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Mon of the Phoenix Clan

The Phoenix Clan is known throughout Rokugan for their skilled shugenja and mastery of elemental magic. The Phoenix are also noted pacifists, preferring diplomacy to war if at all possible. The Phoenix presence in the courts of the land is not great as their courtiers are relatively few, although they are not isolationists like the Dragon Clan. The Phoenix Clan was founded by the Kami Shiba, while the family of his vassal Isawa, generally ran the affairs of the clan.


The Phoenix was mostly identified with red, yellow, and orange colors. [1]


Shiba kneels to Isawa

A Kami Kneels[]

This section is covered more in-depth in the article Shiba kneels

The most important event in the history of the Phoenix Clan was when Shiba knelt before the mortal Isawa, casting away his pride and arrogance and promising to protect his people in exchange for Isawa's help in ending the War Against Fu Leng by becoming the Phoenix Clan Thunder. Until this point, the tribe of Isawa had been a part of the Phoenix only because geographically their land was within the area granted to Shiba by Hantei. Isawa refused to acknowledge the rule of the Kami, but he also refused to leave his lands. Shiba protected him from the Emperor's wrath by claiming that the Isawa were part of his clan even though Isawa would have claimed otherwise. [2]

Isawa had believed that the War would not affect his people because it was confined to southern Rokugan, and thought if he remained neutral the Dark Kami would leave his people alone. When the forces of the Shadowlands began attacking the Isawa lands in the far north of the empire, Isawa too realized that he could not remain neutral in the War, and that if he tried, his people would be destroyed. [3]

Isawa then offered to help Shiba in defeating his corrupted brother but only on the condition that Shiba would kneel before him as he offered his fealty. Isawa would not have his people believing that he had sold them into bondage to a Kami. Shiba, realizing the opportunity before him, did not hesitate to kneel before Isawa and offer to protect his family once he was gone. [4]

Shiba and the Phoenix[]

When the Phoenix Clan was young, there was great tension between the family of Shiba and of Isawa. Isawa resented the Kami being above him because of an accident of birth and the followers of Shiba resented Isawa for his failure to properly respect the Kami. Shiba knew that the tensions within his clan were reaching a breaking point, yet he did not know how to solve the problem. [5]

The answer finally came to him one night in a dream. Shiba had a vision in which he was visited by a magnificent fiery bird. The bird explained that it was composed of all five elements, and was the whole universe. [6] The bird also told Shiba that it and he were the same, saying "You are not separate, but one and the same. I am the reflection of your soul just as you are the manifestation of mine. We are death reborn, immortality through a thousand lifetimes. We are the cycle of the cosmos, spinning in patterns as old as time. We will die in flames, only to rise again and again until the sky itself collapses. We are the Phoenix -- the Eye of Eternity." [7]

Shiba awoke and ran to the city square of Gisei Toshi, where he rang the summoning bell. The people of the city assembled, and he told them that the time for bickering and division was past; henceforth they would be united as the Phoenix Clan. [7]


When the Phoenix began settling the wilderness that the Emperor had ordered them to maintain, they planned to operate from a few great cities and create small outposts of their influence with small temples, which sprang up across the Phoenix lands. [8]

Opening The Gates[]

Grand Master of the Elements Naka Kuro

In 1130 after the great number of casualties suffered by the Clan during the Clan War, the Phoenix struggled to rebuild. The Grand Master of the Elements, Naka Kuro, pledged his aid to the Phoenix, swearing fealty to Clan Champion Shiba Tsukune and the Phoenix. Tsukune in turn offered fealty to all shugenja who could prove themselves capable, and so the Phoenix slowly begin to reclaim their place in Rokugan. [9]

Bordering the Schism[]

During the War of Fire and Thunder the Isawa's insistence on securing their coastline created tremendous resentment among the other families. [10]

Age of the Conquest[]

With the Destroyer War ended, the Phoenix lent their expertise to understanding the mystical remnants of that now dead Ivory Kingdoms. Throughout the Colonies, ruins and vestiges of a forgotten culture laid hidden. Any who stumbled across such treasures were at great risk, and so the Phoenix scoured the countryside in hopes of finding them and eliminating them before the other clans could be endangered. [11]

Rise of Jigoku[]

In 1200 the rebellious Spider Clan began a campaign to place the Spider Clan Champion Daigotsu Kanpeki on the Imperial Throne. The Master of Earth Isawa Norimichi was killed in the Battle of the First Seal. The Master of Water Asako Miyabi did not avoid the destruction of the Second Seal. The Phoenix Clan Champion Shiba Tsukimi willingly accepted to be beheaded by the Scorpion Clan Champion Bayushi Nitoshi, as part of a plan devised to deceive Kanpeki and secure the Emperor Iweko II. [12]

Life in the Phoenix Clan[]

Purpose of the Phoenix Clan[]

The mystics and philosophers of the Phoenix seek enlightenment, but the clan also seeks to ensure their position as the controllers of magical knowledge within the Empire. With three of the four Phoenix families studying the elements it is hardly surprising they have been widely recognized in this area by the rest of Rokugan. This attitude has a detrimental side in that the other clans often see the the Phoenix as being arrogant and disinterested, as having a more intimate knowledge of the kami and their ways.

The Phoenix Clan was named the Voice of the Emperor by Toturi III after he decided that the honor should not be the sole duty of the Miya family. As such, they are the emperor's peace brokers, seeking to maintain civil dealings between the clans. This role fits naturally with the pacifism of the clan. [13]


At the extreme north end of Rokugan, the Phoenix suffer some of its harshest winters. Even on the plains along the clan's southern borders, winter always brings a thick blanket of snow and ice. The roads through their territories are generally small and winding, making them very hazardous in winter. To deal with these conditions, the Phoenix have developed special outerwear for the winter months. They have cloaks to keep them warm and special shoes that allow them to walk atop the thick snows. These allow the families of the Phoenix Clan to stay in contact with each other even in the deepest winter. [14]


The lands of the Phoenix Clan, on the far northeast corner of Rokugan, have been largely spared from the bloody conflicts that have raged throughout history. Nowhere in the lands of the Phoenix is a traveler very far from either a shrine or monastery, and the kami have roamed the land since before the rise of humanity. The whole area seems covered with a magical aura that often radiates reverence and peace. Prior to the Clan War, it had been centuries since any battle had been fought on Phoenix lands. [15]

The Mori Isawa is one of the most magical and most secluded areas within Rokugan. The Isawa family requires a great deal of solitude to conduct their research, and as a result, they have declared the forest largely off-limits to those outside the Clan. Shugenja regularly meditate in the natural clearings of the forest, and Isawa reaching their gempukku are required to spend at least one night there alone, meditating in the woods. The forest is also home to a large group of kenku who have good relations with the local humans and have a great deal of autonomy. [16]

The southern plains of the Phoenix, historically controlled by the Shiba family but now under the Agasha, are covered with some of the most fertile farmland in Rokugan as well as many villages. The lands of the Shiba naturally reflect more of a martial society than the rest of the Clan's territories, and the Shiba keep their bushi as strong a presence in their lands as the Lion Clan or Crab Clan do in their own. [14]

The Asako family lives in the mountains that are the northern border of the Clan, both the Kyodai and Kabe sano Kita and the Yama no Kuyami ranges. These mountains are more like the territories of the Dragon Clan than the rest of the Phoenix lands: they are isolated and beautiful, with a dense air of mystery permeating the landscape. The winters in the mountains, while harsh, are particularly beautiful. More than one Emperor has held a Winter Court at an Asako estate. [17]


The original arrangement of Phoenix lands was to have the Isawa family lands in the middle of their territories, with the Shiba family creating a protective semi-circle of fortresses around them, lining the eastern and western borders. [18] Additionally, their isolated territory and relative lack of valuable resources has historically discouraged invaders, which also serves to heighten the clan's reputation for pacifism. [19]

The addition of the Agasha family to the ranks of the Phoenix has altered this plan slightly. The Agasha were given the southern-most lands, so they alone now hold the clan's shared border with the Lion Clan. The presence of Shiba troops in the fortresses of the Agasha still allows that family to maintain the defenses of the clan, however.[citation needed]


The leadership of the Phoenix Clan expects the members of the clan to be at least somewhat in touch with the kami and be also knowledgeable in the areas of spellcraft and magical theory. Shugenja are omnipresent in the lands of the Phoenix, and children are raised seeing spellcraft every day of their lives. Magic is the backdrop for all their studies, examinations, and work as children.

The Isawa Shugenja school accepts new students at the age of six. When a child reaches this age, the shugenja within, or closely connected to, his immediate family come together to study the child and determine if he has the ability to receive shugenja training. Among the Isawa family, nearly all children are sent to the school, as it is a great dishonor to the child's family otherwise. To the Shiba and Asako families, the testing is merely a chance to determine the child's abilities and destiny, and the schooling is not an obligation but simply a path the child might take. [20]


The Phoenix are staunch pacifists. They have been known to intercede on behalf of oppressed minor clans and other daimyo in attempts to stop warfare within Rokugan. The Isawa believe that all life is valuable, from the weakest peasant to the mightiest emperor, and no life should be thrown away. [21]

Many other clans take this as a sign of the weakness of their armies or the imbalance of the rule of the Council of Five. On the contrary, the Isawa do train in military maneuvers, and once the Phoenix fully commit themselves to a war, they unleash their magics with such power that the effects take years to fully heal. Because of this, the Council does not involve the clan in battle unless it is an absolute necessity. And once it becomes a necessity, the rest of Rokugan is often shocked and repulsed by the brutal efficiency of the Phoenix war machine (see also Five Nights of Shame). [22]

Forbidden Knowledge[]

Within the Phoenix Clan, one of the most valuable resources that a samurai can control is knowledge. Outside of the Phoenix, most Rokugani do not even know these secrets exist. Within the Phoenix, it is generally known which family controls a certain secret, but not necessarily who specifically knows it. These secrets pass from one holder to the next only upon the first one's death. This forbidden knowledge ranges from obscure or ancient maho rites to pre-imperial history or rituals to the location of a Black Scroll. The one thing all of these secrets have in common is that their knowledge, if revealed, would not only damn the keepers, but the clan as a whole. [23]

Rain of Blood[]

During the tragedy of the rain of blood the Phoenix were able to protect all of their lands with a powerful ritual. While many have criticized the Phoenix for not sending any emissaries or heralds to warn of the impending danger the Phoenix leadership countered that they needed every possible shugenja in order to protect Phoenix lands. Despite the powerful ward that protected their lands from the cursed rain the Phoenix still produced more bloodspeakers than any other clan, thus supporting the suspicion of the clan being involved with dark arts.



  • Capital: Kyuden Isawa
  • Population: 1 590 000 (approx)
  • Military: 88 000 samurai
  • Imports: Exotic Goods
  • Exports: Silver, Lumber


The following are the families within the Phoenix Clan:

Vassal Families[]

The following are vassal families within the Phoenix Clan:


See Samurai of the Phoenix Clan for a listing of notable members of the clan, both current and historic. For the leaders of the clan, see also:

Major Holdings[]

Phoenix provinces

The following are some of the major holdings of the Phoenix Clan.


The following are some of the festivals celebrated by the Phoenix Clan that are not celebrated throughout the Empire:

Schools & Paths[]


The following are the basic Schools within the Phoenix Clan:

Paths and Advanced Schools[]

The following were the Paths and Advanced Schools within the Phoenix Clan:


  1. Player's Guide: 2nd Ed, p. 15
  2. Dawn of the Empire, p. 69
  3. Way of the Phoenix, p. 18
  4. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 19-20
  5. Way of the Phoenix, p. 35
  6. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 35-36
  7. 7.0 7.1 Way of the Phoenix, p. 36
  8. Way of the Open Hand, p. 34
  9. Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game, Third Edition, p. 20
  10. Brothers, by Shawn Carman
  11. Age of the Conquest: The Clans
  12. The Dawn of Onyx Edition
  13. Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game, Third Edition, p. 58
  14. 14.0 14.1 Way of the Phoenix, p. 110
  15. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 108-109
  16. Way of the Phoenix, p. 109
  17. Way of the Phoenix, p. 111
  18. Way of the Phoenix, p. 37
  19. Way of the Phoenix, p. 40
  20. Way of the Phoenix, p. 54
  21. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 23-24
  22. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 28-29
  23. Way of the Phoenix, p. 51