Japanese Feudal System Analysis

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The societies of Tokugawa Japan (c.1603-1867C.E.) and medieval Europe (c.1000-1500C.E.) had two things in common; a feudal system. A feudal system is something that features hierarchies or social structures. The feudal system normally starts with a religion, which is at the very top of the social pyramid, then it’s the King or monarch for Europe and the shogun for Japan, then there are the nobles for Europe and the daimyos for Japan. As we go down the pyramid there are the warriors, like the knight in Europe and the samurai in Japan, then there are the peasants. The peasants were included in both eras and are at the lowest part of the pyramid.
The European king and the Japanese shogun were both at the top of their social structures. In European society the king had complete power over everything including military services, land, laws and more. However, in Japanese society there was an Emperor and while he didn’t have much power he was like a god, to whom all respect was directed. The
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They had the least wealth and respect but without them the two kingdoms couldn’t continue. There were three sub-categories of peasants in both societies: Farmers were the wealthiest peasants as they had their own land where they would dwell and also harvest crops to sell to the rest of the kingdom. The craftsmen/artisans were the second wealthiest peasants. They would craft armour and weapons and make work with metal and wood. The merchants were the least wealthy of all the peasants because they were completely dependent on other people to give them work. (www.hierarchystructure.com). The main difference between the European and Japanese peasants was that in medieval Europe all peasants had to pay a tithe, which required them to pay 10 percent of their earnings to the king. European peasants also had to pay fees on different occasions like when sons were born and daughters were married.

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