In the class system of the Edo period (1603-1868), the samurai class was the highest, ruling class. ‘Samurai’ means ‘one who serves’ and refers to the military class which arose beginning around the 10th Century AD. For the most part, samurai dominated government and society from the end of the 12th Century. In the Edo period, this class of warriors turned into a bureaucratic class although they did not abandon their original military function. At this time, they composed about 7% of the population in the period and the descendants of samurai dominated Japan well into the 20th Century after the abolition of the feudal classes in the 1870s.