Heimin Laborers


Heimin ("half-people") are the labor caste of Rokugan, and without them the Empire could not continue. The subcastes of Heimin, from highest to lowest, were Farmer, Artisan, and Merchant. [1] The Bonge Caste was composed of the Heimin.

Farmer Edit

The Farmer grows the food which feeds the Empire, thus granting them the highest status among the Bonge. If it were not for farmers, the fields would lay fallow and Rokugan would have deteriorated into a mob of scavengers.

Peasant Revolts Edit

Peasant Revolt

Peasant Revolt

From time to time the farmers were so exhausted by taxes, work, or wars, that they revolted against their oppressors in the Samurai Caste. [2] They were called revolutionaries. [3]

Artisan Edit

The next rank among the Heimin was the Artisan, who crafted things for life, though they created comforts, not necessities. While those who build homes and such were valued for their practical creations, the custom of giving gifts ensured that all talents were equally valued. Artisans often had a Samurai Artisan Patron that provided them venues for their wares to be traded, bought, and sold. The process of trade was not conducted by either the Artisan or their patron, as this and all other matters pertaining to the exchange of money and commerce was left to the Merchant sub-caste.

Merchant Edit

The Merchant created nothing by themselves, and constantly dealt in money, which according to Rokugani customs and standards was considered dirty and dishonorable work. Merchants were above the Eta, however, as money was the only unclean thing they handled, unlike the Untouchables. Merchants conducted the process of buying and selling, save in certain highly important cases such as securing the food supply of a Clan where Samurai might have to become involved. Several Merchant families had Merchant Patrons that dealt with the merchants, though the actual monetary exchanges were still done exclusively by the Merchants themselves.

Among the Unicorn Clan, however, the merchant was often valued higher than the farmer, as they had spent several centuries as a nomadic people. Their constant movement made it difficult, if not impossible, to grow their own food, and thus the Merchants were their clan's way of securing food and other needed supplies from the gaijin cultures and societies they encountered.

Heimin and Samurai in the Colonies Edit

Many samurai and peasants died in their first summer in the Colonies and in the Monsoon season that followed, learning that they could not act as two separate groups, but work together to survive. [4]

See also Edit

External Links Edit


  1. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 24
  2. Vacant Throne, pp. 79-80
  3. Souls of Steel, Part 1, by Shawn Carman
  4. Second City - The City, p. 95

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