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Medieval Japan: Emperors

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Angela Sexton

on 5 September 2013

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Transcript of Medieval Japan: Emperors

Who did they answer to?
Emperors had no power as they were mostly just figure heads. They answered to the military leaders called shoguns. However, Emperors were still considered the highest in the feudal structure because they were thought of as gods. The shoguns would have no power if not for the emperors.
How did they spend their leisure time?
Emperors took part in activities such as flower-viewing, reciting verses, distinguishing between and appreciating odors of incense, and more energetic but still highly ordered occupations like ceremonial dancing to the court orchestra and games such as soccer and polo, where the object was to keep the game going for as long as possible. The Emperor was also involved in a large number of religious ceremonies.
What sort of work did they do?
The emperors did not really work. They were involved in religious rituals and ceremonies, however no real tiresome work was involved and their lives were luxurious and extravagant. They led a life of leisure and artistic pursuits.
Where did they live?
Court nobles surrounded the Emperor, living in luxury and tradition in the beautiful palaces of Kyoto, the imperial capital.
What sort of house did they live in?
The homes of nobility were built in groups covering several acres of land. They were usually surrounded by low white stone walls and painted gates. The compounds were lived in by several families and a main building was shared and contained one large entertainment room.
What social group do they equate with in Medieval England?
The emperor was like a European king, with similar responsibilities and surrounded by similar noble parties.
Hierarchy of Feudal Japanese social structure
Medieval Japan: Emperors and nobles
What did the emperors of Japan wear?
When kimonos were first introduced, only high classed people would wear them. Later on, everyone came about wearing them, depending on the class, the fabric would vary. For peasants and commoners alike, the kimonos were made of of cheap, rough spun cotton whereas the emperors would wear kimonos of very expensive silks. At first, kimonos were all white as the dying technique had not been yet introduced to japan, later on, the kimonos became brightly coloured. The emperors and empresses had their own dyers and weavers so that they could have the finest clothes in Japan. The emperor wore pleated pants with a robe and a head dress.
What privileges did the emperor have?

What privileges did the emperor have
The emperor had lots of privileges. The emperor would always get the best food, best clothes and more. The emperor surrounded himself with the daimyo, so he was always well protected as well as well fed and well dressed. The emperor also had a lot of money, and lived luxuriously in a palace.

What sort of food did they eat?
What sort of food did they eat?
Japanese food had a lot of influence from other areas of Asia i.e. China and Korea. Korea introduced rice to Japan and quite quickly, it became a ‘staple food’ for japan as did soybeans and wheat from China.
Fish
As Japan is an island, surrounded by water and thus surrounded by marine life, the Japanese became accustomed to eating a lot of fish and sea food. For this reason, a lot of sea food is now included into some of the Japanese’s most iconic dishes.
Food Traditions
Quite early on in the 6th century, Buddhism became the official language of all japan. Buddhism prohibited the eating of all meat including fish. The Japanese regulated all the mammals which you could eat until it got to the point where the only mammal that was allowed to be eaten was whale which back then, was still classified as fish.
More Food Traditions
In the fifteenth century, the tradition of eating meat and eggs from cultivated fowl was finally revived. The Japanese emperor would eat the best food. The food he ate would vary on the seasons. He ate, like other Japanese people, a lot of fish. When meat was banned for religious purposes it was the emperor who set the law. Here are a few things the emperor might eat.
Sweet dumpling filled with different fillings.

Manju
They are Japanese dumplings
Similar to mocha. They are saved
On sticks of three to four, the
flavors cam vary from season to
Season.
Full transcript