Spanish Encomienda versus Japanese Feudal Systems

Spanish Encomienda versus Japanese Feudal Systems

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Because they were on the completely opposite sides of the globe, the Spanish Encomienda system and the Japanese Feudalist system were remarkably different. Two differences were that the Japanese Feudalist system had one person at the top, in sharp contrast with the Spanish Encomienda which had a group of people at the top and another was that the Spanish Encomienda system divided its society by ethnicity, not simply by power as did the Japanese. One parallel between the two hierarchies was that foreigners were placed at the bottom of the hierarchy in both Japanese and Spanish societies. Because the Japanese and Spanish societies had almost no contact with one another due to the geographical distance between the two, they are for the most part, completely different apart from a few nuances.
One of the differences that stands out the most between these two systems is the method of division. Japanese feudalism is divided based on power whereas the Encomienda system is divided based on race. For example, the reason the Japanese shoguns were above the peasants and the craftsmen because they wielded more power and had more responsibility given to them by the Japanese emperor. However, in the Encomienda system, the peninsulares or those born in the Iberian peninsula were above the mulattoes, the mestizos, and the creoles simply because they were from the mother-land, Spain. The peninsulares and the creoles, or descendants of the Spanish, were the owners of the money generators such as sugar mills in the Hispaniola and the silver mines located in the Petosi Mountains in modern day Peru. The labor was provided by the lower two ethnicities known as the mestizos and the mulattos. Mestizos were of mixed heritage between Spanish and the Native American and the mulattos were a combination of African and Native American. This was done with the intention of having a clear cut line between those who work and those who manage.
Another difference is the amount of people at the top of the hierarchies. In Japanese Feudalism, there was one person at the top, the Japanese emperor. In the Encomienda system, there was a certain ethnicity, the peninsulares, at the apex of the social pyramid. This is an indication of how politics were in both societies. From the fact that there was one ruler at the top of the Japanese feudalist system, there is a higher probability of absolutism than compared to the Encomienda system where it was more likely that there was local power shared between the peninsulares.

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Of course, the local powers in the Encomienda system all answered to the crown in Spain. The Encomienda systems were scrutinized for power abuses by Viceroys who were kept in check by the Audencias and ultimately the Spanish crown.
One similarity between the two societies is the placement of foreigners. In neither societies were foreigners placed in the higher parts of the society. The entire point of the Encomienda system was basically to separate the foreigners and the peninsulares, the pure Spanish. The Spanish needed a source of labor to use in their Petose mines that would be economically inexpensive and relatively easy to replenish. Their solution to that was the use of foreigners. In the Japanese Feudalistic society, foreigners were rarely one of the daiymos or even one of the shoguns. The foreigners were seen as inferior by ethnocentric Japan and were put down into the bottom level, the peasants.
Although at first glance, it may seem like there are some similarities between the Encomienda system and the Feudalistic society of Japan, the reality is that the two forms of society are completely different. The differences were aspects such as method of division and the form of leadership.

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