Good Example Of Essay On A Comparison Of Feudalism In Japan And Britain
Upon reading the chapters from the textbook, I have gained better understanding of Feudalism. Initially, my understanding of feudalism was limited to the hierarchy of Europe’s social system which is made up of kings, nobles, knights, and peasants. Lands were a form of currency; the trade off was land for protection. Kings grant nobles lands/fiefs, and the nobles hire knights/vassals to protect their own and the king’s properties and assets. The knights were loyal to their nobles and follow a code. Their loyalty is bounded within an unwritten contract: they provide protection so that they get provided with food, money, land, etc. As for the peasants, they lack freedom and answer directly to the nobles as servants. My notion of feudalism is highly influenced by the European culture as portrayed in our pop culture, specifically, the movies.
According to the textbook, European feudalism’s origins were from the government’s failure to serve, much less protect, its people. The rise of feudalism helped the kings and nobles to find knights who will protect them. The knights and/or vassals, in turn, received food, horses, armor, and land or fief. Aside from these necessities, the knights also gained high reputation among the townspeople. The people held high regards for them. Eventually, vassals can get vassals for themselves, who also can get their own vassals, but lesser land is given for every step down off the social ladder. To clarify, this relationship does not imply that vassals are servants of their nobles; they are freemen. Aside from the noble-knight relationship in the European feudalism social system, there exists the peasants. These peasants work and till the rural lands. Some are tied to the nobles as servants; some are freemen as well. Peasants must do hard manual labor and pay the nobles who lease them a very small portion of the land for them to live in.
In reality, feudalism did not only occur in Europe. Even some Asian countries underwent the feudal regime. Japan, for example was a feudal country for some time. Even if Japanese feudalism did not really originate from European feudalism, the two have noticeable similarities. Japanese feudalism happened in the years 800-1500. They had similar social, political, economic systems brought about by feudalism. Although they are similar, differences are still evident. Instead of a king, Japan had an emperor. Japanese nobles were loyal to their emperors. These nobles began imposing legal and political power over their lands. Instead of knights, nobles hired samurais to protect (1) their families against enemy families or even peasant thieves and (2) their estates and assets. Much like knights, samurais are faithful to their nobles. They also followed a code and were garbed in armor. However, instead of a sword and lance, they carried a sword and a bow and arrow, very much characteristic to the Japanese culture.
In conclusion, Feudalism requires a social system. This social system categorizes the citizens into kings, nobles, knights and/or vassals, and peasants. This system helps the people to prosper economically and politically. They depend on each other through provision of land, food, and/or protection. Feudalism is universal in nature. European feudalism and Japanese feudalism, though not directly related and exposed with each other, have a lot of similarities. They both follow the social system; they both have rulers (kings and emperors) who provide lands and require protection; they both have their warriors (knights and samurais) that everyone reveres; they both have peasants who do hard labor.