Japanese Samurai and European Knights: Were the Similarities Greater Than the Differences?

Japanese Samurai and European Knights: Were the Similarities Greater Than the Differences?

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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. Thi...

... middle of paper ...

...e respect, honor, and loyalty make this difference for me, but there is something to be said about the comparison. I find that the knights are very efficient, great warriors, and are very similar to samurai’s in a lot of ways. They both wear armor, they both train from a young age, and both are taught about honor, loyalty, and respect; but samurais are taught more effectively in their training, and the Japanese concepts were better. So to answer the essential question of this essay, I would say that there is certainly a large amount of similarities between the two warriors, but if you would consider the samurai’s skills that are better, or enhanced; to be differences, than I would have to conclude with no. The ‘differences’, are far too great in my opinion to say that the similarities are so great that they are almost the same, because they are very different indeed.

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