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The Workers of Feudal Japan
Transcript of The Workers of Feudal Japan
The workers were the class of people below the samurai and above the merchants in feudal japan. They accounted for 90% of the population and were responsible for making produce and products that everyone could live and depend on. They were treated with respect, as most other groups depended upon them and whatever they produced.
Comparison to Medieval English Workers
Feudal Japanese workers took upon the same role as workers in medieval England. They both provided goods and services for the upper classes. However, this responsibility was treated with different levels of respect in both societies. There were also a few other differences between the two.
The workers, or peasants, were divided into three smaller groups of feudalism. These groups were the artisans, farmers and merchants. Each had different social statuses and responsibilities to carry out. They each also had their own goals.
The artisans were the craftsmen and artists. They had to be very skilled at the arts and making things.
Artisans were most populous in the early years of the Tokugawa period, when they accounted for 3% of the population. Artisans would get an apprenticeship to become an expert, then they would provide their goods or services for farmers or inhabitants of daimyo castles. In some cases, farmers would be an artisan for a second job to earn more food/money for his family. If ones work was so beautiful and used by a well respected samurai, they and their work would become famous throughout the village. If this was the case, they would get more requests for work, and therefore get more money/food as a reward. This was the ideal goal of an artisan. Coins existed, however rice was the main currency among artisans, merchants and farmers. The standard measure of rice was called koku.
In Medieval England...
In Feudal Japan...
Foreigners & Outcasts
Eta & Hinin
Hierarchy System Comparison Table
Farmers were recognized as an important part of the population in Japan. They grew and raised the food that the whole population lived on, including themselves. Because of their huge responsibility, farmers were treated with more respect than artisans because artisans only created useful items, however you could still live without them. Farmers, were also more socially acceptable than merchants because they were always out to get money for themselves. However, farmers were not as economically stable as artisans, because there is never a guaranteed harvest like
or a stable market for your produce. There are three levels of status among farmers, they are...
Merchants did not create anything of value for anyone else. They only made profits through other people's hard work to sustain themselves, however Henry will elaborate on that next.
Craftsmen were a subgroup of artisans that mostly built
things such as buildings, or objects that required intensive work to make. There were also different types of craftsmen. Here are a few...
Wood Collector and Trader
Artists created things on a smaller or more decorative scale. They created marvelous works of art and sometimes even performed in dramatic arts. Some forms of artists were..
Similarities between them...
Lower on the hierarchy pyramid
Ate mostly bread
Dirty, unhygienic living conditions
Often got diseases
Gave majority of their produce to their church.
Farmers could have a second job as an artisan
Paid in rice or land, sometimes coins.
Had to work a quota of days for the land owner
Treated with respect
Not the lowest group
Were clean, as they regularly bathed
Gave majority of their produce to Shogun
Gave food for protection
Paid taxes to upper classes/land owner
Grew their own food
Grew food for their village/town
Gave majority of food to a group of people
Respected Higher classes, had to bow down
Provided for their family
Walked to travel
Made their own clothes
There is a switch between farmers and merchants in feudal japan. This is because in medieval England, your rank on the hierarchy pyramid depends upon the amount of money and land you own, therefore how much power you have. However, in feudal Japan your social status depends on how much you provide for your community. Because of this, it means that merchants are lower, as they provide very little for the community, they only make profits for themselves. Farmers are higher, because they do a lot of work, and without them there would be no food and no one would survive.
Farmers rise, merchants drop.
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