Legends of Rokugan
Kitsu and Bushido
THE KITSU PHILOSOPHY
AND THE TENETS OF BUSHlDO
The Kitsu are easily the smallest, most conservative, and quietest
of all the Lion Families. They revere Bushido as much
as the other Families within the Clan, perhaps even more so.
As shugenja, the Kitsu view the universe as a series of absolute
laws that arc managed by the Celestial Heavens, and they
consider Bushido to be one of those laws imparted to mankind
by a son of the Moon and Sun. From that point of view, they
believe that they cannot violate the code without significant
repercussions relating to their ability to speak to the kami.
Gi (Honesty) – when one can see the truth of the universe,
when one can see the Elemental building blocks that make up
the mortal realm, the notion of deceit seems almost ludicrous.
The Kitsu cannot tolerate dishonesty because, quite simply,
it has no place in their lives or in their duties as priests of the
kami. To fill one’s heart with lies is to make oneself unwelcome
among the kami. Doing that would be an abandonment
of a Kitsu’s duties to the Clan. That is something that no Kitsu
would ever willingly do.
Yu (Courage) – As with most Lion Families, the Kitsu are
utterly fearless. This is not because they live for war like the
Matsu, or that they have completely accepted that they might
die in service to their lord like the Akodo. Rather, it is because
the Kitsu have seen what waits in the next world. Uniquely
among the Shugenja families, they possess the ability to traverse
the barriers between the spirit realms and the mortal
realm. They arc able to interact with the spirits of their ancestors,
either directly or via rituals that they can conduct in the
mortal realm. The Kitsu know exactly what fate awaits them in
the next world, and as a result they have absolutely no fear of
death at all.
Jin (Compassion) – As the priests of the Lion Clan, the Kitsu
are responsible for the spiritual well-being of more than a
quarter-million samurai and the vast numbers of peasants that
serve them. The Kitsu do not coddle or foster weakness, but
neither do they turn their backs when their cousins or their
subordinates are in need. They regard it as a large part of their
duty as priests of the kami, and like all Lion they consider their
duty an inviolate part of their identity, both personal and as a
For the same reason, the Kitsu demonstrate mercy to their
enemies: It is mandated by the Celestial Order, which they are
charged by the circumstances of their birth to maintain. Of
course, while the Kitsu are relatively compassionate and merciful
for Lion, they are still among the most militant shugenja
Families in the Empire.
Rei (Courtesy) – Although hardly the most courteous Family
one could encounter in the Empire, the Kitsu nevertheless
make certain to conduct themselves with cool politeness at all
times. They have no particular attachment to the behavior in
and of itself, but instead regard it as an obligation to their ancestors,
who swore fealty to Akodo, and a function of their role
within the Clan. In fact, many Kitsu regard it as a somewhat
unpleasant necessity, but observe it all the same. Those who
interact with the Kitsu on a regular basis would no doubt agree
that they are courteous, if not particularly friendly.
Meyo (Honor) – The Kitsu arc rigidly honorable. like so
many other elements of their philosophy, this stems not only
from their status as Lion, but also from their position as priests
of the kami They are not simply believers in the Celestial Order,
they participate in it and witness it all around them on a
daily basis. Honor is not a value system for them, it is very
nearly a religion. and one that they understand extremely well.
Furthermore, their ability to visit the spirit realms and speak
with ancestors helps them see the value of honorable conduct.
Makoto (Sincerity) – Sincerity is an essential element of
what the Kitsu do as priests, and is absolutely essential in order
for them to continue their work for the Clan. The Kitsu
believe that their interaction with the kami requires that they
be completely genuine at all times. They believe that deceit
and deception of any sort sullies their spirit. and drives away
the kami rendering them unwilling to speak to them. Despite
the fact that Scorpion Clan shugenja have never lost the ability
to speak to the kami, the Kitsu cling to this belief tenaciously,
rendering them spectacularly sincere as a general rule.
Chugo (Duty) – The Kitsu embrace their duty without complaint.
Their ancestors were creatures of spirit and duty, and
understood the devotion that their descendants would require
all too well. The Kitsu have not disappointed their ancestors,
and cling to their duties with the same ferocity that the Lion
Clan expects from all of its members.