In order to support himself and pay his academic fees many a Japanese has to fall into the ranks of the physical laborer during a part of each day or night.
In 1880 a laborer earning 25 krans, or LI sterling a month, could afford to keep a family; by 1908, in krans, he earned double what he did in 1880, but his wage, expressed in sterling, was the same, and wherever the prices of food have risen more than his wages he could not afford to keep a family.
Later additions to the statute were devised to terrorize the laborer, by adding stripes and branding to his punishment, if he still remained recalcitrant or absconded.
Nevertheless the struggle turned gradually to the advantage of the laborer, and ended in the creation of the sturdy and prosperous farming yeomanry who were the strength of the realm for several centuries to come.
As the world grows richer, people will care more about how their food is made, how the animals are treated, whether the laborer who picked the food is paid a living wage.