An Artisan

Artisan was a catch-all term for those who were devoted to the pursuit of some form of art or craft. It applied both to actual artists or performers, as well as to most craftsmen who turned raw materials into finished goods. [1]


Most artisans in Rokugan were not members of the nobility; they in fact comprised a whole caste in Rokugani society, below farmers and above merchants. However, there was no shame necessarily associated with a samurai learning such skills; the amazing arts and crafts produced could bring great honor and glory to the clans of those who made such things, and could increase a clan's wealth and prestige. [citation needed]

The first patron of the arts was Lady Doji itself, and it was reflected in every aspect of noble life in the Empire. [2] A patronage system was stablished, and it produced benefits for both the artisan and the patron. [3]

Artists and Performers Edit

Artists who produced beautiful works of art are held in high regard. Because beauty was highly treasured as a virtue by most Rokugani, those who produced such things were highly esteemed. Art was (much as in the real world) a way for those in the Empire to display wealth and good taste, and so many nobles acquired at least a few works of art for themselves.

Performers were equally honored in Rokugan. Poets, writers, playwrights, and musicians of all kinds could immortalize the deeds of a samurai, either making them a hero, or a villain. This alone put them in equal demand as any other artisan; a samurai's career could be made or broken on the word of a good storyteller. [citation needed]

Craftsmen Edit

Of all the many crafts in Rokugan, there were none higher than the weaponsmiths, who forged weapons and armor for warriors to use. Even the simple act of making a helm or spear was of enormous use to any daimyo who did not want to lose his lands to bandits, goblins, or enemy clans.

But while these smiths were the most honored, they were far from the only ones needed by society. Carpenters, masons, woodcarvers, brewers, cooks, tailors, and many others who practiced a trade were sought after if their skill was great. Often, they could mean the difference between a shabby home with few adornments, and a palatial manor with amazing embellishments. [citation needed]

Artisans & The Clans Edit

Crab Edit

The Kaiu family was regarded as the finest engineers in all of Rokugan. Not only were they sought by every other clan to construct the strongholds protecting those clans, but they were also called in to build siege engines to break down said strongholds. [4] The Kaiu were also extremely skilled swordsmiths, and were often compared to the Kakita for the quality of their blades. [5]

Crane Edit

Of all the clans, the Crane could easily boast the greatest number of artisans, and the highest degree of skill among those artisans. The Kakita Academy was the most prestigious art school in the Empire, but equally famous were the Kakita smiths, whose swords were held to be the finest in all of Rokugan. [citation needed]

Dragon Edit

While not entirely known for their artisans, the clan was known for the skill of their alchemists. While most in Rokugan were expressly forbidden to work with gunpowder, the Dragon had been permitted to do limited work with it, mostly for the fireworks they made. [citation needed]

Lion Edit

The most militaristic clan did not produce many artisans other than those who produced armaments for the clan's armies. However, the Ikoma family had some fame as playwrights and writers, as befitted their duties to the Lion. [citation needed]

Mantis Edit

Often overlooked, the Mantis had a large number of artisans skilled in some of the more odd trades. They were unrivaled in shipbuilding, and produced a large amount of silk cloth for the Empire.

Phoenix Edit

Given the scholarly nature of the clan, the Phoenix did not stand out exceptionally as artisans. The one exception were the Shiba, whose illusionists were capable of breathtaking displays that had put even some Crane works to shame. [citation needed]

Scorpion Edit

While they did not produce much art, the clan's Shosuro family did earn some fame (or infamy, depending on who you ask) for their plays and songs. Of course, they also seem to know an awful lot about herbs, especially the more unhealthy kind...

Unicorn Edit

While they did have some skilled artisans, their goods were often undervalued by other Rokugani, especially those made of animal parts (like furs or horns). [citation needed] There was also a very strong oral tradition in the clan, making their performers somewhat unique. [6]

Imperial families Edit

While it was not common for one of these samurai to become an artisan, those who truly desired it normally trained with whatever family they wished to learn from. This was most often the Crane. [citation needed]

Minor Clans Edit

Those with some aptitude for art or craft were often sent to learn from a Great Clan that could help them develop their potential... if the Minor Clan could afford to. For the most part, Minor Clan artisans were found only as commoners; the samurai in these clans were often too few to have time for anything other than more active duties. [citation needed]

Artisan Schools Edit

Clan Family School
Crab Clan Kaiu family Kaiu Engineer [7]
Crane Clan Asahina family Asahina Fire Sculptor
Kakita family Kakita Artisan
Kakita family Kakita Jester (Path)
Kakita family Kakita Iaijutsu Master
Kakita family Kakita Master Artisan
Kakita family Master Sculptor
Dragon Clan Tamori family Tamori Weaponsmith [8]
Mantis Clan Kitsune family Kitsune Artisan
Any Mantis Bushi or Courtier Yoritomo Sculptor (Path)
Phoenix Clan Shiba family Shiba Artisan
Shiba family Shiba Illusionist
Scorpion Clan Any family Scorpion Maskmaker
Oriole Clan Tsi family Tsi Smith
Tsi family Oriole Craftsman
Sparrow Clan Suzume family Suzume Storyteller (Path)
Brotherhood of Shinsei Student of Mizu-Do (Path)

Abilities Edit


  1. Rokugan, p. 65
  2. Way of the Crane, p. 10
  3. Way of the Crane, p. 53
  4. Way of the Crab, p. 39
  5. Way of the Crab, p. 108
  6. Way of the Unicorn, pp. 20-21 Sidebar
  7. Great Clans, p. 39
  8. Book of Earth, p. 196

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