For our purposes, we can divide the population into four primary groups. As it is inevitable the the language of this discussion will be prejudicial if someone were to wish to misunderstand, or to take it out of context, I will make no attempt to pretty it up… instead, I am going to embrace those terms as much for their ancient connotations as the definitions I will bestow upon them.
These are based on the terms as I understand them now… they may not be strictly accurate in their origin… but the definitions as I give them for our use are completely so.
Note: kwazoki, nobility, dominant, alpha
These terms represent those who aspire to rule others in some way, or those equipped to do so. Generally speaking, these people have a strongly developed alphaness inside them.
It is interesting to note that there is much variation inside this group, in fact, more variation than in many others. We are speaking basically of those people who are rulers by nature. The ability to rule, to lead others to your will, to inspire others to desire to serve you is a rare one.
Group 1: Daimyo, Lord, Master (King is the Estate piece definition)
This is the head of a household or domain. Technically, a daimyo is an example of the nobility in European terms, though the Japanese concepts are somewhat in conflict. For us, we will consider this group as members of the kwazoki with a calling to establish dominion over some place.
Those called to be daimyo are often also powerfully called to the responsibilities that come with domain, enjoying the challenges and rewards that come from taking primary responsibility for the sweeping choices that so often effect the paths of entire lives.
It is probably this responsibility that explains why few of the kwazoki move to establish dominion of their own even when they have the abilities to do so… consider it a special kind of addiction.
Group 2: Kwazoki, Vassal, Noble, Dominant (Primarily drawn to Queen, occasionally Knight or Rook) – An incredibly complex group to define… here we are looking at natural alpha’s who chose to serve, or who have a deep seated desire to serve.
The reasons why someone with a strong alpha streak may chose to serve are as varied as the individuals involved… and yet, that service detracts nothing from the alpha qualities in that person… they simply place that ability to command at the service of their lord.
One explanation often heard is that they can enjoy the vast majority of the perks that come from being accorded respect and some degree of authority over the gentry and the peasantry, without the responsibilities that rise from dominion. They often shakes their heads wondering why someone would chose to take control over entire other lives, and they rarely wish to be bothered with such a level of effort for what they see as little gain. They may be correct 🙂
The historical precedent that I use internally most often for this type of arrangement is that of the samurai. We are speaking of a person who would never show weakness, a person who was prepared to slit their own belly and die in agony before the any could command their fealty through threat or force.
Yet, that same group, when they found a lord they chose to serve would dedicate their lives to that service. Not from weakness, but from strength. A person who could easily establish a domain of their own, the Samurai would often chose rather to serve because they were called to it.
In this then, we must consider that we do not know exactly what calls one member of the kwazoki to serve another, but we do know that it is highly specific and often not understood even by the individuals involved. However, this circumstance is proving to be not uncommon.
In fact it is even more complex than a simple comparison of the (a) or ‘alphaness’ of those involved in the transaction. While there is generally a hierarchy arising from the relative alpha qualities of any group of Kwazoki in any given group that manifests itself almost exclusively in terms of respect and not in service or fealty.
Group 3: Shizoku, Gentry, Submissive (Drawn to Rook, Knight, Bishop)
In 1878, when the terms daimyo and samurai were declared dead during the restructuring of Japanese society, the terms kwazoki and shizoku were used to replace them. However, over time kwazoki came to mean nobility in general, and shizoku to mean the gentry class.
The gentry are essentially freepersons. They chose their lords, if they serve them, for their own reasons and they are fully capable of surviving and prospering in the absence of a lord… though they may crave to serve that service is always a choice.
This is commonly what the BDSM community speaks of when they talk about submissives… especially those who retain the unilateral right to termination of their contract and relationship.
Group 4: Serf, Peasantry, Slave (Drawn to Pawn, Rook)
As rare in reality as opposed to the fantasies many gentry hold the slave should not be thought of as weak by definition.
A slave considers themselves to be the absolute property of their lord and to the extent that humans are capable of they do not judge the actions of that lord. This is in sharp contrast to the gentry who serve with one eye always on the qualifications of who they serve.
The serf does not generally aspire to any power over others. Though they will generally accept and enjoy the status that is accorded them by virtue of seniority or their skillset, they rarely seek to managerial positions in a household.
Note: This essay was updated on 09/29/2001 to correct certain terminology inconsistencies