Negative Effects of European Feudalism
In the Middle Ages, feudalism was a form of government that contributed to many changes worldwide. Both Japan and Europe used this political system in which monarchs and lesser nobles made alliances based on exchanging land grants for loyalty. Although the different backgrounds of Japan and Europe influenced the development of their own separate feudalistic systems, each country’s system had many similarities along with differences. However, when compared to Japan, Europe’s feudal system had a greater negative effect on Europe’s culture than Japan. Based on feudalism, the strict separation and segregation of Europe’s social classes served only to hinder the development of its society. Also, due to the small number of educated people in Europe and the absence of meritocracy, intellect had little to do with feudalism and prevented culture from developing. Finally, the limits Europe placed on religious diversity brought down the level of its culture significantly. These weaknesses in Europe’s feudal system affected the future of the continent as a whole.
Europe and Japan separated their social classes differently. An extraordinary amount of each nation’s social structure was peasants. In Europe, peasants were ranked lowest on the feudal scale. However, in Japan, peasants were placed above artisans and merchants. This small
difference in positioning had a huge consequence. This included peasants in Europe getting heavily taxed, unlike nobles, knights, and other higher-ranking people, and most receiving few options for jobs. If European peasants were lucky enough to find work, their jobs were limited to farming and taking care of a noble’s land. Furthermore, most peasants were bound to the land, and some were prevented from leaving the manor without permission. Japanese peasants, however, were offered more options for work and received a significantly greater amount of re...