Castes Japanese Feudal Hierarchy

The Japanese society witnessed various form of classification on the basis of different factors. One such way of segregating the society was the caste system. Castes Japanese Feudal hierarchy describes the classification of feudal Japan but on the basis of caste system. Caste system is basically the closed communal stratification system where people of a region inherit their position on the basis of some specific rules that is followed by that area since historical periodicals.

Japan suffered from caste system for many centuries that greatly influenced the Japan. Even the marriage across different caste lines was socially intolerable as well as unacceptable. Actually the caste system in Japan was quite complex. Normally people think it as four tier caste system but in actual practice it also consisted of another caste – Burakumin. The detailed description of the Castes Japanese Feudal hierarchy is described as below in a manner starting with the top most caste levels and ending with the lowest one. Have a quick look –

Castes Japanese Feudal Hierarchy
Castes Japanese Feudal Hierarchy


The Touchable Class

This was the actual four tier caste system of the feudal Japan. These people by any mean were to serve the royal class people including the king, shogun, Japanese royal family and the daimyos. These got further sub divided as –

  • The Samurai – The armies guided by the honorable Daimyos consisted of dominant brave warriors which were known as Samurai in feudal Japan. These were elite warriors for the kingdom. A ‘Samurai’ tag for any Japanese family was considered to bring great respect to the family. A Samurai was even allowed to kill the lower caste people whom he felt discourteous.
  • The Peasants / Farmers – The Farmers or peasants were superior to other caste systems except the Samurai. The reason was that they work in farming fields for producing Japan’s food on which other castes and classes depend upon. The peasant caste further got divided into four parts which are described as below –
    • Furiuri
    • Tanagari
    • Mizunomi
    • Byakusho
  • Craftsmen / Artisans – Their work was with metal and wood and produce products for the Japanese people needs.
  • Merchants – These were shopkeepers and travelling traders. They were considered meanest caste since they did not manufacture any products.

The Untouchable Class / Burakumin

Feudal Japan social hierarchy had its own shunned untouchable caste that was ostracized & disliked by other people. They were referred to as the Burakumin. These Burakumin people had been the victim of harsh discrimination and banishment in the feudal Japan. This was the minority group in feudal Japan. A separate hamlet or village was there in feudal Japan for these outcaste people where they were to live away from other Japanese. Crossing their territory was like a crime in feudal Japan. This outcaste was to take over those occupations that were considered ‘impure’ by the feudal Japanese. This includes profiles like –

  • Executioners
  •  Workers in Slaughterhouses
  • Undertakers
  • Tanners
  •  Butchers