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Shogunate Japan: Samurai vs. Knights

A resource guide for the Year 8 History Samurai assignment

man with steel and chainmail armor holding sword

Source: Henry Hustava

Samurai and knights were both incredibly important to the societies they existed in, and both were considered fierce warriors. But which one would win in a fight? Read through the resources below, and through the samurai tab above, to learn everything you need to know to decide.

Medieval knight (World History Encyclopaedia, 2018, November 7)

Knights were the most-feared and best-protected warriors on the medieval battlefield, while off it, they were amongst the most fashionably dressed and best-mannered members of society. To reach this elevated position, however, became more and more challenging as the Middle Ages wore on because the elite wished to maintain their exclusive status. This article discusses knights in detail, including training, manners, service to a lord and weapons and armour.

Feudalism in Japan and Europe (ThoughtCo, 2020, February 6)

Although Japan and Europe did not have any direct contact with one another during the medieval and early modern periods, they independently developed very similar class systems, known as feudalism. Feudalism was more than gallant knights and heroic samurai—it was a way of life of extreme inequality, poverty, and violence. This article discusses their similarities and differences in detail.

Knighthood training (Lords and Ladies, 2017)

Knighthood training was a long and often arduous process. Knighthood training began in early childhood when a basic education and good manners and rules of etiquette were taught at home. Read through this website to learn more.

Medieval armour and shields (Medieval Chronicles, n.d.)

During the medieval period between the 5th and 15th century army units would wear different types of medieval armour depending on their role, but mostly the armour consisted of mail or chain mail and much later full plate. Read through this website to learn more.

Feudalism and knights in medieval Europe (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001, October)

From the ninth to the early eleventh centuries, invasions of the Magyars from the east, Muslims from the south, and Vikings from the north struck western Europe. This unrest ultimately spurred greater unity in England and Germany, but in northern France centralized authority broke down and the region split into smaller and smaller political units. By the ninth century, many knights and nobles held estates (fiefs) granted by greater lords in return for military and other service. This feudal system (from the medieval Latin feodum or feudum, fee or fief) enabled a cash-poor but land-rich lord to support a military force. This article discusses feudalism and knights at length.

Knights and samurai: comparing the feudal structures of Japan and Europe (Owlcation, 2016, October 1)

The feudal system is a term for the economic, political and social structures that governed Europe during the Middle Ages; but halfway across the world in Japan, very similar structures were in place. Read this article to learn more about the two societies.