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Kemari was a game in which a leather ball was knocked about using their feet, knees, shoulders and head, their arms folded behind their backs. [1] A circle of players attempted to keep a large leather ball in the air as long as possible without using their hands. [2] The game was introduced by the Shinjo. It was played in full courtly dress, kimonos and peaked black caps. There was no particular function to kemarl; it simply passed time and kept the players fit. [3] Many players found that maintaining one's dignity during a game as much of a challenge as keeping the ball in the air, a subtle metaphor for the complex life of a samurai. [4]

Winter Court Game Edit

Kemari was a relatively recent innovation, introduced at Rokugan by the Shinjo family in the early 12th century. [5] It was played during winter court. In 1125 Shinjo Yasamura was the undisputed champion of this game in winter court at Kyuden Kakita. [3]

See also Edit


  1. Ashes and Steel, by Rich Wulf
  2. Secrets of the Mantis, p. 43
  3. 3.0 3.1 Winter Court: Kyuden Kakita, p. 65
  4. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 32
  5. Art of the Duel, p. 18

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