Please note: This article is about the Phoenix Clan Thunder. For other uses of the term, please see Tadaka (disambiguation).
Isawa Tadaka 
Isawa Tadaka 
Born: Unknown 
Died: 1128 
Parents: Isawa Ujina,
Isawa Ieku 
Siblings: Isawa Kaede (half),
Isawa Tomo 
Spouse: None 
Children: None 
Titles: Master of Earth,
Phoenix Thunder

Isawa Tadaka was an enigmatic and sinister person, scarred by dark magics and with a burning desire for revenge against the forces of the Shadowlands, especially Oni no Akuma, the stealer of his ancestor's name. Tadaka was the Phoenix Clan Thunder, and died on the Second Day of Thunder in 1128.

Childhood Edit

Matsu Hiroru Edit

Tadaka was a childhood friend of Matsu Hiroru. When the Phoenix was four he became sick, because of an illness known as samagutra. Hiroru had it at the same time. [1]

Isawa Tomo Edit

Tadaka was close to his brother, Isawa Tomo. As children often do, Tadaka and Tomo once decided to run away from home and go see the Shadowlands. Because of Tomo's influence, they did so by way of the Seikihi River. The two managed to slip away from their sister, Isawa Kaede, and successfully avoided discovery for nearly two months.

Their adventures came to an abrupt end in the lands of the Scorpion Clan when they were captured by a group of bandits. The rogues intended to sell Tadaka and Tomo as slaves to a gaijin merchant caravan. They were rescued only by the timely intervention of a young Yogo Shidachi, who helped the boys escape. Shidachi then took the pair with him into the civilized lands of his family. The Yogo contacted their father, Master of Void Isawa Ujina, to return the wayward children. Ujina, who had been beside himself with worry for the two months of their absence, was very relieved to have his sons back.

Tadaka quickly moved past their experience, but for Tomo, their misadventure was a turning point in his life. [2]

Isawa Kaede Edit

Tadaka always shared a special bond with his older sister, Isawa Kaede. Kaede was always considered a prodigy as they grew up; she had obvious skill, and she was managing to master the extraordinarily difficult intricacies of the Void. Despite Kaede's well earned celebrity, Tadaka loved her just as much as any of his clansmen, and possibly more. Though Kaede was older, the two were close enough in age that they shared many interests and studies and they had many common friends. The two remained close until Tadaka chose to spend a year studying in the lands of the Crab Clan, and even then, couriers would regularly carry letters between the two. [3]

Appearance and Demeanor Edit

Tadaka was bigger than the average shugenja. His understanding of the element of earth made him as large as many bushi. He was inquisitive and humble, eager to share his knowledge and add the knowledge of others to his own. [4]

Acolyte Edit

Isawa Tadaka 2

Isawa Tadaka

Tadaka worked as magistrate of his Clan during his time as Acolyte of Earth. He met a couple of warriors, the Lion Karo Ashiryo Hijiko and her yoriki Ginawa. A bloodshed had happened there, and Tadaka recognized the sword the ronin wielded, one of the infamious Iuchiban's blades. The sword had set Ginawa in a frenzy state, so Tadaka used his prayings to purify the ronin's madness, allowing him to recover his center. [5]

Ninja Edit

Tadaka went with Hijiko, and Ginawa to the state of their Lord, Ashiryo Ataka, where they reported to the governor the outcome and events during the battle. Before Ataka could give any command he was killed by a shuriken, thrown by a hidden ninja. Tadaka and Hijiko did not react quickly, finding their will slowed by a spell cast by the Ninja. More shurikens were thrown, one of which wounded Hijiko in her arm. Ginawa hurled Revenge at the hidden assassin above them, killing the assailant. [6] Attempts by Tadaka to obtain the blade met with violent refusal. [7]

Earth Tensai school Edit

Tadaka was appointed as Kancho, administrator, of the Earth Tensai school at Kyuden Isawa. In 1116 the ronin shugenja Seikansha sent him two accounts; one from the infamous novel meifumado, and the second was a scroll which would be known as the "Bearers of Jade", full of Shadowlands knowledge. [8]

Isawa Akuma Edit

Tadaka was a descendant of the reviled shugenja Isawa Akuma. Tadaka took it as a personal insult that there existed a beast within the Shadowlands that, centuries earlier, had stolen his ancestor's name in order to secure its own existence. Tadaka had devoted his life to finding and destroying Oni no Akuma. [3]

In 1117, still an Acolyte of Earth, Tadaka traveled to the Crab to study with the Kuni family. [9] There, the spirit of Akuma appeared to the young Tadaka. The apparition was bound and silent, but Tadaka understood that the poor soul was begging for his help to restore his name. This is the point at which Tadaka's obsession with Oni no Akuma began. His letters to his sister became less and less frequent, and it came as a surprise to no one when he asked to extend his stay with the Crab.

For years, nearly the entire period between his gempukku and his death, he spent every available moment -- and many he should not have spared -- to studying the Shadowlands, discovering the rituals of its denizens, observing the creatures there, and attempting to find the oni that stole his ancestor's name. He had risked everything -- his body, his life, his mind, and his soul -- in his quest. [3] Tadaka entered the Shadowlands alone, searching for clues and destroying tainted creatures along the way. [10] During one of this journeys, Tadaka had found, defeated and interreogated a spawn of Akuma no Oni. [11]

Master of Earth Edit

Isawa Tadaka 7

Isawa Tadaka

After having spent far more time with the Kuni than originally planned, Tadaka was called truant and tracked down by no less than the Master of Earth, Isawa Rujo. Rujo found the wayward shugenja, challenged his research, and even questioned the validity of his quest. Tadaka was furious and challenged the Master to a duel. The stakes he set were high: the loser would renounce his fealty to the Phoenix Clan and become forever ronin, and the winner would be Master of Earth. Rujo agreed.

Tadaka handily defeated the Master. Rujo was cast from the Phoenix, per their agreement, and Tadaka became Master of Earth in his place. The Council of Five was somewhat shaken by the outcome, but in the end, they were not disappointed. They saw Rujo as arrogant for entering a duel that he lost, and were not upset at his departure because of that. Tadaka saw his new position as an opportunity to more fully search for Oni no Akuma, which led him to be absent from the rulership of the clan quite frequently, allowing the Council to continue greatly in the manner to which they had already become accustomed. [3]

Family Edit

His nephew Isawa Aruka became involved in maho and corruption in 1123, when following the steps of their infamous ancestor Isawa Kuzushi. Aruka attempted to summon an oni as Kuzushi did with Kuzushi no Oni. Instead he became the first carrier of the Darkfever Plague which killed many people in the Phoenix lands. [12]

Scorpion Coup Edit

When news of the Scorpion Coup arrived to the Council they moved to join the rest of combined clan forces. On day six of the coup the Masters managed to temporarily suppress the Enchanted Wall, allowing the Great Clans to fight their way into the inner city, where the southern gate of the Forbidden Palace was then breached by the Masters. [13]

Corruption Edit

Isawa Tadaka 4

Isawa Tadaka

Tadaka's time in the Crab lands and his drive to understand the Akuma no Oni led him down a dark path of research, one that ultimately led to his own Taint. [14]

As the Council of Five continued their attempts to understand the Shadowlands and the dark influences spreading across the Empire they sent Tadaka into the Shadowlands to discover the source of the evil presence. He did not return for months. [15] [16]

The Phoenix already owned the fourth, fifth, and sixth Black Scrolls, which had been sold in 445 by their guardian Bayushi Tesaguri, betraying his oath. [17]

Concealing the Secret Edit

In 1125 Tadaka journeyed to the Shadowlands, leaving the three Black Scrolls in his chambers at Kyuden Isawa, under the guard of the rest of the masters. His disappearance from Rokugan was evident when for three times he refused a summons from the Imperial Court. Hiroru, who was concerned with his childhood friend's fate, sneaked into the Palace of the Isawa and found a jade and pearl lacquered box which contained the scrolls. Isawa Uona confronted Hiroru with words, explaining the evil which was threatening the Empire. Hiroru was shocked after the Master of Air told the Masters had been exposed to the taint. The White Ninja returned the box and left. [18]

Retrieving a Black Scroll Edit

Stealing into Yogo Junzo's stronghold, Tadaka was able to recover one of the of Isawa's Twelve Black Scrolls. [19] He returned in the Month of the Ox of 1126, telling Yogo Junzo was marshaling an army to invade the Empire. [20]

When Tadaka returned, he had changed considerably. His eyes were now filled with a black fire, and his body burned with energies he had never encountered before. There was a force in the Shadowlands and they had to gain an understanding of this energy source to destroy it. In order to do that, they would have to embrace its energy and take it within themselves. The corruption of the Phoenix Clan began. [21]

The Tadaka's blood had stained the Black Scrolls he retrieved. The blood poured in the Iron Citadel would be used more than thirty years later by Iuchiban to cast the Rain of Blood. [22]

Fighting the Shadowlands Edit

While the Great Clans were preparing for the unavoidable battle to control Otosan Uchi, his army fought in the Battle of Doro Crossroads, with the Lion Clan winning the day against a Shadowlands army, a Toturi's Army, and the army led by Tadaka. [23]

Spreading the taint Edit

Tadaka opens the Black Wind from the Soul

Tadaka opens the Black Wind from the Soul

Tadaka believed that the only way to halt the impending threat to the Empire was to understand it. And in order to understand it they had to open the Black Scrolls, to learn the dark knowledge contained within. The scrolls will bring the taint to those who read the scrolls, but with what they learn, they would gain the insight required to save the Empire. [24] In the Month of the Serpent of 1127 four of the five elemental masters, Isawa Tsuke, Isawa Tadaka, Isawa Uona, and Isawa Tomo opened four Black Scrolls, [25] and Tadaka was the first, opening the Black Wind From the Soul. [26] It caused cataclysmic changes in both the Phoenix territories and their own physiology. Tadaka, drawing on his Earth magic and perhaps on his own powerful soul of Thunder, resisted the worst of the corruption, but the seed was planted. [15] [16] Isawa Uona, who had opened the Dark Divination Black Scroll, realized that the Second Day of Thunder was coming, and that the new Seven Thunders had to be gathered. [24] Each Master had opened a scroll, but Tadaka thirst for knowledge was not sated. During night he found the scrolls opened by the other Masters and read them all. Tadaka was soon reported missing. [27]

Necessary Evil Edit

Tadaka and Asako Yasu left for the Ruins of Yanubei, an early stronghold of the Isawa, destroyed by Shadowlands creatures in the War Against Fu Leng. They returned with the knowledge about how to Summon Oni, and began the ritual. Only the timely arrival of Isawa Kaede, who joined the ritual, broke the oni's will. [28]

Tadaka no Oni Edit

Tadaka bargained with the oni, which sank its teeth into Tadaka's right shoulder, drawing away blood, flesh and bone. Tadaka no Oni had been created. [28] The Elementa Master used the powers he drew from the Black Wind from the Soul to torture the oni. [26] Continuing to research the forces of Jigoku, Tadaka had given his name to an Oni, creating a creature physically weak but with immense magical power and knowledge of the Shadowlands. The creature gave the Council fundamental knowledge of Jigoku, but further corrupted the Phoenix Thunder and his brethren. [29] [30] It revealed the location of the Anvil of Despair, and a band of Inquisitors was immediately dispatched to take custody of the anvil. They never returned. [31]

Tadaka's Name Redeemed Edit

In the early winter of 1128, Shiba Tsukune became frustrated with the corruption of Tadaka. She barged through the guards protecting the oni for study and killed the beast with one blow, releasing part of Tadaka's soul. Isawa Uona confronted her, but Tsukune condemned the Elemental Masters for their descent into corruption, regardless of the reward. [32]

Tadaka's Children Edit

Shortly before Tadaka went to Otosan Uchi to face his destiny, he made the Tadaka's Children, clay soldiers who were created to battle the darkness. Fearing to use them while still corrupted with the taint and with his brother Tomo looking on, Tadaka sealed the magical creatures in a cave to be used in the future to help the Phoenix fight against the Shadowlands. [33]

The Second Day of Thunder Edit

Isawa Tadaka 3

Thunder Isawa Tadaka

Choosen as the Phoenix Thunder Edit

Tadaka was met by the Hooded Ronin, the descendant of Shinsei himself, who had approached him to gather the last of the new Seven Thunders. Tadaka thought he was not suit for the purpose, his tainted body becoming a mockery of human features. The hooded figure retorted that Tadaka's spirit was strong, and he would not fail as the Phoenix Thunder. [34]

Assault on Otosan Uchi Edit

From the ruins of North Hub Village Tadaka saw the fallen Eastern Enchanted Wall. With the arrival of Yoritomo's fleet the flagging forces of the Crab and unified Lion found new strength. He and Shiba Ujimitsu recognized the flames of Tsuke, the master who had fallen the farthest. [35] They confronted the taint maddened Master, who had killed Isawa Tomo and Isawa Uona. During the ensuing fight, Tsuke threw Ujimitsu from the ramparts of Otosan Uchi, killing him as he hit the ground far below, and mortally wounded Tadaka, who was to be one of the Seven Thunders. Their sacrifice was not futile, however, because the pair also managed to mortally wound Tsuke. The Master of Fire died as their fight waned, leaving Isawa Osugi to help Tadaka walk to the other Thunders and finish his duties as a Thunder before he also perished. [36] Tadaka and the Acolyte of Water Suana found Tsuke yet alive despite his injuries and fall from the walls. The monk purified Tsuke with powerful kiho, and Tadaka forgave his fallen comrade for his madness. [37]

Seven Thunders Edit

Tadaka died during the legendary battle with Fu Leng in the Emperor's Throne Room. His initial assaulting magics against the kami were rebounded by the might of the Dark God, striking at the corruption inside the fallen Master of Earth instead. Tadaka collapsed for the majority of the fight, watching as Otaku Kamoko and Hida Yakamo were quickly dispatched. When Fu Leng attacked Bayushi Kachiko, the distraction she caused allowed Tadaka to gather enough strength to magically levitate the Emerald Throne and attack the kami with it, a blow that allowed Toturi and Doji Hoturi to finish the Dark Kami once and for all. Tadaka succumbed to his wounds, dying before he could be reunited with Shiba Tsukune. He was burned on pyre. [38] Kuni rituals had purged his body and soul of the Taint even as they took his life, allowing him to enter Yomi uncorrupted. [19]

After Death Edit

War against the Shadow Edit

Return of Thunder

Toturi, Tadaka and Hoturi at the Battle

Tadaka, Doji Hoturi and Toturi led the army of spirits who were fighting in Jigoku against the shadows, during the Battle of Oblivion's Gate. [39] While Toturi crossed the rift, Tadaka remained behind to fight the Shadows in Jigoku. [40]

Invasion of the Celestial Heavens Edit

In 1160 the Invasion of the Celestial Heavens was halted when the words of Hantei Naseru tricked Fu Leng into distrusting Daigotsu, whose faith was the source of Fu Leng's power. [41] Taking advantage of this moment of weakness, Bishamon deprived Fu Leng of Emma-O's Spear, and Hoshi pushed him back to the gates of Tengoku. Fu Leng was once again confronted by the Seven Thunders and decided to retreat. [42]

Legion of the Dead Edit

In 1166 with the Empire threatened by users of dark magic again, and his former comrade and enemy Tsuke already standing among the Legion of the Dead, Tadaka answered Matsu Goemon's call to fight with the Legion of Blood. [19] 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. [43]

Lost in the Mists of the new Realm Edit

In the Realm of Thwarted Destiny, Tsuke was faced with his action on the Second Day of Thunder. He again made the choice of killing his kinsmen and the Masters. Tadaka found him once again, and attempted to battle him once more, though Tadaka refused to fight the again-fallen Master. Upon realizing Tadaka's forgiveness, Tsuke was overcome with grief and fled into the mists of the Realm. Tadaka offered a prayer for the eventual salvation of his old friend, but Tsuke's fate since then is unknown. [44]

See also Edit

External Links Edit

Preceded by:
Isawa Rujo
Master of Earth
1119 - 1128
Succeeded by:
Isawa Taeruko


  1. Player's Guide; 2nd Ed, p. 192
  2. Phoenix, pp. 76-77
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Way of the Phoenix, p. 76
  4. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 178
  5. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, pp. 132-134
  6. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, pp. 162-163
  7. Way of the Wolf, p. 116
  8. Bearers of Jade, pp. 8-9
  9. Imperial Histories, p. 127
  10. Great Clans, p. 188
  11. Great Clans, p. 172
  12. Midnight's Blood, pp. 21-22
  13. Otosan Uchi: The Scorpion's Sting, p. 49
  14. Way of the Phoenix, p. 75
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Gaijin's Guide to Rokugan - Part 4: Distant Thunder
  16. 16.0 16.1 Clan Letter to the Phoenix #1 (Imperial Herald v1 #1)
  17. Way of the Scorpion, p. 55
  18. Player's Guide: 2nd Ed, pp. 191-192
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 The Legion of the Dead: Phoenix Thunder
  20. Time of the Void, p. 8
  21. The Story so Far: Shadowlands Imperial Herald #4
  22. Sacrifice, by Rich Wulf
  23. Clan War: Thunder's Challenge, pp. 46-49
  24. 24.0 24.1 Siege: Clan War (Rulebook story)
  25. Time of the Void, p. 12
  26. 26.0 26.1 Black Wind From the Soul (Siege: Clan War flavor)
  27. Time of the Void, p. 31
  28. 28.0 28.1 Necessary Evil, by Ken Carpenter
  29. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #4 (Imperial Herald v1 #4)
  30. Time of the Void, p. 51
  31. Time of the Void, pp. 53, 74
  32. Time of the Void, p. 100
  33. Tadaka's Children, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  34. Clan War: Thunder's Challenge, p. 7
  35. Time of the Void, p. 97
  36. The Last Master
  37. Time of the Void, p. 103
  38. The Celestial Pattern (Fire and Shadow Foil Chase Cards flavor)
  39. Rulebook Story (Soul of the Empire), by Ree Soesbee
  40. Return of Thunder (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  41. Fight for Tomorrow, Part 11, by Rich Wulf
  42. Corruption's Price, by Rich Wulf
  43. Legions, Part III, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  44. Legions, Part VI

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