European Vs Japanese Feudalism Essay

675 Words3 Pages
While never interacting with one another directly, Japan and Europe both gave rise to a system known as feudalism during the medieval and early modern periods. This converging evolution was brought about by the constant struggle for land and power in Japan and Europe, bringing about a need for security and safety among lower class individuals which could be granted by lords and nobles. Both Europe and Japan utilized a feudal system in which government was highly decentralized and labor was exchanged for protection, but differed in that European feudalism was heavily influenced by Roman laws and customs as compared to Japanese feudalism which was shaped by Confucian ideals of the time. Hereditary classes provided the foundation for Japanese…show more content…
European feudalism was built upon the lingering Roman laws and ways of life, all supplemented by the Roman Catholic Church. In comparison, Japanese feudalism was based upon Confucianism, with the main principle of filial piety, or respect to one’s superiors, becoming crucial in the relationship between daimyo, samurai, and peasants. Daimyo and samurai felt morally obligated to protect peasants, and in return, peasants paid their superiors taxes, usually in the form of rice. The relationship between a lord and his vassals in European feudalism was seen as contractual rather than moral, and a vassal offered complete loyalty to his lord rather than just taxes. Regional political and regional ideals not only shaped feudalistic relationships, but also a warrior’s approach to death. A knight was opposed to suicide due to affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church, while the samurai would rather commit ritual suicide, or “seppuku” than face embarrassment or losing their honor. Samurai and knights also greatly differed in their level of education, with knights being usually illiterate as compared to samurai who were expected by their code of honor to be educated, cultured, and

    More about European Vs Japanese Feudalism Essay

      Open Document