Please note: This article is about the Grand Master of the Elements. For other uses of the term, please see Kuro (disambiguation).
Naka Kuro 
Naka Kuro 
Born: Unknown 
Died: 1133, Month of the Dragon 
Titles: Grand Master of the Elements

Isawa Kuro was the Grand Master of the Elements Naka Kuro at the beginning of the 12th century.

Grand Master of the Elements Edit

Naka Kuro 4

Naka Kuro

Kuro was born to a vassal family of the Isawa, [1] and was the most promising student that had been seen in many years. He passed his gempukku at the age of ten and mastered the teachings of his sensei by twenty-three. He refused to become the Isawa Daimyo because he had to teach before he could command. When Isawa Kuro realized that there was nothing more for him to learn he chose to live the life of a ronin. Three years later the Oracle of Air appeared and bestowed upon Kuro the "Naka" title. [2]

Sensei of Morito Tokei Edit

Kuro took Morito Tokei as his pupil, [2] becoming the first Kuro had taken. [3]

Efforts after the Coup Edit

After the Scorpion Coup, Kuro travelled Rokugan helping those he deemed in need of it. Kuro helped some of the former Scorpion Clan members escape the vindictive Crane Clan, and Kuro knew their destiny had not reached its conclusion. Kuro spent time with the Brotherhood of Shinsei, knowing that when the war came, the heimin and hinin would suffer the most. He told the monks that they have been given the answers and just needed to understand them. He spent time with the magistrates of the Emerald Champion, knowing that they would play a key role in protecting the peace. His goal was to forestall war so that the peasantry of the empire would have time to prepare. [4]

Leaving Tokei Edit

Kuro was pleased with the progress of his student Morito Tokei, who had proven even more capable than Kuro suspected. Tokei and his brother Morito had joined the Toturi's Army. In 1125 Tokei in his travels met a Hooded Ronin, [4] and he also joined Toturi. [5] In the Month of the Dog of 1128, [6] without warning, Kuro dismissed Tokei saying he would teach him no more. Soon thereafter Kuro left the ranks of Toturi the Black. [3]

"I have nothing further to teach you"
-Naka Kuro [7]

Tokei Vanishment Edit

Morito arrived to the home of Kuro, carrying news of Tokei's sacrifice during the fight against The Maw at Nanashi Mura. Kuro retorted, stating his former student had merely begun his greatest journey. [8]

Rebuilding the Council Edit

In 1128 after the Council of Five was decimated during the Clan War, four dead and one missing, Naka Kuro informed Shiba Katsuda that he would join the Phoenix to teach the next generation of Elemental Masters. [9]

Master of Earth Edit

The same year Naka Kuro appointed Isawa Taeruko as the Master of Earth. [10]

Oath to the Phoenix Edit

Naka Kuro 2

Naka Kuro

In 1130, after the high losses suffered during the Clan War, Naka Kuro pledged his aid to and swore fealty to Shiba Tsukune and the Phoenix. [11] He was aided by his student Isawa Osugi, writer of the New Tao. When discrepancies were found between the copies of the Tao, the debates between various groups regarding interpretation had become quite healed. The Unicorn Clan Champion Shinjo Yokatsu interced in the Imperial Court to request Osugi's opinion. She and Toturi were the only who were present at its inception, and the Emperor was missing. The Court offered the Phoenix Imperial assistance in their rebuilding efforts upon Osugi's arrival as a gesture of gratitude. [12]

Grove of the Five Masters Edit

Kuro began to rebuild the Council of Five who had died during the Second Day of Thunder building a place to teach the new students in peace and relaxed, the Grove of the Five Masters. [13]

Sensei of Asako Hoshigeru Edit

Naka Kuro teaches Asako Hosigeru

Naka Kuro teaches Asako Hosigeru

Asako Hosigeru was one of the first and youngest of the Phoenix Clan children trained by Kuro in the Grove. [14]

Rebuilding the Council Edit

Isawa Taeruko had been appointed as Master of Earth in 1128. [10] Agasha Gennai was Master of Air in 1131, after the Agasha defection. [15] Shiba Ningen, only a nine years old child became Master of Void, and the fourth was Isawa Hochiu, the Master of Fire, in the same year 1132. [16] Only one Master was still empty, the Master of Water. [17]

War Against Shadow Edit

Kuro passed an experience that even for him was unexpected. His most trusted servant, an elderly shugenja he had never questioned, became faceless and vanished into smoke and shadow in front of him. [18] [19] The Lying Darkness even attempted to impersonate Kuro himself. [1]

Hidden Heart of Iuchiban Edit

In 1132 Naka Kuro entered the academy and saw three dozen of his students using maho. He attacked and killed them, but their leader, Asako Kaushen, proved to be more difficult and stabbed Kuro. Kaushen was prepared to unleash his final blow when Isawa Taeruko appeared and defeated Kaushen. The bloodspeaker was protecting the heart of Iuchiban, and it was retrieved by them, which ultimately would prove to be Iuchiban's downfall. If heart were destroyed Iuchiban would merely become a willing servant of Jigoku, and Kuro decided to keep it hidden. The nemuranai whispered to the shugenja's mind and it was not safe to be kept by any individual with magical knowledge. [20] Kuro feared that if the Heart were destroyed, Iuchiban would merely become a servant of Fu Leng. Kuro instead took only a piece [21] and gave it to the bushi Toku, without telling him what it was. [20] Toku placed the piece of Iuchiban's heart inside the shrine he arranged for Ikoma Hidemasa in the Hall of Ancestors in the Lion Clan lands. [22] This piece shall be instrumental in the downfall of Iuchiban.

The Fifth Master Edit

Kuro had had a vision of Shinsei and foresaw he would not teach the new Master of Water, the only vacant position in the Council. His life come to an end and asked to place his ashes in the Pale Oak Plain. [23]

Death Edit

Naka Kuro 3

Aged Naka Kuro

In 1133 Kuro journeyed to Pale Oak Plain and began a powerful ritual intended to draw all minions of the Shadows disguised as Phoenix. The spell was successful and the creatures were drew to the Master's presence. Kuro called down fire, thunder and ice to smite his foes, dying with them. [24]

After Death Edit

On the fields of Yomi he met Morito Tokei in 1158, who had not truly died but was merely banished across the Spirit Realms by a spell he had cast in Nanashi Mura long ago to defeat a Shadowlands army led by The Maw. Kuro offered his student advice and direction, turning him toward the Elemental Dragons where he could claim his rightful role as the new Naka. [1] Tokei, through the experiences he had passed, was currently prepared to be taught, to learn the lessons he needed to replace Kuro as Grand Master. [25]

Legion of the Dead Edit

Naka Kuro 5

Naka Kuro

In 1166 Kuro joined the Legion of the Dead. He had stepped forward to answer Matsu Goemon's call to fight the Legion of Blood. [1] As the two forces initially battled for control over the newly forming realm in 1166, Isawa Tsuke released a massive explosion intending to stop the First Oni, but it also disrupted the realm and knocked everyone in it into private memories of critical choices in their lives. The Realm of Thwarted Destiny was testing each of them, to see if they would embrace their destines or reject them. The realm could become a place where those who failed their destinies could repeat their failures for eternity or a place where those who failed could embrace their fates and find redemption. [26]

Connection with Ningen-do Edit

The realm which had been created by the events at the Oblivion's Gate had a connection to the Gate, which after its destruction in 1133 had been closed to the rest of the realms. The soul of Naka Kuro guessed the possibility to send a soul of a dead hero back to Rokugan, to battle Iuchiban. [26] Kuro talked with Toku, to know where the Monkey kept the Hidden Heart of Iuchiban, who would be necessary to defeat Iuchiban. [20] Kisada, the Fortune of Persistence, was the most viable option to cross the Gate succesfully. [27]

See also Edit

Naka Kuro 7

Kuro Sensei

External Links Edit

Preceded by:
Grand Master of the Elements
? - 1133
Succeeded by:
Naka Tokei


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Legion of the Dead: The Grand Master
  2. 2.0 2.1 Unexpected Allies, p. 105
  3. 3.0 3.1 Return of the Grand Master - Introduction, by Rich Wulf
  4. 4.0 4.1 Way of the Wolf, pp. 71-72
  5. Way of the Wolf, p. 107
  6. Time of the Void, p. 99
  7. Fortunes & Winds, p. 4
  8. Fortunes & Winds, p. 5
  9. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #7 (Imperial Herald v2 #3)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Masters of Earth, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  11. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 20
  12. Hidden Emperor, pp. 8-9
  13. Fires of the Hidden City, part 1, by Rich Wulf
  14. Lessons from Kuro (Hidden Emperor 4 flavor)
  15. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 22
  16. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #11 (Imperial Herald v3 #3)
  17. Kuro's Fire (Ambition's Debt flavor)
  18. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #9 (Imperial Herald v3 #1)
  19. Hidden Emperor, p. 13
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Legions, Part IV, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  21. Enemy of my Enemy, Part One, by Rich Wulf
  22. Way of the Wolf, pp. 10-11
  23. Clan Letter to the Phoenix (Imperial Herald v4 #2)
  24. Hidden Emperor, p. 79
  25. Fortunes & Winds, p. 55
  26. 26.0 26.1 Legions, Part III, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  27. Legions, Part X

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