Japan and Western Europe in Feudal Times

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Japan and Western Europe are two countries on opposite sides of the earth, yet both had a time period known as the feudal period. Japan's feudal age (12th century to the = 15th century) is comparable in many ways to Europe's feudal age (9th century through the 15th century, also known as the Middle Ages). Three specific areas that share differences and similarities between these two ages of feudalism are in politics, culture, and social structure. An area in which the West and Japan are as different as their locations on the globe is their architecture. Just looking through a book of medieval castles one sees the exquisiteness of arches and frills adorning buildings that seem to sail to the sky. The architecture of the Middle Ages can be classified in two major periods: Romanesque and Gothic. The Romanesque period began with the end of the Roman Empire and lasted until 1000 AD and was characterized with buildings growing taller and arches becoming more prevalent in architecture. The west concentrated on making their buildings exquisite and gorgeous with every little trimming they could manage. This led gradually into the gothic period, ranging from 1150 to 1400. This period just enhanced what its predecessor had already done, with buildings growing taller and arches gaining a pointed tip. During this time stained glass became commonplace and the typical medieval castles and cathedral that may come to one's mind became the norm. Japanese architecture was significantly different and is best summed up by George Constable "For the Japanese, nuance is all." The Japanese style of art is much more concentrated on the perfection of simplicity. It is made up of only vital construction and sparsely ornamented. Made with thin woodwork, interior columns and plaster walls, these buildings communicate vitality and grace. The clearest difference between the feudal architecture of Japan and Europe is the idea behind it. The European desire to make their castles and cathedrals...
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