The Bonge is a social class in Rokugan made up of "those who work." This includedes the peasants, merchants and craftsmen, and they are collectively referred to as heimin, or "half-people". Being of lower status than samurai, the members of this class always act politely in the company of those above them in the celestial order.
The higest station within the Bonge was the farmer, whose work fed the Empire. After the farmer, the artisan and then the merchant who, because they did not create anything, were therefore the least worthy.
Some samurai, the Yasuki and Ide in particular, partook in commerce and sidestepped the dishonor of doing so by presenting themselves as merchant patrons. A samurai was there to convince the customer of the worth of the product, and the peasants conducted the lowly business of exchanging coins for the goods.
Heimin could bring charges against other heimin if they felt wronged. The definition of wronged was left entirely up to the samurai's discretion however.
Major References Edit
- Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition Page 28.