The word feudalism comes from the Latin word ‘feudum,’ meaning fief. Feudalism is a system in which nobles or lords are granted use of lands that legally belong to the king, in exchange for their loyalty, military service. The one of the king’s obligations is to protect his vassals. Although feudalism in Europe had started earlier, the feudal systems of Japan and Europe are somewhat alike. Both feudal systems were developed as a response to the need for security and stability. In Europe, the eastern part of the Roman Empire lived in continuous fear of constant invasions by Germanic, Islamic and Magyars tribes. Therefore people started to abandoned the cities and settle in the countryside where local lords started to form their own army and protect people in exchange for their loyalty and military service. In Japan, the feudal system was formed because local warlords battled with each other for territory and power and same as In Europe people needed protection. In both civilizations, because of the power and wealth of these lords, peasants were left vulnerable and dependent on them.
European and Japanese feudalism were indistinguishable in the social structure. The Japanese classes were the shogun just like the emperor in Europe, who held all the power. Then the daimyo (“private land”) which was an upper class group much like the same nobles and church officials in Europe. Vassals and Samurai Soldiers held land gained by daimyo or shogun in return for their loyalty and military service. In Europe knights, who were middle class, held this position. They were mounted horseman who pledged to defend their lord’s land in exchange for fiefs. Peasants and Artisans served beneath. They provided food and weapons for the Samurai class, craftsman, farmers and serfs. Second to the lowest class of people were the Merchants because they made money for others’ labor, but gradually gained influence. At the base of the feudal pyramid in Europe were landless peasants who toiled...
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