Isawa Hochiu 
Isawa Hochiu 
Born: Unknown 
Died: 1159, Month of the Tiger [1] 
Parents: Isawa Tsuke 
Titles: Master of Fire
Isawa Hochiu was appointed Master of Fire by Naka Kuro during the Mantis Invasion, the fourth Master appointed after the Second Day of Thunder. [2]

Family Edit

Hochiu was son of Isawa Tsuke and cousin of Shiba Ningen. [3] After his gempukku Hochiu gained admission to the elite tensai school. When Hochiu heard of the evil deeds committed by his father, he swore he would never follow such a path and would instead be a hero for Rokugan. [4] For every great deed of heroism Hochiu performed, he tempered it with an equal display of compassion and understanding, cultivating the mercy within his soul that he knew his father ultimately lacked. [5] Hochiu could claim kinship with the proud line of the Centipede Moshi Hotaru[6]

Hidden Emperor Edit

Isawa Hochiu 2

Novice Hochiu

When Hochiu was still a novice, he wished to go to the Morikage Castle because he felt the presence of his father's soul. Tsukune did not let him go because was too young. [7]

Morikage Forest Edit

Hochiu did not obey and was beside his yojimbo, Shiba Tetsu, when he marched to the forest. They found an injured Lion hero, Matsu Turi, and healed him. [8] Three spectral bandits attacked them in the forest and when they turned to fight, the bandits' faces slid downwards, losing all features, smooth as an egg. They realized jade would not harm these faceless bandits and the other Phoenix bushi were killed. Only Turi, Tetsu, and his charge Hochiu could flee and survive. [9]

Visions of Walking Spirits Edit

In the middle of the forest the three men saw a vision of the battle at Kyuden Isawa on the Second Day of Thunder, when Hochiu's father, Isawa Tsuke, slaughtered his brethren. In the twisted forest the visions could become real and the Phoenix fought Tsuke's vision and commanded Turi to go inside the Morikage Castle. Turi bowed and turned, understanding instinctively the command of a born leader. [9]

Mantis Invasion Edit

Hochiu blamed Bayushi Aramasu, who had given the Scorpion secrets to Yoritomo, for the Mantis Invasion of the Phoenix lands. [10] Hochiu was a member of the Firestorm Legion, [11] and would lead the counterattack that eventually drove Yoritomo from Phoenix lands.

Master of Fire Edit

In 1132 Hochiu was appointed as Master of Fire, [12] leaving only the position of the Master of Water vacant. He began to heard news about creatures of blood and shadow, the Goju. Shiba Tsukune, the Phoenix Clan Champion had seen one of the faceless Goju, and Asako Togama, the Asako Daimyo, after researching at the Asako libraries formed the theory the Goju was a previous Scorpion family that descended into the Shadows and was lost. News from the Unicorn Clan claimed that only crystal weapons could harm them. [13]

Isawa Taeruko Edit

In his early years as part of the Council, Hochiu was fond of the Master of Earth, Isawa Taeruko. [3]

Assault on Otosan Uchi Edit

Hochiu's first action as Master of Fire was to follow Shinjo in the assault on Otosan Uchi against the Lying Darkness and its hold over Toturi. [14] In the Imperial Throne room Hochiu stepped forward with his father's sword, but was flung away by the Champion of the Moon with a gesture of contempt. [15]

Shiba Tsukune Edit

Ryoshun had given to Shiba Tsukune the bloodsword Ambition. She became compelled by it to raise her voice against the Elemental Masters, in the end cleaving their meeting table in half demanding a sixth place at the table. The masters calmed her down and the wakizashi was taken from her and placed in Gisei Toshi, [16] [17] the city in which Hochiu was the Head Sensei. [18]

Race to Volturnum Edit

In 1133 Hochiu was part of the Phoenix army that marched toward Volturnum. An army of oni led by Akuma no Oni blocked their way and Unicorn, Lion and Phoenix forces fought together. Hochiu burned a path as wide as ten samurai through the worst of their legions, and many of the Empire soldiers pushed open the gap and held the line. [19]

The Incomplete Council Edit

During the fighting the incomplete Council of Five planned to magically transport entire legions of armies directly to Volturnum, without having to first fight through the ranks of Goju and oni that stood in their way. The spell had been lost to Isawa Tsuke's destruction, but Hochiu had wrested the lost knowledge from the mad spirit's mind at Morikage's battle with his father. The ritual required five Masters, but the council had no one to stand for Water. They decided to attempt the ritual anyway, but it did not work as planned. It was saved only by the intervention of the returned spirit of Isawa Tomo, who completed the ritual as he added the necessary Water to the balance. [20]

The Fight Edit

Through the course of the ritual in the Shi-Khan Wastes, Shiba Tsukune, Shiba Raigen and eight other bushi guarded the Masters. The raging battle quickly overtook them once the Masters began the ritual, the demons of the Shadowlands and the Shadow sensing the magic. The ten bushi were quickly joined by three cavalry from the Lion Clan armies, led by Matsu Mori. While the shugenja created their ritual, the bushi fended off waves of mujina, Oni no Ugulu spawn, and Goju Shadowmancers. [20]

Destruction and Salvation Edit

Tsukune and her fellows were badly injured or dead as the Goju exploded into ash. She managed to call to the Soul of Shiba forming a protective shield around the remaining samurai on the field, saving them from death. The shield came just in time for the ritual to spin out of control and then be saved by Tomo. The Masters stepped through the portal that formed into Volturnum. [20]

At the city of Volturnum Edit

Hochiu at Oblivion's Gate

Hochiu in front of shattered Oblivion's Gate

Battle of Oblivion's Gate Edit

The gates of the city were broken, and the Empire armies rushed into the city. But the Council of Five kept the inner city gates closed, avoiding the shadows from within it to join the battle in the streets. A legion of oni and beasts of the Taint slaughtered the armies outside the city; if the armies within the inner city were released, there would be no hope for the samurai of the Empire. [3]

Returned Spirits Edit

Agasha Gennai saw a glow shining within the inner city, an army of Returned Spirits. Volturnum's inner city was filled with Fu Leng's diseased power, and the Taint was as strong as the Shadows. Gennai ordered Isawa Taeruko to raise a path from the city down to those on the field and kept it clear of oni. At the same time Isawa Hochiu suppressed the Shadows within the gate. Shiba Ningen opened the gate of inner Volturnum and the ancestors from Yomi and Toshigoku began to emerge from it, led by the Emperor Toturi I himself. Ningen then resealed the gate so that the Goju could not enter the outer city. The armies charged past the city gate, launching themselves from the hopeless battle in the city down toward the great plain where Shadow and Shadowlands alike fought to destroy the armies of the Empire. [3]

Sacrifice of the Air Dragon Edit

Hochiu riding the Air Dragon

Hochiu riding the Air Dragon

The Dragon of Air appeared in human form to allow Hochiu to reach the city's heart where the Master of Darkness, Goju Adorai, was performing a ritual that would slaughter the Rokugani ancestors. The rest of the Masters were busy in the Battle of Oblivion's Gate, and Shiba Seiko offered herself as Hochiu's yojimbo. Ningen opened the inner gates once more and the Dragon of Air transported them through the corrupted inner city, allowing itself to become corrupted so that Hochiu and his yojimbo could reach Adorai. Once past the archway of the coliseum, the dragon that emerged was no longer of air, but of ash and shadow; only its emerald eyes were unchanged. [21]

Adorai's Death Edit

Adorai's Death

Hochiu strikes Adorai by surprise

Seiko used her training as a Shosuro Actress to deceive Adorai, disguising herself as the Master of Fire. She faced the sorcerer and was mortally wounded, but her deception allowed Hochiu to reach Adorai and surprise him with a mortal blow. This led to the destruction of the Lying Darkness [3] and the end of the War Against Shadow. Hochiu was the man who sealed and destroyed Oblivion's Gate. [21]

Four Winds Edit

Hochiu suggested to the rest of the Council that they lend their support to Akodo Kaneka, believing they could gain advantages against the Dragon. [22]

Nightmares Edit

Each night the ghosts of countless kinsmen murdered by his father Isawa Tsuke visited Hochiu. Occasionally, he heard the Shadow Dragon's whispered voice but Hochiu ignored the creature. [23]

Blackmailed Edit

The scholar Asako Bairei uncovered the secret of Hochiu's uncle, Isawa Muchito, who had disguised himself as Isawa Orimono and led a bloodspeaker cult that had been on the very brink of completing a ritual that would have destroyed Ryoko Owari Toshi. Bairei subtly used his knowledge of Muchito's identity to convince Hochiu to allow him to build the Shrine of the Moon, a shrine to Hitomi. Hochiu was impressed with Bairei's courage and granted him permission. [24]

Crane-Phoenix Treaty Edit

Hochiu challenges Kurohito

Hochiu challenges Kurohito

In 1159 Doji Akiko, the returned daughter of Isawa and wife of Doji Kurohito, the Crane Clan Champion, used her origins to lobby the Council of Five for a Crane-Phoenix Treaty. To prove the worth of the Crane, Isawa Hochiu challenged Kurohito to a duel of first blood. [25] [26] Kurohito won, and the Phoenix accepted the treaty. [27] [28]

The Dragon-Phoenix War Edit

Shaitung Faced the Masters Edit

In 1159 Shaitung duelled the Elemental Masters, defeating them in an all-or-nothing attack. The six shugenja were swallowed up by the earth where, under the crust of the earth, they encountered Shaitung's father, Tamori. Now the Dark Oracle of Fire, it was revealed that he had caused the volcanic eruptions that caused the Dragon-Phoenix War. [29]

Imprisoned Edit

Isawa Taeruko and Hochiu attacked the Dark Oracle with Shaitung's support, but Tamori unleashed a wave of lava to crush the Masters. Isawa Riake made a protective ice shield that saved Shiba Ningen, Isawa Hochiu and an unconscious Taeruko, but she was unable to save herself. Shaitung and Isawa Nakamuro escaped the tunnels intact. The remaining three masters were sealed in a stone prison by the Oracle, so Ningen merged their spirits with the Void, placing them into a deep slumber. They would exist in stasis until they were awakened. [30] Hochiu and Taeruko were eventually able to cut their way to the surface [31] in the month of the Rooster. [32] It had not been until the moment of Riake's sacrifice that Hochiu realized he had loved her. [33]

The Broken Council Edit

The Elemental Council was broken, with one Master a Dragon hostage and the Master of Water vacant, while Shiba Aikune used the Wish to lay his claim to the Phoenix rulership. The Masters were holding a meeting to elect the new Master of Water when Aikune magically entered the forbidden room, and claimed to be their equal, as his mother had done before him.[33]

Hochiu and Chosai Edit

Hochiu had felt that the Phoenix would slowly die if they did not have conflict to strengthen them. Alongside Tamori Chosai he had manipulated the Dark Oracle of Fire Tamori into starting the Dragon-Phoenix War. Chosai and Hochiu's involvement was discovered by Tamori Shaitung, Isawa Nakamuro, Asako Bairei and Hitomi Maya. Nakamuro and Bairei confronted Hochiu, but were interrupted by Tamori. Chosai used the Dark Covenant of Fire to force Tamori to duel Hochiu without the use of magic, but Tamori survived the duel and incinerated Hochiu. Tamori was in turn killed by Mirumoto Tsuge while his daughter Shaitung distracted him. [34]

Legion of the Dead Edit

Hochiu's Chop

Hochiu's Chop

In 1166 Hochiu joined the Legion of the Dead. He had stepped forward to answer Matsu Goemon's call. [35]

Legacy Edit

In 1170 was the chop of Isawa Hochiu was found. [36]

See also Edit

External Links Edit

Preceded by:
Isawa Tsuke
Master of Fire
1132 - 1159
Succeeded by:
Isawa Ochiai


  1. Four Winds, p. 54
  2. Phoenix Clan Letter #11
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Voices: The Final Days of Oblivion's Gate, by Ree Soesbee
  4. Great Clans, p. 191
  5. Hidden Emperor, p. 89
  6. Secrets of the Mantis, p. 49
  7. The Storming of Morikage Castle, Part 1, by Ree Soesbee
  8. The Storming of Morikage Castle, Part 2, by Ree Soesbee
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Storming of Morikage Castle, Part 3, by Ree Soesbee
  10. Declaration of War (Ambition's Debt flavor)
  11. Firestorm Legion (Diamond flavor)
  12. Many Happy Returns (GenCon 99 LARP Storyline results)
  13. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #11 (Imperial Herald v3 #3)
  14. War in the Heavens, by Ree Soesbee
  15. War in the Heavens (GenCon 99 Storyline Tournament Results)
  16. The Broken Blade (Eternal Halls of Shiba, story-back - Soul of the Empire)
  17. Final Words (Fire and Shadow flavor)
  18. Way of the Shugenja, p. 56
  19. The Race to Volturnum: Phoenix
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 The Race to Volturnum, by Ree Soesbee
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Hero's Death, Chapter Four, by Rich Wulf
  22. Secrets on the Wind - Part 1, by Rich Wulf and Shawn Carman
  23. Secrets of the Phoenix, p. 52
  24. Secrets of the Phoenix, p. 38
  25. Broken Words (Fall of Otosan Uchi flavor)
  26. Strike At the Soul (Fall of Otosan Uchi flavor)
  27. Nightmares, Part I, by Rich Wulf
  28. Four Winds, p. 45
  29. Way of the Samurai, p. 96
  30. Imprisoned
  31. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #18 (Imperial Herald v2 #3)
  32. Imperial Histories 2, p. 204
  33. 33.0 33.1 Visions of Flame (Season of the Phoenix)
  34. The Dark Oracle of Fire, Part III
  35. The Legion of the Dead: Son in Shadow
  36. Discovering Lost Lore (Imperial Gift I flavor)

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