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Masyarakat Feudal Jepun

Taira No Kiyamori ketua pahlawan puak Taira berjaya mengalahkan tentera Maharaja Jepun antara tahun 1159-1160 dan melantik dirinya sebagai Perdana Menteri (Daij Daijin). Namun beliau menghadapi persaingan daripada Yoritomo Minamoto antara 1180-1185.

Taira Kiyomori berjaya ditewaskan dan Yoritomo Minamoto telah menggelarkan dirinya Shogun (Ketua Tentera) pada 1192.

Yoritomo Minamoto

Mulai dari zaman pemerintahan ketenteraan oleh Yoritomo Minamoto (1147-1199M) di Kamakura, kuasa pemerintahan Maharaja Jepun telah beralih kepada pembesar yang bergelar Shogun. Shogun memerintah atas nama Maharaja yang bersemayam di Kyoto. Zaman pemerintahan Minamoto ini juga digelar bakufu (tent government). Kuasa Maharaja hanya berjaya dipulihkan semula pada 1867 dengan usaha pemulihan pemerintahan Maharaja Jepun oleh Meiji.

HIERARCHY IN FEUDAL JAPAN Society was divided into two classes in Feudal Japan, the nobility and the peasants. The noble class made up roughly twelve percent of the population with peasants making up the rest. Emperor and Shogun The Emperor and the Shogun were the highest ranking nobles. During Japan's feudal period the Shogun held the most power while the Emperor was more of a puppet figure with little actual power. As the Shogun was a military leader his sword, or Nihonto in Japanese (katana came later in the Mid-Muromachi period), was an important part of his attire.
Daimyo Daimyo were powerful warlords and the most powerful rulers under the Shogun from the 10th century to the early 19th century. Within their province the Daimyo had complete military and economic power. Daimyo had vast hereditary land holdings and armies to protect the land and its workers. The most powerful warlords sometimes achieved the status of Shogun.

Samurai The Daimyo armies were made up of Samurai warriors. Samurai worked under Daimyo, but they had additional privileges and held a higher social status than common people. These privileges included being able to have a surname, a family crest, and carry two swords. People with Samurai family names are still treated with great respect in Japan today. Although most samurai were not well educated, they had a strict code of honor or the "way of the warrior", known as bushido in Japanese. If a Samurai broke the bushido code and brought dishonor to him/herself they would be expected to commit seppuku, or ritual suicide. Women were allowed to serve as samurai but always served under a male leader. Peasants Peasants were divided into several sub-classes. The highest ranking of the peasants were farmers. Farmers who owned their own land ranked higher than farmers who did not. Craftsmen, or artisans, were the second highest ranking after the farmers. They worked with wood and metal and some became well-known as expert Samurai sword makers. Merchants were the lowest ranking because it was felt they made their living off of other people's work. However, in later times when Japan began to use money more as currency merchants became more wealthy.

Ashikaga Period AD 1336-1573 The Ashikaga period from 1477-1560, which is also known as the Warring States period, is the most feudal period in Japanese history because the Kamakura and Kyoto central government collapsed leaving the hundreds of landlords to form their own local governments. To better understand the Ashikaga period, but more specifically the Warring States period, a working definition of feudalism will help explain why this period of Japanese history was the most feudal. Firstly, feudalism does not contain a central government or any unifying political institution that would collect revenue, enforce laws, or maintain a military. While it may seem there is a lack of government in a feudal society there is a degree of authority, although at the local level where the lords acted as the government. Secondly, there is the presence of a warrior class. The warrior class is essential to the structure of feudalism because it provides for the lord-vassal relationship. Vassal relationships can be defined as a warriors personal allegiance to his lord in return for protection and fiefs.

If vassals remained loyal to their lord they were usually granted fiefs, or plots of land, that could produce income and allow a warrior to increase his wealth and status. Vassals, as well as lords, were able to increase their wealth through the amount of farmland they owned because feudal societies were based on agrarian economics. Agrarian economics allowed lords to collect surplus harvest from their peasantry who farmed the land. This surplus of food was the means by which the warrior class could be supported by the lord. The relationships between lords, warriors, and the peasants in conjunction the lack of a central government and an agrarian based economy gave way to the system of feudalism. Now that a better understanding of feudalism has been established I will now argue why the Warring States period during the Ashikaga shogunate was the most feudal. According to the definition of feudalism there must be the lack of a central government or supreme political authority. The Onin War is a crucial event in Japanese history because it pervaded the capital city of Kyoto.

Kyoto was caught in the crossfire between the two fighting forces and as a result was sacked and burned to the ground. The fall of Kyoto, Japans national capital, is symbolic of the fall of the central government as well as the fall of order and peace. Without a supreme political power to unite Japan the island nation devolved by 1500 in a divided nation of 200-300 Japanese landlords, also known as daimyos. Without a central government the daimyo were left to govern themselves and exercise their jurisdiction throughout their territory. The daimyo did not submit to the ruins of the Kyoto government or the faux power of the imperial family. In order to protect their estates the daimyo amassed bands of samurai warriors and armored horsemen. Unlike earlier times when warriors gave their allegiance, during the Warring States period warriors signed contracts and gave loyalty oaths.

This is significant because it reflects the decline of personal or kinship relationships between lord and vassal, and instead a more formal and contractual agreement. The warrior class served three purposes; to defend the estate from encroaching rival daimyos, to seize other daimyos property as to increase the power of their lord, and to maintain some form of local government within the estate since the presence of a central government was absent. With the conquest of other lands the daimyo were able to reward their loyal warriors and vassals by distributing land to them. Like feudal Europe, the daimyo granted the landholding rights to their vassals, known as chigyo. This differs from the income rights to the land, or shiki, characteristic of the Kamakura period. By grant the landholding rights to the vassal the daimyo were then able to demand military service from their warriors in proportion to the amount of land they granted. This ensured that the daimyo would remain protected against their enemies, but in addition benefited the vassal by increasing his wealth and prestige.

Furthermore, it demonstrated the contractual relationship between lord and vassal, a difference than earlier times when the relationship was less formal. Without the trust involved between lord and warrior kinsmen the daimyo had suspicions of their samurai being disloyal or even too ambitious. If warriors were disloyal or did not provide military service as expected in their contractual obligation, they were punished by their daimyo; or, if a daimyo neglected to protect his vassals he risked betrayal.

An interesting side note to the development of feudalism is Japan is the castle-building that occurred during the period. As seen in feudal Europe, castles were erected to provide serious defensive strongholds against warring daimyos. The erection of castles in Japan helps illustrate the need for defense in a land without a central government. Without central government to maintain order and keep the peace this responsibility was shouldered by the daimyo. The daimyo issued their own private laws and became the governor and legislator of his domain. Even though the daimyo had increased their political power, they also sought to increase their economic power.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Toyotomi Hideyoshi (nama asal: Hiyoshimaru) ialah seorang pemimpin feudal Jepun yang berjaya melengkapkan usaha penyatuan Jepun yang telah dimulakan oleh Oda Nobunaga pada abad ke-16.

Setelah berjaya menyatukan Jepun, beliau telah mengenakan beberapa peraturan yang bertujuan untuk memusnahkan sebarang penentangan atau pemberontakan terhadapnya. Antaranya ialah peraturan katanagari (sword hunt) yang melarang penggunaan pedang atau membawa senjata oleh rakyat biasa seperti para petani, pedagang serta sami. Pedangpedang ini dikumpul dan dileburkan menjadi patung Buddha. Peraturan shiro wari bertujuan untuk memusnahkan kubu (castles) yang tidak diperlukan dan mengurangkan bilangan kubu di seluruh Jepun. Peraturan shi-no-ko-sho pula mengurangkan mobiliti rakyat antara kelas dengan mengasingkan setiap kelas masyarakat seperti golongan pahlawan, petani, artisan dan peniaga dengan meletakkan mereka di tempat tinggal yang berasingan dalam sesebuah desa atau pekan.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi turut mengambil langkah untuk mengukuhkan kedudukannya di Kyoto dengan meletakkan keluarga Tokugawa yang merupakan seterunya di wilayah Kanto supaya mereka akan berada jauh dari ibunegara Jepun ketika itu. Beliau juga menjadikan isteri-isteri serta waris daimyo dari keluarga daimyo yang menjadi pesaingnya sebagai tebusan. Tebusan ini ditempatkan di Osaka bagi memastikan para pesaing ini tidak akan melakukan sesuatu tindakan yang boleh mengancam kedudukan beliau.

Keshogunan Tokugawa (Zaman Edo) 1600 - 1867

Pengasas: Tokugawa Ieyasu

Untuk mengawal wilayahnya, Tokugawa Ieyasu telah menubuhkan birokrasi berpusat yang ditiru dari sistem pemerintahan China untuk mentadbir wilayahnya. Beliau juga memperkenalkan beberapa dasar untuk mengawal daimyo-daimyo. Daimyo telah dibahagikan kepada Daimyo Dalaman (Inner Daimyo) dan Daimyo Luaran (Outer Daimyo) berdasarkan kepada tahap kesetiaan mereka terhadap keluarga Tokugawa ketika peperangan Ashikaga. Daimyo Dalaman (Daimyo Fudai dan Shimpan) diberi tanah berdekatan dengan ibu negara dan Daimyo Luaran (Daimyo Tozama) di kawasan pinggiran jauh dari ibu negara. Beliau juga menetapkan daimyo-daimyo ini memberikan khidmat mereka dan melaporkan diri ke ibu negara secara berkala (Sistem Sankin Kotai).

Sankin Kotai

Untuk memastikan dasar-dasar ini dilaksanakan, beliau telah menetapkan supaya ahli keluarga terdekat setiap daimyo ini perlu ditempatkan di Edo sebagai penjamin/tebusan. Pergerakan keluar masuk rombongan daimyo ini secara tidak langsung juga telah merangsangkan ekonomi kawasan di sepanjang perjalanan ke ibu negara kerana rombongan setiap daimyo ini memerlukan tempat persinggahan untuk mendapatkan rehat, makanan, dan bahan keperluan lain seperti alas kaki.
Pergerakan rombongan ini juga melibatkan ongkos yang besar dan ini akan mengakibatkan daimyo ini tidak mampu melancarkan sebarang peperangan ke atas keluarga Tokugawa.

Berakhirnya Keshogunan Tokugawa

Keshogunan Tokugawa akhirnya telah dipersalahkan kerana menandatangani perjanjian dengan orang-orang asing. Suatu pergerakan untuk menentang pemerintahan Keshogunan Tokugawa telah terbentuk terutamanya dari kalangan keturunan golongan bangsawan Outer Daimyo. Pada tahun 1868, seorang Maharaja yang hanya berusia 16 tahun telah dinaikkan ke takhta bersama dengan sekumpulan penasihat diraja yang berfikiran terbuka untuk menangani kemaraan orang asing di Jepun. Zaman pemerintahan baru ini ialah Zaman Pemerintahan Meiji yang telah memulihkan Maharaja kepada kuasa dan kedudukan asalnya di Jepun. Dengan itu tamatlah sistem feudal di Jepun.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sankin-k%C5%8Dtai