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Describe the structure of Japanese society under the feudal system.

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With the weakening of central power in Japan, shoguns emerged. Even though the emperor was formally at the top of the government, he had not had real power. Shoguns, who had real power assigned land to smaller vassals in exchange for military service in times of need. These smaller vassals were called daimyo. They further divided the land to lower warriors called samurai. Below the samurai class was merchants, artists, and peasants who made up 75 percent of the population. The peasants produced on the estates of the samurai, sometimes they would serve as soldiers, and in rare cases, they could become samurai. At the bottom of society were the merchants because they were thought to be interested only in profit and not their own labor, yet they were richer than the peasants.

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