Mon of the Tortoise Clan

The Tortoise Clan was a minor clan with a reputation as smugglers. They carried more political weight than most minor clans due to their position as the representatives of the minor clans in the Imperial Court.

Families of the Tortoise Clan[edit | edit source]

Tortoise Holdings

The Kasuga family was not the only family in the Tortoise clan.

The Vassal family of the Hyobe made up the officer corps of the small Tortoise Clan Army. They oversaw the defenses of Otosan Uchi. [1]

The Vassal family of the Someisa, [1] which were the caretakers of the eternal flowers, babbling brook, and eternal tortoise within Kyuden Kasuga. [citation needed]

Tortoise Lands[edit | edit source]

The Tortoise were settled exclusively upon the northern White Stag Peninsula and coast north of Otosan Uchi. [2]

Major Tortoise Holdings[edit | edit source]

Minor Tortoise Holdings[edit | edit source]

Early History[edit | edit source]

Foundation[edit | edit source]

The Tortoise were founded in 442 after the Battle of White Stag and Battle of Raging Seas. The Emperor Hantei Muhaki assumed the throne after the death of his niece, Hantei Yugozohime who was killed by the gaijin during the battle of White Stag. He bestowed minor clan status on Agasha Kasuga and his followers despite the fact that they apparently helped the gaijin leaders to escape from Otosan Uchi. To this date the reasons for the Emperor granting this status were known only to Kasuga and Muhaki.

It was formed from a mixture of Yasuki ship captains, hidden gaijin refugees, and the family of Agasha Kasuga. They became smugglers and spies, watching foreign ports and maintaining covert contacts with the Thrane and Merenae civilizations. [3]

The title of Kizoku was given to the decendants of Agasha Kasuga who provided guidance and advice to the Tortoise clan prior to the creation of a Tortoise Clan Daimyo. At one point, the Kasuga were considered Stewards of the Hantei Dynasty. [2] A collection of the accomplishments of the Hinin and Heimin was called the "Kinkyo no Kida" (The humble path) and was one of their most studied scripture, this was addition to normal treatises on Shinsei and Bushido. One unique aspect of the Tortoise Clan was their open invitation for inclusion to ronin, refugees and heimin. [4]

Ancestral Duty[edit | edit source]

After his return Kasuga had convinced Hantei Muhaki to conduct covert trade with the overseas gaijin in order to spy on them, which became the ancestral duty of the Minor Clan. [5] They were known as merchants and diplomats. [6] They conducted minor trade with the gaijin tribes to Rokugan's north, spreading disinformation and inaccuracies to all they met about the Empire and those who dwelled within it. [7] Even well-intentioned Emerald Magistrates had been quietly and discreetly eliminated to preserve the honor of the throne. [8]

A couple of years later, Hantei Muhaki did provide them an official duty, to guard Golden Sun Bay from any assailant, and after he passed on, the new Empress Hantei Retsuhime charged them as caretakers for the Imperial City of Otosan Uchi, keeping the streets clean, repairing the homes, and performing other such menial but necessary tasks. [9]

They were also responsible for keeping a small number of records for the Imperial Houses, thought mainly to be historical accounts and anecdotal information from peripheral sources. [10]

Alliances[edit | edit source]

Primary positive relations between the Tortoise and other Major Clan Families pre-11th Century were as follows: [11] Yasuki (Strong Allies), the Phoenix Clan (Primary Allies), Several Crane Daimyo, the population of Otosan Uchi

Attitude[edit | edit source]

The sardonic Tortoise Clan was the most socially adept to sadane, a game where two contestants exchanged politely worded insults for several minutes until one was unable to response. It was the only way they could survive given the generally dishonorable nature of their daily activities. [12]

Recent History[edit | edit source]

Yoritomo's Alliance[edit | edit source]

The Tortoise eagerly joined the Yoritomo's Alliance, when it was offered by Yoritomo in 1127[13] serving as ambassadors of this alliance of Minor Clans, a duty they would continue even after the alliance disappeared. [14]

Four Winds Era[edit | edit source]

After the death of Toturi I, the Tortoise threw their lot in with Hantei Naseru, the younger of the Four Winds, as he seemed most likely to support the purpose and philosophy of the Tortoise Clan. [8]

Fall of Otosan Uchi[edit | edit source]

After the Fall of Otosan Uchi in 1159 the Tortoise began to leave the East Hub Village, and mantained a nominal presence there. [15] They split their numbers almost evenly between Toshi Ranbo, the new Imperial Capitol, and the eastern shores where the ruins of Otosan Uchi remained. [16] In 1160 an Imperial Decree gave the Tortoise the official job of keeping an eye on what remains of the former capital. [17]

Treaty with the Unicorn[edit | edit source]

During the Winter Court at Kyuden Otomo in 1168 the Tortoise and the unicorn made a treaty. The Tortoise should spread the worship of the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang, constructing shrines along their trade routes and in their ports. Secondly, Tortoise should be granted access to and passage through Unicorn lands, for the purpose of conducting matters of trade. [18]

Details[edit | edit source]

Customs[edit | edit source]

Samurai of the Tortoise emphasized their unappealing looks, such as long mustaches without beards, and their tendency to be overweight. They easily could pass for a commoner with just a change of clothing. They followed the Path of No Path, in which each and every member of the clan chose his own path separate from the whole, as diversity was seen as a source of strength in difficult times. [19]

Tortoise Fleet[edit | edit source]

Tortoise vessels that operated in Rokugani waters appeared to be normal kobune, but the ships which sailed out to gaijin lands were essentially gaijin in design and function. They were built on keels, had pointed bows to cut through the water, and used multiple sails in several different shapes. They also employed a number of gaijin navigation techniques unknown to the rest of the Empire. [20]

Mon[edit | edit source]

The mon depicted a tortoise and the clan colors were blue-black, gold, [21] light green, and white. [22]

Samurai[edit | edit source]

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

Politics[edit | edit source]

Kizoku of the Tortoise Clan[edit | edit source]

The following were the known kizoku of the Tortoise:

Agasha Kasuga 442 - ?
Kasuga Genjiko ? - ?
Kemmei's father ? - (c. 1124)
Kasuga Kemmei (c. 1124) - (c.1150)
Kasuga Taigen c. 1159
Kasuga Masaji ? - Present

School and Paths[edit | edit source]

Schools[edit | edit source]

The following were the basic Schools within the Tortoise Clan:

Paths[edit | edit source]

The following were the paths within the Tortoise Clan:

See also[edit | edit source]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Emerald Empire: Third Edition, p. 102
  2. 2.0 2.1 Way of the Minor Clans, p. 90
  3. Imperial Histories, p. 85
  4. Way of the Minor Clans, p. 94
  5. Imperial Histories, p. 77
  6. Way of the Minor Clans, p. 91
  7. The Legion of the Dead: The Tortoise Sage
  8. 8.0 8.1 Way of the Ninja, p. 65
  9. Secrets of the Empire, p. 98
  10. Game Master's Guide; 2nd Ed, p. 102
  11. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 12
  12. Tournament of Emperor's Favored
  13. Time of the Void, p. 11
  14. Fealty and Freedom, pp. 96-97
  15. The Ruins of Otosan Uchi, Part 3, by Shawn Carman
  16. Live Action Roleplaying, p. 184
  17. Fealty and Freedom, p. 96
  18. Winter Court Kyuden Otomo 1168, p. 9
  19. Secrets of the Empire, p. 102
  20. Book of Water, p. 111
  21. Way of the Minor Clans, p. 3
  22. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 70
  • Emerald Empire, 3rd. ed p 97, 103, 128
  • Fealty and Freedom, 3rd ed. p 95-102
  • Art of the Duel, 3rd ed. p 139, 142-143, 152
  • Prayers and Treasures, 3rd. ed. p 47
  • Masters of Court, 3rd. ed, p 167
  • RPG Rulebook, 4th ed. p 225, p 360, 364
  • RPG Rulebook, 3rd. ed, p 71-72, 153, 317
  • Four Winds, p 186, p 188

Tortoise.png This Tortoise Clan related article is a stub. That means that it has been started, but is incomplete. You can help by adding to the information here.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.