17th Century in the Orient

17th Century in the Orient

Although China and Japan are both located in Asia and therefore share several oriental characteristics in common, these Post-Classical era civilizations were by no means identical. Brandishing similar social hierarchies, economic structures, and political systems, the two civilizations had many subtle and often not-so-subtle differences.

Socially, Japan centered around the Shogunate system in which life revolved around honoring the emperor while maintaining a family's personal honor. The samurai, likened to the knight in western European culture, was one of the most admired figures in Japanese society. While Post-Classical China was also imperial in nature, China lacked the Samurai system and instead relied heavily on a national army and mercenaries. Additionally, both civilizations were patriarchal and granted women few opportunities, although Hein Japan was certainly more permissive about a woman's education than China was in the habit of being.

In regards to economic structure, both were extensive traders and agriculturalists (it was not until the late 1600s that Japan adopted an isolationist policy). China, however, had a much more extensive and intensive trade relationship with the rest of the world who coveted commodities such as rice, silk, and, later on, gunpowder. Japan's offerings were more modest in comparison, with their pearls highly sought by European jewelers and artisans. Japan was also more closed, in an agricultural respect, trying to remain as self-sufficient as possible. It would not be until the close of the 17th century that they would become reliant upon Dutch and Portuguese traders for food after they had depleted many of their own natural resources, including the mystic and much venerated snow leopard, whom they depended upon for fur and as the source of legendary folklore. China, however, looked to Europe and the Middle East for many foods and technologies.

As for their political systems, both were imperial and patriarchal, but...

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