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Matsu Itagi

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Please note: This article is about the Lion Clan Champion. For other uses of the term, please see Itagi (disambiguation).
Matsu Itagi 
Born: Unknown 
Died: 412 
Siblings: Matsu Mochihime,
Matsu Oki 
Titles: Matsu Daimyo,
Lion Clan Champion

The Lion Clan Champion Matsu Itagi was a giant bull of a man, proud of his strength and military prowess. He could claim a hundred victories on the battlefield and no less than two dozen iaijutsu challenges unscathed. He was one of the most powerful heroes in Rokugan. [1]

Appearnace and Demeanor Edit

Brash and uncompromising, Itagi was a giant of a man, standing well over six feet tall and built like an ox. [2] He was a loyal supporter of the Emperor, and an enemy of the Crab. [3]

Matsu Daimyo Edit

In 391 after the Gozoku gained political victory over the Emperor Hantei Fujiwa, his sister the Matsu Daimyo Matsu Mochihime, an opponent of the conspiracy, was cast out of the Clan. She became the ronin Mochiko. [4] Itagi became the Matsu leader. [5]

Lion Clan Champion Edit

In 401 the Lion Clan Champion Akodo Mitsuyuki died with no heir. Itagi was chosen as the new Champion despite the Gozoku opposition. [6]

Fierce Warrior Edit

Itagi, a formidable and aggressive warrior, and the Clan went on a rampage, attacking their neighbors ever summer, becoming the best-loved Lion Champion since Akodo himself. Itagi wished to prove his clan's superiority than to capitalize on his victories. The combined efforts of the Gozoku effectively stymied any long-term Lion gains. [5]

Phoenix campaign Edit

Itagi harbored a particular desire to do battle with the Phoenix, due to his clan's defeat of his at the end of the First Lion-Phoenix War. He launched a long series of attacks on his neighboring clans, most notably the Phoenix. [2] In 408 Itagi invaded the Phoenix lands and his superior forces was confronted by a small Phoenix unit led by Shiba Kaigen. They sacrificed to stop the Lion army at Kiken na Roka, the Treacherous Pass. In response, the Gozoku Leader Shiba Gaijushiko brought the full power of his alliance to bear on Itagi, forcing him to largely halt further aggression within the Empire. [6]

Shadowlands campaign Edit

The Thorn in his Side Edit

The Crab Clan's continous defense of the Empire was a thorn in his side. How could he be the best if there were others defending him? He decided the only course of action was to enter the Shadowlands to close the Festering Pit of Fu Leng himself. He gained permission from the Emperor and protection from the Phoenix Clan and travelled south to Kyuden Hida. When he arrived he was welcomed in, but when he told the Crab Clan Champion Hida Tadaka of his plan, Tadaka warned him against his errand, but Itagi would not listen, [7] eager to prove the Lion at least the equal of the Crab when facing an inhuman foe. [3]

Itagi in the Shadowlands Edit

In 412 [8] Itagi entered the Shadowlands, and 25 day passed with no sign from him. It was at this time Itagi's younger sister, Matsu Oki, refusing to believe her brother dead and believing that the Crab had tricked her brother into going, amassed an army and marched on Hida Castle demanding they produce her brother or face the consequences. To prevent Oki from attacking Hida Castle Tadaka decided to enter the Shadowlands alone to retrieve Itagi. Tadaka traded some colored bead with a Nezumi named Taktak for the knowledge of the location of Matsu Itagi, and two days later Itagi was found, his armor ripped like paper, thousands of cuts and his left arm torn off just above the elbow. Holding himself as the Champion with the same ferocity in his eyes he refused to leave, and Tadaka stayed with him to face the monsters hunting him. [9]

The Return of Itagi Edit

Three days later Tadaka emerged from the Shadowlands, carrying the lifeless form of Itagi. Oki came running just as they entered Hida Castle, and heard her brother's last words; "We were not defeated". Itagi and Tadaka were buried together with full honors in Otosan Uchi. [10] A sect of the Kitsu family immediately commissioned the construction of a shrine to Bishamon, the Fortune of Strength. [11]

See also Edit

Preceded by:
Matsu Mochihime
Matsu Daimyo
391 - 412
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Akodo Mitsuyuki
Lion Clan Champion
401 - 412
Succeeded by:

Sources Conflict
The sources relating to this article are in conflict with each other.
Way of the Lion states that Zaruko was the first non-Akodo Lion Champion, yet the dates indicate that Matsu Itagi served as the Champion before Zaruko


  1. Way of the Crab, pp. 25-26
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sword and Fan, p. 33
  3. 3.0 3.1 Way of the Lion, p. 25
  4. Imperial Histories, pp. 44-50
  5. 5.0 5.1 Imperial Histories, p. 54
  6. 6.0 6.1 Imperial Histories, p. 50
  7. Way of the Crab, pp. 26-27
  8. Imperial Histories, p. 50
  9. Way of the Crab, pp. 27-29
  10. Way of the Crab, p. 29
  11. Way of the Shugenja, p. 42

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