Now that we know a little more about what life was like in Medieval England we can look at some of the similarities and differences that were happening in Japan around the same time. There was still a type of feudalism... and samurais were almost like the knights of England. but there were also a lot of differences in what they believed and how they lived.
Japanese history is often quite new to us as we come from a 'Western' history base, historically most of our beliefs and traditions come from England and Europe as that is where our early settlers were from. Today though our society is very multicultural so its important to understand the history and beliefs of other cultures as well as our own.
TASK ONE : PADLET
Japan is a small island in Asia. Have a look at this map of the world to locate Japan
TASK TWO: Describe in approximately 100 words where Japan is located in the world using the following terms. North, east, south west, adjacent. HS153.
The map above shows how Japan was divided up during the Medieval period. Compare this with a modern map of Japan. Each coloured area signifies a "prefecture". This is a name given to regions, kind of like states. But have a look at how small Japan is compared to Australia !
Japan has a very complex. history. These videos describe some of the key events of Japan's history.
TASK THREE : View these video's about Japan's history and answer the questions as they appear
Part Two : View and answer questions
Click here for a timeline of Japan's history. Choose one event and create an A4 poster. You cannot do the same event as someone else in the class.
TASK FOUR : Choose one of the timeline events. Create an A4 poster that contains - one image - one map - 100 word detail about the event in your own words - At least two references that you have used to find this information HS148.HS151.HS157
As has been mentioned the Japanese also used a system of feudalism. The roles of people were similar but they had different names.
TASK FIVE : Read the following and create a pyramid or other diagram/flow chart that describes and shows the different levels of Japanese Feudalism. HS149.HS153.HS156
Japanese Feudal System
the 12th and 19th centuries, feudal Japan had an elaborate four tier class
European feudal society, in which the peasants (or serfs) were at the bottom,
the Japanese feudal class structure placed merchants on the lowest rung.
Confucian ideals emphasized the importance of productive members of society, so
farmers and fishermen had higher status than shop-keepers in Japan. At the
top of the heap was the samurai class.
The Samurai Class:
Japanese society was dominated by the samurai warrior class. Although they made up only
about 10% of the population, samurai and their daimyo lords wielded enormous power. When a
samurai passed, members of the lower classes were required to bow and show
respect. If a farmer or artisan refused to bow, the samurai was legally entitled
to chop off the recalcitrant person's head. Samurai
answered only to the daimyo for whom they worked. The daimyo, in turn, answered
only to the shogun. There
were about 260 daimyo by the end of the feudal era. Each daimyo controlled a
broad area of land, and had an army of samurai.
The Farmers / Peasants: Just
below the samurai on the social ladder were the farmers or peasants. According
to Confucian ideals, farmers were superior to artisans and merchants because
they produced the food that all the other classes depended upon. Although
technically they were considered an honored class, the farmers lived under a
crushing tax burden for much of the feudal era. During
the reign of the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu, farmers were not
allowed to eat any of the rice they grew. They had to hand it all over
to their daimyo, and then wait for him to give some back as charity.
The Artisans: Although
artisans produced many beautiful and necessary goods, such as clothes, cooking
utensils, and woodblock prints, they were considered less important than the
farmers. Even skilled samurai sword makers and boatwrights belonged to this
third tier of society in feudal Japan. The
artisan class lived in its own section of the major cities, segregated from the
samurai (who usually lived in the daimyos' castles), and from the lower merchant class.
The Merchants: The
bottom rung of feudal Japanese society was occupied by merchants, both
traveling traders and shop-keepers. Merchants
were ostracized as "parasites" who profited from the labor of the
more productive peasant and artisan classes. Not only did merchants live in a
separate section of each city, but the higher classes were forbidden to mix
with them except on business. Nonetheless,
many merchant families were able to amass large fortunes. As their economic
power grew, so did their political influence, and the restrictions against them
weakened. People above the Four-Tier System: Although
feudal Japan is said to have had a four tier social system, some Japanese lived
above the system, and some below. On the
very pinnacle of society was the shogun, the military ruler. He was generally
the most powerful daimyo; when the Tokugawa family seized power in 1603, the
shogunate became hereditary. The Tokugawas ruled for 15 generations, until
the shoguns ran the show, they ruled in the name of the emperor. The emperor,
his family and the court nobility had little power, but they were at least
nominally above the shogun, and also above the four tier system. The
emperor served as a figurehead for the shogun, and as the religious leader of
Japan. Buddhist and Shinto priests and monks were above the four-tier system,
People below the Four-Tier System: Some
unfortunate people also fell below the lowest rung of the four tier ladder. These
people included the ethnic minority Ainu, the descendants of slaves, and those
employed in taboo industries. Buddhist and Shinto tradition condemned people
who worked as butchers, executioners, and tanners as unclean. They were called
the eta. Another
class of social outcasts were the hinin, which included actors,
wandering bards, and convicted criminals. Prostitutes
and courtesans, including oiran, tayu, and geisha, also lived outside of the four tier
system. They were ranked against one another by beauty and accomplishment. Today,
all of these people who lived below the four-tiers are collectively called
"burakumin." Officially, families descended from the burakumin are
just ordinary people, but they can still face discrimination from other
Japanese in hiring and marriage. http://asianhistory.about.com/od/japan/p/ShogJapanClass.htm
These three videos will help explain this feudal system in more detail and will help you create your own pyramid.