In feudal Japan, the term ronin was used to describe a Japanese samurai without a master. Left alone due to the death of his lord, or loss of his privilege, a ronin was a warrior adrift, roaming at large, free from the constraints of loyalty. Expressed by two characters that literally mean floating and man, the term in Japanese culture invokes a sense of tragedy and failure, a disgraced entity at the edge of society. Today, the Japanese use it to describe students who failed their college entrance exam and must try again, living masterless until they pass.
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