L5r: Legend of the Five Rings


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Born: Pre-calendar 
Died: Pre-calendar 
Died after return: 1132,
Parents: Onnotangu, Amaterasu 
Siblings: Akodo, Bayushi, Doji,
Fu Leng, Hantei, Hida, Shiba, Shinjo, Togashi

Ryoshun, also known as the Tenth Kami, was one of the Kami, the ten divine children of the Sun and the Moon. He was the only one of the Kami who died in the belly of his father Onnotangu before his siblings fell to the mortal realm. For centuries he protected the Rift, the boundary between Yomi, the realm of honored ancestors, and Jigoku. After the gates to Yomi were opened during the War Against Shadow, Ryoshun's spirit became the Steward of the Dead in Meido, the Realm of Waiting where the spirits of the recently deceased waited for their final judgment and assignment to their appropriate afterlife. [1] It was Ryoshun's duty to guide the souls of the dead to the Spirit Realm which their karma had earned for them after they were judged by the Fortune of Death, Emma-O. [2]

Death Edit

Onnotangu ate each of his children after their birth when he feared that they might eventually conspire to overthrow him. The Kami Hantei, however, was saved by his mother Amaterasu, and he later freed his siblings by cutting open Onnotangu's stomach. The Kami fell out of the Celestial Heavens of Tengoku into Ningen-do, the Mortal Realm, through a hole in the sky. Ryoshun, who had been the first devoured and thus inside Onnotangu's stomach the longest, had already died, and so instead he fell to Meido, the Realm of Waiting. [3] For centuries he protected the Rift, the boundary between Yomi, the realm of honored ancestors, and Jigoku. [1]

Guardian of the Rift Edit

The Tenth Kami Edit

"Ten Kami fell from the sky. One fell to Jigoku, but only eight now walk the mortal realm. Let not the mortals sully Ryoshun's memory by speaking his name. Let his grave be a place where only gods may enter."

After he became the first Emperor of Rokugan, Hantei commanded that Ryoshun's name be forgotten, so no mortal would ever sully his brother's divine name. He also commanded that only gods could enter Ryoshun's Grave [4] until the Tenth Kami walked the earth once more. The grave site was located where the Badger Clan was eventually founded, and the clan was secretly tasked with guarding the grave of the Tenth Kami. [5] Shiro Ichiro was built directly on top of the grave. [6]

Bloodsword Ambition Edit

After the death of Sanzo the bloodsword Ambition was given by Ryoshun to Shiba Tsukune, the Phoenix Clan Champion. [7]

Black Earth Edit

Gaheris meets Ryoshun in the Rift

Gaheris meets Ryoshun in the Rift

In 1132 [8] the former Moto Khan Gaheris underwent a divine experience and traveled through the Burning Sands to the Black Earth. [9] Gaheris focused on the swirling darkness, and gazed a figure into the rift. [10] Ryoshun, the guardian of the rift, guided him there. Before he finalized his guidance something was terribly wrong. [11]

Second Death Edit

Jama Suru had performed a maho ritual to trap the Kami Shinjo, but Ryoshun answered the spell's call instead. Suru drove his knife deep into the Kami's back... but discovered too late that it was not Shinjo who had been summoned. [12] Ryoshun was killed by Suru. [13] When Ryoshun died, his anguish awoke the Sun from grief. The Sun stepped down from the heavens and her eyes were cold and hard. [14] Ryoshun knew his place was with the dead, to guard them and bear the burden of their souls. It was his duty to seal the gate and ultimately purge Jigoku of the Shadow. [15]

The Awakening Edit

The great goddess Shinjo awoke from her slumber beyond the rift and flew forth into the Black Earth where Gaheris was waiting. They eventually escaped the barren realm of the Black Earth, and Shinjo's freedom was complete. In this way was fulfilled an ancient prophecy, the Awakening, where a Goddess and a Dark God would be released. [16] Shinjo had felt the killing blow against her lost brother Ryoshun and cried filled with remorse as she soared out of the barren realm. [17] Ryoshun had taken the place Suru deserved. [12]

Meido Edit

Guarding the Rift

Guardian of the Rift

In Meido, Ryoshun would come to work alongside the Fortune of Death Emma-O. After Emma-O judged a soul, Ryoshun would guide that soul to the appropriate Spirit Realm as determined by their karma in life, as the steward of all lost souls. [2] Ryoshun was the keeper of the gates to Jigoku, the Guardian of the Rift. [18]

Lying Darkness Edit

When the Goju began to slay souls of the Spirit Realms Ryoshun stood alone, his divine blood calling for succor as the gateway to Jigoku tore and the spirits died. [19] Hitomi gave Dangai Hitomi's Last Gift, that would be necessary to aid Ryoshun in his fight against the Darkness. [20]

Volturnum Edit

The Oracle of Void, Isawa Kaede, had sent Matsu Hiroru and Ginawa to the ancient city of Volturnum. [21] When they reached the city Hiroru talked with Ryoshun, and both came back to Rokugan. [21]

Toturi's Seppuku Edit

Hiroru and Ryoshun reached Isawa Palace, to meet the Emperor Toturi. The Tenth Kami explained to Toturi what had to be done to defeat the Lying Darkness. [22] 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. [23] In a hasty ceremony, he married his fiancee Isawa Kaede, [24] committing seppuku shortly afterwards with Hiroru as a second so that there would be no chance of the Emerald Empire being ruled by a tainted Emperor. [25]

Battle at Oblivion's Gate Edit

Ryoshun 1


During the Battle of Oblivion's Gate in 1133, Ryoshun fought against the Lying Darkness. [26] He destroyed Oblivion's Gate [27] [2] shortly after the death of Yoritomo at Goju Adorai's hands. For a thousand years, Ryoshun had done his duty, to hold open the arch to Jigoku, guarding the spirits of Rokugan. Lifting his hands to either side of the arch pulled to either side of the massive stone gateway an army of Returned Spirits that flooded through the gateway, passing through the Kami's immortal spirit and rushing toward the allied armies of the Empire. Others stood on the far side of Oblivion's arch, destroying the Shadow that had invaded Jigoku. This army was led by Yoritomo, charging in with the lost Thunders, Doji Hoturi and Isawa Tadaka. In the face of this onslaught, the Shadow began to retreat. [28]

Shinjo's Journey Edit

In 1160 during the Invasion of the Celestial Heavens Fu Leng slew his sister Shinjo with Emma-O's Spear, casting her soul into Meido. Upon her arrival Ryoshun gathered her and with the aid of the one of the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang convinced Shinjo to cross a magic portal. The only way to leave Meido was through Reincarnation, and the portal brought new life to the spirits who passed through it, awaiting rebirth when the time was right. [2]

Gifts of Ryoshun Edit

Unlike the other Kami, Ryoshun had no descendants or followers to bear his name and celebrate his memory in the mortal world. In order to correct this problem, Ryoshun delved into the essence of each of the Spirit Realms under his protection and crafted a series of talismans, known as the Gifts of Ryoshun, to be given to those individuals worthy of his blessing so that one day they might celebrate his memory and those of his chosen. [29]

The selected exemplars of Mankind were summoned to Meido to be chosen as followers for either the Voice of the Jade Sun or the Voice of the Obsidian Moon. Ryoshun warned his champions that the Emerald Empire was to be tested, tested as it had never been before. They must prepare Mankind for the trials ahead, and to remind humanity to seek the favor and aid of the Celestial Heavens. Each of the chosen was gifted with one of the Gifts of Ryoshun to aid them during their service to the Voices. [29]

First Gift Edit

Time ago, Ryoshun already had visited for a brief time the Empire that his brothers and sisters had created. The sight had filled him with joy as nothing else ever had, and he gave gifts of magic and wisdom to any who desired them. The first of them was a spell, known as Ryoshun's First Gift. [30]

Referenced in the Tao Edit

"Of the nine children of the Sun and Moon; myself, Doji, Akodo, Shinjo, Hida, Togashi, Bayushi, Shiba, and Fu Leng..." began the Emperor.

"No," said Shinsei"

"No?" my brother asked quizzically.

"The Sun and Moon had ten children, though you will never know your youngest brother."

Some scholars believed this passage in the Tao of Shinsei might not have been a reference to Ryoshun, but a reference to "mankind" or even Uikku. [citation needed]

External Links Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 216
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Lifeless, Part One, by Rich Wulf
  3. Dawn of the Empire, by Rich Wulf
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Death of Ryoshun (Dawn of the Empire flavor)
  5. The Touch of the Void, by Shawn Carman
  6. Fealty and Freedom, p. 12
  7. The Broken Blade (Eternal Halls of Shiba, story-back - Soul of the Empire)
  8. Secrets of the Unicorn, p. 81
  9. Black Earth (LBS - The Awakening flavor)
  10. Gazing Into the Rift (LBS - The Awakening Picture and flavor)
  11. Guardian of the Rift (LBS - The Awakening flavor)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Deadly Fright (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  13. Bloodspeaker, p. 70
  14. Blood Rite (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  15. Ryoshun's Last Words (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  16. Re-Awakening, Part 1, by Lucas Twyman
  17. Voice of the Star (LBS - The Awakening flavor)
  18. Ryoshun's First Gift (Fire and Shadow flavor)
  19. Guardian of the Rift (Ambition's Debt flavor)
  20. Clan Letter to the Brotherhood (Imperial Herald v4 #2)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Rulebook Story (Fire and Shadow), by Ree Soesbee
  22. Karmic Link (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  23. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition p. 23
  24. Imperial Wedding (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  25. Soul of the Empire (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  26. Rulebook Story (Soul of the Empire), by Ree Soesbee
  27. Dragons Tooth (Soul of the Empire flavor)
  28. The Death of Yoritomo, by Ree Soesbee
  29. 29.0 29.1 Gift of Ryoshun, Part II, by Shawn Carman
  30. Magic of Rokugan, p. 47
  31. Way of the Phoenix, page 117

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