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House Bishamon (often called Bushi by outsiders) is one of the two major uji of the Clans of the Sun. Despite being called a house, it encompasses a host of lesser uji under its aegis, who can all trace their lineage back to one of the original gaki of Japan.

HistoryEdit

While House Bishamon officially traces itself back to the first gaki and sometimes even to the times before like the Second Age, it first rose to prominence during the time of Azure Dragon Court as a coalition of powerful Kuei-jin centered on Nihon. Fiercely xenophobic, the Bishamon tried to oust the Kuei-jin from the main land, but were defeated and forced to leave. In their place, the former minor House Genji was raised. The Bishamon cite this as the reason for their age-old vendetta against the Genji. When the Azure Dragon Court desintegrated, the Bishamon returned to power, hunting mainlander Kuei-jin during what is now known as the Year of Black Kites.

House Bishamon became a force of traditionalism among the gaki, dedicating itself to monitoring the incitrate web of dragon lines across Japan while keeping foreigners from the islands. This also meant preserving Japan's wilderness and keeping mortals restrained from spreading too fast, which allowed for stressed, but not immediatly hostile relations with the hengeyokai, but the Bishamon never believed that anyone else than they could use Japan's chi properly. This attitude was reinforced by several teachers and dharmic sages, who advocated that only House Bishamon could keep Japan safe and in balance.

As western influence crept into Japan, the Bishamon lost much of their influence. Most chose to simply ignore the foreigners or retreated again from mortal society into meditation. In their place, House Genji became the strongest uji, which was only cutshort by the devastating end of World War II in the form of the first two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Burning, as the gaki call it, horrified the Bishamon. Seeing that the other gaki could not be trusted, they returned and assumed power in several key cities. They plan to prepare the gaki for the Sixth Age and help them and their home to survive it. To ensure this, all foreigners (whom the Bishamon see as guilty by association in bringing the Sixth Age) shall be purged from the islands. At the same time, radical groups like the Keepers of the Two Fires arise that argue to harness the tainted chi now present in Japan for exactly that purpose.

CharacteristicsEdit

Traditionalism and mysticism are in high regard among the Bishamon. This results in them being appreciative of traditions that are older than the Fivefold Way and cause them to grant protection to the Spirit of the Living Earth, a dharma deemed heretical among the Quincunx. On the other hand, this high regard for the tradition is often closely intertwined with disdain for modernity and its symptoms, like intrusive foreign supernaturals like Cainites.

Dhampyr among the Bishamon are closely scrutinized. Only purebred japanese are allowed to exist and most are closely watched for signs of disloyalty. But as long as a dhampyr is willing to conduct himself according to the high standards of the House, they are tolerated and even allowed higher ranking positions.

The Bishamon called their rule ukiyo-e, or "The Floating World", a term from a school of wood-block prints featuring elegant illustrations of beautiful landscapes and pretty girls. Bishamon leaders thought the term captured the peace and beauty of existence in harmony with the kami and the will of Heaven.

The Bishamon have their own code of honor that each member is strongly advised to follow. The tamashiido - the Way of Spirit - demands absolute loyalty to one's daimyo, honor to your word, dedication to the August Personage and mastery of war. Each member is also advised to cultivate the five virtues of duty, resoluteness, perception, inner resilience and restraint.

Shadow War among the Bishamon is ritualized to the point of being more like a choreographed dance than a battle. As a result, even a loser, if he has presented himself with dignity and honor during the war, is highly respected, sometimes more than the actual winner. In addition, ancient forms of combat dating back to the era before the Five August Courts are sometimes used, like battoujutsu, a duel fought with a single draw of the sword.

ReferencesEdit

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