feudilism government Essay

Submitted By Jtome
Words: 933
Pages: 4

Jack Tome
November 20, 2014
3rd hour

Japanese and Western European Feudalism
There are time periods in the history of both Japan and Western Europe in which feudalism was the system of government. In a feudal system, a peasant or worker known as a vassal received a piece of land in return for serving a lord or king, especially during times of war. It was the major political system of both cultures between the 11th and 13th centuries, involving a system of mutual obligations. Though they share the same name, there are a few major differences between the two, causing European feudalism to stand out as what most people likely think of feudalism today and Japanese feudalism to fall into the background. Although both systems of feudalism were based on mutual obligations and protection and influenced the social structures of their people, European feudalism was created to protect Europeans from outside invasions and focused on the economy while Japanese feudalism developed because of internal attacks by groups of uncontrolled armies and had more of a military aspect. European and Japanese feudalism were similar in the fact that they both developed out of a need for protection. In Europe, invasions from outside groups, such as the Vikings, Muslims and Hungarians, created problems for the lords or kings. They divided their land amongst various lower-ranking lords, who pledged loyalty and military service. In Japan, the decline of the central government allowed private armies to form, and similar to feudalism in Europe, the farmers wanted protection so they gave land to warlords, called daimyo, in exchange. Feudalism in both regions was based on a system of mutual obligations. For example, when a lord granted a land estate to a vassal, that vassal would pledge his loyalty to the lord and give him advice and an occasional money payments. In addition, he was required to provide forty days per year of military service to the lord. In Japan, a landowner seeking protection would give some of his land to a daimyo, which one of the great lords who were vassals of the shogun, who in turn would vow to protect that landowner. In this way, the vassals and daimyos gained power and land while the lords and farmers/landowners gained protection from enemies. Finally, both systems of feudalism influenced the society so much that in some contexts today, the term feudalism refers collectively to the government, culture, and social structure of a nation. In Europe, feudalism formed the basic social class structure. Each lord would have vassals, who in turn had lower vassals below them. Feudalism created the need for knights, in which are warriors who fought for their local lords. Also, peasants, which is a poor farmer of low social status who owns or rents a small piece of land for cultivation. formed a large part of the culture, not only forming a large part of medieval Europe's population, but also performing most of the work on the estate. When a vassal received a fief, which is an estate of land, the peasants were included along with the land. In Japan, the peasants were the farmers and small landowners. Japanese samurai were similar to the knights in that they were local warriors who fought for their lords. These lords, the daimyo, who gained their power from the accumulation of land, eventually became powerful leaders in Japan under the shogun, or supreme military ruler. When foreign groups such as the Vikings, Muslims and Magyars invaded England and France, the kings were not able to protect the people and they needed to protect themselves. Thus, the European feudalism system emerged. Although rival lords constantly…