Feudal Japan by : Kaylene Truong

Feudal Japan's society had a variety of customs that helped keep its structure.


One custom that helped keep Japan's society in structure was the Feudal System. The Feudal System began during the Middle Ages. At the beginning of the ranking was the emperor, who actually had very little power. Below the emperor was the shogun, who was the actual ruler of Japan. After, would be the daimyo who were like landholders. The samurai were second to last then at the very bottom would be the peasants/merchants.

Japanese Feudal System

This custom assisted Japan's structure by dividing out people like peasants from the higher-ups. The custom of a feudal system in Japan actually worked really well because this system was based on a fair exchange between all ranks. It was likely to last longer since people felt secure. The farmer would supply the higher-ups with food in exchange for protection and a little bit of land. Without the feudal system, Japan would most likely be chaotic since there's no ranks, also meaning no one is at the top. There would be no security/order in Feudal Japan.

Zen Buddihism

Another custom providing assistance with Japan's structure was Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhism was a well known type of Buddhism emphasizing effort and discipline. It stresses self reliance/achieving enlightenment. You achieve this through meditation and also having to give up everyday logical thinking.

Buddha meditating

This helped Feudal Japan keep structure in society because everyone practiced the same religion. Practicing the same religion meant that people didn't have to worry about others believing in something different, and if that were the case, Japan would probably be in chaos. Also, it helped one reach enlightenment/peace, so if a person were stressed, Zen Buddhism could bring relief to him/her. Samurai usually practiced Zen and this was to get rid of their fears when going out to war, leading on to my next custom which was the Bushido, more commonly known as the Samurai code of Honor.

Bushido ( Samurai Code of Honor )

Lastly, a custom that helped Japan was the Bushido (Samurai Code of Honor). The Bushido was a code for every single samurai in Feudal Japan. It governed their lives. It called on a samurai to be honest, fair, and loyal. It also governed them to be fearless during their time of death. Following this code, samurai had to be 100% loyal to their lord. They had to gurad their personal honor. For example, if their lord got murdered, a samurai would most likely avenge them.

Samurai going into war.

This helped Feudal Japan by the samurai protecting their lord, which are the people who help keep structure in Japanese society. If the samurai weren't there to protect the shogun, who would? If the shogun doesn't have protection, they die. Who would govern Japan? This means that if the Bushido weren't there to govern a samurai's life, they could completely rebel on the shogun and destroy them. Plus, they could give in to the enemy telling them all of Feudal Japan's secrets if they were tortured, but instead they are fearless/ loyal and suicide instead. That's how a Bushido played a part in keeping structure in Japan.

Feudal Japan (Age of Warrior)

Therefore, without these customs that assist Feudal Japan's society with its structure, it would be in complete chaos. Each played a specific role, maintaining peace within Feudal Japan.


Created with images by Jim Epler - "Odawara Castle"

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