result they became rather disenchanted with the ruling political structure at the capital. Many of the middle ranking farmers and managers of the large estates begin to come together and fight for the local interests, they are referred to as the Samurai. In 1185 a rebellion led by Yoritomo seizes power over Japan and begins to rule Japan on behalf of the emperor. This now firmly establishes the Shogun as the military arm of the Japanese ruling elite, and simultaneously elevates the Samurai to the zenith of the political order in Japan. The transformation in Vietnam also develops independent of China, and here that independent transformation is intentional. With the establishment of the Li dynasty in 1010 lasting until 1225, the examination
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