Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ronin... A masterless samurai. A rogue.

A ronin (Japanese: rōnin 浪人: literally, wave man - one who is tossed about, like a wave in the sea) was a masterless samurai (samurai means "one who serves") during the feudal period of Japan that lasted from 1185 to 1868.

A ronin is usually a samurai who has either lost his lord as a result of death or accident, or who has been dismissed from his overlord's service. This is a very disgraceful condition and rarely does a ronin find another lord who is willing to accept his fealty. Most ronin become bandits or other law breakers and thus, are greatly feared and assumed to be without honor.

During the Meiji Restoration era, the term ronin took on a new connotation, to include a samurai who had left his domain illegally (usually to fight in the Loyalist movement).