Feudalism in Japan: Importance and Impact

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Middle age soldiers in Japan
Middle age soldiers in Japan

What is feudalism in Japan?

Feudalism is a system of government in which a ruling authority exercises power over a feudal or subservient entity, who in turn pays tribute and holds various lands. The ruler is the supreme authority that has the power to override the subservient’s decisions and judgments. The word “feudal” comes from Frankish for “fealty,” meaning homage done by a vassal to his lord.

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The Feudal system was one of the earliest known forms of government, similar to the forms of government we see today in japan; feudalism arose in Europe during the Middle Ages due to changes in its economy and society. It resulted from a dramatic rise in population and new types of conflict accompanied by new technology that required strong central authority.

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When did feudalism start

The feudal system in Japan was somewhat there earlier. Still, it fully took hold from the start of the Kamakura Period in the late 12th century CE, when military dictators known as shoguns took over as the country’s primary administration source, replacing the emperor and imperial court. The shoguns, or military dictators, came to power during a time of chaos and civil war as the nation was torn apart over the rule of the imperial court. This period is known as “The Age of Warring States” in Japan.

It was not until the 13th century, however, that feudalism made a full and permanent impact on society in Japan. This was because, by this time, the ruling military dictator (shogun) had taken control of all administrative functions and become monopolistic.

How did feudalism work in japan?

In feudal Japan, the feudal clan or domain had a small group of warriors or bodyguards who acted as the domain’s military force but also served as the domain’s main administrative office. The military force was supported by taxes and tributes from the general population. Feudal lords had large armies but were also known for their loyal vassals and could exert control over their domains. Japan was a highly centralized state by this time and had strict central authority over its vassals, which made feudally-run societies a strong system for governing.

The Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan for more than 250 years and greatly strengthened the feudal system by creating a strong central authority in Japan, which people were very loyal to because it was so strong. During this time, the shogunate oversaw a highly centralized government. It worked closely with vassals in the domain system to ensure they had enough resources and protection under the shogunate’s power.

Development of feudalism in japan

By the end of the feudal period, this centralized power was even more entrenched in Japan than it had been under earlier authorities. Eventually, the shogunate came to own all of Japan’s land. The Meiji Restoration replaced the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1868 CE, often seen as restoring some of the ways feudalism worked.

Differences and similarities between feudalism in Europe and japan

The Tokugawa Shogunate was very different from feudalism in Europe because it was more centralized than the European feudal system. Japanese feudalism developed based on several principles from Japan’s governance under the imperial court system. This means that while the structure of corporate power developed in Japan is similar to European feudalism, there are many differences.

One major difference between Japan and Europe is how land ownership played out during Japan’s feudal period. The feudal system in Europe was based on the military power of the local lord over his subjects. By contrast, the shogunate had a military force with an upper hand over its domain’s army, and it also owned all of Japan’s land. This meant that the shogunate had a monopoly over land ownership. The shogunate governed the distribution of lands to feudal lords, who used their armies to enforce control over their subjects.

Japanese feudalism differed from Britain because it did not have kings or queens.

Factors that led to the end of feudalism in Japan

Feudalism ended around the mid-19th century CE during Japan’s “Meiji Restoration.” During this political turmoil, some regions in Japan established their government. The government overthrew the feudal power structure, and eventually, its feudal system was replaced by a Western-style centralized government. Feudalism still exists in some countries that have survived intact or returned to feudal methods after modernization.

Importance of feudalism in Japan

1. Feudalism was a transitional system that evolved in Japan. It was a form of government for Japan for about three centuries, and during that time, it grew to be very strong in its influence over the Japanese people.

 2. Japanese feudalism provided a strong system of law and authority that governed the country from the Tokugawa Shogunate to the Meiji Restoration

3. Without the strong centralized power of Japan’s feudal period, the Japanese country would have no modern state.

 4. The shogunate had strong control over Japan, and this centralized power helped bring continued stability to the country and its people. 

5. When the Tokugawa Shogunate was overthrown by a government that abandoned the feudal system, Japan adopted a Western-style democratic government and developed into one of the most modern countries in the world.

Impacts of feudalism in Japan

1. Feudalism was a transitional period in Japan that led to the establishment of Western-style democracy in Japan. 

2. The feudal period established a strong centralized government and culture. This political situation allowed the Shinsengumi to become some of the strongest military forces in Japan during the 1850s. In the 1860s CE. 

3. Feudal governments brought strong unity to Japan, which allowed a strong nation to arise from many different regions. 

4. Japanese feudalism was strong enough to support a significant portion of the Japanese army during the late 19th century. This happened despite the slow decline of Japan’s population, showing that feudalism remained a strong form of government in Japan.

5. Feudalism’s capriciousness and dependence on the Tokugawa Shogunate was one reason for its fall: The shogunate itself could not resist the rising power of external forces.

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Categories: History