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

Isawa Tomo was a gifted young shugenja who became Master of Water at a very early age. Tomo had spent most of his life mesmerized by the waters near his home and across Rokugan, and coupled with the power of his abilities, his appointment to the Council of Five was inevitable. Tomo was a Master during the Clan War, and as a result died Tainted at the hands of his cousin Isawa Tsuke, [1] like his fellow Masters.

Childhood Edit

As a child, Tomo grew up with his family near the banks of the Seikihi River. The River mystified the young Tomo, as he imagined the course of the waters from the mountains far above to the sea far below. Tomo was enthralled by the power and greatness of the waters, as well as their omnipresence and magnitude. He made his decision very early to follow the path of Water. [2]

Journey "to the Shadowlands" Edit

As children often do, Tomo and his older brother, Isawa Tadaka, once decided to run away from home and to the Shadowlands. Because of Tomo's influence, they did so by way of the Seikihi. The two managed to slip away from their sister, Isawa Kaede, and successfully avoided discovery for nearly two months. Throughout their trip, Tomo realized that his brother spent the journey watching the southern horizon, while he contemplated the waters upon which they rode. [2]

Scorpion Lands Edit

The boys' 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 foreign 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 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 quicly forgot their savior, but Tomo remembered, and always felt a debt to Yogo Shidachi. [2]

Early Dedication Edit

Tomo felt guily for his part in the worries and pain that he and Tadaka had caused their father. In an attempt to return to Ujina's favor, Tomo decided to go ahead and declare his path, years before he was required to do so. Unsurprisingly, Tomo chose the path of Water. Ujina was very pleased with Tomo's display of dedication, and the boy easily found himself back in his father's graces. [2]

Asahina Tamako Edit

In his youth Asahina Tamako attempted to seek truth in every book that existed in Rokugan. He sent several letters to the Isawa library requesting certain books to be copied and sent to him at any cost. This sparked one of the few friendships Tamako ever had, with the recipient of those letters Isawa Tomo, even though the two never met in person. Their letters were long and filled with thought, secrets and insecurities. The two had a mutual understanding of restricting worlds, and became friends because they were willing to trust someone they had never met. [3]

Master of Water Edit

Isawa Tomo 3

Isawa Tomo

Blossoming as a Shugenja Edit

Isawa Tomo was a politician who conducted peaceful negotiations and arranged political liaisons. In his spare time, he studied the Isawa magic, and eventually, one night, Tomo grew suddenly powerful. He was recalled to the Isawa Council, where he tested and became the Master of Water [4] upon the retirement of Isawa Kaiyoko. Kaiyoko had long been amazed at the ease with which Tomo was able to commune with the kami. Despite his inexperience at the time, she was quite confident in his ability to properly execute the duties of the position. [5] Tomo occasionally battled self doubt. [6]

Asako Winter Court Edit

Tomo attended the Asako winter court, while the rest of the Masters followed Shiba Ujimitsu when he left to go to the Imperial Court in Toshi Ranbo. Hantei XXXVIII's niece, Otomo Yoroshiku, had been announced as ellegible for marriage and many suitors came to court her. [7] A challenge was issued between Ryuden and Shiba Himitsu, heir of Ujimitsu. Tomo used the spell Reflective Pool to sneak what was happening this night in Himitsu's room. He saw Kakita Nantoko, a maidservant of Yoroshiku morphing as Ryuden, revealing a Shadow Brand. Tomo rushed to alert the guards, but Himitsu died shortly after. He knew what had happened, but buried it, because exposing the real murderer would bring shame to the Emperor and his clan. [8]

Yogo Shidachi Edit

During his tenure as Master of Water, Tomo taught Yogo Shidachi, returning the favor he owed to him when child. [9] [10]

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. [11]

Corruption Edit

As the Council of Five continued their attempts to understand the Shadowlands and the dark influences spreading across the Empire they sent Isawa Tadaka into the Shadowlands to discover the source of the evil presence. He did not return for months. [12] [13]

Return of Tadaka Edit

In 1126 Tadaka returned, bringing one of the Black Scrolls he had stolen from Yogo Junzo's stronghold, as a tale of Yogo Junzo was marshaling an army to invade the Empire. The Masters sequestered themselves to study the four Black Scrolls in their possesion, to provide the knowledge to defeat the Shadowlands. Isawa Kaede, the Master of Void, refused to join them. [14]

Unsealing the Scrolls Edit

Tomo opens the Shapeshifting Black Scroll

Tomo opens the Shapeshifting Black Scroll

In 1127 Tadaka convinced the Council of Five to start unsealing the Black Scrolls demanding that their hidden secrets be unmasked. [15] 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. [16] They already had three of the scrolls since a traitor Scorpion sold them to the Phoenix in the 5th century. [17] Tomo opened the Shapeshifting Black Scroll, and its grotesque power was beyond his comprehension or control. [18] 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. [16]

Skirmish with the Lion Edit

This year Tomo was part of the Phoenix force who was intercepted by Matsu Agetoki and his men. The Phoenix won the day after his leader Shiba Tsukune killed in a personal duel the shugenja Kitsu Koji. Tomo and Shiba Tetsu helped her from the field, because Tsukune had been wounded. [19]

Death Edit

Corruption had taken a toll on Tomo, whose face bore a scowl and his bared teeth were sharpened to points. Alongside Isawa Tsuke he moved to defend the Imperial City where Shadowlands forces were massing. The Phoenix force was intercepted by a Dragon-Naga army led by Mirumoto Daini, but the Phoenix hurled elemental energies at the enemy, immolating many of them before they could become engaged. Tsuke and Tomo survived to journey on to Otosan Uchi, where they would aid in its defense. [20] Tomo died in 1128 on the Second Day of Thunder, battling with Isawa Tsuke. [21] [22]

Oblivion's Gate Edit

The Race to Volturnum Edit

Isawa Tomo 2

Isawa Tomo Returned

During the fighting leading up to the Battle of Oblivion's Gate in Volturnum, the incomplete Council of Five planned to magically transport entire legions of armies directly to Volturnum, without having to first fight through the ranks of Goju and oni that stood in their way. The spell required five Masters, and even with the inclusion of ten-year-old Shiba Ningen as Master of Void, the council had no one to stand for Water. The Council decided to attempt the ritual anyway, but it did not work as planned. With the elemental imbalance in the ritual, the strands of magic threatened to spin out of control and destroy the Council and their escort.

At the last moment, a fifth figure stepped into the circle, completing the ritual as he added the necessary Water to the balance. The fifth was Isawa Tomo, purified in death and returned through Oblivion's Gate. With Tomo's help, the completed Council finished the ritual and whisked themselves to Volturnum to prepare the assault for the arrival of the other armies of Rokugan. [23]

Battle of Oblivion's Gate Edit

The gates of the city were broken, and the Empire armies rushed into the city. But the Council of Five kept the inner city gates closed, avoiding the shadows from within it to join the battle in the streets. A legion of oni and beasts of the Taint slaughtered the armies outside the city; if the armies within the inner city were released, there would be no hope for the samurai of the Empire. [24]

Returned Spirits Edit

Agasha Gennai saw a glow shining within the inner city, an army of Returned Spirits. Volturnum inner city was filled with Fu Leng's diseased power, and the Taint was as strong as the Shadows. Gennai ordered Isawa Taeruko to raise a path from the city down to those on the field and kept it clear of oni. At the same time Isawa Hochiu suppressed the Shadows within the gate. Shiba Ningen opened the gate of inner Volturnum and the ancestors from Yomi and Toshigoku began to emerge from it, led by the Emperor Toturi I himself. Ningen closed again the gates to remain the Goju could not enter the outer city. The armies charged past the city gate, launching themselves from the hopeless battle in the city down toward the great plain where Shadow and Shadowlands alike fought to destroy the armies of the Empire. [24]

Adorai's Death Edit

Tomo remained at the gates, healing those samurai fallen to the Taint and their own wounds. The Dragon of Air appeared to allow Hochiu to reach city's heart, with Shiba Seiko as yojimbo. Ningen opened one more time the inner gates and the Dragon of Air transported them thorugh the corrupted inner city, allowing itself to become corrupted so that the Hochiu and his yojimbo could reach the Master of Darkness, Goju Adorai. Seiko used his training as Shosuro Actress to deceive Adorai, allowing Hochiu to reach the sorcerer for a mortal blow. It led in the destruction of the Lying Darkness [24] and the end of the War Against Shadow.

Personality Edit

Isawa Tomo was always a man that loved life. He never fully lost his childlike exuberence or persepctive. During his time on the Council of Five, he was known for devising creative -- some would say outlandish -- solutions for problems facing the council. Nevertheless, Tomo had a very keen intellect, and solved problems slowly and methodically, much as water wears on stone. His wisdom was always as welcome as his demeanor. [citation needed]

See also Edit

External Links Edit

Preceded by:
Isawa Kaiyoko
Master of Water
(c. 1120) - 1128, 1133
Succeeded by:


  1. Unattuned (Time of the Void flavor)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Way of the Phoenix, p. 77
  3. Way of the Crane p. 90
  4. Clan War: The Clans, p. 42
  5. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 77-78
  6. Clan War: Phoenix Army Expansion, p. 42
  7. Code of Bushido, p. 19
  8. Code of Bushido, p. 26
  9. Way of the Phoenix, p. 78
  10. Yogo Shidachi (Scorpion Clan Coup, Scroll 1 flavor)
  11. Otosan Uchi: The Scorpion's Sting, p. 49
  12. The Gaijin's Guide to Rokugan - Part 4: Distant Thunder
  13. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #1 (Imperial Herald v1 #1)
  14. Time of the Void, p. 8
  15. Time of the Void, p. 12
  16. 16.0 16.1 Siege: Clan War (Rulebook story)
  17. Way of the Scorpion, p. 55
  18. Shapeshifting (Siege: Clan War flavor)
  19. Strength of the Clan (Phoenix Army Expansion), by Ree Soesbee
  20. Clan War: Ravages of War, pp. 52-54
  21. Strength of Osano-Wo (Time of the Void flavor)
  22. Time of the Void, p. 103
  23. The Race to Volturnum, by Ree Soesbee
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Voices: The Final Days of Oblivion's Gate, by Ree Soesbee

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