Mon of the Sparrow Clan

The Sparrow Clan was a minor clan founded in the year 400. They resided in a small, barren patch of hills between the vast provinces of the Crane and Crab Clans. There, the tenacious samurai of the Sparrow had carved out an honorable, though difficult, existence. They were known chiefly by the rest of the Empire for their long-winded storytellers, who were generally avoided or used as distractions in court. They were a small clan who had very little and lead their lives of Honorable Poverty in service of necessity.

Sparrow Clan[edit | edit source]

Date code[edit | edit source]

Sparrow used a modified calendar based upon the year of their founding. It was not uncommon for the other members of the Three Man Alliance to use it, particularly the Fox. The Wasp used it some as well. [1]

Philosophy[edit | edit source]

The Sparrow followed a code of honorable poverty rigorously. Living in the Suzume Hills gave them little other choice due to its terrain. Samurai worked beside peasants and everyone knew everyone. There were no secrets.

The Suzume family still had the keen oratory skills and natural good looks of their Doji ancestors. They were adept public speakers and were often mistaken for members of the Crane Clan. That was, until they started speaking about their philosophies. They were long winded and let little detail escape when telling a story. [2]

Storytellers[edit | edit source]

There were few dry places in the Suzume Hills where scrolls could be kept, so education and knowledge was passed down orally. Stories became a necessary tool for remembering one's ancestry and keeping track of history. A truly skilled storyteller was greatly respected among the Sparrow Clan. [3]

Childbirth[edit | edit source]

Suzume families were limited by law to two births per couple, so that the population of the hills would neither grow nor shrink. [2] The only exception was the family of the Sparrow Champion, who was expected to produce multiple heirs in case of disaster. [4]

Demeanor[edit | edit source]

Sparrow samurai was quick to smile, accepted all he faces, had a strong work ethic and a fierce sense of loyalty, and was full of folksy wisdom. The Sparrow had a deep appreciation for life and an ability to embrace the current moment. [5]

Farming[edit | edit source]

The Sparrow cultivated wild rice and barley, and roots such as yams, taro, and potatoes, food that grew in their difficult climate. They also foraged sansai, or “mountain vegetables,” such as wild mushrooms. [6]

History[edit | edit source]

Founding[edit | edit source]

Doji Onegano was ousted from the Crane Clan because of a errant comment made by his son in open court regarding the wealth of the Crane, [7] making an interpretation of Shinsei's philosophy as calling for a renun­ciation of wealth. [8] The Crane Clan Champion believed Onegano had instigated the comment and was outraged. He ordered Onegano leave the clan and found his own minor clan. The Emperor gave Onegano new lands taken from the Crab and Crane. Onegano retired to a monastery, leaving his son, Doji Suzume, the lands. Suzume's aunt, Doji Masako, an elderly Crane, joined him, and with her wisdom and his charisma the Sparrow Clan was formed, [9] [7] tak­ing a more humble bird, the sparrow, as their inspiration. [8] and the family was named Suzume family because all had been Suzume's doing. [10] The lands were called the Suzume Hills. [11]

Sacred Duty[edit | edit source]

In the year 410 the Imperial Chancellor assigned the Sparrow Clan to guard and protect the Golden Sun Plains, bordering their lands. It was a subtle insult, as they were already protected by Imperial Decree forbidding anyone from farming them. Suzume embraced this new task to the heart, despite it was wholly superfluous. [12]

Hatred for the Nezumi[edit | edit source]

An ill-fated diplomatic encounter with the Tattered Ear Tribe happened in 859, [13] where the Nezumi present committed a blasphemous breach of etiquette by presenting the clan with a fetish crafted from the thighbone of the Sparrow daimyo's deceased brother. Needless to say, the Tattered Ear representatives had to flee for their lives and the Sparrow became intense enemies of all Nezumi as a result. The Sparrow would kill Ratlings whenever they were sighted within the Suzume Hills. [14]

Alliances[edit | edit source]

In 1121, the Three Man Alliance was formed when the Sparrow Clan was aided by the Wasp and Fox Clans against an assault by the Scorpion Clan. [15] [16] During the Clan War their allies joined the Yoritomo's Alliance, but the Sparrow contributions were minor. During the Mantis Invasion of the Phoenix lands, the Sparrow quietly withdrew back to their own lands. Two generations later, the Sparrow joined the Alliance of Minor Clans, although they could make only the most meager contributions to its strength. [17]

Spider Infiltration[edit | edit source]

The Sparrow were infiltrated by the Spider Clan as an opportunity to gain entrance to the Crane Clan. [18] By the year 1168, the Spider had successfully infiltrated the leadership of the Sparrow Clan. Within a year, Clan Champion Suzume Yugoki was surrounded by Spider advisors and guards. [17] Their influence had gradually grown until they virtually controlled the clan. [19]

Age of Conquest[edit | edit source]

In the year 1173 the Spider became a Great Clan and were largely exiled to the Colonies, cut all ties to the Spider infiltrators within the Sparrow. Many of the infiltrators rejoined their comrades, while those who remained behind began to become genuine Suzume. By the year 1197, intermarriage and a new generation of Spider-Sparrow children made the remaining Spider infiltrators nearly indistinguishable from the original Sparrow. [17]

Exposing the Spider Remnants[edit | edit source]

In the winter of 1198, the Sparrow Clan Champion, Suzume Ryosuke, suspected that his clan had been infiltrated. Worried, he turned to Moshi Rukia, a Mantis Clan shugenja who was visiting the Sparrow. Ryosuke subtly informed Rukia of his suspicions, stating that his betrothed "made a convincing Sparrow." After his bride-to-be, Suzume Aya, stepped beneath a charm used to ward off evil spirits and began to feel faint, Rukia realized that the girl was a supai, thereby confirming Ryosuke's fears.

After Rukia disposed of the supai, Ryosuke hatched a plan to lure the traitors closest to him out. The gambit worked, though at great cost - Rukia was wounded and Ryosuke outnumbered. Just as Ryosuke was prepared to accept his death, a large number of the Spider infiltrators emerged from the woods, many turning on their brothers and sisters to rescue the Suzume daimyo.

One among them, Daigotsu Ryudo, known to the Sparrow as Suzume Tatsu, offered Ryosuke an explanation: the Spider had infiltrated the clan, but they had been abandoned by their clan, and those who had scoffed at the ways of the Sparrow had died as a result of the harsh conditions of the Hills. Those who survived gained a newfound respect for the Sparrow and their concept of honorable poverty, and considered themselves as much a part of the Sparrow Clan as of the Spider Clan.

The infighting allowed Ryosuke to escape with the injured Rukia to Toshi Ranbo, informing Empress Iweko of his discovery, and causing the Great Clans to withdraw their tenuous support of the Spider Clan. By the Empress' decree, the infiltrators would become true members of the Sparrow Clan, those who had sided with Ryosuke becoming his loyal vassals, leaving those who had betrayed his trust to lament their undesired poverty. [20]

Details[edit | edit source]

Sparrow lands

Lands[edit | edit source]

Situated between the Crane to the northeast and the Crab to the southwest, the lands of the Sparrow Clan were desolate and challenging, a single valley filled with rocks in the north and swamps in the south, with dry sandy soil. Mud hovels, straw roofs, and a few rare stone buildings were found in their settlements. [21]

Mon[edit | edit source]

The mon depicted a sparrow and the clan colors were red brown and black. [22]

Samurai[edit | edit source]

See Samurai of the Sparrow Clan for a listing of notable members of the clan, both current and historic.

Politics[edit | edit source]

Sparrow Clan Champion[edit | edit source]

The following were the known Champions of the Sparrow:

Suzume Onegano (formerly Doji Suzume) 400 - ?
Suzume Mukashino ? - ?
Suzume Kashira (c. 1121) - 1128
Suzume Yugoki 1128 - ?
Suzume Yusuke ? - ?
Suzume Ryosuke ? - Present

Vassal Family[edit | edit source]

Schools & Paths[edit | edit source]

Sparrow Clan Aide

Schools[edit | edit source]

The following were the basic Schools within the Sparrow Clan:

Paths[edit | edit source]

The following were the Paths within the Sparrow Clan:

See also[edit | edit source]

Sources Conflict
The sources relating to this article are in conflict with each other.
Winter Court: Kyuden Kakita page 88 placed the date of Sparrow Clan founding in the year 398.


  1. Scenes from the Empire I, by Shawn Carman
  2. 2.0 2.1 Way of the Minor Clans, p. 55
  3. Way of the Minor Clans, p. 53
  4. Secrets of the Empire, p. 92
  5. Secrets of the Empire, p. 93
  6. Secrets of the Empire, pp. 94-95
  7. 7.0 7.1 Way of the Minor Clans, p. 50-51
  8. 8.0 8.1 Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 234
  9. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 12
  10. Way of the Crane, pp. 36-39
  11. The First Lesson, by Robert Denton
  12. Secrets of the Empire, p. 87
  13. Creatures of Rokugan; Third Edition, p ? [citation needed]
  14. Way of the Ratling, p. 37
  15. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 17
  16. Way of the Minor Clans, p. 33
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Secrets of the Empire, p. 88
  18. Masters of Court, p. 128
  19. Kyuden Suzume (The Dead of Winter Spider Deck flavor)
  20. The Sparrow's Fate (Part 2), by Robert Denton
  21. The Atlas of Rokugan, p. 202
  22. Way of the Minor Clans, p. 3

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