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Feudalism in Medieval Japan

Feudalism is a term used during the early modern period to describe the most classic medieval political system. This period is highly characterized by the dominance of military obligations for the purposes of war nobilities and concepts revolving around vassals, lords and fiefs. The social aspect of feudalism is highlighted by the preponderant hierarchal dominance between social classes – in particular, the lord-peasant relationship.

Japan, during the medieval period had resembled most of these characteristics. The intense hierarchal form of government, as well as the vast occurrences of war, which has been used as means of conquer of foreign lands, have generally characterized the Medieval Japan. At this context, the wars that were fought were utilized to create the shift from pre-feudal to feudalization (Medieval Japans Feudal Process). The start of feudalism in Japan emerged at the rise of powerful families in the imperial line.

Moreover, to strictly control the concentration of power within the boundaries of the familial lines, emperors often were married to their daughters. This instance happened particularly in the Fujiwara dynasty, wherein they got hold of the control in Japanese court politics (Introduction to Feudalism). Central to the feudal political structure of Japan is the transformation of their communitarian society into rural villages, which were the offspring of territorial wars. This has intensely resembled the characteristics of feudal Medieval Europe.

During this period, the civil wars were carved out from military power to conquer and control vast lands which will contribute greatly to their feudal influence (Feudal Japan). Consistent to one of the tenets of feudalism, the Japanese political system used a rigid feudal-serf system, which has displayed a rigid patriarchal-familial-hierarchal form of government and slavery. This however, has resulted to the prevention of social mobility and further development of political empowerment in this kind of typical slave system.

During this era, the status quo has been strongly protected, sustaining the old set of peasants (The Two Paths to Feudalism). The evolution of Japanese feudalism turned towards the development of a “lineage-based, aristocratic social relations tradition”, which was then translated in the emergence “patron-client” relations that served as the basis for political organization in the era. (Introduction to Feudalism). Moreover, they developed military hierarchal relations.

There emerged a “warrior class based on hereditary, lord-vassal relations”, and a very distinct feudal relationship between the landlord and the tenant. The significance of these kinds of feudal relationships between the superiors and inferiors has stressed out the Japanese ethic that was typical of a rigid hierarchal system. In addition, the tenant-landlord relationship was a strict display of bond from the tenant towards his landlord, which was a characterization of the Japanese medieval slavery.

Consequently though, this process has indicated a rigid transition from slavery to serfdom (The Two Paths to Feudalism). At this point, land rights has become the key economic base for Japan. During this time, there emerged a concept of certain duties towards land use, where it eventually translated towards profiting from land. This however, has paved the way towards the establishment of a certain bond between the peasant and the lord, wherein the peasant pay their taxes to the lord for such utilization of land (Introduction to Feudalism).

Hence, the economic and production relations that guaranteed state power was distinctly dependent in the slave-lord relationships, characterized in a feudal tenant system. The feudal system in medieval Japan has widely utilized the abundance of unlimited labor power, which was though parasitic in nature, has contributed greatly towards the development of empires and the further strengthening of the modern Japanese system. Further, there was a strong familial cohesion present in the Japanese culture in the medieval period.

Thus, the form of political relations corresponded with this clan ties. As well as the family military heredity, which was often characterized by patriarchal supremacy. The Japanese feudal relations even though constrained by some restrictions, have matured rapidly and developed a distinct course that remained and flourished as the foundation of the modern Japan era (The Two Paths to Feudalism).

Works Cited Introduction to Feudalism. 09 December 2007 <http://64. 233. 167.104/search? q=cache:6QRv00zaWQAJ:www. learner. org/channel/courses/worldhistory/support/reading_8_2. pdf+FEUDALISM+%22western+europe%22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8> Feudal Japan. 09 December 2007 <http://filebox. vt. edu/users/jearnol2/MeijiRestoration/feudal_japan. htm> Medieval Japan’s Feudal Process. 09 December 2007 <www. ac. wwu. edu/~kaplan/eas201/201-15. pdf> The Two Paths to Feudalism. 09 December 2007 <http://filebox. vt. edu/users/jearnol2/MeijiRestoration/feudal_japan. htm>

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