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The world of Legend of the Five Rings is inspired by many sources, the most prevalent being Japanese and other Asian cultures. The following is a list of cultural, historical and mythological inspirations for the setting.
- Amaterasu was inspired by the Japanese goddess Amaterasu. The real-world Amaterasu is considered the divine ancestress of the Emperors of Japan. See Amaterasu for more information.
- Bayushi Kira was inspired by Kira Kozuke-no-Suke Yoshinaka, a Japanese courtier. Yoshinaka was a corrupt, cruel man who drove Asano Naganori to assault him. Naganori's former retainers plotted a cunning revenge and killed Yoshinaka in a similar manner to the plot which took Bayushi Kira's life. See The Forty-Seven Ronin for more information.
- The Fall of the Kami was inspired by a Greek myth wherein Zeus, greatest of the Greek gods, slew his wicked father Cronus, who had swallowed Zeus' siblings, after Zeus' mother got Cronus drunk. The Greek gods did not then fall to an exile in the Earth, but ascended to glory in Olympus. See Zeus for more information.
- Hiruma Asano is a fictionalized version of Asano Naganori, a virtuous samurai who assaulted a dishonorable courtier due to aggravation from either the courtier's aggression or corruptness. Naganori was executed for his crime and later avenged by his former retainers. See Asano Naganori for more information.
- Inari, the Fortune of Rice is based on the japanese kami of fertility, rice, agriculture, foxes, industry, and worldly success. See Inari for more information.
- The Legend of the Five Rings name is taken from the Book of Five Rings, written by Miyamoto Musashi. For more information, see The Book of Five Rings
- Mirumoto, founder of the Mirumoto family, is based upon real samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Like Mirumoto, Musashi pioneered an unorthodox two-sword style called niten. Musashi was also known as arrogant and never lost a duel in his life. See Miyamoto Musashi for more information.
- Oishi was inspired by Ōishi Yoshio, a samurai made ronin by the death of his lord. Yoshio carried out a brilliant scheme of revenge against the corrupt courtier who drove Yoshio's master to commit assault. The scheme's of both men were similar in that the ronin groups played at turning their backs on Bushido and giving up martial training, when in fact they were simply waiting for the right moment to strike. See Ōishi Yoshio for more information.
- The Otomo family may be based upon the Minamoto Clan or Taira Clan of Japan. Like the Otomo, the Minamoto were composed of nobles of Imperial blood. The Emperor's non-inheriting children were made Minamoto, much like the Hantei's non-inheriting children took the Otomo name. For more information, see Minamoto Clan and .
- Otomo Seimei, founder of the Otomo Astrologer School, is likely based upon [Abe no Seimei], a famous mystic of Japan. Abe no Seimei's branch of mysticism, known as Onmyoudo, is very similar to the Otomo Astrologer School.
- The Seven Fortunes are based on the Seven Gods of Fortune of Japanese mythology. The spellings are marginally different (Fukurokujin = Fukurokuju, and Bishamon = Bishamonten, etc), and their domains are variations of the same, but they are essentially the same gods. See The Seven Lucky Gods for more information.
- The Thirty-One Ronin led by Oishi were based upon the Forty-Seven Ronin of Japanese history. These men were made ronin by the shameful death of their lord and avenged his death upon the dishonorable courtier who drove him to rash action. See The Forty-Seven Ronin for more information.
- Yomi is the japanese version of the underworld. See Yomi for more information.
- Yoritomo was based loosely on Minamoto Yoritomo, a shogun of Japan. The events of the two mens' lives were very different, but both had relatives named Yoshitsune. See Minamoto Yoritomo for more information.