Please note: This article is about the monk who became Emma-O, the Fortune of Death. For other uses of the term, please see Yama (disambiguation).
Born: Pre-calendar 
Children: Doji Midoru,
Isawa Koizumi 
Titles: Fortune of Death

Emma-O was the Fortune of Death, judge of the underworld, and had ever been the keeper of Meido, the Realm of Waiting. [1] Legends said he was once been the mortal monk Yama.

Appearance Edit

The Fortune looked like little more than a discarded suit of ebony armor, an empty helm where his face should be was covered with one gauntlet. [2]

Origin of Emma-o Edit

Meeting with the Kenku Edit

A legend said that before the Kami fell to earth, once lived a monk, Yama, who met a kenku who was meditating beside Heaven's Mirror. Yama waited with patience several days or weeks, until the Kenku opened his eyes. The next day the monk approached the mythical creature, who said this was his one hundred and eighth reincarnation, and claimed he had been meditating uninterrupted on this spot for exactly one hundred and eight days, one for every mortal temptation, reaching Enlightenment. [3]

Seeking Enlightenment Edit

Because Yama had not interrupted his meditations, which would have foiled his achievement of understanding, the Kenku explained any soul living its one hundred and eighth life could meditate the same number of days and achieve the same enlightenment, and that Yama was in his hundred and eighth life. The Kenku left, and the monk sought out a serene spot above the lake, and began to meditate for one hundred and eight days. [4]

Enlightenment Foiled and Death Edit

On the one hundred and seventh night a group of bandits charged into the clearing, pursuing a deer. Yama's meditation was interrupted, and he saw the deer cut down by the bandits and felt enlightenment slip from him. Angered, the monk called the attention of the intruders. The bandit leader approached Yama and severed his head. [5]

Emma-O is Born Edit

Yama's anger was so great that his spirit rose from his body as a goryo, a vengeful ghost which killed the bandits. The spirit donned the ebony armor of one of the fallen bandits and dragging their spirits all into the realm of Meido so he could be sure of their punishment. Thus he became Emma-O, the Final Judge, Fortune of Death. [5] The Order of Peaceful Repose was devoted to him. [6]

Temple to Emma-O Edit

The Temple to Emma-O was built in the place where Yama transformed into the Judge of Meido. A twisted willow tree grew there, with one hundred and seven branches, not quite one hundred and eight. In time around the shrine was built a castle, Kyuden Kurogane-Hana. [7]

Ruler of Meido Edit

Duty Edit

Emma-O meted out all manner of tortures, such as beating the sinner's soul with iron rods, making it eat molten lead, or impaling it repeatedly on sword trees. [8] However, once every several centuries Emma-O left his realm for a single day and entered the mortal world to free himself from his endless duty. In a few instances this had resulted in children, born from his trysts with mortal women. [9]

Palace Edit

Emma-O's palace was a drab, uninteresting gray structure with little decoration. In the inner chambers was his throne of bone-white stone. [2] It was surrounded by a still lake of pure silver water. [10]

Son Edit

In 1145 Emma-O came to the Mortal Realm in Daidoji disguise at Kyuden Doji. He had seen Doji Yukie, and was caught by her beauty. Emma-O easily defeated in a duel Yukie's yojimbo, Asahina Konetsu. The Fortune spared the Crane life, but in return he had to watch over Yukie after Emma-O's departure. Yukie had a son from that day, Doji Midoru, who was adopted by Konetsu. [11]

Morito Tokei Edit

In 1158 Emma-O sensed an intruder who had appeared in his realm, the ronin Morito Tokei. The shugenja had arrived from Sakkaku, the Realm of Mischief, guided by a mujina. Emma-O suggested Tokei to remain at Meido, but Tokei decided he had to follow his journey through the Spirit Realms, expecting to reach Ningen-do. The Fortune of Death aided him, [12] moving Tokei to Yomi. [13]

Freeing Fu Leng Edit

In 1159 Daigotsu traveled to Meido from the Imperial Throne Room using Tsuno magic and the aid of several nemuranai, the Steel Throne and the Porcelain Mask of Fu Leng. When the Dark Lord met Emma-O, he impaled himself on Emma-O's Spear to get close enough to place the Porcelain Mask on the face of the Fortune. A power that Emma-O could not manage, only Fu Leng could release the powerful Mask without Emma-O being killed, so the Fortune released the Ninth Kami from Meido. Emma-O summoned Fu Leng, who took Emma-O's Spear and healed Daigotsu. Daigotsu used Sezaru's Mask to open a portal to the Celestial Heavens, allowing Fu Leng to travel to his ancestral home. [14]

Emma-O became weak and frail, paranoid and uncontrolled because of it. In the aftermath of Daigotsu's attack, every passage was sealed. [2]

The Wolf Edit

Emma-O was visited again, this time by Toturi Sezaru, in his attempt to speak with his father's soul. The Wolf wanted to pass to Yomi from Meido, but while talking with Emma-O he guessed the Fortune of Death was who released Fu Leng. Enraged Emma-O left him, blocking Sezaru's journey. [2]

Shared Rulership of Meido Edit

Shi-Tien Yen-Wang Edit

The same year, 1159, in the month of the Rat, [15] Emma-O was attacked in his castle by the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang, the gaijin Lords of the Death. They were trying to depose the Fortune and kept the Realm of Meido to be ruled by them alone. Kitsu Hisashi, a Sodan Senzo who had traveled to Meido to know why several Fortunes had died, stepped in and propose an arrangement: Emma-O would continue in his duties as the Fortune of Death, but the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang would rule by his side. Emma-O would continue to govern the destinies of the unworthy dead, but the Lords of Death would determine their punishments. All parties agreed, and the Lords swore to aid the Fortune of Death to recover his spear. [10]

Emma-O's Amulet Edit

In the month of the Dragon of 1160 [16] Emma-O wanted more power to avoid more intruders or threats to its rulership. He came to the Mortal Realm and met Kyofu in a Crab village that the onisu was devastating. The Fortune used his power to alter the balance of power within the Crab's soul, and Hida Kuroda retook the control of his corpse over the onisu's will. None, not even Daigotsu, would tell what had been done unless Kuroda revealed himself. Emma-O gave him a netsuke, the Emma-O's Amulet, a nemuranai that would conscript to Meido all the souls of those Kuroda kill, regardless of their destiny. The power of Emma-O could be greatly empowered with all the souls the undead could send to his realm. The amulet was abandoned by the Crab after the Fortune left, and shortly after was retrieved by Akodo Tadenori. [17]

Vengeance over Daigotsu Edit

Shortly after Daigotsu's death in 1160, Omoni mended the fatal wounds Toturi Tsudao had inflicted and left the Dark Lord's vessel whole again. Goju Kyoden committed seppuku to sacrifice his soul to the Shadow Dragon in order to resurrect the Dark Lord. [18] The vengeful Emma-O still retained part of Daigotsu's soul, which purified Daigotsu of his Taint, severing Daigotsu's connection to Jigoku, and left him unable to call upon Fu Leng's blessing. [19]

Daigotsu defeated Edit

In 1165 Daigotsu was defeated by Iuchiban, and his life was saved by Kyofu. Emma-O asked him why he had saved the man who had transformed him in an horror. [20]

Legion of the Dead Edit

Matsu Goemon's made a call to the dead heroes of Rokugan to fight the Legion of Blood. Emma-O had offered information, subtle assistance from a servant within the Shadowlands, Hida Kuroda. [21] The Fortune had visited Kuroda in the Plains Above Evil. Emma-O told him about Goemon, who was rallying the Legion of the Dead to fight Iuchiban in the realms beyond. Kuroda knew the bloodspeakers were more active near Volturnum, and knew Rezan believed the Oblivion's Gate still had power to connect with another realm. Emma-O encouraged him to seek the poet and make a deal. [22]

Daigotsu's soul Returned Edit

The soul of Doji Satsume, the Crane Clan Champion, had been fouled by the Shadow Dragon to seek his wife's soul, Doji Teinko, in the realm of Meido. [23] Emma-O felt the presence of an outsider, Satsume and faced him. The Crane begged to be exchanged for his wife, which finally Emma-O agreed. The presence of Satsume had distracted Emma-O, [24] [25] while the Lords of the Death had traveled to the Realm of Thwarted Destiny. With no guardians, Daigotsu Hoturi sneaked into the Emma-O's fortress and retrieved the imprisoned piece of Daigotsu's soul, on behalf of the Shadow Dragon. [26] Emma-O when sensed it quickly returned, but it was too late. [24] The Dragon would gift it to Daigotsu, fully restoring the Dark Lord's former power. [26]

Midoru's lineage revealed Edit

In 1172 Doji Midoru was inside a temple to the Lords of the Death when without intention trespassed the veil between realms and appeared in Meido, in front of the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang. Emma-O revealed Midoru was his son, and the Crane used this connection to beg help to find his adopted father, Konetsu. He expected to destroy him ending the shame Konetsu brought to his name. Emma-O accepted, but warned it would lead Midoru into great danger. [27]

Cleansing Konetsu's taint Edit

On a mission for the Spider, Konetsu's party was routed by Doji Midoru and he was brought before the fortune Emma-O, who removed the Rain of Blood's corrupting influence, and ordered him to rejoin the Crane Clan as Doji Konetsu. [28]

Worship Edit

Shrines to Emma-O were numerous, but they were all rather small, with the exception of the one constructed by the Hitomi family. [29]

Order of Death Edit

The Brotherhood of Shinsei formed an group of monks devoted to the rulers of Meido, and they were known as the Order of Death. [30] Monks of Emma-O were solitary individuals who tended to use many small shrines to their patron that dotted Rokugan's landscape. [31]

Koizumi's Lineage Revealed Edit

Emma-O had had an affair with a beautiful woman, who was with child when she married an Isawa. The son was named Isawa Koizumi, and in 1199 he learned from Doji Midoru's spirit of his true lineage. [32]

External Links Edit


  1. Way of the Phoenix, p. 31
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Voices, by Shawn Carman
  3. Book of Air, p. 135
  4. Book of Air, pp. 135-136
  5. 5.0 5.1 Book of Air, p. 136
  6. Secrets of the Empire, p. 173
  7. Book of Air, pp. 136-137
  8. Game Master's Guide; 2nd Ed, p. 93
  9. Secrets of the Empire, p. 204
  10. 10.0 10.1 Lifeless, Part Two, by Rich Wulf
  11. Blood Dawn, Part III: Blackened Silk, by Rich Wulf
  12. Fortunes & Winds, p. 51
  13. Fortunes & Winds, p. 55
  14. Prelude to Darkness, Part 6: The Dark Lord, by Rich Wulf
  15. Imperial Histories 2, p. 205
  16. Imperial Histories 2, p. 207
  17. Divine Guidance (Imperial Herald v2 #8), by Shawn Carman
  18. Corruption's Price, by Rich Wulf
  19. Of Gods and Deaths, by Shawn Carman
  20. The face of Fear (Diamond flavor)
  21. The Legions of the dead: The Fallen Champion
  22. Legions, Part V
  23. Legions, Part IX
  24. 24.0 24.1 To Save a Soul (Imperial Herald v2 #16), by Rich Wulf
  25. Four Winds, p. 115
  26. 26.0 26.1 Legions, Part XI
  27. Scenes from the Empire 8, by Brian Yoon, Nancy Sauer, and Rusty Priske
  28. Scenes of the Empire, part 12, by Nancy Sauer, Brian Yoon, and Rusty Priske
  29. Fortunes & Winds, p. 71
  30. The Seven Sohei (Storyline Tournament)
  31. Way of the Open Hand, p. 40
  32. Son of Death, by Nancy Sauer

Isawa This magic or religion related article is a stub. That means that it has been started, but is incomplete. You can help by expanding this article.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.