A Comparison of Feudal Europe and Japan

Topics: Feudalism, Nobility, Japan Pages: 2 (595 words) Published: December 29, 2011
A Comparison of Feudal Europe and Japan
Feudalism was a type of regulated government consisting of multiple relationships between many classes in a society. It consisted of many strict military as well as legal customs and flourished in the 15th century. Feudalism was present and thriving in Japan and Europe prior to 1500. The feudal systems in Europe and Japan were similar as a result of their synonymous systems of mutual obligation, their corresponding social class organization, and their powerless “rulers”. European and Japanese feudal systems differ regarding social mobility, developmental beginnings regarding land and power dispersion, and land ownership rights for fighting classes.

The feudal system of both Japan and Europe relied on the method of mutual obligation. These civilizations both had higher classes provide land and protection to the lower classes in return for taxes and loyalty. The system of mutual obligation provided incentives for all classes to perform their duties thus making it very efficient. The classes in both civilizations held almost identical roles in society. The knights and the samurais both had strict codes of conduct. Shoguns and Lords equally held the job of distributing land. The Damyos and Vassals were both in charge of putting the military together. Due to this similarity in class roles, the word “feudalism” can be used to describe both Japan and European class systems. Emperors of Japan and Kings of Europe were essentially powerless and served as figureheads. Figures in power tended to give out land rights in order to avoid heavy workload. Because the kings and emperors distributed their power through mutual obligation, it was the duty of lesser classes to provide protection for the citizens.

One difference between these two geographic locations regarding the feudal system is that the lower classes in Japan had social mobility while the lower classes in Europe did not. In the Japanese feudal system, peasants possessed...
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