Asako Henshin

An Asako Henshin

The Henshin were a monastic order unique to the Asako family. They study the mysteries of the Path of Man, as passed down to them from Asako herself. Asako gained the knowledge from Shiba, who came to speak with her through his son after he died defending the original Seven Thunders. They gained great power through knowledge of riddles to which the universe itself responded.

Henshin Edit

In the Rokugani language, the word "henshin" meant "change", "progress", or "rebirth". The Asako chose this name for their academy because of their goal to change and guide the progress of mankind through the secrets of the Path of Man. In the last thousand years, the Asako had seen remarkable progress that they believed indicated that man was truly journeying on the Path that Shiba described. [1]

Selection of the Henshin Edit

To the rest of Rokugan, even the rest of the Phoenix Clan, the Henshin Academy appeared to be where the Asako trained their historians and courtiers. The majority of the empire believed this was the purpose of the Academy. [2]

In truth, the Asako perpetrated this belief so that they could conduct their true studies in seclusion. The easiest way to protect their knowledge, they thought, was to let the rest of the world believe it did not exist. To this end, they let their true students taught themselves as they wandered Rokugan, returning to Asako lands only once they were ready to learn their next Mystery. [3]

Early in the training of an Asako student, the student was evaluated by the Fushihai to determine if he was ready to learn the secrets of the Path of Man. If the student was deemed unworthy, he was given the standard training as a historian or courtier. Worthy students, however, were placed under a Henshin sensei and began their true training. [4]

Ranks of the Order Edit

The Henshin were one of the most secretive orders in Rokugan. Even their own members were not aware of the full extent of the training within the school located at Kyuden Asako in the Tower of the Henshin. [5]

The Mayushi Edit

"Mayushi" meaned "undeveloped". This was the term used for all Henshin except the Fushihai. This was the lowest order among the Henshin, as it was comprised of those who were not yet worthy of knowing the true secrets of the Path.

During this stage, many students of the Henshin Academy were chosen to be sent from the Academy. These were the librarians, historians, and courtiers that gave the Asako a public face and allowed them to continue their true researches in secret. These students were given basic training and then released to their scholarly positions across Rokugan, never to train again at the Asako Academy. [6]

The Michibiku Edit

Asako Michibiku

An Asako Michibiku

The Michibiku represented the bulk of the Henshin. These were the students who were still learning of the Path, but had been chosen to do so from afar. They wandered Rokugan, essentially acting as monks, showing the people of the land how to act and what to believe, trying to bring them to a point of enlightenment where they would return for their next life as an Asako. They did not preach, but offered advice and help, guiding the people where their presence was wanted, and avoiding situations that would cause strife or otherwise added to their family's questionable reputation.

As they wandered, the Michibiku taught themselves. These students were allowed to return to the Academy, but did so only when they were ready to learn the next Mystery. These students represented the bulk of the students of the Asako Academy past the rudimentary training that was given to the uninitiated. Because they were seen without a sensei and throughout Rokugan, the presence of the Michibiku only enforced the rest of the empire's belief that the Asako only provided rudimentary training. [7]

The Fushihai Edit

The Fushihai were the Masters of the Henshin. They were the ones who had learned the final Mystery: the Mystery of Fate. No one knew that this Mystery existed, not even those within the Henshin, until the student was ready to learn it. At that point, the Masters would come to the student, tell him of the Fifth Mystery, and have him join them as Fushihai.

The Fushihai had become so advanced in their study of the Path that they were fully aware of it at all times. They could sense their motion along the Path and that of others as well. None were more aware of the cost of human mistakes than the Fushihai. This led these Masters to follow a very strict code of conduct passed down by Asako herself. [8]

Apotheosis Edit

Although the desire to become a Fortune was no longer the driving motivation of the Asako, it was still, nevertheless, believed to be the ultimate end result of their teachings (as Asako Isamu proved). [9]

Powers of the Henshin Edit

Asako Oyo

Asako Oyo, whose madness and longevity inspired a reexamination of Henshin philosophy

While the specialized techniques taught by bushi dojo throughout Rokugan represent an application of the Path of Man allowing the users to focus the elements surrounding themselves, the Henshin affect the elements much more directly. They refered to their abilities as "Mysteries". Through the use of these Mysteries, the Henshin had discovered how to directly manipulate the elemental forces surrounding them, molding them into tangible effects.

To achieve their Mysteries, the Henshin learned Riddles that allowed them, in essence, to trick the elemental forces into doing their bidding. These forces were fairly predictable, and this predictability allowed the Henshin to manipulate them through the effects they knew their riddles would have. There was a danger to the inherent deception in this method, however, and if the Henshin failed to properly trick the spirits they were manipulating, the elemental forces were very likely to lash out at the Henshin instead. [8]

Current Status Edit

For most of their history, they used these riddles to bend the universe to their will, but it had recently been shown that this was a false path. Now the riddles were used primarily for the entertainment of the universe, not the power of the Henshin. [10] The end result, however, was largely unchanged. [citation needed]

Training of the Henshin Edit

Shinden Asako was the henshin's only formal dojo, being located within Mori Isawa. [11]

New Henshin were taught first about the Elements themselves. They learned how the Elements reacted to outside manipulation and began to learn how to gauge the reaction of the Elements to their manipulations. This rudimentary training lasted approximately one year, after which the students began to learn the Mysteries. Students were allowed to choose their own courses of research. This allowed the student's lessons to be suited to his own abilities and goals. [citation needed]

The students of the Academy were encouraged to consider carefully the path their training would take, however. Although a student might wish to learn the Mystery of Fire quickly, it might be to his benefit to wait. Once a Henshin learned a Riddle, he would never become more proficient in its use. Thus the student who learned the Riddle of Fire as a novice would always had only a novice's control over it. To achieve better mastery of one of the Mysteries, a student must wait to learn that Riddle until he was a more skilled Henshin. [citation needed]

Demeanor of the Henshin Edit

The Henshin were very careful to consider all implications and possible results of everything they said or did. Believing themselves to be the pinnacle of human reincarnation, making a mistake at their level was extremely undesirable. To enforce this system of self-policing, the Henshin also knew that their words and actions were monitored closely by their sensei and the Fushihai, and that they would be remembered -- and would guide the path their progress was allowed to take by the Fushihai -- for their entire lifetimes. [6]

Henshin Masters Edit

Though most Asako Henshin contemplated the Path in secluded monasteries, a number of Asako travelled the Empire and secretly guided others along the Path of Man. These monks were known as the Henshin Masters. [12]

Known Techniques Edit

Known Masters of the Henshin Edit

See also Edit


  1. Way of the Phoenix, p. 63
  2. Way of the Phoenix, p. 44
  3. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 44-45
  4. Way of the Phoenix, p. 45
  5. Bloodspeakers, p. 94
  6. 6.0 6.1 Way of the Phoenix p. 65
  7. Way of the Phoenix pp. 62-63
  8. 8.0 8.1 Way of the Phoenix pp. 64-65
  9. Secrets of the Phoenix, pp. 91-92
  10. Secrets of the Phoenix, p. 42
  11. Secrets of the Phoenix, p. 35
  12. Secrets of the Phoenix, p. 41