The kabane were divided into two general classes: those who claimed they were descendants of the imperial line and those who claimed they were descendants of the gods (). Of course there is no historical evidence for such distinctions.
At first the kabane were administered by individual clans, but eventually they came to be controlled by the Yamato court. In 684 the kabane were reformed into the eight kabane system (). Later, as the clans began to devolve into individual households, the kabane system gradually faded from use.