Difference Between Japanese and European Feudalism

In 800 CE, feudalism was established in Europe, but it came into existence in Japan only in the 1100s when Kamakura Shongute came into power. Japanese feudalism existed and was retained till 1868. With the rise of stronger political parties, European feudalism fell off.


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Japanese vs European Feudalism

Japanese feudalism was a period of high power. Japanese feudalism was similar and based on the philosophies of the philosopher Kong Qiu.

European feudalism was following the roman imperial laws, and it was taken care of By the Catholic Church. The laws and customs were provided by the traditions of Germany.

Japanese vs European Feudalism

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonJapanese FeudalismEuropean Feudalism
ArmorJapanese Armor was mostly made up of metals but also included silk, leather, and metal bindings.The knights adorned armor and weapons that were entirely made up of metal and not much of any other material.
InfluenceThe ideas and philosophies of Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, influenced Japanese feudalism. Roman imperial laws and theories were the inspiration for the customs and rules of European feudalism.
Land OwnershipThe samurai were not privileged to earn any land, and they were paid in rice or grains.  The knights were paid in the form of assets and land as a return for their service.
Women’s RoleSamurai women were also considered too powerful, gallant, and brave, just like the men.  The Europeans considered the females weak, fragile, and always needed to be taken care of.    
Literacy Samurai were stressed to have cultural values and develop their artistic skills like poetry, music, and calligraphy.    European knights weren’t literate, and they did not know much about the cultures and values since they were not educated.

What is Japenese Feudalism?

In Japanese feudalism, being a part of it or being a warrior was quite hard. It was their lifestyle rather than their job.

The warriors of the samurai were supposed to be completely dedicated and were expected to commit to it and would put their lives at stake. The warriors were supposed to kill themselves if they crossed their lines of loyalties, honesty, commitment, and honor.

The warriors are to be committed, and in return, they receive financial provisions, shelter, protection, and all the basic necessities to live a comfortable life.

From Europe, the warriors came to London during the rule of Nobunaga. It was such a big advantage for the warriors, and it was convenient for them to establish and take charge.

Nobunaga was a dedicated and religious follower of Buddhism, and as a result, he set fire on all of the monasteries and monks and established Jesuit monasteries that have their roots in Portugal and Spain.

japanese feudalism

What is European Feudalism?

According to European feudalism, all the lands were owned by the king. The emperor was the ruler, and the hierarchy below him consisted of nobles.

The vassal and the suzerain are the two parties that are involved in the system of owning the land. The vassal is the higher authority who is the recipient of the land.

he vassal takes position and power through a ceremony called the fief, in which the vassal would take an oath of fealty to express his faith and promise they would be committed to their services and acts.

The ceremony occurs every time the vassal dies, and a new person is about to take charge. The nobility was a class of military people or warriors with armor and weapons who are lead by the knight.

european feudalism

Main Differences Between Japanese and European Feudalism

  1. Japanese Samurai wore silk, leather, and metal as their armor, whereas the European knight used only metals.
  2. Japanese laws were influenced by the Chinese, whereas European feudalism was influenced by the Romans.
Difference Between Japanese and European Feudalism


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/177767
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40401876

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