Before the Five Rings

Background of Kojiro

No Rokugan for Old Men

Kojiro was born on a holy day of Jurojin, the Fortune of Longevity, and his life was favored by said Fortune for many years. He married at the age of sixteen, already a rising hunter amongst his tribe. By the time his eldest son, Koru, fathered a child, Kojiro was the hunt-leader of his tribe. Though the winters were growing harsh, and sickness wracked the tribes of the plains, Kojiro and his son helped feed the tribe with their skill.

As he reached his forty-eighth winter, Kojiro’s tribe was ravaged by a wasting plague that killed more than half of them. From his own family, it took his wife and all his children. Only Koru’s daughter, Kyoshi, survived.

After the plague ran its course, Kojiro was left with the burden of leading his much diminished tribe. The sorrow of that winter was alleviated by the arrival of a great-grandchild, as Kyoshi gave birth to a son, Kenji. With the happiness of a much younger man, Kojiro redoubled his efforts to provided for this family and tribe.

Though his bones ached, he lead many hunts the following year, and the tribe grew in numbers as wanderers joined them. While these wanderers would often bring stories of violence in the lands around them, Kojiro was confident that he could keep them hidden in the forests from the more aggressive tribes and monstrous creatures now roaming the lands.

After some time, he handed off the position of hunt-leader to his daughter’s husband, and took up fletching in the camp. To him, it seemed that the harsh times might soon be over, and he could rest in his old age.

Another hunter, Akuya, who had joined the tribe only recently, felt slighted that he had not been chosen as hunt-leader. While out hunting alone one day, Akuya met a Noriaki hunting party and was impressed by their skill. Akuya betrayed the location of Kojiro’s tribe to the Noriaki in exchange for a position in their tribe.

The Noriaki attack came in the dead of night. Kojiro was awoken by a dream of fire and death; a product of his natural foresight. As the first screams rent the air, Kojiro looked out through the flap in his family’s yurt and saw the warriors charging through the camp. He quickly lead his granddaughter’s family away into the dark, but before they reached the forest a pack of four Noriaki set upon them.

His family fought their attackers, and Kojiro was even able to stab Akuya in the struggle. When the last Noriaki of the pack fell to Kojiro’s knife, Kyoshi and her husband were dead. Gathering up Kenji, he fled into the night as the Noriaki finished off what was left of his tribe.

In the following weeks, Kojiro made his way to Seppun Hill. He had heard that the tribe there was peaceful, and hoped that there would be a place for him and Kenji there. After meeting with Akagi and his wife, the Seppun made a place for the two survivors in their tribe. Now, Kojiro hunts to provide for this new tribe, hoping that it will be a safe place for Kenji to grow.



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