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Lion-Crane War

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Lion-Crane War
Location: Rokugan
Date: 1122-1128
Major Forces: Crane Clan, Lion Clan, Phoenix Clan
Generals: Akodo Arasou, Akodo Toturi, Matsu Tsuko, Matsu Gohei, Doji Satsume, Doji Hoturi, Shiba Tsukune
Battles of Rokugan

The Crane Clan and Lion Clan have long been at odds. After centuries of squabbling and accusations, the strife between the two erupted into full scale war in the 12th century.

Preambles Edit

Badger Clan Champion Assassinated Edit

In 1118, the Badger Clan Champion Ichiro Akitomo was assassinated while visiting the lands of the Crane Clan. The dishonor of the assassination was a great embarrasment to the Crane. There were rumors that the assassination was a plot to increase tensions between the Crane and the Lion Clan. The killer was never caught. [1]

Toshi Ranbo Edit

Toshi Ranbo wo Shien Shite Reigisaho, Violence Behind Courtliness City, had been heavily contested by both clans throughout history. In 1120 the general Doji Chuto had seized the city without fight, and rumors of blackmail by the Crane spread. [2] When the Lion Clan Champion, Akodo Arasou, attempted to retake it this year, he was killed in the process, increasing tensions between the clans. [1]

Lion Infamy Edit

In 1120 Kenson Gakka's commanding officer Akodo Ikare attacked and killed Crane guests within Yaruki Jukko monastery. Ikare was actually a Shosuro imposter minion of the Lying Darkness. [3]

Shoju's manipulation Edit

The ancient rivalry between the Crane and the Lion had been under so much tension over the years that when it was manipulated even further by Bayushi Sozui and the traitor Kitsu Goden in 1122, in the Battle on the Plains of Gaiju Shindai and Battle of the Forgotten Tide. Goden made the battles worse by unleashing the Legacy of the Forge, vengeful spirits of Toshigoku, to possess the bodies of the mortal warriors. Fortunately, a small band of samurai discovered the plot and exposed and defeated Sozui and Goden. Tension between the clans decreased for a short while, but soon escalated once more. [4] The Legacy also was unleashed during the Battle for Shiro no Yojin. [5] Bayushi Shoju was preparing the Scorpion Coup, so he had decided to further encourage the tensions between the Lion the Crane. He had sent Sozui on this mission, and she organized many troubles between the two clans. [6]

Stalemate Edit

At winter court in 1123 the 'war' between the Lion and the Crane was laughable. The Crane economical advantage would cripple any Lion military attempt, but the Crane were concerned a third party was supplying the Lion, who had moved their forces to the Osari border. [7]

Pirates Plague Crane-Mantis trade routes Edit

In 1123 the Crane-Mantis trade routes were being harassed by pirates and many important shipments were lost. The Mantis and Crane began to question each other's honesty and intentions, though the losses were light on both sides. When a group of magistrates determined that a Lion, Matsu Shindoku, had been trying to damage the Crane-Mantis affairs by preying on their ships, this further hurt the already unstable relationshsip between the Lion and the Crane. [1]

Phoenix Claims to Intervene Edit

Visions of a dark time was foreseeing by the Phoenix Clan if the war would continue. The Elemental Masters sent Isawa Ujina to ask Hantei XXXVIII for enter the war, expecting a peaceful end. [8]

Scorpion Coup, a break in the War Edit

During the Scorpion Coup the clans were united against the usurper, Bayushi Shoju, and the war faded. [9]

Conflict Erupts Into Full Scale War Edit

After the Coup, the Lion and the Crane, always bitter enemies, sought again open war again. The Emperor, Hantei XXXIX sick and weary, could do nothing to stop them. The hatred between Matsu Tsuko and Doji Hoturi could only be quenched by blood. [10] In 1125 [11] the two clans broke into full scale war, [4] and the Lion began a campaign to recover the lost Osari Plains. [12]

The Butcher Unleashed Edit

In 1126 Matsu Gohei stormed Toshi Ranbo , which was defended by the Tsume, vassals of the Crane. Without mercy, he forced the Crane samurai to commit seppuku and killed any who "didn't have the courage to do it". His actions there won him the nickname The Butcher. [13] He followed with an attack over the nearby Phoenix city of Nikesake, under the command of Shiba Katsuda. The general Shiba Tsukune reinforced the city with twenty five shugenja led by Isawa Taeruko, sending a message to the Lion: If Lion would bring war to the Phoenix, they must be prepared to face the consequences. [14]

Engulfed by the Flames of the Phoenix Edit

A Phoenix patrol led by Shiba Tsukune came across a Lion army waiting on the edge of Crane territory. [15] The Lion were led by an arrogant Kitsu shugenja who told Tsukune to go home. The Phoenix did not take the insult lightly, and he killed the shugenja and destroyed his army. [16] The shugenja's head was carried back to the Phoenix stronghold as a trophy. [17] Matsu Tsuko, enraged by the action, declared a Blood feud on Tsukune. [18]

Two Front War Edit

In 1127 the Crab attacked the Crane by surprise and sacked Kyuden Kakita. [19] Weakened by the plague and Crab's assault on their lands, two armies of the Lion invaded the Crane, led by Matsu Tsuko and her hatamoto Matsu Agetoki. [20]

Fall of Doji Castle Edit

In 1127 a Lion army led by Matsu Agetoki under the command of Tsuko, was besieging Doji Castle. They were forced to retreat by orders from Emperor himself. After three days the Crane Champion returned with an army of Shadowlands Madmen. The False Hoturi marched his army against Kyuden Doji, while the Lion watched it, inactive. The False Hoturi fooled the defenders, who opened the gates. The Shadowlands army decimated the dwindling forces of the Crane. [21]

Attacked by the Naga Edit

After the naga race awakened, they were seeking to destroy the invading Shadowlands. The Naga marched toward the undefended Lion provinces, forcing Matsu Tsuko to draw her troops away from the destruction of the Crane. [22]

End of the War Edit

The war was virtually ended in 1128. The events of this year were over this feud, and the two Clan Champions were dead. [citation needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition p. 17
  2. Way of the Lion, p. 112
  3. Imperial Histories, p. 129
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition p. 19
  5. Legacy of the Forge, p. 50
  6. Legacy of the Forge, p. 7
  7. Winter Court: Kyuden Seppun, p. 83
  8. Otosan Uchi: The Scorpion's Sting, p. 12
  9. Otosan Uchi: The Scorpion's Sting, p. 60
  10. Bad Kharma (Honor Bound Foil Chase Cards flavor)
  11. Winter Court:Kyuden Asako, p. 55
  12. Three Days, by Ree Soesbee
  13. Time of Void, p. 10
  14. Player's Guide: 2nd Ed, pp. 40-41
  15. The Battle of Beiden Pass, Imperial Herald #2
  16. The Gaijin's Guide to Rokugan - Part 4: Distant Thunder
  17. The Story So Far: Imperial Edition (Imperial Herald #4)
  18. Clan Letter to the Lion #1 (Imperial Herald v1#1)
  19. Time of the Void, p. 10
  20. Time of the Void, p. 32
  21. The Story so Far: Shadowlands Imperial Herald #4
  22. The Arrow Knows the Way (Ambition's Debt Foil Chase Cards flavor)

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