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Armor of the Topaz Champion

The Topaz Championship was the most prestigious gempukku ceremony in Rokugan. It is held every spring in the Month of the Serpent [citation needed] in the village of Tsuma in the Kakita Provinces of the Crane Clan. Contestants from all of the Great Clans, as well as those from minor clans or ronin who have a sponsor among the Great Clans or Imperial Families, competed in diverse skill tests that ranged from composing haiku to Iaijutsu duels. Bushi tend to dominate the quite martial contest. [1] The winner is traditionally gifted with a golden kabuto [2] and the Topaz Armor. [3]

Name's Origin[]

The annual gempukku festival of the Kakita Dueling Academy invites young men and women from every Great Clan and even a few Minor Clans to a competition designed to showcase the talent of Rokugan's youth. The pomp surrounding the competition grew to extraordinary proportions when Hantei XXXVIII began fondly naming the young champions his "Topaz Champions." [4]


The Topaz Championship was broken into five parts spread over three days. A contender was tested against another competitor, and a point was awarded to the win­ner of each pairing. A contestant had to score five points to attain adulthood and to be allowed to participate in the third day's Iaijutsu challenge and fealty ceremony. [5]


There were no written rules. Maturity was to be proven with honorable behaviour, and shugenja could not use their magic against opponents. Contestants were required to sign in by noon the day before the tournament opens. [6]

First Day[]

During the first day, contestants would compete in Sumai and Heraldry, then the Athletics foot race was run through an obstacle course set up in the woodlands surrounding the school. Athletics was followed by Horsemanship, where contestants maneuvered horses through a simple course and strike two targets, one with a sword, one with an arrow. The day ended with the Conduct contests. Contestants were interrogated by superiors about a points of law, etiquette, or bushido. [7]

Second Day[]

During the second day, the Weapons contest was held using practice weapons--real but blunted. Each competition ended at first blood. Along with weapons, the second day included Poetry - usually creating a haiku based on a topic selected by the judges--and the Courtier competition with questions about the role of the clans in Rokugan society. Along with those courtly competitions, the second day included, Go and Archery. It ended with the only cooperative contest, the Hunting contest, where competitors were required to retrieve three Tsu fish eggs from the neighboring woodlands. [8]

Third Day[]

Competitors who earned at least five points over the previous two days earned the right to enter the third day's Iaijutsu single-elimination contest to determine the actual winner of the Topaz Championship that year. This contest was followed by a the fealty ceremony for all who passed their gempukku during the competition. [9]

Ritual for the winner[]

After the fealty ceremony of those who passed their gempukku, the last gempukku to be cele­brated was that of the Topaz Champion. The Champion would approach the altar where his clan's daimyo and a shugenja awaited him/her. The clan daimyo would hold out a small bowl covered by a cloth emblazoned the samurai's mon with the samurai's own wakizashi on top, blessed by the attending shugenja. The samurai's palm was cut with the blade, and the clan daimyo would catch the drops of blood in the bowl.

The shugenja used the blood to prepare a scroll pledging the samurai's loyalty and obedience to his clan and family. The scroll was read aloud by the samurai before being burned by the shugenja. Its ashes were dissolved into a tea and given to the clan daimyo. Kneeling before the daimyo, the samurai takes the cup and drinks the mixture. Upon rising, the clan daimyo proclaimed the name of the newest member of his clan. [10]

Topaz Champions[]

Topaz Championship contenders

Tetsuken 7th century, bushi
Isawa Shokan circa 8th century, shugenja
Matsu Tsuko 1104, bushi [11]
Doji Reju 1124, bushi [12]
Mirumoto Uso 1126, bushi [13]
Unknown 1132 [14]
Mirumoto Ukira 1154, bushi
Unknown 1156, shugenja
Moto Najmudin 1160, bushi
Daidoji Juriken c. 1164, bushi
Doji Domotai 1165, bushi
Moshi Kiyomori 1166, shugenja
Horiuchi Wakiza 1167, shugenja
Hida Fumetsu 1169, bushi
Shinjo T'sao 1170, bushi
Shinjo Tae-hyun 1171, bushi
Mirumoto Kalen 1172, bushi
Kitsuki Nakai ?, bushi
Kaiu Onizuka 1198, bushi
Shinjo Ajasu 1199, bushi
Ide Hideshi 1200, courtier
Bayushi Kiwadoi Unknown, courtier
Matsu Hachigoro Unknown, bushi

Notable Tournaments[]

Known Technique[]

The Topaz Dojo

External Links[]


  1. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 204
  2. Daughter of Doji, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  3. The Topaz Armor (Heaven and Earth)
  4. Secrets of the Crane, pp. 5-6
  5. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 210
  6. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, pp. 210-211
  7. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, pp. 211-212
  8. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, pp. 214-215
  9. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, pp. 216-217
  10. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 217
  11. Way of the Lion, p. 78
  12. Winter Court: Kyuden Kakita, p. 14
  13. Winter Court:Kyuden Asako, p. 58
  14. Test of the Topaz Champion

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