This article will check out some the the benefits and disadvantages of feudalism in Japan, just how Japanese feudalism differed from european feudalism, and how the effects of feudalism room still watched in Japanese society.

You are watching: How was japanese feudalism similar to european feudalism

Most Westerners think of medieval Europe as soon as the subject of feudalism is raised, but Japan and also China additionally had highly created feudal societies that lasted because that centuries.

We could spend a whole short article discussing exactly what feudalism is. For those of us who aren’t background buffs, a an extremely oversimplified way of explaining a feudal mechanism is this. Nobility rules the society, and ordinary human being work and also fight on instead of of the the aristocracy in exchange for protection and a place to live. This mechanism is commonly associated with middle ages Europe, however Japan was additionally a feudal culture between 1192 and 1868.

3 Similarities Between The Japanese Shogunate and also Feudal Europe

Despite being countless miles away from every other, both Japan and also Europe had actually some major resemblances. From marrying off the lord"s daughter to retain ties amongst kingdoms or clans, to increasing massive militaries made up of vassals come crush and conquer enemies all had actually a place among these 2 regions.



1. Similar judgment Structure

The european feudal system had actually a king in ar at the top of the ruling structure, similar to Japan’s emperor. The following level of power in the european feudal mechanism was the lords, vice versa, in the Japanese device it was the shogun (the leader the the military).

The 3rd layer of strength in the european feudal system dropped to lesser lords, conversely, in feudal Japan it dropped to the daimyo (loyal vassals the the shogun). Both lords and also daimyos to be landowners. The following layer the the europe feudal system was the knights, the armed forces warriors. Similarly, Japan had the samurai class. Listed below the military, both societies had average townspeople. The role of the townspeople in both societies was to offer the the aristocracy in exchange for security from the military and land from the lords.



2. Similar emphasis on Military

Europe had actually knights, Japan had the samurai, but both valued armed forces highly throughout their particular feudal periods.

Knights and also samurai were both taken into consideration their very own separate course – above-average citizens, but below the nobility. In both systems, warriors began their training at a young age. The training to be far an ext holistic than simply learning come fight in both Europe and also Japan – warrior were intended to adhere to a password of honor at all times, and also to act as aspirational duty models come citizens.

There were also pronounced physical similarities between the samurai and also the knight course – both wore a suit of armor, and also both rode horses.

5 Differences Between The Japanese Shogunate and Feudal Europe

Naturally, Japan and Europe would certainly have more differences 보다 similarities. Actually, if you take it a watch at contemporary Japan and also Europe, you might easily pick out differences that directly correlate with just how things were hundreds of years ago!

1. Legalistic vs Unconditional Loyalty

Europe’s feudal system encouraged a legalistic layout relationship in between nobility and also citizens, based on Roman law. Under this ethos, commitment to the nobility was conditional ~ above the nobility fulfilling your side that the cheap – in other words, keeping citizens protected and providing reasonable living conditions. Should the the aristocracy let under the citizens in feudal Europe, a change was a possibility.

In Japan’s feudal system, the relationship in between nobility and also citizens was modeled on the Chinese system. The ethos the the Chinese device placed an emphasis on the unconditional commitment of citizens to the nobility, regardless of your actions. This left very tiny room for revolt if the nobility were not serving their world well.

Interestingly, you deserve to see the after-effects of these two different ethos in Europe and also Japan today. In Europe, we tend to watch individualistic cultures – whereby each person strives in the direction of their own an individual goals. In Japan, we tend to see a collectivist mindset – wherein citizens work-related as a ar for the great of the nation as a whole.

2. Different Inheritance Systems

In europe feudal systems, the firstborn child usually inherited the household land. This is regularly still the case in contemporary times. In part families, this settled well – but in others, the posed major issues. Because that example, some households had just daughters, and also others had actually firstborn sons who were unsuitable because that the duties of the heir. Others had no descendants at all.

Japan’s device avoided these issues by including an facet of flexibility to the inheritance system. Japanese civilization could select the most an ideal son indigenous the household to it is in their sole heir. If the family did not have actually a suitable son, it was acceptable to embrace an adult male as a child in order to pass under the inheritance. Typical adoptees had sons-in-law, nephews, or also completed unrelated people.

Hojo Masako, the wife of the very first shogun that the Kamakura period, was vocal in she wishes because that inheritance law to it is in inclusive of ladies in Japan. She was critical in the production of the ama-shogun, a charter which laid the end the legal civil liberties of females to inherit equal amounts to your fraternal kin. Since of this, families could pass on their riches to your daughters if they witnessed fit.


3. Different views on the duty of Women

You only have to think of any kind of fairy tale collection in medieval times to get insight into how women were viewed during the europe feudal period. Numerous sociologists would argue the the images of vulnerable damsels in distress in need of rescuers haunt females in Western society up till this very day.

Interestingly, Japan never took this view on women. The samurai had a woman branch, the onna-bugeisha, who battled alongside the male warriors once needed. Japanese females were supposed to be simply as difficult as men throughout feudal times, willing to sacrifice and also face damage for the greater great of their community.


4. Different Time Periods

Feudalism in Europe took place previously than feudalism in Japan. The europe feudal period lasted from around 800 – 1400, when the Japanese feudal period lasted from roughly 1192 – 1868.

Japan’s boundaries were closed for lot of this time – this allowed for the feudal mechanism to be maintained without external influence. When American Matthew C. Perry and also his crew landed on a Japanese port and demanded entry, Japan had actually no an option but to move with the times to store up through potential foreign invaders. This motivated Japan to relocate away indigenous the feudal system and towards the society that we check out today.


5. Different attitudes Toward Capturing

It wasn’t inexplicable for warrior to be recorded or defeated in either feudal system. However, both dealt with this case extremely differently.

It was socially acceptable because that knights in the europe feudal device to await relax by ransom, typically paid by the nobility. However, in Japan, it was meant that a samurai warrior would commit an honorable self-destruction (seppuku) adhering to any type of enemy victory. The samurai warrior would certainly disembowel himself with his own knife upon catch to show his will certainly power and commitment to the nobility.

What were The advantages Of Japanese Feudalism?


1. Organization

Say what friend want around feudal systems, yet you can’t deny that they’re highly organized. Japan’s feudal device saw the country being separated into clear sectors, through each course of citizens being clear top top what their function in culture was.

The emperor ruled ceremonially, the shogun dictated policy, the samurai protected the townspeople, the townspeople functioned on the land. It is true that civilization did not have a choice about what sector of society they belonged to – yet within their sector, their job was plainly defined and also the nation ran efficiently.

2. Transactional Relationship

Feudal societies are based upon transactional relationships in between the various classes of society, which method everybody it s okay something indigenous the arrangement.

The townspeople work hard to supply materials for the nobility. The samurai work difficult to protect every class of culture against violent attacks. The nobility works hard to stand for the culture on an international scale and also draw increase public plan while providing straightforward living conditions to the reduced classes.

One could absolutely argue the the top classes benefited much more than the lower classes indigenous the feudal mechanism in Japan, yet by the nature the relationship between classes is transactional.

What were The Disadvantages the Japanese Feudalism?

1. Class Divide

Feudal cultures are ordered by nature. Over there is no such point as “equal rights” in feudalism – the freedoms the you space entitled to are dictated by what level of culture you room a component of. This certainly jars v our current worldview -- human rights activists could never get behind a feudal system, and indeed correctly so.

The top classes benefitted richly indigenous the work-related of the lower classes – they detailed the materials and also infrastructure necessary for nobility to live a glamorous lifestyle. The reduced classes placed in a lot of of hefty labor for mere protection and also permission come live on obtained land, with no possibility to rise any kind of higher. When unconditional loyalty to the nobility was a worth that Japan’s feudal system was firmly built on, one outsider would need to question the fairness of this system.

2. No say in Society

The all-powerful nature of the emperor and also shogun intended that the reduced classes had actually no input into how society was run. In various other feudal societies, townspeople on regular basis revolted versus the upper classes because that this really reason. In Japan, the collectivist ethos of feudalism supposed that revolts were few and far in between – as soon as they did take place they tended to it is in on a really local level.

3. Inherited Positions rather Than Qualified

How did you end up being a shogun or samurai in feudal Japan? rather simply, you were born right into it. These honors were hereditary in nature – and this left tiny room for the many qualified and also passionate people for the job.

While the hereditary mechanism ensured consistency of number to an extent (meaning there were always enough world in every class), it did not allow for difficult work and also natural aptitude. Strong fighters to be presumably left in the townspeople class, those through no desire come fight were presumably left in the samurai class by mere merit the birth.

Does Feudalism tho Exist In Japan?

Although feudalism is long finished in Japan, the old program has impacted modern-day Japan in methods that can still be seen today. The feudalistic culture, ceremonies, and society can still how amazing be checked out in modern places such as the occupational office. Let"s take a look at at wherein these impacts have discovered themselves today.


Culture and Arts

The Japanese feudal device emphasized the prestige of Japanese arts. Once you look in ~ the Samurai class in particular, these warriors were not only highly trained in martial arts, but additionally arts such as calligraphy. These room still taken into consideration revered crafts in Japanese culture and exercised meticulously to this day.

Religious Undertones

While europe feudal systems had Christian influences, Shintoism was what underpinned feudal Japan. The practice of Shintoism ~ above a societal level in the feudal mechanism left behind values that underpin Japanese attitudes and behaviors to this day. Shintoism purports the prestige of inner peace and also honoring nature, amongst other points.

Honor Code

The Japanese Samurai class operated under a strict code of personal conduct which to be designed to it is in aspirational for lower classes of citizens. In modern-day Japanese societies, us still view codes the honor. In plenty of cases, these space unwritten social rules and also manners in which all Japanese people are supposed to command themselves once in public. In various other cases, such together that of sumo wrestlers, they room written codes of honor.

See more: How Much Does A Prowler Weight Should You Load On A Prowler, What Is A Prowler And How Do You Work Out With It

Confucian Influences

The Confucian influences that underpin the collectivist societal mindset widely seen in modern Japan were introduced to society as a whole during the feudal system. Of course, a cynic can say that the Confucian belief system directly benefitted nobility currently – fostering an attitude of the whole ar working together for collective gain, rather than individual success, discourages revolt from peasant classes.

Regardless the the an inspiration for implementing Confucianism, that is quiet widely thought about a primary influence on the Japan that today.