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Rokugani Etiquette

The Code of Bushido:

Gi: Honesty and Justice; Be acutely honest. Believe in justice from yourself. There is only right and wrong.
Yu: Heroic Courage; Live life completely. Replace fear with respect and caution
Jin: Compassion. help your fellow man at every opportunity. If the opportunity does not arise, the samurai goes out of his way to find one.
Rei: Polite Courtesy. There is no reason to be cruel or prove your strength. Be courteous even to your enemies. Times of stress show the true inner strength.
Meyo: Honor; the only true judge of honor is oneself. Decisions you make and how these are carried out are a reflection of yourself. You cannot hide from yourself.
Makoto: Complete Sincerity; When a samurai says he will perform an action it is as good as done. He does not have to give his word, or promise, Speaking and doing are the same action.
Chugo: Duty and loyalty. A samurai is responsible for all his actions bring. He is intensely loyal to those in his care and remains fiercely true.

Social Structure & The Celestial Order:

Rokugan is a feudal system. The Emperor owns everything under the Sun. Lesser nobles (daimyos) swear fealty, govern territory they are loaned by the Emperor, and make certain the laws are obeyed and enforced. Daimyos gain the right to tax the land they govern. There are three classes of people: Nobility (those who make war, PCs), Peasants (those who work: farmers, etc), and Clergy (those who pray, monks, etc). Those who do not fit into these categories are considered non-people and thus the Emperor's justice does not extend to them. Non-people (hinin, eta) do the jobs that everyone considers "unclean" (more in a spiritual than physical sense-though they sometimes correspond.) Ex. Eta: anything having to do with dead bodies, torture, etc.... Hinin: entertainers, actors, musicians, geisha. It is not considered a crime to kill hinin since they are not part of the Celestial Order.

Giving Gifts:

Buying gifts is generally considered dishonorable. Thought, presentation, and significance are what truly count, not the gifts monetary value. (Samurai have little need for money.) An ideal gift would contain one or more of the following: Significance ex. the firs fan ever made Personal Meaning ex. father's mon carved from the tree that grows upon his grave. Enlightenment ex: "This is a story of how the wise Shinsei held a fan such as this one in his hand.....I hope that when you see this humble fan, Shinsei's wisdom will rest upon your shoulders."

Receiving Gifts:

Rokugani is based on gift giving (instead of bartering or commercialism) The way a gift is given to you shows how that person thinks of you: respect, friend, enemy. When a gift is given to you, you are expected to return the generosity with something of equivalent value soon. When the giver offers a gift, you must refuse it twice. This allows the giver three opportunities to show he truly intends to give it. If the giver offers, is refused, and does not continue to offer, then it shows the recipient that the giver never truly meant to give the gift at all. It is an insult to the recipient to give a gift beyond his means. Also, it is considered impolite to unwrap a gift in front of the giver. (It makes you look greedy!)

Other niceties:

Always Bow to someone in your social caste (other samurai). How low you bow shows respect. Bow lower to someone of a superior station (father, leader, etc) than he bows to you. Always Kneel (and bow) before someone of greater social caste than you. (Daimyos, etc) When kneeling before the 7 Great Clan Daimyos or the Emperor, it is proper to have your forehead touch the floor (look for the convenient groves worn into the floor.) One does not rise from this position if in presence of the Emperor until permission is given.

The Three Great Sins:

Fear, Desire, Regret. These Poison the mind and keep it from acting with certainty. In temples, bowls of pebbles rest before their portrayal so people may throw rocks at the images before they leave.

Perception versus Truth: Saving Face:

Truth matters not in Rokugan, only perception. The face you present to others is very important. Be careful not to Lose Face!

Revenge:

Samurai do not take revenge onto themselves (and go hunt down the perpetrator) if the offender is of the same (or higher) caste. Instead, he brings his grievance to his daimyo who will contact the offender's daimyo and (hopefully, if all goes well) will grant and arrange a duel.

Seppuku:

Ritual (formal) suicide to reclaim lost honor with permission of daimyo

Love and Marriage amongst Samurai:

Unmarried women and men in Rokugan may not be alone together unless they are chaperoned by a trustworthy source. In many cases a kogoto, or a handmaiden is assigned to the Samurai-ko to ensure that she is never in a compromising position. Another way around this is for the Samurai-ko to take a vow of chastity upon her gempukku. If a girl marries, she does not necessarily stop being samurai-ko, but may continue serving with approval of her superiors. Mi-ai, or arranged marriages are the customary practice in Rokugan. These help to cement alliances and seal bargains, and strengthen lines. It is not expected for the couple to love or even know each other.

Death:

Fear of death is highly improper since Rokugan believes in reincarnation


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