Japanese and European Feudal Systems

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Japanese Feudalism vs. European Feudalism

Although Japan and Europe did not have any direct contact with one another during the medieval period, they independently developed very similar feudal governments. Feudalism was a political and economic system under which a series of relationships occurred between the upper class and the lower classes, designed to contain control over land. In the feudal system land is power. Europe incorporated feudalism into their government after the division of Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire while, Japan incorporated feudalism in opposition to the power of the Fujiwara. Japanese and European feudalism are similar because they both have peasants that work the land, nobles and royalty. However they differ in their social classes, religious influences and how long feudalism was used. Feudalism in both Europe and Japan was accepted by the mid 800s. The use of peasants was used in both places. The peasant’s main job would be to work the land and provide food. Peasants had to remain loyal to higher officials such as the nobles or land owners because if they didn’t they wouldn’t have any land. In the Feudal system land is money and has a huge value. Peasants needed this land to yield higher crops so they could get more goods and services. The daimyo, powerful warlords for feudal Japan, and the lords, landowners in Europe, were highly respected. The nobles for both Europe and Japan are directly under royalty. European royalty or the person with the highest power, were the Kings. The kings duty was to lead the government and to make sure the people below him were doing their jobs correctly. Japan’s leader was know as the emperor, but was really only used as a figurehead to provide the look of unity. The Shogun, or military power, was the force that ran the country because Japan had such a large warrior class and they owned a lot of land which, equals power therefore influencing the political power. Warriors such as the European...
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