Ronin is the term for a masterless samurai and is written with the characters for ‘floating’ and ‘man’, i.e., a warrior adrift with no lord to serve. During the Warring States period and early Edo period, many samurai lost their masters to defeat or demotion. With no master, the ronin had to seek alternative employment. At the beginning of the Edo period, it is estimated that there were 400,000 ronin. The problem was that these men were armed, out of work, and had a reputation for getting into trouble and so they were encouraged to take employment. Ronin became active again at the end of the Edo period. Taking ronin status meant a samurai could act against the shogunate without getting his lord in trouble. Feudal ronin are frequently portrayed in modern dramas as a romantic group of honorable scoundrels. The term was also used in the early 20th century to refer to Japanese adventurers who took advantage of turmoil in China before World War II. Today, the term is restricted to students who have not passed their university entrance examinations and who spend a year or more attending private cram schools to improve their marks.