European and Japanese Feudalism

Samurai with a sword. This picture is in the public domain.

The quick quiz below will provide an overview of Japanese feudalism and of the expressions that you can use to compare and contrast it with European feudalism.

1 Quick Quiz

2 Handouts

♦ A comparison of medieval Europe and Japan – handout based on the account by Kallie Szczepanski and adapted from

♦ An account of the four-tier class system of medieval Japan – handout adapted from 

3 Expressions for Describing Comparisons and Contrasts

Referring to a comparison:

  • In both cases,…
  • In this way, each society/group/practice is similar
  • Compared to
  • This is comparable to…
  • This practice resembles
  • In both societies, …
  • Another common element is… 
  • In comparison,…
  • also
  • similarly | like

Pointing out a contrast:

  • One distinction is…
  • Knights and samurai warriors differed in their attitudes to…
  • Another difference is…
  • While …, …
  • Whereas …, …
  • In contrast to this, …
  • Attitudes towards …. were different from
  • Despite
  • On the one hand,…; on the other hand…
  • Although… | …though… | however | nevertheless
  • A (key) distinguishing factor is…
  • instead | rather than | unlike
  • yet | but | …, nor

Note that a semicolon [;] is the ideal punctuation mark for pointing a contrast between two people, experiences, social practices or societies. In effect, the semicolon alerts your reader to your intention of revealing the other side of the issue. Here are two examples:

  • On the positive side, Ms Green is generally a helpful and considerate teacher; one criticism, however, is that she has a tendency to ramble on when students wish to concentrate on their work.
  • In medieval Europe, noble women were sometimes considered to be fragile damsels who required protection from heroic knights; according to Japanese custom, in contrast, women were expected to be courageous and to face death without fear.

4 Crossword: Complete it on the full screen here

The photo in the background of the crossword below is from Flickr via Madmrmox.

5 Two Recommended Videos


Khan Academy: Introduction to Japanese Feudalism
(includes references to similarities between Japanese and European Feudalism)


6 Some Recommended Links, all from ThoughtCo


♦ Daimyo

♦ Seppuku

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