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Shinjo Dojo

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The Shinjo Dojo at Shiro Shinjo [1] taught the Moto Bushi, Shinjo Bushi, Shinjo Scout, Hiruma Scout, [2] Master of the Winds, Shinomen Guard, [3] Shinjo Elite Guard, and Shinjo Horsebowman schools. [4]

Founding Edit

The Shinjo Dojo was housed within the great structure of Shiro Shinjo and was established in 816 after the Return of the Ki-Rin. The sensei of the dojo considered themselves heirs to the teachings of Shinjo herself, passing on those teachings from generation to generation during their travels in foreign lands. [5] Within the Shinjo Bushi School grounds was a large building reserved for the Shinjo Elite Guard Dojo. [6]

Kolat Purge Edit

When the Unicorn Clan Champion Shinjo Yokatsu brought shame and dishonor upon his family the Shinjo lost much of their status and the leadership of the Unicorn Clan. None of the sensei of the dojo were connected to the Kolat in any way however, and they remained a beacon of honor within the shame and deceit connected with the Shinjo. Many innocent Shinjo took this opportunity to volunteer their services as instructors at the dojo in an attempt to redeem it's reputation. The new Clan Champion Moto Gaheris saw the increase in instructors as an advantage, gathering together dozens of capable ashigaru and lesser vassals of the Moto family and "fast-tracking" them to become samurai. They were quickly given gempukku ceremonies and enlisted for training at the Shinjo dojo. Some of the Shinjo sensei were unsure about this but decided it was better to redeem their own names. As a result the numbers of samurai among the Unicorn swelled within fifteen years. [7]

Traditions Edit

For most of the dojo's history there was no dojo. Even in modern times the dojo was viewed more as a unnecessary structure and in keeping with the nomadic nature of the Unicorn, the students would often leave for months at a time to take in their teachings while out on the wide steppes of the clan. Instruction focused generally on mounted combat, in which both rider and steed were expected to become fine Unicorn warriors. Usually a young bushi would be paired with a young and relatively untrained horse. The bushi would be expected to feed and care for the horse as well as fight from it. Making the young bushi totally reliant upon the horse was done in an attempt to forge a bond between the two so they would work together more effectively. These methods seemed to have been quite successful over the years, producing some of the finest cavalry in Rokugan. [8]

Training Edit

Although the Unicorn trained in kenjutsu like any other clan in Rokugan, they did not emphasize it as much. All weapons were treated with equal consideration, with the students were being encouraged to pursue those weapons they seemed most talented with. Gaijin fighting styles were also taught, with an emphasis on gaijin style horse archery. [8]

Visiting Students Edit

The dojo was open to all who met the sensei's approval, due to centuries of disdain and disrespect directed at their unique fighting style, the sensei took any criticism as a personal insult. Sensei took particular pleasure in exposing visiting students from other clans to harsh training regimes, giving them extra training exercises and sternly reprimanding those who were unable to master their techniques. If a visiting student even uttered the words gaijin or barbaric they were immediately expelled and asked to never return. Visiting students were never allowed upon a full-blooded Unicorn mount and had to make use of lesser steeds given to them. A poor performance was always blamed on the student, not the horse, and if the animal was injured the student would be assigned punitive labor around the dojo. The only outsiders to be excepted from this practice were those members of the Ox Clan and the Hiruma family of the Crab. [8]

Dojo Benefits Edit

The dojo's techniques emphasized mounted combat as well as an open minded approach to a variety of weapon types and styles. A student of the dojo was allowed to honor the dojo by wearing a netsuke carved in the image of a horse with a flaming mane (the Shinjo family symbol). These netsuke were made of ivory in the past but since the dishonor of the Shinjo family the sensei had asked that they be carved of darkest ebony. [9]

Sensei Edit

The highest ranking teachers of the dojo had always been members of the Shinjo family and were usually a direct descendant of Shinjo. The senior instructor usually had the most combat experience, although their if a direct line could be traced back to Shinjo, that could affect their ranking. It had also been a longstanding tradition that the Unicorn Clan Champion was the true master sensei of the dojo and could come and claim the position if they wished. Most Champions however, rarely did this more than once a year, and even then it was as part of a ceremonial gesture to review the dojo's training and to inspire loyalty. Although Moto Gaheris was the first non-Shinjo Champion he still honored this tradition. When Gaheris became too old to perform this ceremony his grandson Moto Chagatai kept up the yearly appearance instead. [8]

Notable Sensei Edit

Notable Students Edit


  1. Secrets of the Unicorn, p. 65
  2. Way of the Samurai, p. 67
  3. Emerald Empire: Third Edition, p. 202
  4. Masters of War, p. 167
  5. Way of the Samurai, p. 67
  6. Masters of War, p. 147
  7. Way of the Samurai, pp. 67-68
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Way of the Samurai, p. 68
  9. Way of the Samurai, p. 69

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