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The Kenku were one of the Five Races that ruled the world would become Rokugan after the Great Sleep of the Naga. They were connected with the Air Element. [1]

Appearance and Abilities[]


Kenku appeared as man-sized bipedal crows with leathered arms, pointed beaks and huge wings. They were capable of extended flight, and their fingers could manipulate weapons and tools as skillfully as human beings in battle. They use their wings to buffet and disorient their opponents. [2] The Kenku did not age and were immune to ordinary diseases. They were effectively immortal, though they could still die due to violence, hunger, or mishap. [3]


Kenku were mysterious, mischievous, unpredictable and incorrigible pranksters. These creatures were solitary and had all but removed themselves completely from Rokugan. [4] They preferred to play only those pranks that teach their target a vital lesson of some sort, preferably one that the individual would need in the immediate future. [5] Kenku were inquisitive and curious, and had developed a huge repository of knowledge. While not outright spellcasters, they understood a great deal of the universe, and could apply their learning in a way that seemed almost magical at times. They served as scholars and teachers. Kenku were nomads, and trav­eled from place to place, bartering knowledge for what they needed, or for bright objects, for which they had great fondness. [6] They moved between Spirit Realms with ease. [7]

Duelist Sensei[]

Kenku were legendary swordsmen and were, at least in legend, responsible for training some of the most famous Rokugani swordsmen in history. [4] It was said that if a Kenku should take on a student, that person had a great destiny, for the Kenku did not waste their time in the mortal realm on the mediocre. The Kenku had historically taken students from the Crane Clan, though it was not unheard of for their teachings of the blade to come from other Clans. [8]



A Kenku

Ningen-do did not exist as mankind knew it. Everything was a tumultuous maelstrom of elemental energy, seething between the boundaries of the Spirit Realms. The Five Races, Kenku, Zokujin, Troll, Kitsu and Ningyo, came into being within the turmoil. Each of these races was marked by the power of a particular element, and all of them possessed powerful magic which they used to survive in their harsh primordial world. [9] The kami, which were maddened, destructive spirits, had been tamed and peace was brought to the Mortal Realm. [1]


When the races found one another joined the strengths the others lacked, their powers complemented one another, founding the Alliance of the Five Races. The Five Races determined to combine their will to make a world that would last forever. In the center of chaos they created a vast city, the City of Night, and in the heart of this city they combined their most powerful magic in the form of a great crystal focus, balancing the five elements in harmony. [9]

Kenku Civilization[]

Even though there were no remaining signs of a great civilization, it was widely accepted that the Kenku once ruled Rokugan, even before the Five Races did. [10]

Arrival of the Ogres[]

Following the arrival of the Ogre race to Rokugan, his leader Muhonarak was confronted by the Five Races. The Ogre claimed he came to defeat the Champion of Evil. The five Races did not know of any such thing, so they challenged the ogres to two challenges. After Muhonarak successfully completed the challenges, the ogres were accepted and given rule over the nezumi lands. [11]

Fall of the Alliance[]

Eventually the hordes of Jigoku reached the lands of the Alliance, and they could not overcome the demons. Tsuno Kishenku, leader of the Tsuno Soultwisters, attacked the City of Night to get control of a powerful nemuranai, a crystal focus. It did it against his own race leaders, who believed the crystal too dangerous, even to use against Jigoku's forces. Kishenku proved right, and using the crystal incinerated most of the twisted invaders, but he lost control of the crystal and a wave of energy ripped through the City of Night, killing its inhabitants and turning the city itself into a strange purple crystal. The shockwaves rippled across the world, bringing death and ruin to all the cities of the Five Races. [3] The Zokujin called this day Shokajin Rekna, [12] the Day of Broken Thunder. [4]

Rakshasa Expelled from Rokugan[]

The Kenku allied with [citation needed] the Kitsune and a few other Hengeyokai against the evil Rakshasa, forcing them to flee past the mountains in what would later became the Ivory Kingdoms. [13]

Moving to Sakkaku[]

The Kenku, already thinned by the war with the Tsuno, chose to hide in the forests and mountains [citation needed] or use their magical knowledge to enter Sakkaku. The kenku altered themselves so that the Realm of Mischief considered them natives, and thus were not subject to chame, Sakkaku's Control. [14] The Kenku rarely mated or reproduced, and over the centuries their numbers had gradually declined. [15]

Presence in Rokugan[]

Many Kenku lived among humans unnoticed, usually disguised as monks. Many Rokugani told stories of wandering monks on remote roads who reveal themselves as Kenku to worthy individuals. [3] It was believed that there were actually very few kenku, not more than a thousand or so at most. [16] It was told that a Kenku taught iaijutsu and swordsmithing to Kakita himself, and the tribesman produced the first blade which was deemed to be considered a katana. [17]


Known Kenku[]

Kenku Teacher

See also[]

External Links[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Fortunes & Winds, p. 92
  2. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 199
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Enemies of the Empire, p. 176
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 280
  5. Creatures of Rokugan, p. 35
  6. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, pp. 199-200
  7. Complete Exotic Arms Guide, p. 89
  8. Test of Enlightenment
  9. 9.0 9.1 Enemies of the Empire, p. 175
  10. Art of the Duel, p. 159
  11. The Dawn of the Ogres, by Lucas Twyman
  12. Creatures of Rokugan, p. 85
  13. Way of the Minor Clans, p. 31
  14. Fortunes & Winds, p. 47
  15. Enemies of the Empire, p. 177
  16. Creatures of Rokugan: Third Edition, p. 123
  17. Imperial Archives, p. 88

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