Matsu family


Clan: Lion Clan 
Founded: 15 
Daimyo: Matsu Chizuki

The Matsu were a tall, proud family, who rarely dyed their dark hair like others in their clan. Their ancestress, the Lady Matsu was the last to join the Kami Akodo, and she was the only follower Akodo sought out. [1]

Place of the Matsu Edit

Since the beginning, the Matsu have stood beside the Akodo family, providing the Akodo's tactical foresight with the feirceness to succeed. There have been time when the leadership of the clan has been uneasy, and even open anarchy between the two houses. [2]

The Matsu family represent some of the greatest warriors in Rokugan, and not even the Crab ignore the threat presented by the mighty Matsu army. No sane man would ever knowingly question the honor of a Matsu, for honor is more than a word and more than a record of a person's standing in the Empire. To a Matsu, honor is the link that ties them to their ancestors, and the blood that links them to their oath. Since the first Matsu, they have never faltered in their duty to protect the Empire. [2]

Within the Family Edit

Matsu Mon Edit

The mon of the Matsu was crafted with their passion for war in mind. It showed a sword carried in a lion's paw, raised to the heavens in defiance of any who would challenge them. [3]

Marriage and the Matsu Edit

When a man married into the Matsu family, he took the Matsu name, and all men who married outside of the family must forever forsake their Matsu name. The Lady Matsu began this tradition upon her wedding day, when she married the fourth follower of Akodo. It was said that Akodo came to her and asked why she chose this man over him, and she replied "For if I marry you, I will be the wife of Akodo. If I marry him, then he shall be the husband of Matsu". The fifth house of the Lion, who were recorded only briefly in only the earliest Ikoma family texts, were completely absorbed into the Matsu. [1]

Temperament of the Matsu Edit

Whereas members of the Akodo family were said to be the brain of the Lion, the Matsu were said to be the heart, for it was the Matsu who charged onto the battleground and directed the troops. [1]

All Matsu were hot-tempered, emotional, strong willed and intractable, just like their founder, but they were also highly courageous, loyal, dedicated and fierce. The Matsu were the epitome of every other Clan's view of the Lion, good and bad. [4]

Leadership among the Matsu Edit

Matsu leaders were chosen more for their skill with a katana and combat prowess than their ability to break down an enemy strategy. As had been shown time and again, even the best laid plans often fell like rice paper to a katana when faced with the furious charge of the Matsu. In addition to this fire within, the Matsu lived for the purity of honor. The Matsu believd that the purity of a samurai's soul was often as potent a weapon as his blade. Often, with the Matsu's ancestors guiding his blade, a samurai's purity of soul became more important, for even the dullest blade would cut deeper than the sharpest blade that had been turned aside. The Matsu ancestors would guide the killing blow and guarded the samurai from harm if he was filled with a pure, noble soul. [5]

Gempukku Edit

In the Matsu family, the gempukku ceremony was not a time of celebration and joy, like in other families in Rokugan, but one of trial. The Matsu gempukku was the time when a samurai must prove his worth to the family and clan, rather than a time to be acknowledged for his previous accomplishments. Like other traditions of the Matsu, their gempukku ceremony was harsh, rigid, and unforgiving, but it was also a great honor, for those who survived could count themselves among the greatest warriors the Empire had to offer.

The gempukku was a series of tests, each designed to showcase and test a particular part of the samurai's character. The initial tests were intellectual or martial in focus, and were said to be the easiest to pass. They often involved reciting passages of Akodo's Leadership from memory and demonstrating a working knowledge of at least twenty weapons. Other tests might include the quartering of pomegranates before they hit the ground or some other means of testing the samurai's skill with a katana.

To test the samurai's endurance, he was struck repeatedly -- up to 400 times -- with a bamboo rod. Although these blows would cause no permanent damage, they were incredibly painful and drained the reciever's stamina. The Matsu was expected to remain concious and upright throughout every blow. Failure resulted in dishonor and seppuku.

The next test involved the samurai's wisdom, patience, and his ability to set aside his own earthly desires for the good of the Lion Clan. He was placed in a room surrounded by plates of steaming food, wherein he must fast for three days. At the end of these three days, he was given a bowl of gruel, which he must completely consume and lick clean, all the while surrounded by delicious meals. In doing so he showed he would never take from the Lion more than he was due.

The final test was often regarded as the most harsh. A white-hot poker shaped in the Matsu crest was pressed into the samurai's skin, forever branding them a Matsu. Although the process only lasted a few seconds, the pain lingered on, and expressing any discomfort would result in the samurai being forced to commit seppuku. [6]

Politics of the Matsu Edit

Matsu Daimyo Edit

The Matsu Daimyoship was customary for women, and only if the Matsu daimyo had no daughters will the eldest son be allowed to rule. When the Matsu had also held the Lion Clan Champion's position, it was customary for the eldest son to rule the clan while the eldest daughter ruled the family itself. [7] The following is a listing of the known daimyo of the Matsu family:

Matsu 15 - 42
Matsu Kiriko 42 - 50
Matsu Kyoda  ? - 65
Matsu Mochihime  ? - 391
Matsu Itagi 391 - 412
Matsu Ikuko  ? - 668
Matsu Tusun (c. 827)
Matsu Yunaki  ? - 1122
Matsu Tsuko 1122 - 1128
Matsu Ketsui 1128 - 1166
Matsu Kenji 1166 - ?
Matsu Chizuki (c. 1198) - Present

Matsu Daimyo of Unknown Dates Edit

Matsu Benkei  ? - ?
Matsu Himeko's father  ? - ?
Matsu Himeko  ? - ?
Matsu Kiriyo  ? - ?

Vassals of the Matsu Edit

The following were the known vassal families of the Matsu family:



Matsu provinces

Matsu provinces

The following were known provinces under the control of the Matsu family; [8]

Major Matsu Holdings Edit

Minor Holdings Edit

Extra Territorial Holdings Edit

See also Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Way of the Lion, p. 34
  2. 2.0 2.1 Way of the Lion, p. 36
  3. Way of the Lion, p. 33
  4. Way of the Lion, pp. 34-35
  5. Way of the Lion, p. 35
  6. Secrets of the Lion, pp. 34-36
  7. Great Clans, p. 118
  8. Secrets of the Lion, p. 95

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