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European and Japanese Feudalism

Compare and contrast Feudalism in Europe and Japan through warrior class and the role of kings/emperors.

Sophia Liu

on 15 December 2012

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Transcript of European and Japanese Feudalism

European and Japanese Feudalism
In the Post Classical Era (750-1450CE) Definition of Feudalism A system of Government in which
the King delegates power and land to
Lords who in return provide military
services and rule the land for the King. Roles in Europe Roles in Japan *during this time Europe was a factionalized
region of many competing kingdoms Samurais:
~felt due to the inherent nature
of their role in society (did not
expect any rewards in the afterlife)
~considered that Honor was the most
important aspect of one’s life (above
that of law and rule of the Emperor)
~answered to the Daimyo
~would rather commit suicide,
Seppuku, than to suffer dishonor
~felt that if a sword was drawn, it
sang for blood, and would not back
off from a fight unless it conflicted
with Bushido or else one died
~although enjoying a higher status in
society than the peasants, instead of
a Fief, they received a living allowance
from the Daimyo (often rice)
~preferred more “civil” exploits, such as
Poetry and the Tea Ceremony Warrior Class in Europe Warrior Class in Japan Role of the Kings in Europe Role of the Shogun in Japan *in this time period,
Japan was a unified Kingdom
-followed a code of honor~Bushido in Japan
~Chivalry in Europe
-pledged complete loyalty to their lord (not to the king)
-had tenets in helping the poor,
(but in practice, often abused their status) *Members of the warrior class were
all members of nobility- not peasants Warriors (Samurai and Knights) of BOTH Societies... *according to the code of Chivalry, women were viewed as fragile and needed to be protected by their “knight in shining armor” *according to Bushido, women could hold the same honor as men in combat (although mostly restricted to home life) Knights were:
-partially motivated by belief that their duty would bring them rewards in the afterlife
-given a portion of land called a Fief as a reward for faithful service
-had serfs to work the land for them
-fond of Jousting tournaments as well as physical exercise
-often illiterate
-in spite of their professed love of Bravery, lived for to fight another day rather than would die on the battlefield, the most noble death for a Samurai ~~A note on social mobility-Although becoming a knight or a samurai was normally hereditary, there were some special exception, normally stemming from a young man demonstrating great courage or skill on the field of battle.~~ Although the emperor held the role of a “King” in Early Japan, the Emperor would become more and more of a figurehead of the Japanese Government after the rise of the Minamoto Shogunate. After the rise of the Minamoto Shogunate, the person who controlled the most power in Japan would be the Shogun, not the Emperor. For this reason, we will be discussing the relation of the Shogun and the King as compared to the Emperor and King. The Kings of Europe did not hold much consolidated power due to the inherent nature of Europe not being unified for most of the Post Classical Age. Compare with the power of the Shogun in Japan, who held power over the entirety of Japan. As such, the power given to Daimyos in Japan would be considered more concrete than the power held by lords in Europe due to the inherent status of warfare in Europe compared to the relative stability of Japan. Periodic uprisings would occur in Japan which would usher in a new dynasty or Shogunate, often lead by Daimyos. To this end, the Shogun would often force the families of the Shogun to life in Edo, the capital of Japan. However, in Europe, the King basically only held power by the power of Honor and chivalry. Chivalry (Example: story of the 47 Ronin; when an enemy Daimyo had the Daimyo of their lord killed and the Emperor had expressly forbidden revenge, they continued to carry out their revenge in the name of Honor and committed Seppuku afterwards.) Bushido Samurai armor consists of leather iron plates.
This example made in 1714 was for Lord of Akita.
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