Different Ruling Classes in Historical Japan

2 warriors fighting

The Ruling Class of Merchants & Professional Classes

In feudal Japan, there were three major ruling classes: the samurai ruling class, the merchant class, and the peasant class.

Members of the samurai ruling class were nobles or warriors that served in a military capacity. They would have been greatly looked up to by members of other classes. The merchant class was made up of those who made their living through trade and business, which is quite different than what we think of as merchants nowadays. And finally, peasants were those who had no skills or power.

The Warrior Class

Samurai were the ruling class in feudal Japan. They were warriors and not bureaucrats.

Samurai is a Japanese term that refers to those warriors who served as hired retainers to the local nobility and feudal lords of medieval and early-modern Japan.

What was once a hereditary class where Samurai became exclusively hereditary with time, as commoners joined their ranks either through the granting of an honorary title or marriage into a family became much less symbolic.

The samurai can be seen as analogous to medieval knights, but unlike knights, they usually had lower-ranked social status than members of the nobility such as daimyo who ruled over them.

Life as a Samurai

The Farmer Class

The Farmer Class is a fairly new term coined to describe the people who are in charge of tending the land. This class is comprised of those who live on rural farms or villages.

The farmers are one of the three major classes in feudal Japan, with Samurai and Daimyos being the other two. Farmers are often looked down upon by others due to their lower caste within society.

Edo period ruling classes in japan

The Edo period is one of the most fascinating periods in Japanese history. The ruling classes in the period were made up of four main groups:

  1. Shogun
  2. Samurai
  3. Merchants
  4. Artisans

The samurai, who were the warrior class and controlled the government through a system of law and rank-based hierarchy. The shogun, or military dictators, ruled from a militaristic perspective with a focus on power and protection from outside threats. Finally, chonin, or merchants from cities such as Sakai and Nagasaki who governed through economic means such as trade routes and maintaining trade relations with the Dutch East India Company. The social hierarchy in the Edo period in Japan was defined by one’s birth, occupation, and wealth. The Edo period ruling classes in Japan were ranked from the people of the highest rank to the lowest.

The Heian Period in Ancient Japan was a time of peace and prosperity. It lasted from 794 to 1185. In this period, Japanese society was divided into four social classes: samurai, peasants, artisans, and merchants. These four groups made up the Japanese society during the Heian Period.

The Gomi was the working class in Japan. They made goods for the elite class and, in return, they received sustenance from their employers.

When I think of the Gomi, I think of hard-working individuals who went through a lot and eventually got their due when the elite class finally recognized them.

The Kuge class was the ruling elite that controlled politics and governance in ancient Japan. They had a strong influence on society and shaped taxation, trade, and agriculture. They were also given the power of life and death over the lower classes of the population.

Shogunate period ruling classes in japan

The ruling class in the shogunate period in Japan was samurai. Samurai in Japan are members of a warrior aristocracy in pre-industrial Japan who usually lived in clans or family groups. The Samurai had all social classes, from warriors to peasants who worked for them. They were originally recruited to protect their masters, but later the people they ruled needed protection from them as well.

The samurai had a military organization with ranks that could be attained by merit or demerit. The lowest rank was Eta, also called “Heavenly Soldiers.” There were many constraints on the way the samurai could live their lives and one of these was being subject to strict codes of conduct which they must follow – this is called Bushido.

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