Ise Zumi

Ise Zumi

The Ise Zumi were an order of tattooed monks who belonged to the Dragon Clan exclusively. The Ise Zumi, along with the Tsurai Zumi of the Hoshi family and the Kikage Zumi of the Hitomi family, formed the spiritual core of the Dragon Clan. While their tattoos granted them mystical powers ranging everywhere from extreme speed to the ability to breathe fire, the Ise Zumi were enigmatic and generally pacifistic, though they could be fierce warriors when necessary. [1]

Appearance Edit

Ise Zumi were remarkably easy to recognize because they rarely wore anything more than a couple of simple garments, they had clean shaven heads and their skins were covered in intricate tattoos. [1]

Power Edit

The ise zumi were able to draw strength from the harmony and order within themselves. [2]

Becoming Ise Zumi Edit

Those who climbed the mountains of the Dragon Clan searching for the Togashi each followed their own paths, but each path had the same steps leading them to the mindset of becoming a Togashi. [3]

First Step Edit

It was said "the first step kills your parents". This meant that the student must leave everything behind so that he could take a new name when he finally reached his destination, and could begin study at the Togashi school. [4]

Second Step Edit

The second step was said to be "killing the teacher". The Ise Zumi must walked their own path, making the teachings of their teacher their own, as it was with any path to enlightenment. [5]

Third Step Edit

The final step was said to be "killing himself". The Ise Zumi learned that he had no self, and that he was part of everything and nothing. This step taught the Ise Zumi to live life like a child, one moment at a time. [6]

Fourth Step Edit

The fourth step was the neverending pursuit of enlightenment. While the previous steps were focused on making the Ise Zumi ready for the monastic life, the fourth was their continual search for enlightenment, and it would take as many steps as each individual required. Some Ise Zumi run at these steps attempting to get to enlightenment faster. Others walked, believing enlightenment would come no faster if they run or crawled. The destiny was as different as the path for each man. [3]

Name Edit

When a samurai took the "Togashi" name, he dropped the name he was born with to show he was no longer the man he once was. [7]

History of the Ise Zumi Edit

The first Ise Zumi was seen in the year 33. [8] They had been founded personally by the Kami Togashi, and swore directly to his name as the Togashi family. Each member of the Ise Zumi, from the beginning of the Empire, was tattooed originally with Togashi's blood. It was this blood, and their understanding of their own place within the universe, that allowed them to access such phenomenal abilities. It was unclear how the Ise Zumi claimed their tattoos after Togashi's death on the Second Day of Thunder, but it was likely that they now received their tattoos from Togashi Satsu, whose soul also housed that of his grandfather, Togashi. When Hitomi discovered how to create her own tattooed men, known as the Kikage Zumi, she forced the Togashi to swear to her name or be banished or killed. [9] Later, after Hitomi's realization of her evils, and her banishment of the dark influence of Kokujin, the Togashi were readmitted along with the newly formed Hoshi family to the Dragon Clan. They returned to their role as advisors and mystics, and have continued as such to this day. [10]

The Togashi and their Kami Edit

The Dragon Clan, like the Phoenix, had had the comfort of the guidance of their founding Kami from the beginning of the Empire. By moving his soul into a different host body and masquerading as that host, Togashi remained champion of the Dragon Clan until the Second Day of Thunder. This cycle of reincarnation of the kami was guaranteed by the appearance of at least one tamashii each generation. A tamashii was a member of the Tattooed Order whose soul was attuned properly to be a host soul and body for Togashi. Generally the most powerful of the Ise Zumi, these men rarely lived full lives, as Togashi's reincarnation killed them as surely as would death. The body lived on, but the soul was that of another. This cycle seemed to have been broken with the curious cohabitation of Togashi Satsu and the original soul of Togashi, but this was not assured. Tamashii were still appearing, as in the case of Togashi Matsuo. [11]

Madness Edit

Mad Tattooed Man

Mad tattooed man

The method originally used to tattoo Ise Zumi could often leave the man in a state of raving madness when completed. If the man was strong then the mind and body would be able to join with the blood used in the tattoo. If not the mind would break, leaving a madman. These instances were rare, and even if the man escaped and went on a rampage throughout Kyuden Togashi they would be stopped. Only on rare occasions would the madman escape the castle and roam Rokugan. [6]

Sayings Edit

The Ise Zumi were renowned for their cryptic demeanors and love of riddles and maxims, some often quoting directly from the Tao of Shinsei [1]

For further information on this section, please see Sayings of the Ise Zumi

Known Techniques Edit

See also Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Way of the Dragon, p. 15
  2. The Break of Dawn, by Rich Wulf
  3. 3.0 3.1 Way of the Dragon, p. 20
  4. Way of the Dragon, pp. 21-22
  5. Way of the Dragon, p. 22
  6. 6.0 6.1 Way of the Dragon, p. 23
  7. Way of the Dragon, p. 14
  8. Imperial Histories, p. 21
  9. Enlightened Madness, Part One
  10. Legend of the Five Rings: Third Edition, p. 23
  11. Enlightened Madness, Part Five

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