Japanese Feudal System

Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1868)
1. Shogun: Great General
In the late 1100’s, one noble family forced the emperor to appoint him the shogun.
Shoguns ruled Japan for 700 years. He was a military dictator.
2. Daimyo: A great landowner
They were the highest nobles next to the shogun. They controlled large estates (=pieces
of land) and warriors.
3. Samurai: One who serves
They were brave soldiers who fought for the daimyo. When they did not fight, they
practiced martial arts and sumo wrestling. They were also artists and poets.
They had a code of honor called bushido. If they lost their honor they had to commit
hari-kari (=kill themselves).
During the Tokugawa Shogunate, Japan was peaceful (=quiet) and stable. Economy,
agriculture and trade all improved. It was a time of cultural and intellectual
Isolation Era (1603-1853)
1. Tokugawa shoguns were afraid of losing their power. They did not like western
influence in Japan.
2. Therefore, they isolated Japan from the rest of the world.
3. There was no foreign trade or travel outside of Japan. If Japanese people left
Japan, they could not come back.
4. Missionaries and foreign traders were killed or forced to leave Japan. Many
Christian Japanese were also killed.
5. They only let some Chinese and Dutch traders in the city of Nagasaki.
Japanese and European Feudalism
Japanese Feudalism
European Feudalism
Moral connection between the daimyo and
his samurais.
Legal arrangement between the lord and
his subordinates.
The Daimyo chose a son who could best
take care of the land after his death.
Japanese women were expected to be
tough and self-disciplined.
The land was given to the oldest son or
divided among all his sons after the lord’s
Respected women even though they were
not equal to men.
Japanese samurai could write poems, or
paint beautiful paintings.
Education was not important for a
European knight.