Free «The Difference between a Heian-era Courtier and a Kamakura Samurai in Japanese History» Essay

The Difference between a Heian-era Courtier and a Kamakura Samurai in Japanese History

Japanese history has evolved through several periods over time giving rise to the present modern industrialized Japan. The several Japanese historical periods played different roles in forming the modern day Japan and were all different. Among the historical periods of Japan is the Heian period of the classic and ancient Japan and Kamakura period of feudal Japan.

The Heian period was the long period between 794 and 1191. This is the period where the aristocratic society developed to the fullest extent. The aristocratic families in this period are the ones who held political power. An aristocrat in this age held a court rank and was called a courtier. A courtier inherited these rank from the parents or relatives. The courtiers high up in the rank enjoyed many benefits and a high status among them, social and economic advantages. The dressing, type of carriage and even the fan one carried increased with increase in the ranks. The courtiers interacted with only selected people and were always safe from any harsh conditions or threats on security. Most of them held political offices and were often males (Penn State University).

The Kamakura period on the other hand was the beginning of feudal Japan soon after the Heian period. It was between 1185 and 1333. This period saw the emergence of the samurai class which controlled civil, judicial and military matters. The samurai was a warrior culture and one attained the title shogun or warrior governor when they showed brevity in war. Military art was used in combination with civilian arts. Samurai were always taught to be ready for battle and to have focus and discipline. They used large bows and horses for battle. Samurai served the shugos loyally in return for rewards like land and would sacrifice anything for the shugo. Allegiance was pledged to the shugo and one would even kill his blood brother in war if it could please his lord and give him a higher rank (University of Colorado).

Even though the two periods came to be, one right after the other, considerable differences existed due to the complete change in the way of ruling. This exaggerated the difference between a courtier in the Heian era and a samurai in the Kamakura period.

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