Topic: ArtArtists

Last updated: February 28, 2019

The feudal system; a system by which the holding of estates in land is made dependent upon an obligation to render military service to the king or feudal superior. It was a system that was developed independently on opposite sides of the world: Japan and Europe. There were significant similarities and few differences. Europe being more militaristic and agricultural while Japan was more intellectual and aesthetic. However, the economic systems of Japan and Europe were both effected by agriculture and the idea of reciprocation but the specifics varied within the layers of social hierarchy.During the time of the about the 500’s, Europe was just starting to develop the system of feudalism. It was good for the economy as it helped to connect the different layers of their social hierarchy. The political leaders gave the people under them protection, money to the knights and land to the lords.

In return, the king was given loyalty. It was a give and get sort of system that made almost everyone happy and content. A similar system was used in Japan. The shoguns were on the top of the social pyramid and promised protection and land to the daimyos and peasants below him. Given back to the shogun was loyalty. A small difference in the reciprocation system was the payment given to the knights and samurai. Knights in Europe were given money while the samurai in Japan were given land.

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But the basic structure of the feudal hierarchy systems were very similar.The feudal system helped to stabilize Europe. It was so structured and stable they were able to make advancements in their agricultural ways. They sophisticated their plow and created the three-field system which allowed crop rotation leading to a reduction of famine. Architecture is another thing that flourished. Rounded arches were established, thicker walls were built and the style became more simplistic. A simple assumption can be made that advanced mathematics was required to create the rounded arches. This being taken into consideration, it can also be assumed that the European society had become stable enough that intellectual, aesthetic and economic advancements were possible.

–(This is here because you couldn’t tell it was a seperate paragraph when posted-please ignore)On the other side of the world in Japan, the architecture and art styles had been adopted from China. They had writers, poets and artists all of which flourished during the time of feudal Japan. Books were published, an example being the The Tale of Genji, the first written novel. Next came The Pillow Book; a personal diary that got published. Court life sophisticated and etiquette became a huge part of the Japanese culture; a culture that was slowly becoming their own.

Japan eventually moved away from the Chinese influence and developed their own style of art and religion. It can be assumed that intellect and aesthetic meant stability because if they didn’t have stability, people would be more worried about their next meal rather than what they were going to make a scroll of next. This was similar in Europe.

Their society also had enough stability to create such a large endeavor of aesthetic and intellectual achievements. Stability was another thing that feudal Japan and Europe had in common. Social changes were also made during the feudal times of both regions. The hierarchies in Europe became more loose, but at the same time becoming more strict in Japan. Merchants had a higher position of status in Europe; they were given some freedom. However, it was the opposite in Japan. Merchants were considered low class which impacted their economy because trade lacked the diversity that was gained in Europe.

Even though the merchants were at different levels of the social hierarchy, the simple fact that both countries is a major similarity. Neither country had anything to do with the other nor did they have any contact but they both developed a system that gave certain more freedoms than others.In Europe there was a hierarchy within the hierarchy. The catholic church had a lot of power in Europe. They controlled about one third of the land and one tenth of everyone’s taxes were given to the church to pay for miscellaneous things. It acted as inns, hospitals and sometimes a place of refuge from the war.

It was the education of children where they were taught things like obdeience and the importance of the church. This was different in Japan as the religion was Zen Buddhism borrowed from China. This form fo Buddhism stressed mental and self discipline which, depending on how it’s looked at, can be taken as a similarity or difference. Obidience as in obeying other people would be a difference but obdience as in obeying themselves would be a similarity.In conclusion, Japan and Europe had a lot in common with their feudal systems even though they were developed independently. They had a lot of similarities as well as significant differences.

Their societies in general were very parallel in that they both had social hierarchies that established a sense of power and placement. Their economies were also alike because they both had a system of reciprocation that gave everyone something to keep them safe and/or supplied. Europe and Japan also had civilizations that were both stable enough to make agricultural and and aesthetic advancements. Although, Europe was Catholic that had their own hierarchy system while Japan was Buddhist and were influenced by China. Overall, it was easy to see that a feudal way of life helped to stabilize their societies to make them create a successful way of life.


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