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Bayushi Shoju 
Bayushi Shoju.jpg 
Born: Unknown 
Died: 1123 
Died after return: 1127 
Siblings: Bayushi Aramoro (half) 
Spouse: Bayushi Kachiko 
Children: Bayushi Dairu (adopted),
Un-named son died immediately after birth 
Titles: Scorpion Clan Champion, Emperor of Rokugan

Bayushi Shoju was born horribly disfigured and lame in his right arm. Despite this, he was a powerful daimyo of the Scorpion Clan, although he was never seen without his mask. He was an exceptionally skilled left-handed duelist, and also a good political strategist. Despite his assassination of an Emperor, Shoju was viewed as one of the greatest Scorpion Clan Champions by his fellow Scorpion.

Early Life[]


Shoju was the first child of his parents, but his mother died during childbirth. After years his father took a Yogo Shugenja wife, who gave birth to a second son, Bayushi Aramoro. [1] Kiko was the old maiden who attended Shoju since his birth. [2]

Right arm[]

The right arm was disabled because an accident in his birth, and his father's shugenja tattooed Shoju's shoulder with a dark tattoo. Every morning the magic imbued in the tattoo restored the withered arm to life, despite the pain it inflicted. [2]

Childhood incident[]

In 1103, when Shoju was just a child, he went out onto a balcony to watch a parade at Kyuden Bayushi. As he moved closer to the precipice, he slipped and fell, catching the edge of the wall. Shoju managed to slowly pull himself up the wall, fingers bleeding. When he heaved himself over the edge, he saw his father standing there watching him impassively. The Scorpion Champion stated as he walked away - "If you had not been strong enough to help yourself, you would not be worth saving." [3]


He was cousin of Bayushi Uchinore, and uncle of his son, Tsuruchi. [4] He was cousin of Bayushi Tetsuo [2] and Bayushi Hisa. [5]


Aramoro was strong and handsome, unlike Shoju. But he was the younger son, and he knew he had to serve where Shoju had to rule. The rivalry was a quiet one, Aramoro knew his place. The two brothers both met Shosuro Kachiko at the same time, and Aramoro felt in love. He wrote poems, sent gifts and took long walks with her, but in the end, she chose Shoju. [1]

Clan Champion[]

Clan Champion Shoju

Father's Death[]

In the Imperial Palace Shoju's father was challenged to death by a Lion who claimed he was seeking 'truth'. Shoju assembled an army and took the victory in the battlefield against the Lion's forces. The young Scorpion Champion defeated his father's murderer in personal combat, and told the Lion that his men had betrayed him, giving his battle plans to the Scorpion. Shoju beheaded the man with his family's sword. [3]

Deception master[]

Shoju had never been seen wearing the same mask twice, and his clothes were always exquisite and slightly deceptive. They were cut and weighted to give him the illusion of movement even when he was standing still. [6]


Itsuwari, the Ancestral Sword of the Scorpion, was not usually carried by the Bayushi Daimyo, and instead entrusted the blade to another, so the location of the sword remained a mystery. [7] In the early 12th century Bayushi Shoju broke the tradition and took the blade from his legitimate guardian, his cousin Shosuro Taberu. [8] More than any other daimyo, Shoju had heard the siren song of the other sword locked in the bowels of Bayushi castle, Ambition, one of the four Bloodswords crafted by Asahina Yajinden. Shoju kept Itsuwari close to him to keep away Ambition's invitation. [7]

Killing his cousin[]

Scorpion and Lion Clans were displeased with the engagement between Shoju's cousin, Uchinore, and his pregnant Lion lover, Akodo Tameko. They had a child, Tsuruchi, that was treated as a bastard in the Scorpion Clan whe he grew. Finally in 1107 Shoju sent assassins to kill them all, and a Lion army took the family castle, Kyuden Ashinagabachi. Tsuruchi survived the plot. [4]

Wife and Child[]

Shoju married Kachiko in 1114, shortly after the conclusion of the winter court, [9] despite the fact she was already engaged to Hiruma Maruku. Kachiko's father granted the Scorpion Clan Champion's request to marry his daughter, and the dispute with Maruku was solved when Doji Hoturi killed him in a duel. [10] [11]

Some time shortly after their marriage, Kachiko gave birth to a boy, Bayushi Dairu. Shoju knew that the boy was not his and Kachiko couldn't lie to him when he asked. Kachiko revealed that Doji Hoturi was the father, and Shoju swore that he would always be his enemy. [12]

Loss of a Son[]

His wife was with child, and bore a son. The midwife gave the news to Shoju, but unfortunately the infant who would become the Scorpion heir over Dairu's rights died immediately after the birth. When the woman appointed to help with the delivery pointed out that Kachiko was alive, and that Shoju still had his firstborn son, Dairu, the Scorpion Champion beheaded the midwife on the spot. [13]

Topaz Championship - 1118[]

In 1118 [9] Shoju and Kachiko attended a Topaz Championship as watchers, honoring the Emperor Hantei XXXVIII the tournament with his presence. Bayushi Sugai, nephew of his wife, had been accepted as a contender. [14] The Emperor had proclaimed these games to be in her honor for the devotion she had shown to him and his son after the death of the Empress. [15] During the event it was found that the Badger Clan Champion, Ichiro Akitomo had been assassinated. [16]

Scorpion Coup[]

Bayushi Shoju

Discovery of the Prophecies of Uikku[]

In 1122 a group of Yogo attempted to map out a deep chasm located in the Bayushi's Labyrinth. They found a cave with scrolls, weapons, and items of jade and gold. Yogo Junzo was entrusted by Shoju to oversee the excavations, and he remained home from the Emperor's winter court in order to assess the items. [17] Troubled by nightmares, Bayushi Shoju traveled to the bowels of Kyuden Bayushi in search of the answers his dreams said lay there. After fighting through unknown horrors, Shoju came upon a scroll containing the ancient Prophecies of Uikku. [18]

Devising the Coup[]

Due to his readings of the Prophecies of Uikku found in the chasm, [19] Shoju determined that the last Hantei Emperor would bring the downfall of Rokugan, so he instigated a plot to assassinate Emperor Hantei XXXVIII. Shoju would use Bayushi Togai, a Scorpion whose ancestry from the Dragon Clan made him immune to poison, to poison the Emperor before killing him with his blade. [20]

Meeting with Togashi[]

As all the other Scorpion Clan Champions Shoju knew the true nature of the Dragon Clan Champion, Tamashii of the Kami Togashi. [21] Shoju requested the current vessel of Togashi, Togashi Yokuni, to visit him in an attempt to gain insight in the path he must take. After Togashi left, Shoju immediately retired to his chambers. [22]

“If you do this, a bloodline will end. If you succeed, the Empire will be saved.”
-Togashi Yokuni [23]


Shoju had feared Lion Clan Champion Akodo Toturi's leadership and tactical brilliance, and enlisted his wife Bayushi Kachiko in a plot to elminiate the Lion. Kachiko used the geisha Hatsuko to lower Toturi's guard, and shortly before the Scorpion Coup ordered Hatsuko to poison Toturi. [24] With the removal of the Toturi, Shoju expected the Lion, led by Matsu Tsuko, would be too concerned by the Crane Clan to notice the attack on the capital. The Crab Clan would not risk leaving the Kaiu Kabe undermanned and bring only a small force. The Unicorn Clan would arrive too late to dislodge the Scorpion from the capital. The Dragon Clan would be prevented from learning of the coup thanks to assassins preventing messengers reaching Shiro Mirumoto. Lastly the pacifistic Phoenix would be no threat to the Scorpion. [25]

Contingency Plans[]

Shoju gave Itsuwari, the Ancestral Sword of the Scorpion to a Scorpion magistrate, Bayushi Yojiro. He had to keep it safe even in the case the coup failed. Yojiro was to distance himself from the Scorpion and would be seen as a traitor by his own people. [26] [27] [28]

Start of the Coup[]

"I have found an ancient prophecy. It says the greatest among us will cause the Empire to fall and release an ancient evil into the world. I need your blessing to take every action necessary to avoid this fate."

The Death of Hantei XXXVIII

Shoju, who had the complete trust of the Emperor, and had aided him to firmly control the Empire, [30] met with Emperor Hantei XXXVIII in 1123 on the night of the Scorpion Coup, and told him of the prophecy. Shoju asked for permission to take action to prevent the dire events the prophecy predicted, and the Emperor agreed. Shoju revealed that it was the Hantei who would bring about the return of Fu Leng, and killed the Emperor. [29] A dead body supposedly of the Imperial Heir Hantei Sotorii was shown to Shoju, who declared himself the new Emperor, [31] Shoju the First, but he was not recognized by any of the other Great Clans. [32]

Unknown to him, however, the Emperor's son had escaped the purge thanks to Isawa Kaede. [33] This would eventually lead to the events that Shoju had sought to prevent.[citation needed]

Initial Reactions[]

Shoju the First, the usurper

There was a mixed response from the other clans when news spread of the assassination. Matsu Tsuko condemned the events in their entirety, [34] as did Shinjo Yokatsu [35] and Doji Satsume. [36] Togashi Yokuni merely observed the capital, saying nothing one way or the other, and Shiba Ujimitsu argued that Shoju could still be reasoned with. [37]

Initial Success[]

Despite the arrival of the Enemy forces, most notably the Unicorn Clan, being quicker than Shoju had anticipated, the Scorpion Clan maintained a strong hold on the capital initially. The first Unicorn attack of Otaku Battle Maidens was turned aside by Soshi Bantaro, who used the magic in the wall of Otosan Uchi itself. [38]


The geisha Hatsuko had fallen in love with Toturi, and used a paralyzing poison rather than the one she had been given by Kachiko. Toturi survived and recovered, and made his way to the capital where he led the united clans against Shoju. [24]


Shoju's final hope remained with the Crab Clan and their champion Hida Kisada. Shoju asked for Kisada's aid, hoping the Crab would join his side when they arrived. [39] With the support of the Crab the Scorpion could win the day, but as the Crab army arrived it flew the colors of the Emperor, and Shoju knew he could no longer win. [24] Unknown to Shoju, it was the act of asking for aid that caused Kisada to side against the Scorpion Clan. [40]


Shoju told his wife that without the Crab's aid, the Coup was lost. Kachiko was ordered to set aside the seppuku blade. She had to endure, to seduce the young Hantei Sotorii, who would be the next Emperor. Becoming his concubine, she would be able to destroy him. Shoju knew it was the only way he actually would keep safe the Empire from what the prophecy unfolded. [32]

Defeated by the Clans[]

As the clans began uniting against Shoju, and bringing their combined forces to bear upon the Scorpion defenses, crack began to appear. Finally the united clans breached the defenses, and Shoju made his way to the Throne room where he knew the final confrontation would take place. [41]


Shoju's Death

On the sixth day of the coup, Shoju sent his personal guard to Palace Gates to fight with their brothers. He was alone when Akodo Toturi confronted him in the Imperial Throne Room, even the voices of the sword Ambition had disappeared this day. [13] Shoju, realizing the error in his ways, cleaved the bloodsword Ambition into the Imperial Throne, shattering it. Toturi, capitalizing on Shoju's actions, killed the usurper. This action weighed heavily on Toturi afterwards. [2]

Last Words[]

While dying on the blade of Toturi's sword Shoju whispered a forewarning: [42]

The Empire will fall by the hand of the Last Hantei, and one day soon you will see what I have seen - a future where the Empire is ruled by blood and the Taint of the Shadowlands.
-Shoju's Last Words [42]

Return of the Fallen Lord[]

Shoju's Corpse[]

Hantei XXXIX had condemned the traitor Shoju, denying him the honorable cremation rites of a samurai and ordering his corpse be treated like that of a common eta. [43] When Shoju's corpse was cast upon a heap of Scorpion dead, Soshi Bantaro returned to the Imperial City and stole the corpse. He used magic to transport himself and the body to Kyuden Bayushi. [44]

Black Scroll[]

The Returned Shoju

In 1127 the ninth Black Scroll, the Return of the Fallen Lord, was gifted by a Kitsu Shugenja to Kachiko, who in turn passed it to Soshi Bantaro. [45] She forbade Bantaro from using it, but he read the scroll and summoned Shoju back to Ningen-do. Shoju returned, but was now undead. [46] He enacted several orders to preapre a fearsome army for him, but before leaving Otosan Uchi, Shoju requested to see his wife. [47]

Killed Again[]

In 1127 Bantaro arranged for a meeting between Kachiko and her husband, but neglected to explain the circumstances of his return. [48] [49] When Kachiko met the undead only the presence of Bayushi Tasu saved her from Shoju's vile caresses [50] in his attempt to carry his wife into the land of the dead. [51] Tasu killed the undead Shoju and Bantaro. [52]

Restless Spirit[]

Shoju did not join the realm of the Honored Ancestors upon his death. Though he attacked Otosan Uchi with noble intentions, his defiance of the Celestial Order caused his soul to be cast into Gaki-do, the Realm of the Hungry Dead. There, he was forced to wander until he was absolved. Shoju's hunger turned him into something rarely seen among the Gaki of that Spirit Realm. [53] As Shozai-gaki [54] he hungered for courage, which he had an abundance of while alive. He was a true Scorpion, fully aware that his path would lead to personal dishonor and ruin, but persevered to do what he thought was his duty: stop the return of Fu Leng by killing the Emperor, a good friend who he had served loyally his whole life. For many years he wandered through Gaki-do and Rokugan, looking for suitable souls, which he inspired to great deeds of bravery-- deeds which fed his hungry soul. Proud of the good he can do, Bayushi Shoju realized his punishment could have been far worse; the Fortunes showed great mercy towards him. Some Scorpion know what happened to Shoju, but none admit it. To them he would always be a Shiryo, sent to the blessed fields of Yomi. Saying otherwise risked swift retaliation from the Scorpion. [55]

Legion of the Dead[]

Though he was remembered as a regicide, the Legion of the Dead found a place for Shoju to fight the Legion of Blood. A spirit who could inspire courage in the living is a weapon of incomparable value, no matter what his past deeds might be. Though many look upon the tormented gaki with mistrust, his place among them could not be denied. [53] As the two forces initially battled for control over the newly forming realm in 1166, Isawa Tsuke released a massive explosion intending to stop the First Oni, but it also disrupted the realm and knocked everyone in it into private memories of critical choices in their lives. The Realm of Thwarted Destiny was testing each of them, to see if they would embrace their destines or reject them. The realm could become a place where those who failed their destinies could repeat their failures for eternity or a place where those who failed could embrace their fates and find redemption. [56]

Lost in the Mists[]

After Shoju had a vision of the day he killed the Emperor, he sensed a great hunger, stronger as his own, from the Shadow Dragon. They pondered their past deeds and the Shadow Dragon left his presence. [57]

Peace at Last[]

The end of Shoju's penance came about when he found Bayushi Kwanchai, who was then the master of the Dark Sword of Bitter Lies. Though Kwanchai did not recognize Shoju for who the ghost had been in life, he allowed Shoju to stand by and watch as he prepared to condemn himself to an eternity of torture in order to seal a gate to Gaki-Do in the Imperial City. The selfless valor of this act was the last thing that Shoju needed to complete his penance, allowing him to escape his fate and pass on to whatever fate awaited him, after he swore Kwanchai's daughter would grew strong and proud, watching over her all his days. [58]


Kwanchai's sacrifice had redeemed Shoju's soul, who eventually reincarnated [59] in Bayushi Nitoshi, son of Bayushi Paneki and future Scorpion Champion. [60] Nitoshi eventually died as a Rokugani heroe against the rebellious Spider leader, Daigotsu Kanpeki. The duel happened in the Imperial Throne Room, with many similaries with the one that Shoju had during the Coup. [61]

See also[]

External Links[]

Preceded by:
Scorpion Clan Champion
? - 1123
Succeeded by:
Bayushi Kachiko
Preceded by:
Emperor of Rokugan
Succeeded by:
Hantei XXXIX

Sources Conflict
The sources relating to this article are in conflict with each other.
A Gaijin's Guide to Rokugan, Part 3 and The Scorpion Clan incorrectly state that Shoju survived the Coup, and was executed by the Emerald Champion. Shoju was killed by Toturi, and the Emerald Champion was either dead or dying at this point.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Way of the Scorpion, pp. 52-53
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Scorpion (Legend of the Five Rings: Clan War, First Scroll), by Stephen D. Sullivan
  3. 3.0 3.1 Otosan Uchi: The Scorpion's Sting, p. 52
  4. 4.0 4.1 Tsuruchi, by John Wick
  5. Way of the Wolf, p. 77
  6. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 178
  7. 7.0 7.1 Way of the Scorpion, p. 94
  8. Way of the Scorpion, p. 62
  9. 9.0 9.1 Imperial Histories, p. 127
  10. Way of the Crane, pp. 14-17
  11. Way of the Scorpion, p. 55
  12. Way of the Scorpion, p. 57
  13. 13.0 13.1 Otosan Uchi: The Scorpion's Sting, p. 53
  14. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, pp. 209-210
  15. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 218
  16. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 213
  17. Winter Court: Kyuden Seppun, pp. 85-86
  18. The Scorpion Clan Coup, by Mike Liesik Empire League Season III (Imperial Herald #16)
  19. Yogo Shidachi (Honor Bound Foil Chase Cards flavor)
  20. Autumn Nightfall, by Ree Soesbee
  21. Way of the Scorpion, pp. 26-27
  22. Winter Court: Kyuden Seppun, p. 84
  23. Imperial Histories, p. 131
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 A Gaijin's Guide to Rokugan, Part 3
  25. Rulebook Story (Scorpion Clan Coup)
  26. Secrets of the Scorpion, p. 18
  27. Otosan Uchi: The Scorpion's Sting, p. 4
  28. Ambition’s Price, By Ree Soesbee
  29. 29.0 29.1 Flyer (Scorpion Clan Coup, Scroll 1)
  30. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, pp. 217-218
  31. Otosan Uchi: The Scorpion's Sting, pp. 18-19
  32. 32.0 32.1 Siege: Clan War (Rulebook story)
  33. Clan Letter to the Phoenix Clan (Imperial Herald v2 #4)
  34. Clan Letter to the Lion Clan (Imperial Herald v2 #4)
  35. Clan Letter to the Unicorn Clan (Imperial Herald v2 #4)
  36. Clan Letter to the Crane Clan (Imperial Herald v2 #4)
  37. Clan Letter to the Scorpion Clan (Imperial Herald v2 #4)
  38. The Unicorn's Charge
  39. Flyer (Scorpion Clan Coup, Scroll 3)
  40. Clan Letter to the Crab Clan (Imperial Herald v2 #4)
  41. The Fall of the Scorpion
  42. 42.0 42.1 Player's Guide; 2nd Ed, p. 68
  43. Way of the Wolf, p. 110
  44. Way of the Wolf, p. 117
  45. Time of the Void, p. 33
  46. Bayushi Shoju (Forbidden Knowledge)
  47. Time of the Void, p. 35
  48. Time of the Void, p. 35
  49. Soshi Bantaro Exp (Crimson and Jade flavor)
  50. Bayushi Tasu (Crimson and Jade flavor)
  51. Kemmei (Fire and Shadow Foil Chase Cards flavor)
  52. Time of the Void, p. 143
  53. 53.0 53.1 The Legion of the Dead: The Usurper
  54. Creatures of Rokugan: Third Edition, p. 106
  55. Enemies of the Empire, p. 275
  56. Legions, Part III, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  57. Legions, Part IX
  58. Vengeance, by Shawn Carman
  59. Third Leg of the Race for the Throne: Scorpion Temptation result
  60. Bayushi Nitoshi (Emperor Boxtext)
  61. Blood Moons, by Mari Anne Murdock

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