L5R - Great Stone Bridge
Positions of Power in Rokugan
The Emperor of Rokugan was the title given to the ruler of the Empire of Rokugan. It was a hereditary monarchy that passed, with only a few exceptions, from eldest son to eldest son. The position of Emperor was created by the Kami Hantei, who was the son of Amaterasu and Onnotangu and victor of the Tournament of the Kami. After the Tournament, Hantei was declared ruler of all Rokugan, but this was not truly so until the reign of his grandson, Hantei Ningi, when the Imperial Court and post of Emerald Champion were officially established. The Emperor of Rokugan was the highest authority in the Empire of Rokugan. Inherent in the position was absolute administrative, judicial, religious and military control of the empire, although many of these roles were delegated to trusted subordinates. The Emperor was the highest member of the Samurai caste in the Celestial Order, above the Kuge. He was also the head of Rokugan’s religion, and was even believed to be the voice of the Celestial Heavens. Thus, the Emperor was the leader of the Shintao religion.
The Emperor could be referred to as tenno, or “Heavenly Sovereign”. The heir apparent could be referred to as kotaishi. The Emperor could also be known as the “Son of Heaven”.
Jewels of the Empire
The Left and Right Hand of the Emperor
The Clan Champions of Rokugan are those individuals who are the ruling daimyo of the various clans, Great and minor. With the unique exception of the Phoenix Clan Champion, Clan Champions hold absolute sway over their clans. They are able to make war, peace, policy, and any changes they see fit. They command the armies, shugenja, courtiers, and the sensei of the schools hosted by their respective clans. Clan Champions are generally, but not always, also the daimyo of the family to which they belong.
Each family recognized by the Emperor has a designated leader who is daimyo of that family. Family daimyo are the highest authority within their own family, although they are subordinate to the daimyo of their clan.
Family daimyo are also the honorary heads of their family’s schools. The actual duties of running the schools are often delegated to someone more inclined to teaching, or in the case of families with multiple schools, someone who is more familiar with the lessons. Nevertheless, for any matter that would require the attention of the head of the school, the family daimyo’s approval would be required, whether or not he has an active hand in the school’s day to day affairs.
Although the Emperor owns all land within the borders of the Empire, he has granted members of the samurai class the honor of protecting and overseeing his affairs, acting as his stewards over the vast majority of land in the Empire. Samurai that have oversight of a particular area are granted the title “daimyo” and given permission to swear other samurai into their service. Rather than serving the Emperor directly, a daimyo of this sort is usually appointed by and subordinate to the reigning daimyo of the family or clan that controls the province within which his land falls.
The primary responsibilities of a daimyo of this sort are protecting his assigned territory and ensuring that the proper taxes are collected for the Emperor. In order to fulfill these responsibilties he is allowed to take a portion of the rice and other goods produced in his province in order to equip and maintain samurai sworn to his service.