Horiuchi Shem-Zhe 
Horiuchi Shem-Zhe 
Born: Unknown 
Died: 1171 
Parents: Moto parents,
Horiuchi Shoan (adopted) 
Siblings: Seven un-named brothers 
Children: Horiuchi Shoko,
un-named daughters 
Titles: Horiuchi Daimyo

Horiuchi Shem-Zhe was the daimyo of the Horiuchi family.

Family Edit

Shem-Zhe and his seven brothers were born to the Moto family but were orphaned after the Battle of Oblivion's Gate. [1]

Adoption Edit

Shem-Zhe and his brothers were later adopted by Horiuchi Shoan. Shoan taught Shem-Zhe to speak with the kami and he eventually came to see her as his mother. He and his siblings took the Horiuchi name to honor Shoan, and Toturi I eventually blessed the family by elevating it to great family status. [1]

Children Edit

Horiuchi Shoko was the eldest daughter of Sem-Zhe, [1] who became a promising student at Honored Watch Castle. [2]

Daimyo Edit

Shoan designated Shem-Zhe her heir to the Daimyoship of the Horiuchi in the event of her death, due to the family's respect for him and his drive to lead. Shem-Zhe was a modest and unassuming man, eager to prove himself. He knew that he, his wife, his brothers, and his apprentices would need to leave their mark on the world if the Horiuchi name was to survive. [3]

Pacifistic Ways Edit

Shem-Zhe was a shugenja who preferred to use spells that were non-lethal, but could provide decisive results nonetheless. [1] He was lauded by some as the only sensei of the Thousand Orphans kiho. [4]

Legacy of the Naga Edit

Shem-Zhe was one of the shugenja who assembled to hear Akasha describe the voices she always heard. He was the one to deduce that they were the voices were those of the Naga race, speaking throught the Akasha. [5]

City of Night Edit

During his time as Daimyo serving Moto Chagatai he found it difficult because he realized that his family actually had no duty to fulfill. To preserve his family and find them a place in the world Shem-Zhe approached the Khan and requested a duty. Chagatai assigned Shem-Zhe to apprentice under Moto Vordu while Vordu studied the City of Night. Shem-Zhe was astounded to find that the city was so powerful that even an ordinary rock could easily awaken as a nemuranai. Shem-Zhe served Vordu faithfully, even though he was of a higher station than the other man, but he sometimes wondered whether Vordu was entirely sane. [1]

Nightmares Edit

Since Shem-Zhe began exploring the crater, his dreams were filled with nightmares of the city of Volturnum, where his parents died so long ago. His parents called to him from the Shadowlands and asking him to join them. Shem-Zhe ignored the voices, fearing if he might go mad. [3] As he progressed more in his role as daimyo the voices began to lose their influence. [1]

Vordu's Dark Dealings Edit

Vordu was reckless in his studies and unwittingly bargained with the Tsuno to study the city's secrets. He was eventually overwhelmed by its power and was taken over by the power of an ancient Kitsu artifact the city had been created to protect. Vordu attempted to fight the Tsuno but was not powerful enough, and Shem-Zhe could only stand and see his master die. [1]

King of the Trolls Edit

In 1159 Shem-Zhe had studied for months the city, and during his research he found s stone room, which was the prison of a spirit chained there. The one time he attempted to communicate with it, the spirit vanished. It provoked the second awakening of the King of the Trolls, Sichi, a massive creature who had been transformed centuries ago as the mindless guardian of the City of Night. Eventually the mindless beast was put to slumber by a group of samurai who were aided by an elder zokujin, Zgkol. Bayushi Ogura, the shugenja who cast the spell, returned some time ago to investigate further on the creature. Zgkol managed to release the Troll King's spirit, despite members of the Shadowed Tower led by Ogura had been sought to enslave the creature. [6]

Leading the Mission Edit

After Vordu died Shem-Zhe inherited Vordu's responsibilities, but was unable to piece together the remains of Vordu's research. A month later a kenku arrived and offered to help Shem-Zhe to decipher and interpret the city's mysteries. Shem-Zhe was hesitant, remembering Vordu's bad experience with the Tsuno, but the kenku persisted and brought useful scrolls whereever Shem-Zhe would find them yet asked nothing in return. Shem-Zhe eventually accepted this help and learned even more than Vordu had, the Kitsu Language which had been used by the ancient Five Races. [1]

Naga Awakened Edit

In 1160 the Naga Asp the Tashar arrived to Shinden Horiuchi, while Shem-Zhe was talking with the prominent courtier Miya Hatori. The Asp had awakened to protect the city of Iyotisha from the Tsuno, and Shem-Zhe agrred to aid them, after the Naga renewed the vows of his kin with the humans. [7]

Stepped Down Edit

In 1165 Chagatai was disappointed with his lack of progress, and the Iuchi would be take care of the study, at command of Iuchi Katsumi. [8]

Gift of the Shogun Edit

In 1168 the Shogun Kaneka sent one of his Shogun's Advisors to join the Unicorn, in return for their support in his claim of rulership over the capital Toshi Ranbo while the Emperor Toturi III was absent in his quest for enlightenment. He met his old friend Rikako at Shinden Horiuchi. The Khan Moto Chagatai assigned her to work alongside Moto Tsusung, leader of the Moto Priest of Death, until her loyalty could be proven. Shem-Zhe warned her about to join their gaijin rituals. [9]

Test of the Jade Champion Edit

In 1169 Moto Yong-tai asked an audience with the Khan Moto Chagatai, but each day she was dismissed. The Khan was busy with the defence of the Unicorn territory in the Lion march to Shiro Moto. She was persistent and returned every morning to ask again, and finally when Horiuchi Shem-Zhe and Iuchi Katamari where with her, Chagatai let her talk with him. The three shugenja asked to represent the Unicorn in the Jade Championship and all were granted permission. [10] Shem-Zhe was defeated in a magical duel by Kitsu Katsuko. [4]

Prophet Edit

Shem-Zhe was surprised with the spectacular prophecy made by Kitsune Narako during the contest. He was initially reluctant to believe her but the omens she performed in front of many powerful shugenja cleared his doubts. [11]

Fall of the Horiuchi Edit

It was unclear if Shem-Zhe was among the Horiuchi who died when Plague broke out in Horiuchi lands in 1171. Only a handful of Horiuchi were known to have survived. [12]

See also Edit

External Links Edit

Preceded by:
Horiuchi Shoan
Horiuchi Daimyo
? - 1171
Succeeded by:


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Secrets of the Unicorn, p. 79
  2. Way of the Shugenja, p. 72
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rokugan, p. 157
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Tournament Matches, by the L5R Story Team
  5. Legacy of the Naga, Part 4, by Edward Bolme
  6. Four Winds, pp. 89-91
  7. Secrets of the Unicorn, pp. 77-78
  8. Iuchi Katsumi (Reign of Blood flavor)
  9. The Gift of the Shogun, by Shawn Carman
  10. Magic of the Plains, by Nancy Sauer
  11. The First Prophecy, by Shawn Carman
  12. Path of the Destroyer, Part III, by Shawn Carman

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