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samurai population was by no means equal. While samurai to the total population is roughly samurai ratio of about 40 per cent. The economic burden in such samurai kept living on the land - the gōshi (village samurai), samurai were ranked according to a meticulous hierarchy was also the basis on samurai who, as samurai were much more numerous than their West­

the average number of estimated at 6 to 7 per cent, Satsuma, as an extreme case, had a cases was of course heavy indeed, though a certain proportion

The village, which consisted of owner peasants as well as semiserfs, tenants, and increasingly also landless labourers, was organ­ ised in the so-called 'five-men-groups' consisting of several families of owners with joint responsibility not only for the tax deliveries but also for the general social and moral behaviour of their members. The father and head of the owner-family had dictatorial powers over his family and thus constituted the last link in a rigidly hierarchical and authoritarian structure where orders from above were strictly enforced, all backed up by tradi­ tion and Confucian precepts. Deviants and offenders could be harshly punished, ostracism and expulsion being among the most severe sanctions. The bakufu (and the daimyō imitated it) issued meticulously detailed decrees prescribing what a peasant could wear, how he could build his house, what furnishings he could use, and even what he could eat - all this in order to keep peasants from consuming too much of the produce of their land.