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Life in Medieval Japan
Transcript of Life in Medieval Japan
Medieval Japan Introduction
Japan is a developing civilization that is booming with profit. It is situated in the north - west pacific ocean to the east of Korea and China. There are four main islands. Hokkaido, Honshu (the biggest), Shikoku and Kyushu.
The social hierarchy was divided into 6 core groups. Those groups were; Shogun, Daimyo, Samurai, Peasants, Artisans and Merchants.
A shogun, being at the high side of feudalism, was a supreme general who had complete control over the government during the Medieval Japanese period. Shoguns were passed down in generations from father to son. The name shogun is a short hand for
Seii Tai - shogun
which means Barbarian - subduing great general.
Daimyo - Lords
Daimyo being beneath the Shogun in feudalism, posed a large threat to Tokugawa's authority. This is how Daimyo was named. The Daimyo governed the Samurai houses and they had to follow a set of rules named "Buke - sho hatto which is the rules for governing the Samurai houses.
By Tegan and Royaam
Feudalism is a system that represents the social hierarchy.
During Medieval times, the feudal system was under the control of Tokugawa Ieyasu who was a shogun.
Rule 5: Residence in a fief is to be restricted to men born in that fief.
Rule 6: The shogun authorities must be informed of any intended repairs to castles. All new construction is forbidden.
Rule 8: Marriges must not be privately contracted.
Rule 9: Visits by Daimyo to the capital (Edo) are to be in accordance with regulations.
Rule 5: The size of a Daimyo's army was effectively limited.
Rule 6: Daimyo could not build new castles.
Rule 8: The shogun could stop alliances between Daimyo by restricting who they married.
Rule 9: Daimyo spent much of their time travelling to and from Edo and had less time to devote to overthrowing the shogun.
Samurai were known as warrior administrators who held prime position. The Samurai sat below Daimyo in the social hierarchy. They had several legal rights which included: The ability to kill peasants, artisans or merchants who did not show them the adequate respect. Both genders could become Samurai's. Female's learnt martial arts and tended to manage the family estate and defend it against attack rather than to ride off to battle. Male's fought in wars and learnt martial arts. Samurai's would inherit their status from their parents and were the only group a part from the Daimyo, permitted to carry two swords. The Samurai wore plain, dark clothes bearing a clan crest to be easily identified as well as a distinctive hairstyle.
Peasants were positioned at the lower end of the social hierarchy. They were valued because of their hard, enduring work and willingness to provide for their country with crops and other necessary items. They dressed extremely simply due to the fact that they did not have enough money to get higher quality clothing. In the chance of rain, the Peasants would wear raincoats made of a grass - like plant called
Artisans were placed at the lower end of feudalism. They were valued for producing items that were of high value. Their class included workers, carpenters, potters and makers of tools and simple weapons. Skilled Artisans made such items as paper, porcelain and Samurai swords. Both genders were able to become artisans.
Though merchants were at the bottom of the social hierarchy they could still become wealthy. Confucius believed that the Merchants were not important in society. They only pursued profit and didn't produce anything supportive in the development of the society. Merchants wore clothes made from intricately woven materials and silks. Merchants clothing would reflect their wealth.
Daily Life Introduction
Daily life in Medieval Japan was simple for the majority of the social civilization. Men and Women were respected at different levels due to gender equality.
In Medieval Japan, women were considered to be subordinate to the men. They did not have the same legal rights as men. In the case of a wife not giving birth to a son her husband would divorce her. If a wife talked too much to her man, her husband, you guessed it, would divorce her. This went to the ridiculous extent that if the wife became seriously ill, near to death, her husband, yet again, would divorce her.
Daily life of Women
Women played an active role in society. Peasant women, worked alongside men, doing various tasks. Including, planting or harvesting rice. Women were also entertainers and actresses. The wives of Daimyo, were prominent at court, they were literate (they could read + write).They would write diary entries, stories and poetry as past times. Many women became well known writers mainly in the Heian period.
Food and Diet
In Medieval Japan rice was a staple food of their diet. Cooked or pickled vegetables were simple foods for the ordinary people. On the other hand, fish and other seafood were used in accompanying dishes for wealthy families. Noodles, became popular in the 14th - 15th centuries. There was no large - scale farming of livestock, so meat was not commonly eaten. Fish was eaten fresh if possible and often raw. Sushi originated it's way of preserving fish by salting it and then wrapping it around boiled rice. This then formed 'Sushi'. Sushi became extremely popular during the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Located in the domain of each Daimyo was the castle. Castles reflected the wealth and power of a person. Daimyo began to require that their Samurai live closer to them, in order to have services ready at hand. Daimyo and Samurai lived in houses close to their castle walls, while merchants, artisans and labourers lived in their own areas further away. The castles towns grew as Samurai moved from the countryside. Towns grew up around castles and became home to merchants, trades people and artisans. Merchants and artisans also settled in castle town to serve the needs of growing populations. Commerce and trading goods, such as silk, cotton and pottery also increased the growing and more prosperous population. Relatively peaceful times encouraged the growth of the economy. Agriculture remained the main economic activity and crop production increased under the Tokugawa control. Draining marshlands and developing irrigation allowed double the amount of farmland. Farmers began to grow crops or make products that were of high demand in markets. This was where the use of money became more common.
Men had much more freedom than women although were only explained throughout their positions and jobs in the social hierarchy.
Shoguns, wealthy men and women were usually well educated. 40% of boys and to 10 to 15% of girls in Japan had basic literacy by the end of the Tokugawa shogunate. Many Samurai's were literate as their roles in the Tokugawa Shogunate became administrative. Meaning they could help in the running and organisation of business. Samurai studied the Confucian classics, poetry and musical instruments. At temple schools, boys and girls were taught to read, write and calculate using abacus. Additionally, girls would also learn skills such as sewing , flower arranging, dancing and playing musical instruments, they would also be taught the rituals of the tea ceremony.
Everyday life for medieval Japanese children was fairly simple. Children were not required to assume their destined role until it came time for their future. Depending on what position children were born into decided at what age they began working and developing further into their future. The gender of children also effected what age but also how well educated they became. The behavior varied from their positions in the social hierarchy. Boys were highly respected whereas girls were considered inferior to men, there main purpose was to become pregnant and hopefully bear a son.
Medieval Japan didn't have much food to keep to themselves because they had to give a lot away. They made a lot of money doing this good deed but were forced to eat less of the food they produced and ate grass sources instead. Farmers weren't allowed to eat ANY of the rice they produced, although, Farmers and Peasants were able to own their own land for farming. Medieval Japan had a variety of food sources from both the sea and land. Some other foods they produced was:
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Culture and Everyday Life in Japan
Everyday life depended on the social group and what group you were born into, your gender and your wealth. Japanese beliefs influenced daily life throughout the time of when the shogun's ruled. Religion was a massive influence of the behavior of the Medieval Japanese people. Shinto became the traditional religion. Shinto means "the way of the gods." The followers of Shinto believe that the gods are sacred spirits (Kami) and that they became Kami , when they died. The ancestors were worshiped of the Kami. People of the Shinto religion were essentially believed to be good. The evil spirits were the responsible ones of causing bad things to happen. Shinto rituals were aimed at warding off evil spirits through purification, prayers and offering to the Kami. Historians are finding artifacts of shrines for the spirits of Medieval Japanese ancestors in the Shinto religion in their homes and their small family altars. Buddhism arrived in the 6th century from China. Buddhism followers see life as a cycle meaning that you are born, you die and then is reborn either having a better or worse form.
The Use of Land and Forests as Resources
The forests of Japan cover 2/3 of it's land area and generally tree growth is favored by the temperature climate, abundant rainfall and fertile soils. Japan's forests have served the Japanese population in many ways. Japan uses wood from forest trees for many various resources, such as:
Wood for fires and paper
Foreign Trade in Japan
Foreign trade remains essential to the Japanese Economy. Medieval Japan previously had key relations in the form of trade. These relations include: Korea, Spanish, China, Dutch and Portugal. The Japanese would involve in trade by routes on the silk road and by ships on water. Following are some items that were traded: