Born: Pre-calendar 
Died: 42 
Siblings: Isawa Ouno,
Isawa Ariminhime,
Isawa Takeshi,
Three un-named siblings 
Children: Isawa Akiko 
Titles: Phoenix Clan Thunder,
Leader of the Tribe of Isawa,
Isawa family founder

Isawa was a talented Void shugenja and the founder of the Isawa family of the Phoenix Clan (then the Tribe of Isawa) and the Council of Five which was first formed by five of his siblings. Isawa was the first Phoenix Thunder and died in 42 on the first Day of Thunder, offering to serve as Thunder only if Shiba would kneel before him and promise to protect his family.

Family Edit

Isawa had six siblings, [1] one of them Takeshi, as powerful as him. [2]

Appearance Edit

Isawa was a very small man who often dressed in robes far too large for his skinny frame, covered with a wide hat. Many small amulets and magical fetishes hung from his clothing. [3]

Isawa's Views Edit

Isawa's attitude toward life and the Kami is perhaps best summed up in his own words to his daughter, Akiko: "Power does not come from the heavens, my daughter. It comes from our minds, our hands, and our hearts. Never doubt that, for it is the greatest secret of the universe -- we are not the servants of destiny, but the makers of the future." [4]

"I became the ruler of this tribe because of my power, my wisdom, and because I alone led these people to prosperity. I earned these things."

Isawa and Shiba Edit

In the year 25 [6] when the Kami were gathering followers to their respective clans, the kami Shiba was given the north-eastern lands by his brother. In those lands live Isawa and his people, the Tribe of Isawa. Isawa had no intention of being ruled by Hantei, but allowed Shiba to say his tribe was a part of the Phoenix Clan to avoid the wrath of Hantei and his armies. [5]

War Against Fu Leng Edit

When in the year 33 the War Against Fu Leng broke, [6] Shiba repeatedly asked for Isawa's assistance , but Isawa thought the conflict too far away to be of any consequence for his people. In the end it was an attack on, [5] and on the day that Isawa's youngest sister was killed by a marauding Oni, Shinsei and Shiba arrived to call Isawa to fight for the Empire. [7] The destruction of Toshi Tetsuharu convinced Isawa that his people would not remain safe from this threat forever. Isawa committed his finest students, led by Asako Sagoten, to aid Shiba in the war. Shiba refused the aid of Sagoten, as Sagoten's father Asako Yogo was already fighting in the war and he could not ask such sacrifice of their mother and wife Asako. Isawa agreed, but still would not commit himself to the war. [5]

"If you would fail without me, why do you deserve me as an ally?"

Shiba's Promise Edit

As the Day of Thunder grew nearer, Shiba begged Shinsei to be allowed to accompany the monk into his battle with Fu Leng. Shinsei refused, explaining to Shiba that mortal men must be the ones to defeat the Dark Kami. Shiba then approached Isawa, bidding him to go with Shinsei. Isawa refused, claiming he could not abandon his family to fight the Kami's war. The Kami Shiba knelt before the mortal Isawa and promised to protect his people in exchange for Isawa becoming the Phoenix Thunder. Isawa promptly agreed and joined the Phoenix Clan in deed, not only in word, and his family began their aid in the War Against Fu Leng. Isawa left with Shinsei that day. Shiba and Isawa are often depicted with Shiba kneeling, not out of disrespect for the Kami, but because the act is considered to be one of the most important and heroic in Phoenix history. Stubborn Phoenix children are often scolded, "Are you so tall that you cannot bend your knee as Shiba did?" [8] [3]

"Yet now Fu Leng has finally made an error. He has roused my anger."

Defending the Empire Edit

The advent of the Phoenix as a clan of the Empire brought that the Phoenix were expected to defend the Empire against the invaders, and to send healers and other magicians onto the field of combat. Isawa sent each of his five brothers and sisters to the Great Clans, leaving only the Scorpion without a teacher. These First Isawa educated the first shugenja of the Empire. Members of the Iuchi, Kuni, Matsu, Doji and Agasha families were all initiated into the path of the sorcerer, though the children of the Lion and Crane Clans had little success. [9]

The Thunders and Fu Leng Edit

As the Seven Thunders journeyed deeper into the Shadowlands to find and defeat Fu Leng, Isawa poured over his scrolls in an attempt to find a way to win the day. He would read scrolls used to bind the souls of the dead, that reminded him of his sister Isawa Ariminhime, but it did not seem to help. It was the Ki-Rin Thunder Otaku who finally opened his eyes, to the fact that they did not need to kill Fu Leng, merely defeat him. The two continued the research together, devising a way of sealing Fu Leng within the scrolls. As they reached Fu Leng's keep they were chased inside and Isawa was mortally wounded by Mutsuhito. Rather than attempt to save himself he began the ritual while the remaining Thunders bought him time. Isawa created the Twelve Black Scrolls, sealing Fu Leng within. He warned Hida Atarasi and Shosuro, the two surviving thunders, that the scroll must not be opened or Fu Leng would escape. And with that he died. [10]

"If the scrolls are opened, Fu Leng will awaken once more. They must be taken from here. Or all of this… will be for nothing."

Isawa's Helm Edit

Isawa's Helm

Isawa's Helm

Isawa's Helm was a nemuranai crafted by Asahina artisans. It had Crane magic and was rumored to contain the lingering spirit of Isawa. [11]

Because the Asahina were formed centuries after Isawa's death it was known that the helm was never worn by Isawa himself.

External Links Edit

  • Isawa (Dawn of the Empire)

Preceded by:
Leader of the Tribe of Isawa
Pre-calendar - 42
Succeeded by:


  1. Way of the Phoenix, p. 27
  2. Secrets of the Shadowlands, p. 59
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Gathering of Thunders, by Rich Wulf
  4. Way of the Phoenix, p. 21
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Fires of the Phoenix, by Shawn Carman
  6. 6.0 6.1 Imperial Histories, p. 15
  7. Way of the Phoenix, p. 18
  8. Way of the Phoenix, p. 20
  9. Clan War: Phoenix Army Expansion, p. 8
  10. 10.0 10.1 Day of Thunder, by Rich Wulf
  11. Isawa's Helm (Scorpion Clan Coup, Scroll 3)

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