Similarities And Differences Between European And Japanese Feudalism

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It is an axiom of human nature that as long as there is an abundance of food, there will be class and government structures. Often, the wealthy rule over the poor and the poor work for the wealthy. Feudalism is one such governing style that bows to this truth. Feudalism was born in medieval Europe and Japan and heavily influenced their cultures and traditions. Feudalism founded itself upon the idea that the wealthy nobles owned the land and gifted it to vassals, who in turn were loyal to the nobles and allowed peasants to work the land, who then intern received protection. Because both societies circumscribed to the same form of government (that is feudalism), there will be similarities in class structure; however, European and Japanese feudalism…show more content…
As shown in document 10, classes were strictly divided between the ruling class, warrior class, and peasant and other class (doc 10). Those with power, namely the land-owning daimyos, the fearsome samurai and ronin, and the influential shoguns and emperor, controlled and restricted the land owning peasants. Similarly, European feudalism placed powerful kings on top, then land-owning nobles, then knightly vassals, and finally poor serfs (doc 9). These class structures were stringent—rarely did people move from their class. In a Japanese edict of change of status from 1591, rulers commanded that farmers who do not farm and warriors who do not fight are to be expelled and punished (doc 7). The author writes this edict in a matter-of-fact tone, indicating that this social structure was normal. Knowing that only the wealthy were afforded the opportunity to write and make policy, it can be assumed that from the author’s point of view, this code of feudalism is necessary. The wealthy needed the peasants in order to get food and labor, thus a constant feudal class of workers was needed. Perhaps this would lead the author and Japanese rulers and shoguns to order harsher punishments. They would believe feudalism a necessity—a bias not to be over looked. An individual’s class was so important that people could not move from it in feudalism. In The Hundred Article Code of Chosokabe, the author demands that people maintain their station in life—warriors must train constantly, and peasants must pay their fair share to the shogun, otherwise severe punishment is received (doc 8). In general, feudalism requires that the peasants work for the vassals and warriors. In medieval Japan, peasants were to give two-thirds of their crops to the vassal samurai. It was common feudal practice that the rich ruled the poor. Feudalism was dominated by strict class
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