Social structure wise It appears they were at the bottom in Wakayama when Kanbun began teaching. This is not surprising as immigrants of a somewhat recently conquered island. I know in Iaido you line up by rank but also by time in grade, or who began training first. There is nothing I've read that contradicts Kanbun rarely if ever did kata in their entirety. I think we have to assume Kanei began emphasizing the practice of doing full kata. This may correspond to the movement from Karate-Jutsu to Karate-do, and getting it accepted into Japanese society and the Japanese budo world.
I think this is fine in that it has served to preserve many arts that would otherwise have been lost such as Kenjutsu and Jiu-jitsu. Not to mention other Do's such as the non martial-tea ceremony, etc...