The remnant population of the aboriginal inhabitants of Nippon. They are a
caucasoid race larger than the Nipponese. The men are hairy and sport thick
beards. Women wear decorative tattoos around their mouths and on their
Ainu skin color is light while hair color is dark. Eye color ranges from
light brown to a striking golden color. Their population have been pushed
into the northern reaches of the main island of Honshu and onto the northern
island of Hokkaido, borth generally considered inhospitable by the
They have little to do with the everyday world of the samurai.
The dominant caste in Nippon. It is primarily composed of samurai but
includes petty land-owners and the ronin (disfranchised
samurai). Members of this caste are accorded the priviledge of
wearing the dai-sho ("long-short"), a pair of swords consisting of
the katana and the wakizashi.
People who are technically outside the castes of Nippon. They are the lowest
of the low and society assigns them all of the dirty, unpleasant, and
ritually impure tasks.
The lower caste of Nipponese society. Westerners sometimes refer to these
folk as peasants, but this caste includes what Europeans would describe as
the "middle class" as well. In order of descending social standing, it
includes farmers, artisans and craftspeople, and lowly merchants.
Note on Nipponese society: The reason why farmers, artisans and
craftspeople are socially ranked over the merchants, are that farmers make
things grow from the ground (and are revered for that), while artisans and
craftspeople take something (whether tangible or intangible), and make it
more desireable, by for instance painting pleasing pictures on pieces of
paper. The lowly merchants merely make money on other's prowess by selling
merchandise, essentially not displaying any skill worthy of mention.
The Imperial nobles. They rank higher socially than the buke, yet
have no real power. Most are bureaucrats within the withered Imperial
structure or jaded dilettantes.
The military elite dominating the country as feudal overlords. Specifically,
it describes those members of the buke deriving their income from service
to a higher lord or by virtue of their own status as great land-owners.
Their ethics pervade much of the society.