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Compare and Contrast Japanese and Western European Feudal Systems

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Compare and Contrast Japanese and Western European Feudal Systems

Compare and Contrast Japanese and Western European Feudal Systems

Both Western Europe and Japan used the feudal system from the 800s to the 1700s. The two regions show economic similarities, but differ greatly with respect to politics and society.

Economically, Western Europe and Japan were similar. Both economies had systems which regulated trade. The Guild Regulations for Sharers of Arras details the rules and regulations of the shearing trade in the Holy Roman Empire in 1236. Japanese governments also had strict regulations and codes of conduct for their markets, or ichi, as shown by the Regulations reguarding the Takama Market. Trade was regulated by guilds in Western Europe and governmental codes in Japan. Japanese and Western European economies were very similar.

Politically, the two areas differed greatly. Japan and Western Europe had differing views on the groups of people who should be called to war. The Hundred Article Code of Chosokabe states that everyone should be prepared and trained to fight in a war, but only the ones who excel greatly should take it up as a career. Adalberon's poem states that only the class of nobles should be trained and called to fight. Japan had a more widespread expectation of peoples who received training for war, and Western Europe wanted only one class of people to be trained. The two civilizations also differed in respect of the entity with the majority of the power. Jinno Shotoki, which was a sort of a Japanese form of the history of Japan, written by Kitabatake Chikafusa in the mid-14th century, documents the supreme rule the Shogun held. The power in Western Europe was balanced between the kings and the aristocracy, which is shown by the Aristocracy's Oath of Allegiance to new kings from the 1100s. Also, much of the power in Western Europe was held by the Catholic Church, as shown by the Dictatus Papae by Pope Gregory VII. In Japan, the power was held by the shoguns, while in Western Europe the Church, the kings, and the aristocrats were vying for power. Politically, between 800 and 1600, Japan and Western Europe differed politically with respect to military expectations among the majority of the people and the controlling bodies.

Socially, feudal Japan

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