term, used in Legend of the Five Rings
as a way to rationalize the Rokugan
i caste system
. An individual's trade is the best determination of their place in the order.
- Amaterasu and Onnotangu, the two gods that created the universe, rank the highest of every creature. Everyone pays homage to them.
- The Kami, sons and daughters of Amaterasu and Onnotangu, follow their parents. While they were the ones responsible for civilizing the newly-created humanity, they still rank below Mom and Dad.
- The Fortunes rank below the Kami, having been mortals that were elevated to divine status by the Emperors.
- After the Fortunes, the samurai caste holds position. Although they are not gods like those above them, they are still responsible for ruling the lower classes. Member of the samurai caste include the daimyos, shugenja, the samurai who fight and die on the battlefields, and the courtiers who rule the courts.
- Heimin are those who are ruled. While they enjoy the protection of the celestial order to a degree, they are the lowest tier of the celestial order, and are subject to the whims of the samurai. As such, a heimin will go to lengths to avoid displeasing them.
- Hinin are those who are not protected by the celestial order. Geisha, bandits, eta and the like can be killed without any legal repercussions.
While it is certainly possible to be demoted from one's place in the celestial order, it is unlikely. A samurai
would commit seppuku
rather than lose that much honor. The heimin
, however, can and do turn to banditry
, which is essentially removing oneself from the caste
As rare as it is to be demoted, it is even rarer to be promoted. The only way one usually obtains a position higher than the one they were born to is to have fulfilled your dharma
in life and to be reborn into a higher caste
- although there are tales of heimin
who have gained samurai
status with extrodinary valor.