Feudal Japan Summative Assesment By Mia May

Japan's Golden Society

Japan was and still is a beautiful society. They had a very organized and structured society, that has lasted and endured through the ages. But what was the secret to this golden age? These key customs might have been the answers.

This is a beautiful mountain and lake view from Japan.

The Feudal System

Feudalism was a type of government system, but it was also a way of life. It was one of the key ways that Japan kept a structured society, because this system benefited all of the social classes, not just the upper levels. The feudal system is usually exemplified as a social pyramid, with the upper levels on the top, and the lower levels on the bottom. In Japan, the Shogun was on the top, then the daimyos and lords, the samurai, and last on the pyramid were the farmers and peasants. Each level of the pyramid got something from the upper levels, and gave something back in return. The upper levels gave land and protection, and the lower levels gave food and money.

It was a great way to structure their society because each class felt like they were getting something. It was a very orderly system where everyone had a place and a set of rules/laws to follow, but at the same time every class was getting something and felt appreciated. Without this system, all of the lower classes (i.e the peasants) would rebel and try to take over the government. There would be lots of fighting over power and also many rebellions. So feudalism was a great way to keep their society in order.

On the top left is a shogun. On the top right is a group of peasants and farmers. Right below the peasants is an image of a daimyo. On the bottom left is a social pyramid, and on the bottom right is a picture of a samurai.

Japan's Beauty and Art

Tea Ceremonies

Japan's tea ceremonies were a big part of their culture. They represented harmony, reverence, and the state of being calm. They often had items like an artistic flower arrangement, decorative scrolls, different utensils, and a bowl with tea.

CALLIGRAPHY

The Japanese often practiced calligraphy, which is the art of beautiful writing. Samurai also practiced calligraphy to be students of culture. It was often displayed on colorful handmade paper, and was sometimes even sprayed with perfume.

Haiku

Haiku was a type of poem invented by the Japanese. It had seventeen syllables in all, and had three different lines/clauses. The first line had five syllables, the second one had seven, and the last line had five.

Although it may not seem like it, the custom of beauty and art was a big cause of how Japan kept structure in their society. It made them appreciate all life, including those who hated them. It also gave them a unified way of life and practice through all of Japan. Without this custom, Japan would have been a much rougher country. They would also not have set aside time for renewal, like having tea with their friends at a tea ceremony, writing a letter with calligraphy, or calming down by writing a peaceful haiku. We would not have a lot of the modern literature we see today, and we might not have any appreciation of the arts.

The Isolation of Japan

Japan is an island nation, so that means it is surrounded by water on all sides. It also meant that they had a natural barrier against enemies. They developed in isolation due to the fact that their about 3,000 miles away from the Asian mainland. Japan is about 145,932 square miles, but most of it is uninhabitable because of all the rough terrain and mountains.

This is a map of the island nation of Japan.
HOw Isolation helped their society

The isolation of Japan helped their society because of several reasons. For one thing, not having much contact with the Asian mainland allowed them to develop a lot of their own ideas. They could come up with their own government system and have control of the people, because there was no where else to go. It also gave them a natural barrier against any foreign enemies. They could look from all sides of the island to see if any enemies were coming.

How Their society would have been different without it

If Japan hadn't have developed in isolation, many of the ideas that they came up with might have been lost. They might have never had tea ceremonies, calligraphy, and haiku. There would have also been a lot more wars because they would have been much closer to the mainland. It would be a lot easier for enemies to attack them, and Japan wouldn't have been able to see them from all sides.

Top Left: Map of Japan as an isolated nation. Top Right: The Japan flag might not have developed as it is if they weren't isolated. Bottom Left: There would have been NO new ideas if Japan wasn't a isolated nation. Bottom Right: There would have been a lot more war as well.

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