Kitsu Motso 
Kitsu Motso 
Born: end of 11th century 
Died: 1150 
Parents: Un-named Kitsu Daimyo 
Siblings: Kitsu Toju,
un-named brother 
Titles: Legion of Two Thousand Commander,
Lion Clan Champion

Kitsu Motso was the first Kitsu Lion Clan Champion in history. While highly born, he did not inherit his position, but instead had to earn his high rank. He is best-remembered for fighting the War of Spirits as Champion, though his moral guidance and skilled leadership were also important to the Lion in the Clan War and the struggle against the Lying Darkness. A recurring theme in Motso's career was conflict within the Lion Clan. The Akodo-Matsu rivalry was critical to his early success; later he would become the leader of a new, unorthodox party within the Lion. The final resolution of this conflict would be seen in Motso's ascendancy as Champion.

Siblings Edit

Born at the end of the 11th century, [1] Motso, son of the Kitsu Daimyo, [2] had two younger brothers, one of them Kitsu Toju, who were important historical figures on their own merits. [3]

Early life Edit

Kitsu Motso 4

Kitsu Motso

Kitsu Motso's early life was dominated by the question of his inheritance; once that was settled, the young samurai was forced to find his own way in the Lion Clan. [4]

Childhood Edit

The boy who was to become Motso was the eldest son of the ruling line of the Kitsu family. From an early age, he was assured that despite his seniority, he would only lead the family if he succeeded as a Sodan Senzo, but tests revealed that the boy lacked the purity of blood to perform spirit magic. The question of Motso's paternity became a matter of court gossip, though his mother's fidelity was never directly challenged. [4]

Training under the Matsu Edit

The Kitsu had no place for Motso, but as a member of the Lion Clan he was still expected to be trained in the ways of the samurai caste. The bitterness and rage that had been planted in the boy's heart would have dismayed the sensei of many bushi schools, but to the Matsu it was a sign of great potential. [4]

Motso took the training of the Matsu to heart, focusing and refining his anger at having been cheated out of his inheritance. During this time, it is said that he courted at least one Matsu samurai-ko, but his low status would have made a good match extremely unlikely. [4]

Demeanor Edit

Motso was a vain, arrogant, angry man, his inner thoughts turned toward retribution and the destruction of others in order to appease his childhood pains. [4] He preferred armor made of bronze, his helm covered with long locks of silk which resembled the mane of a lion, and wore no faceplate, so the enemy could know who bested them. His lack of respect for tradition won him many enemies in his Clan. [5]

Taisa Kitsu Motso Edit

In a Clan of warriors, Kitsu Motso became one of the finest: a superb swordsman with a grasp of tactics that even surpassed many of the Akodo. Despite his brilliance, his lack of respect for the ancestors and unorthodox behaviour hampered his advancement among the tradition-minded Lion. [3]

Tsuko's Hand Edit

He was lucky to come to the attention of Matsu Tsuko, serving as a Taisa in her armies and fighting against the Crane in her wars. [6] After the death of Akodo Arasou some even speculated that the ferocious Motso would become Tsuko's husband. [4]

Trusted Advisor Edit

At Shiro Matsu Motso and Akodo Kage congratulated personally the bravery of a ronin by the name Kado. During a minor battle he found the Lion standard-bearer dead and took up the standard from the ground. Kage offered Kado a position within the Lion, and he humbly refused. Motso liked Kado's character and appointed him as a personal advisor. Since then Motso considered Kado nearly a brother, never suspecting his advisor was a kolat. [7]

Master Tactician Edit

Kitsu Motso 2

Kitsu Motso

The Scorpion Coup and the fall of the Akodo were even more of a boon to Motso's fortunes than they were to the Matsu. With so many of the Lion Clan's skilled commanders gone, Motso was now clearly the Master Tactician of the Lion. As the new Lion Clan Champion, Matsu Tsuko brought Motso more closely into her service, making good use of his skills during the Lion attack on Crane lands during the Clan War. [citation needed]

Mempo of the Void Edit

Motso was gifted with the Mempo of the Void, an Elemental Nemuranai created to balance the appearance of the Elemental Terrors. [8]

Return of Fu Leng Edit

Defense of Otosan Uchi Edit

Tsuko's charismatic leadership and Motso's command acumen made an excellent team. While formal command was invested in the Lady of the Lion, she generally left Motso to marshal troops in her name, preferring to lead from the front. This combination was torn apart when the Lion faced Hida Kisada at Otosan Uchi [9] in the Month of the Ox of 1127. [10] Imperial command demanded that Tsuko not lead her troops; as a result, the demoralised Lion army refused to accept the still lowly-ranked Kitsu Motso as its commander. [9] In the Month of the Hare of 1128 Kisada and his shadowlands allies breached the walls of Otosan Uchi. Kisada was grievously wounded by Hantei XXXIX in personal combat and vanished with his son Hida Yakamo. [11]

Lion Divided Edit

The Crab Clan's hasty withdrawal from the Imperial City gave the Lion a respite to reorganise, but another command from the throne would fracture the Clan completely. The Lion were leaderless and divided between those who remained loyal to the Emperor, no matter the cost, and those loyal to the Empire, even at the cost of the Emperor. Ujiaki was among the first. [12]

In the name of the Emperor, Yakamo no Oni commanded the Lion at Otosan Uchi to march alongside Yogo Junzo's shadowlands army. [citation needed] Ikoma Tsanuri, Tsuko's adopted heir, and Ikoma Ujiaki chose to accept the command, following a policy of strict loyalty to the Throne. Kitsu Motso refused, and after Matsu Tsuko's seppuku in 1128, Motso rallied much of the leaderless Lion before the ruins of Shiro Akodo, to heal the breach within the Lion. His action made it wider, instead, as Ikoma Tsanuri and Ujiaki clearly sided with the Hantei, declaring Motso a traitor. Motso became the leader of those Lion who would fight to place a better Emperor on the throne. [13]

Neither Motso nor Tsanuri knew that the Dark Kami Fu Leng had taken possession of Hantei XXXIX's body. Motso's decision was grounded in a belief that not even the Emperor should consort with the Shadowlands; the pro-Imperial forces believed that the Emperor was above such judgement. Both camps were concerned with locating Matsu Tsuko, believing that her choice would have been the same as theirs. [14] Other sources said that the Mempo of the Void allowed Motso to see past his false allegiance to a possessed Emperor. [15]

Motso encouraged Lion in other parts of the Empire to make common cause with the Crane, Unicorn and Toturi's Army in the fight against the Shadowlands. [citation needed]

Tsuko's Death Edit

After Tsuko's seppuku, Motso answered the summons of the Hooded Ronin and marched his army to Otosan Uchi to fight on the Second Day of Thunder. [16]

Before the city, the two Lion armies engaged one another, with Tsanuri and Motso coming blade to blade. However, the ronin Toturi rode into the fray, calling the Clan to honour Tsuko's memory and fight for the Empire under his leadership. [17] [18]

Second Day of Thunder Edit

Besieging Otosan Uchi Edit

Motso joined a combined army together with Doji Hoturi, Hida Yakamo, Shinjo Yokatsu, and Toturi the Black. [19]

Promotion to Rikugunshokan Edit

In the aftermath of the Second Day of Thunder, the Lion Clan was badly battered, having lost many of its leaders and warriors. Despite his abilities and sound judgement, Kitsu Motso was not chosen to become the new Lion Clan Champion, a duty that fell to his rival, Ikoma Tsanuri. Motso was, however, granted the title of Rikugunshokan, becoming one of the Lion Clan's most powerful warlords. [1]

Motso was appointed by Toturi himself as the commander of the Legion of Two Thousand. [20] However, it was Motso's subordinate, the ronin Kado, who actually issued the orders. [21]

While the first years of Toturi's reign were good, the Lion were soon to face fresh dangers. Tsanuri took many of the Clan's armies to the Crab lands, leaving other leaders such as Motso or the young Matsu Ketsui with little to protect the Lion homeland. [citation needed]

Aiding the Crab Edit

Kitsu Motso led a large portion of Lion forces to assist the Crab to defend the Kaiu Wall, with a group of Kitsu Shugenja among them as healers. [22]

Corruption of the Kitsu Edit

The tainted Jade Champion, Kitsu Okura, made a bargain with Oni no Akuma that brought the whole Kitsu family into disrepute, particularly since he was a member of their ruling house. [23]

Motso fought in 1132 beside Shiro Matsu against a Unicorn army [24] in the battle of Storms over Matsu Palace. [25] The Lion won supported by oni and tainted bushi. [26]

Kitsu Toju, now the Daimyo of the Kitsu, sought Motso's aid in fighting against their corrupted brother. [1]

However, with the Lion stretched so thin, there was little aid that Motso could offer. He did, however, lend his name to struggle against the shadowlands, as a symbolic mirror to Kitsu Okura's similar gift to a spawn of Oni no Akuma. Motso also urged Lion samurai to use their initiative and fight the enemy wherever they were to be found, or to march to the Crab lands and join the army of the Clans marshalling there for a great offensive into the shadowlands itself. [citation needed]

Ancestors Dying Edit

The same year Toju told him that the souls of the dead were being slaughtered by the Shadow in the Shadowlands. Motso began to prepare the Lion to join Ikoma Tsanuri. [27]

Motso's part in the War in the Heavens Edit

In 1132 during the War in the Heavens, Kitsu Motso commanded the small Lion contingent. His troops entered the palace on the third day, with the Rikugunshokan personally breaking open the gate of the Imperial Palace. [28]

Inside the palace, the Lion soldiers found bushi from the Crab Clan had already entered, but had been slaughtered by the Lying Darkness. Motso gave his katana to the sole survivor, Hida Unari, and fought on with his wakizashi and bare hands. Motso was one of the samurai who entered the throne room and fought on the side of Takao against the avatar of Onnotangu. [28]

Assuming the Command Edit

In 1133 after the Crane seized Shiro no Yojin, being Tsanuri absent in the Unexplained March to the Crab lands, Motso decided to take command of all remaining military forces in Lion lands. He was disgusted with the actions of Okura, and told the Unicorn his intention to purge the Clan of all corruption. [29] Anyhow he requested the Unicorn to leave Lion lands or to face consquences. [30]

Race to Volturnum Edit

Motso meets O-Ushi

Motso meets O-Ushi

Motso was able to join the Lion part of the Rokugani army that marched through the Shadowlands to the city of Volturnum, [31] and he sought the oni who stole his brother's name, Kitsu Okura. [32]

Tsanuri's Death Edit

Tsanuri ordered the Rikugunshokan to lead the main Lion contingent on to Oblivion's Gate while she and a smaller force gave their lives holding off Oni no Akuma's hordes. With Tsanuri's death Motso once again stood as de facto leader of the Lion Clan, though he was now unrivalled in this position. [33]

Saved by Okura Edit

Kitsu Motso 3

Kitsu Motso

Akuma no Oni knew of the Lion plans, [33] and the way to Volturnum had been blocked. Akuma's army tore effortlessly through Lion lines and Akuma no Oni himself grievously wounded Motso. The Lion staggered, blood trailing from his wounded arm, as the oni lifted its claws for a final blow. [34] Akuma faced it's spawn, Okura no Oni. Okura had been influenced by the honor of the Lion Clan, and turned against her father. [35] Okura no Oni leapt in front of the fallen Lion general, throwing herself upon Akuma's claws. Though bloodied from her wound, she stood and freed her weapon from its sheath, [36] and her sword killed Akuma. Together, the two oni died. [37] Around her, the corrupted Lion soldiers had begun to turn upon their Shadowlands allies, fighting to earn their honor back. [38]

Oblivion's Gate Edit

After the Lion broke through the gates of Volturnum, Motso's Crystal Katana was broken. He fought on with the fragments in his bleeding hands and called his men to greater deeds. Oni no Akuma personally engaged Motso and badly wounded him before Oni no Okura sacrificed herself to banish the Oni Lord. [39] [40]

Champion of the Lion Edit

Kitsu Motso was finally named Lion Clan Champion after his return from Volturnum. Alter revealing that Motso's long-time hatamoto, the ronin Kado, was an agent of the Kolat, he replaced him with Ikoma Sume, who later became the Ikoma Daimyo. [41] His long reign was marked by the rebirth of the Akodo family and trouble with the Spirits that had returned through Oblivion's Gate. He also oversaw the training of the young Toturi Tsudao, and was greatly impressed by the young samurai. [42]

Hantei XVI Edit

Motos backed the right to rule of Toturi I against the wishes of the returned spirit Hantei XVI. [43]

Spirit War Edit

Motso denies his ancestor command

Motso denies his ancestor command

During the War of Spirits, an Akodo former Lion Clan Champion demanded that Kitsu Motso returned the Clan to their command. He refused [44] and with the support of Akodo Ginawa convinced many of the Lion Spirits to accept his leadership and that of Toturi. With the authority invested in him by the Emperor, Kitsu Motso finally managed to unify the Lion to an extent not seen even in the days before the Scorpion Coup. [45]

Celestial Sword Edit

The Fortune of Steel, Xing Guo gave the Celestial Sword of the Lion, Shinrai to Kitsu Motso, who took the sword as his own personal weapon. [46]

Death Edit

In the dying days of the War, Kitsu Motso fell in the Battle of Quiet Winds, dying a hero of the Lion. [8] [47] Matsu Nimuro was suggested as his replacement, and was confirmed by the Emperor Toturi I. [48]

See also Edit

External Links Edit

Preceded by:
Ikoma Tsanuri
Lion Clan Champion
1133 - 1150
Succeeded by:
Matsu Nimuro


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Great Clans, p. 122
  2. Imperial Histories, p. 163
  3. 3.0 3.1 Way of the Lion, p. 71
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Way of the Lion, p. 70
  5. Clan War: The Clans, p. 34
  6. Visions of the Past, by Ree Soesbee
  7. Way of the Wolf, p. 80
  8. 8.0 8.1 Prayers and Blessings, p. 184
  9. 9.0 9.1 Glory and Honor
  10. Time of the Void, p. 54
  11. Time of the Void, p. 55
  12. Clan Letter to the Lion #4b (Imperial Herald v1 #4)
  13. Time of the Void, pp. 73-74
  14. Eyes of Dawn
  15. Rokugan, p. 205
  16. Clan Letter to the Lion #5 (Imperial Herald v2 #1)
  17. Time of the Void, p. 102
  18. The Ancestral Home of the Lion: Tsuko and Rokugan (Time of the Void story Cards)
  19. Clan Letter to the Unicorn #4b (Imperial Herald v1 #4)
  20. Hidden Emperor, p. 56
  21. Secrets of the Empire, p. 137
  22. Secrets of the Lion, p. 58
  23. Hidden Emperor, p. 20
  24. Mushin (Hidden Emperor 3 flavor)
  25. Rulebook Story (Storms Over Matsu Palace)
  26. The Imperial Histories Part II (1130 - 1158)
  27. Clan Letter to the Lion #11 (Imperial Herald v3 #3)
  28. 28.0 28.1 War in the Heavens, by Ree Soesbee
  29. Hidden Emperor, p. 65
  30. White Shore Plain (Fire and Shadow flavor)
  31. Clan Letter to the Lion #14 (Imperial Herald v4 #3)
  32. The Race to Volturnum: Lion
  33. 33.0 33.1 The Kitsu Tombs A Thousand Lion, by Ree Soesbee (Soul of the Empire storyback)
  34. Oni Podling (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  35. Creatures of Rokugan, p. 55
  36. Burning the Ashes (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  37. Time of Destiny (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  38. Hidden Emperor, p. 77
  39. Burning the Ashes (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  40. Oni Podling (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  41. Secrets of the Lion, pp. 8, 39
  42. Birth of the Sword (Spirit Wars flavor)
  43. Imperial Histories, pp. 217-218
  44. Ancestral Dictate (Spirit Wars flavor)
  45. Imperial Histories, pp. 226-227
  46. Magic of Rokugan, p. 82
  47. Imperial Histories, p. 227
  48. Secrets of the Lion, p. 9

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