Samurai And Knights: Were The Similarities Greater Than The Differences?

1307 words - 5 pages

I believe we can all agree that Japanese samurais and European knights are two of the most skilled and famous forms of warriors in history, right? Well both warriors began their trade at a very young age, and went through multiple stages of training throughout their lives. They both had a code of honor basically, but they differed from one another in quite a few ways. The big question is, “Were the similarities greater than the differences?”. Right off the bat I began to ponder the technicalities of the answer to this question. Before I get too scrambled up in the technicalities, let’s discuss some these differences and the similarities and figure out how this plays out. Before we conduct this discussion, let’s review our key terms. A clan is a group of close-knit and interrelated families. Feudalism was a political and economic system that flourished in Europe from the 9th to the 15th century, based on higher classes giving random services and items in exchange for something else. Knights were men who served their lord as a mounted soldier in armor. Samurai’s were members of a powerful military social class in feudal Japan. A shogun was a hereditary commander-in-chief in feudal Japan. Chivalry was the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code. Bushido was the code of honor and morals developed by the Japanese samurai.
In Document A, we see a very nicely displayed social pyramid. This pyramid attempts to show the reader which classes’ match up as closely as possible with their equivalent counterpart. As you began reading the pyramid for Japan, you see something that may strike you as being odd. This being that the shogun has more power than the emperor, yet the emperor is still higher on the pyramid. This is because Japanese people respect symbolic power, which is pretty unusual in many societies. I see this as one of those technicalities I mentioned in my thesis, because different people will have different views of that situation and find it stupid. Personally, I find this to be highly honorable, and very interesting considering that shogun’s knew they had more power, yet they still held so much respect for the emperor. This honor was not uncommon in Japan at the time, especially when it comes to Samurai’s, who appear to be higher in the social order. In Document A, when you began reading the social order for Europe you see something that is no surprise; the Pope is at the top of the pyramid. Right below the Pope is where a king would sit on the pyramid, and absolutely does not have more power than the Pope. I would say that according to the pyramids, the samurai’s appear to be a bit higher in the social order because there is only two positions above a samurai, and three above a knight. In Document B, it states that loyalty in Japan was hereditary; service of a feudal lord went from father to son. There was no legal contracts and or obligations, it was voluntary and the two families became very close. As stated in...

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