Matsu Hiroru 
Matsu Hiroru 
Born: (c. 1098
Died: 1133 
Parents: Matsu Uniri,
Matsu Yunaki 
Siblings: Matsu Tsuko,
Ikoma Ujiaki (half)

Matsu Hiroru was the younger brother of Matsu Tsuko, born just a few weeks before their father's death. [1]

Early Life Edit

Birth Edit

Hiroru was born in 1098 as the second child of his parents, and was thus destined to serve as the guardian of the Hall of Ancestors. [2] His parents already had a daughter of eight, Matsu Tsuko. [3]

Childhood Edit

His father died in 1100 under Phoenix assassins just before the Battle at Fate Gorge. [4] As a child, Hiroru was very solitary, spending much of his time in the woods of the Lion Clan, hunting with the bow his older sister gave him. Hiroru also liked to use offhand observations to influence people. [1]

Isawa Tadaka Edit

Hiroru was a childhood friend of Isawa Tadaka. When the Phoenix was four the kid became sick, because of an illness known as samagutra. Hiroru had it at the same time. [5]

Lies of Bushido Edit

Hiroru attended the seppuku of Shiba Ujimitsu's wife, and watched as the champion was unable to prevent his wife's death. That day, he learnt that the right word could control anyone's actions. When the Champion's daughter cursed Ujimitsu's name, and his ancestors, Ujimitsu decapitated her with his katana, and Hiroru saw the two dead woman as being equal in death - even though one had died with honor, and one in shame. [6] [1]

The experience changed Hiroru greatly, making him a great deal more passionless and violent than before. He began to play subtle, vicious pranks on his fellow samurai, pranks that went unnoticed by all except one man, the revered sensei, Akodo Kage. [6] [7]

Tsuko's Brother Edit

The future of Hiroru in the Lion Clan was to guard the Hall of Ancestors. [8] At the age of seven, Hiroru spent two years attending the Matsu Bushi School. After these two years, he grew bored of being referred to as "The brother of Tsuko", and began pulling pranks on his peers. Due to his intelligence, Hiroru was rarely caught, but his reputation for making trouble grew regardless. [7]

Kage and Hiroru Edit

Matsu Hiroru 3

Matsu Hiroru, Kolat unknowing accomplice

Hiroru first met Akodo Kage at a martial arts tournament where sensei from the Seven Clans gathered to recruit students. The event was held near the Hall of Ancestors. When Hiroru won the competition for his age group, Kage asked the Matsu family daimyo for permission to train the boy, and she agreed readily. Kage taught Hiroru many styles of combat, both with weapons and without. Hiroru felt that Kage was the father he never knew, and Kage felt that Hiroru was the heir and son he never had. For years Hiroru served Kage, and, by extension, the Emperor's needs, carrying messages, infiltrating cults and other groups. [7] One day, Kage hoped, Hiroru would succeed him as one of the Kolat Masters. [6]

Death at Ichime Castle Edit

Hiroru sneaked the chambers of Akodo Maouri, the late Lord of Ichime Castle. He was on a brisk to be found by a group of samurai who were investigating the death. [9] Maouri's Karo, Matsu Nari, fled after he was uncovered as a Scorpion in disguise and the murdered. Hiroru pursued, caught and cut his throat. The corpse was found by Kitsuki Kaagi, a Kitsuki Magistrate in charge of the investigation. [10]

Advising Kaagi Edit

Kaagi was met by Hiroru in guise of an Oja-san, Seru Haka, and told the magistrate the story of Onnotangu, Amaterasu and the Shadow. [11]

Kaagi was returning to Dragon territory after he rescued Doji Ninube. Hiroru met Kaagi in the way and introduced himself as a Shadow hunter. Hiroru gave him some hints and advice Kaagi to send his servant away. The Shadow was trying to use her against the magistrate. [12]

Doji Kuwanan Edit

Matsu Hiroru 2

Matsu Hiroru

The Emperor comanded the Lion and Crane to stop warring, and imposed the forestage of the Crane Clan Champion's son, Doji Kuwanan, in the Akodo school. Hiroru was furious, it seemed as if the Crane had been given another victory. [8] In the Akodo school he first met Kuwanan, the two disliked each other from the moment they met, and they each studied under separate sensei so they would frequently meet in mock battles. In one of these trials Hiroru "mistakenly" broke Kuwanan's arm, and although Hiroru apologized Kuwanan could see through the hollow apology. There was nothing Kuwanan could do however than politely accept the apology. Training continued with more pranks and taunting, but he could do nothing but ignore them. At the time of their gempukku Kuwanan was engaged to be married to Shiba Nosuriko, a beautiful young maiden. The night before their wedding however she hung herself in her chamber, leaving no note or reason. Kuwanan however believed the fault lay with Hiroru, who had never relented in his advances towards the girl. Kuwanan finally had enough reason to challenge Hiroru, but when he went to the Matsu's room he was nowhere to be found. Kuwanan never got his revenge. [13] Akodo Kage had ordered Hiroru to begin a romantic liasion with Nosuriko, ended the day before the wedding when Norusiko commited suicide. [14] Shocked Hiroru confronted Kage, striking at his sensei in anger for instructing him to do such a horrible thing. Though surprised by Hiroru's attack, he was no match for Kage and barely escaped with his life. [6]

Ronin Edit

Hiroru knew if he returned to the Lion, Kage would swiftly dispose of him. Thus he faked his own death and lived the life of a ronin. He carried with him Kage's last gift, [6] a white silken gi, said to be woven of pure crystal by Lady Doji herself, that protected him from the powers of Darkness Spawn. Hiroru never spoke of how he found his unusual garb, but many of those rescued by the mysterious wanderer came to call him the White Ninja because of it. [15]

A Dark Secret is Uncovered Edit

In 1125 his childhood friend Tadaka had disappeared from Rokugan, which was evident when for three times the Master of Earth refused a summons from the Imperial Court. Hiroru sneaked into his chmabers at Kyuden Isawa where he found a jade and pearl lacquered box. The Master of Air Isawa Uona confronted Hiroru with words, explaining the evil which was threatening the Empire and Tadaka was journeying in the Shadowlands, researching about the menace. Hiroru was shocked after she told the Elemental Masters had been exposed to the taint while researching several of the infamous Black Scrolls. Hiroru returned to Uona the box, which held the Black Scrolls inside, and left. [16]

Meeting Doji Shizue Edit

One time when Hiroru was riding alone in Crane lands a storm erupted. Riding through the storm he came across a Crane girl in the mud, flung from her horse which had broken a leg. Hiroru helped the girl to the nearest village, where he was told she was an emissary from the Crane Courts. He later learned her name, Doji Shizue. Hiroru had not stopped thinking about her, [17] and fell in love with her. [18]

Matsu Tsuko Edit

During a relief mission by the storyteller Doji Shizue, imprisoned at Matsu Palace, Hiroru fought against his sister Matsu Tsuko who was using Shizue to gain information about Toturi and his Naga allies. [19]

Hidden Emperor Edit

The Search Begins

The Search Begins

Hiroru was a loyal follower of the ronin general Toturi I, and after the disappearance of Toturi in 1130 Hiroru and Ginawa went searching for Toturi. [20]

Scorpion Orders Edit

Bayushi Kachiko, knowing that her clan would be exiled for Toturi's disappearance, suspected the true culprit was an enemy of the Scorpion Clan. She summoned Hiroru, and charged him with finding Toturi's kidnapper with the aid of te ronin Ginawa. [21] Hiroru believed that the minions of Goju Adorai might have been behind the kidnapping. [22]

Ginawa Edit

Hiroru came to Ginawa's chamber, who was drunk and self-pity. Ginawa was reluctant to began any task, and Hiroru swore the ronin to find the killer of Ginawa's master after they found Toturi. [23]

Doji Shizue Edit

Matsu Hiroru 4

Hiroru and Shizue

Doji Shizue remained in Otosan Uchi to follow a traitor in the court. Hiroru was forced to start his quest without his lover. [24]

Meeting with Lions Edit

During the unexplained Lion march into Crab lands, Hiroru tried without result to convince the Matsu Daimyo, Matsu Ketsui, to stop the march. [25]

Kaede Returns Edit

Isawa Kaede returned to Rokugan as the Oracle of Void to help in the search of Toturi. She instructed Ginawa and Hiroru to find a Dragon, whose face had yet not vanished. [26] [27]

Complications Edit

Hiroru holds Ginawa

Hiroru holds Ginawa

They followed Moshi Hito to the Isawa Woodlands. [28] Beside the ruins of Kyuden Isawa a messenger were shouting to the people that the Emperor had been rescued and was safe at Otosan Uchi. Hito had fouled them, and disappeared inside the castle. Hiroru held Ginawa not to follow Hito in the Shadows. [29]

Kitsuki Kaagi Edit

Ginawa and Hiroru in their investigation to find the Hidden Emperor came into an abandoned monastery, rifed with Goju and fought their way to the center of the building. They discovered Kitsuki Kaagi, who had been imprisoned and presumed dead for the past ten years. Kaagi told of his imprisonment by his brother Kitsuki Iyekao who became a willing minion of the Darkness and had been attempting to corrupt his brother for the past decade. [30] [31]

Toturi is Found Edit

Others succeed where Ginawa had failed. Toturi was found in the Morikage Castle by Otaku Kamoko and Tsuruchi between others, and put in safe place by Otaku Xieng Chi and Unicorn scouts. [32]

Madness of Toturi Edit

Toturi's Return

Madness of Toturi

They came back to Otosan Uchi and after the seppuku of the Imperial Chancellor Takuan both were convinced that the Emperor was not himself. [33]

Kolat Edit

Shizue stabs Hiroru

Hiroru is stabbed by Shizue

Ginawa and Hiroru did not believe that the man who was found in the ruined castles of the Isawa was the Emperor. They met secretly at night with Doji Shizue, when two kolat appeared. First one was Kage, who through gaijin words forced Shizue, a Sleeper Agent, to stab Hiroru. Kage lobbied to retrieve Hiroru under his tutelage, to become his succesor. Ginawa did not allow it and managed to kill the second kolat, Asahina Dorai, but Imperial Guards led by Toku arrived in time to think Ginawa was a murderer. Kage fled with Shizue, while Ginawa was apprehended by Toku for murder. [34] They were imprisoned for weeks in the Imperial Palace, being Hiroru still not recovered from his wounds. [35] He did not know why Shizue had betrayed them. [36] Ginawa and wounded Hiroru came to the presence of Toturi I, who in his madened state hardly recognized his old friend Ginawa. Toturi ordered them into exile, and Ginawa saw he was the real Toturi, but something had entered the Emperor's mind. The Emperor had been found but not yet saved. [37]

The Emperor Married Edit

In the moments following Lord Moon's death at Hitomi's hands, Ginawa confronted the Emperor. He found he could not bring himself to kill Toturi, but instead smuggled the mad Emperor to an outskirt where Hiroru where recovering from the wounds. Kaede, the Oracle of Void appeared there, healed Hiroru and transported Toturi to Phoenix lands, where the Oracle married Toturi to save his soul. [35]

Last Days of Hiroru Edit

Volturnum Edit

Kaede sent Hiroru and Ginawa to the ancient city of Volturnum, in the Shadowlands, [38] crossing the deadly Valley of Shadows. [39] When passing Kyuden Kakita, they met Kakita Kaiten and told him the Shadows was destroying the very souls of the dead, ancestors had been slaughtered by the hundreds. [40] When they reached Volturnum Hiroru talked with the Tenth Kami Ryoshun. Hiroru followed Ryoshun back to Rokugan, leaving Ginawa alone. [38]

Toturi's Seppuku Edit

Toturi's Seppuku

Toturi's Seppuku

Hiroru and Ryoshun reached Isawa Palace, to meet Toturi. The Tenth Kami explained Toturi what was necessary to be done. [41] Toturi broke free of the hold the Lying Darkness had over him. In this moment of clarity he realized that if the Darkness took the soul of an Emperor the Empire would be lost also. [42] In a hasty ceremony, he married his fiancee Isawa Kaede, [43] committing seppuku shortly afterwards with Hiroru as a second, [44] thus fulfilling Isawa Norikazu's prophecy by killing his master. [45]

Last Sighting and Death Edit

Amaterasu's Furnace

Hiroru entering Amaterasu's Furnace

Hiroru fell to his knees, feeling as though all joy, all honor, had left the world. The Emperor was dead by his own blade; Ryoshun had vanished-gone to seek his path back to Jigoku. Only one thing remained, one reason to live. He looked into the Empress's eyes Kaede and whispered his lady's name, Shizue. [46] She had perished during the War Against Shadow. Hiroru resolved to find her, to bring her soul back to Rokugan as Oblivion's Gate had restored so many others. He sought out another passage to the Realms of the Dead, and found it in Amaterasu's Furnace. [6] Hiroru was last seen walking toward the flames of the Furnace, determined to find Shizue's soul there. No one had ever returned from there. [47]

After Death Edit

Becoming a Gaki Edit

Matsu Hiroru 5

Matsu Hiroru as Gaki

Unfortunately Hiroru did not survive his passage into Gaki-do, the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. Overcome by his own sins and hidden shame, he became a hungry ghost himself. For decades he wandered in a mad hunger. By pure chance he sensed the presence of Morito Tokei, his former comrade in Toturi's Army, being tortured by The Maw in the depths of foul Jigoku. Suddenly possessed of a clarity and courage he had not known since his death, Hiroru ventured into Jigoku to rescue his old friend. Though his hunger had not subsided, the heroic act had given Hiroru a sense of hope, a hope for redemption that he had not known since he last looked into Shizue's eyes. [6] [48] [49]

Legion of the Dead Edit

As Shozai-gaki, [50] Hiroru had twin segmented eyes, with sharp mandibles emerging from his cheeks, piercing his mask on either side. [51] In 1166 Hiroru joined the Legion of the Dead, and his hunger had faded. The White Ninja had stepped forward to answer Matsu Goemon's call. [6]

Maigo no Musha Edit

In 1176 Hiroru stood for a brief time in Maigo no Musha, alongside with his old friend Ginawa, just dead, and the guardian of the Spirit Realm, Sanzo. [52]

See also Edit

External Links Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Way of the Lion, p. 73
  2. Imperial Histories, p. 210
  3. Way of the Lion, p. 77
  4. Way of the Lion, p. 78
  5. Player's Guide; 2nd Ed, p. 192
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 The Legion of the Dead: The White Ninja
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Way of the Lion, p. 74
  8. 8.0 8.1 Way of the Lion, p. 75
  9. Way of Shadow, p. 37
  10. Way of Shadow, p. 40
  11. Way of Shadow, p. 42, 113
  12. Way of Shadow, pp. 112-114
  13. Way of the Crane, p. 81
  14. Merchant's Guide to Rokugan, pp. 85-86
  15. Way of Shadow, p. 152
  16. Player's Guide: 2nd Ed, pp. 191-192
  17. Way of the Wolf, p. 65
  18. Rulebook Story (Hidden Emperor 3)
  19. Way of the Willow, by Ree Soesbee
  20. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 21
  21. Kachiko's Tale (Jade)
  22. Hidden Emperor, p. 11
  23. Rulebook Story (Hidden Emperor 2)
  24. Doji Shizue (Jade flavor)
  25. Rulebook Story (Hidden Emperor 4)
  26. Rulebook Story (Hidden Emperor 6)
  27. Hidden Emperor, p. 14
  28. The Storming of Morikage Castle, Part 1, by Ree Soesbee
  29. Let Him Escape (Dark Journey Home flavor)
  30. Hidden Emperor, pp. 26-27
  31. Kitsuki Iyekao (Dark Journey Home flavor)
  32. The Storming of Morikage Castle, Part 3, by Ree Soesbee
  33. Rulebook Story (Dark Journey Home)
  34. Rulebook Story (Pearl), by Ree Soesbee
  35. 35.0 35.1 Hidden Emperor, p. 54
  36. Poor Health (Ambition's Debt flavor)
  37. Rulebook Story (Honor Bound), by Ree Soesbee
  38. 38.0 38.1 Rulebook Story (Fire and Shadow), by Ree Soesbee
  39. Rulebook Story (Ambition's Debt)
  40. Clan Letter to the Crane #11 (Imperial Herald v3 #3)
  41. Karmic Link (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  42. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition p. 23
  43. Imperial Wedding (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  44. Soul of the Empire (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  45. Hidden Emperor, p. 78
  46. When Spirits Walked (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  47. Amaterasu's Furnace (Spirit Wars flavor)
  48. Strange Travelers (Heaven and Earth flavor)
  49. Fortunes & Winds, p. 31
  50. Creatures of Rokugan: Third Edition, p. 106
  51. Fortunes & Winds, p. 37
  52. Judgment, Part 2, by Lucas Twyman

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