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was definitely from top to bottom, and the people at the bottom, the merchant class, became thus a meek, though not always enthusiastic, imitator of the samurai class which was highly conscious of its role as model for the common man.

Unquestioning obedience which the samurai owed their feudal lords, found its way into all classes. Society was regarded as strictly vertically ordered. Of the five relations, according to Con­ fucian thinking (ruler-subject, father-son, husband-wife, elder brother-younger brother, friend and friend), four are strictly vertical with similar implications of obedience. Thus Kaibara Ekken could write:

The child must accept in silence the censure of his elders. He must listen respectfully to what they say whether it is right or wrong. However violent and insulting their language may be, he must not show the slightest trace of anger or resentment.'20