One thousand years ago, the Kami fell to earth from Heaven. Hantei, youngest of them all, became the first Emperor and his siblings formed the Great Clans to bring order and prosperity to the land. Their descendants live on and carry out the traditions of their ancestors, leading their followers as the Kami once did.
The Crab Clan is led by Hida Kisada. They are considered the strongest of all the Great Clans and defend the Kaiu Wall which protects Rokugan from the Shadowlands Horde. They take this duty very seriously, for without their military strength Rokugan will fall to the forces of darkness.
The Crane Clan is led by Doji Hotaru. They are the Left Hand of the Emperor and are the creators of much of the culture and art of Rokugan. They have major influence in the courts and much of the traditions around dueling were created by the Crane.
The Dragon Clan is led by Togashi Yokuni. They are the most mysterious of the Great Clans, many choosing to forsake the world and contemplate on the mountains within their lands. The Dragon have a long monastic tradition but also boast the best dual-wielding duelists in Rokugan.
The Lion Clan is led by Akodo Toturi. They are Right Hand of the Emperor and the most martial of the Great Clans, having the largest armies and the best commanders. It was their found Kami, Akodo, who established the principles of Bushido, which every samurai in Rokugan lives and dies by.
The Phoenix Clan is led by Shiba Tsukune. They are the most mystical of the Great Clans, more famous for their shugenja (magic users) than for the use of the sword. The Phoenix also have a long tradition of yojimbo, warriors who protect the shugenja as they increase their magical knowledge.
The Scorpion Clan are led by Bayushi Shoju. They are the Underhand of the Emperor, keepers of secrets and sacrificing their own honour so Rokugan isn’t threatened through the use of lies, trickery, poisons and assassinations.
The Unicorn Clan are led by Shinjo Altansarnai. For many years, the Unicorn wandered foreign lands outside Rokugan and returned only two centuries ago remarkably changed. They have a strong tradition of cavalry and follow many traditions that the rest of the Great Clans find strange if not blasphemous.
The Minor Clans are less in prosperity and status to the Great Clans, but they do aspire to become a Great Clan themselves one day. Their defacto leader is Yoritomo, a known pirate and brigand who does aspire to be a Clan Champion himself.
The Emerald Champion is second in rank to only the Emperor himself. It is his role to see that the laws of Rokugan are carried out and that the taxes are paid. Assisting him are the Emerald Magistrates and Imperial Legions. The current Emerald Champion is Kakita Toshimoko of the Crane Clan, he will stay in this position until he retires and a tournament will be held to choose a new Emerald Champion.
The Shadowlands do not have a leader, unless it is the Fallen Kami Fu Leng who is fated to return. The Shadowlands call upon the Taint of Jigoku, a curse that can corrupt the body and mind of anyone and perhaps cause them to join the horde itself. The Wall is the only thing standing between them and invading Rokugan which can happen if the Crab Clan fail in their duty.