A Yojimbo and his Charge

Yojimbo was the Rokugani word for bodyguard. Yojimbo were generally bushi assigned to protect non-bushi members of the samurai caste, such as courtiers and shugenja, as well as important figures such as daimyo and generals. [1] They fought defensively and rarely allowed themselves to be drawn deeply into any conflict; their only purpose was to keep their charge alive. [2]

History Edit

One of the first reccorded yojimbo in history was Mirumoto, who became the yojimbo of the Kami Togashi. Around this time was also the founding of the Shiba Yojimbo school, which was inspired by the Kami Shiba kneeling before Isawa and pledging to protect the shugenja and his tribe.[citation needed]

Emerald Champions Edit

The Emerald Champion was in theory the personal yojimbo of the Emperor, although other duties would sometimes keep the champion busy. The first Emerald Champion Kakita, won a tournament to hold the title. While the Emperor would traditionally have an Imperial Guard with several yojimbo, the Emerald Champion would be the first among any yojimbo.[citation needed]

Duties Edit

The main duties of yojimbo were to protect important members or allies who were not expected to always defend themselves. People such as courtiers and shugenja were most commonly not trained in the sword, and as such would require someone to protect them. In the case of duels of honor, a yojimbo could often be someones designated champion, although this was not necessarily always the case.[citation needed]

Failed Yojimbo Edit

When a charge died under the protection of a yojimbo, the bodyguard usually atoned with seppuku, although reduction to ronin could happen if the bushi was grossly incompetent. [3]

Prestigious yojimbo schoolEdit

One of the most prestigious schools of yojimbo was that of the Shiba Yojimbo and the smaller Order of Chikai of the Phoenix Clan. Second to them would most likely be the Daidoji Yojimbo school of the Crane Clan.[citation needed]

Elite Guards Edit

Elite Guard

An Elite Guard

Every clan had a unit known as the elite guard, which served as guards and yojimbo to the most important members of the clan such as the Clan Champions or Daimyo.

Vassal families Edit

Some smaller vassal families of the clans devoted their entire family to the duties of yojimbo. Notable among them was the Koshei family, vassals of the Tonbo family of the Dragonfly Clan.[citation needed]

Yojimbo in clans Edit

The place of a yojimbo was so important to the clans of Rokugan that each clan had at least one school dedicated to the purpose of protecting its less martial members.

Clan Name
Crab Clan
Crane Clan Daidoji Yojimbo
Dragon Clan
Lion Clan
Mantis Clan
Phoenix Clan Shiba Yojimbo
Scorpion Clan Shosuro Yojimbo
Unicorn Clan

See also Edit


  1. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 313
  2. Clan War: The Clans, p. 78
  3. Great Clans, p. 195

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