In olden days the term rounin (浪人) was used for people who wandered into a separate province from the land in which they were enrolled on the census. They were also called furou (vagabonds). In short, it was possible for any of the populace to become this kind of rounin (浪人). On the other hand, the term rounin (牢人) pronounced the same way but written using different kanji, was used for samurai who left their employer's house, or perhaps lost their employer, and therefore lost their salary/retainer's stipend. During the Edo period the number of these masterless samurai rounin (牢人) surged everywhere, thus the terms became confused and vagabond samurai rounin (牢人) came to be known as rounin (浪人). Samurai rounin (牢人) were permitted to bear a surname and to wear a sword but they lived a hand to mouth existence in poverty and rented accomodation. Hence, these characters are often drawn with a shabby appearance when they appear in manga and anime.