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Information
First seen Champions of Kamigawa
Last seen Saviors of Kamigawa
Planeswalkers Kaito, Tamiyo
Rabiah Scale 7[1]
Status Slowly merging of Kakuriyo with Utsushiyo
For other uses, see Kamigawa (disambiguation).

Kamigawa (Japanese: (かみ) (がわ) ; literally: "river of the gods" or "divine river") is a plane strongly based on Japanese culture, and was the setting for the Champions,[2] Betrayers, Saviors, and Neon Dynasty expansions and their corresponding books.[3][4][5][6][7]

Description

The world of Kamigawa, positioned far from any other world we know, is governed by the interplay between the mortals and the kami, minor gods or spirits of the world. The Kakuriyo or Reikai is the spirit world where the kami dwell; its other half is that of the Utsushiyo where mortals live. Together they form a sphere that makes the whole of the world.

The Kami War

The damage caused by the Time Rifts, weakened the veil between the material realm and the spirit realm. This enabled the daimyo Konda and his moonfolk accomplices to use powerful magic to pull an aspect of O-Kagachi, the supreme kami of all kami, through the veil, thus beginning the Kami War.[8]

Lord Konda's act greatly enraged the spirits, who turned against the physical world with a vengeance. The kami began to attack the physical world in an effort to reclaim That Which Was Taken, though most mortals knew nothing of Konda's crime nor understood why their gods had turned on them. Fearful and confused, humanity fought back, but the kami's numbers were endless. And since many spirits who manifested in the physical world could be defeated in battle but were able return for future conflicts, it was ultimately a losing battle for the mortals.

The war finally ended in its twentieth year when Princess Michiko Konda, with the aid of the black magician Toshiro Umezawa and other allies, managed to free the kidnapped scion (which took the name Kyodai), and defeated O-Kagachi and Lord Konda.

The Shattered States era

After the prosperous reign of Michiko Konda, her descendants worked tirelessly with the great kami Kyodai to maintain her legacy and uphold order and justice in Kamigawa. However, as generations passed, these noble pursuits gave way to dynastic in-fighting.[9]

Eventually, an emperor died young without an heir, creating a crisis of succession. Some believed it should be her brother, others her husband. Eiganjo descended into all-out war, and it spread across the kingdom when local lords saw the opportunity to seize individual power. Many died, noble and peasant alike.

The Yamazaki clan had served the Konda military for decades and earned a reputation for their unshakeable sense of duty to their citizens. A young Yamazaki solider felt the two warring successors were betraying and endangering the Kamigawan people. Inspired by his own ancestor's story of challenging a deadly imperial decree, he took it upon himself to end the contest for the throne. He successfully assassinated the late emperor's husband, but when he went for the brother, he found his target armed and ready for battle in the throne room.

Upon seeing such confrontation in her own chambers, Kyodai had enough. She stripped the Konda family of their hereditary duty as rulers. From then on, they would be ordinary citizens, and the emperor would never again be chosen by blood. Now, the kami would elect rulers for their noble qualities and commitment to the nation.

The dragon-kami previously had been some of the mortal realm's strongest protectors, and with most of them lost in the Kami War, malevolent forces soon began to wreak havoc.[10] During the Shattered States Era, a wave of oni attacks swept across the land, culminating in a devastating event known as the Night of Withering that threatened the entire Plane.

In an effort to fight back, the orochi enacted a powerful ritual to resurrect Jugan, their original protector. The ritual was successful, and together Jugan and Ryusei defeated the oni incursion.

The Era of Enlightenment

With the guidance and wisdom of Kyodai, the Imperials ushered in an age of collective peace and prosperity.[11] The arts flourished until performers lined every street, and strides were made to improve relations with the kami so mortals could live a harmonious life filled with magic. Minamo Academy was rebuilt with the promise of transparency to conduct research that would improve lives. New laws were written to ensure fair treatment of every citizen—mortal or spirit—renewing the faith in their leaders.

As decades and centuries passed, the mortals of Kamigawa noticed an increasing number of kami inhabitants sharing their homes. A few of these kami were friendly, but many more were upset, even dangerous. Having spent their lives in service to the kami, the monks of the Order of Jukai went to investigate. They discovered strange rifts in the atmosphere that ejected confused kami onto the Plane. The mortal and spirit realms had begun to overlap, and they would eventually merge into a single unified realm.

The Jukai brought this discovery to Eiganjo and Otawara, and they collaborated with the Imperials and Minamo to develop what would later be known as "merge gates." The Minamo scholars used their knowledge to invent the gate mechanisms. The Imperials used their infantry to erect them. But it was the Jukai who would greet the kami and welcome them to their new home. Through their combined effort, the mortals built gates around every new rift, ensuring the kami could safely become part of a new unified Kamigawa.

The Modern Age

For much of Kamigawa's history, power was concentrated in the hands of the elite: the Imperials who ran the Plane with Kyodai's blessings, various warlords, and those who could channel the power of the kami. More recently, however, Kamigawa has found itself facing significant disruption to this status quo as new innovations have made access to power more widely and cheaply available to all. Key among these innovations were two: enhancers invented by the akki artisans of Sokenzanshi, and the method invented by the Saiba Futurists of drawing power directly from the spirit realm.[12]

The akki artisans had a long tradition of invention and ingenuity, as well as effectively using their scarce resources to great effect—including kami-granted powers. Thanks to the enhancer, even though few people had as deep relationships with the kami as some Imperials and the Order of Jukai, they were now able to apply more efficiently whatever powers they had been granted.

At the same time, the Saiba Futurists were conducting experiments with merges to test the nature of the spirit realm. As an unintended side effect, they discovered a way to draw on magic directly, without needing to form a bond with kami. Though the Sokenzanshi artisans and the Futurists weren't directly working together, these two technologies soon combined to form the basis of the boom in new technology that exploded across the Plane.

However, all this modernization isn't without its detractors. The Imperials have been trying to control the flow of new technology, attempting to maintain the stability that they see being pulled out from under their feet. And the boom of all this technology has seen the rise of a new group that calls itself the Order of Jukai, who believe that this unrestrained use of technology is drawing on power in a reckless, dangerous manner that threatens to irreparably damage the fabric of the two realms.

Among the kami, opinions are mixed. Some kami are resistant, while others are more eager to see how things will change. Whatever their opinions, though, many see the appearance of new kami aligned with technology as a sign that the soul of Kamigawa itself has been irrevocably altered by this changing landscape of technological and social upheaval.

Neon Dynasty

NEO Kamigawa map.png
Map of modern Kamigawa
More than 1,200 years after the events of the Kamigawa block, the two realms of Kamigawa are merging and one day they will exist as one. Some wonder about what's beyond the merge gates, or how denizens of both realms will be affected when the merge is complete.

Utsoshiyo has transformed into a futuristic world of cyberpunk ninjas and samurais, where tradition and modernity meet.[13][14][15] The kami feel treatened by the growth of the modern city of Towashi. Many have fled to the remains of the Jukai forest, and are hostile to humans. For this reason, Eiganjo trained many kami diplomats to try to keep the peace between the mortal and spirit realms.[16]

The Imperials are still the main power in Kamigawa. The Kamigawans have discovered electricity, experienced an industrial revolution and have entered a computerized era. The Kami have adapted to the electricity, some of them taking on industrial-style bodies.[16]

The emperor has gone missing since a metal-armed man was seen in the temple of Kyodai.

Locations of Kamigawa

Primary locations

There are five primary geographical locations on Kamigawa, each parallel to the five basic lands of Magic. Each area is guarded by a dragon spirit loyal to the material inhabitants of its location.

  • Towabara — A massive plain, which name means "eternal field", at the center of Kamigawa. Within the Towabara was the Araba, the "ruined land", a blasted place filled with craters from kami attacks. Eiganjo Castle was in the center of the Araba. It was the fortification of daimyo Takeshi Konda and his samurai. The humans ride gigantic trained moths into combat.[17] The castle was assaulted by O-Kagachi in the Kami War and badly damaged. Towabara was guarded by Yosei, the Morning Star.
    • More than 1200 years later, the city of Towashi had sprung up on the plains. Eiganjo was still its main centre.[18]
  • Minamo Academy — The Minamo Academy is a school that teaches powerful spirit and human magics. It is built upon the largest waterfall in Kamigawa, north of Eiganjo. Minamo is led by the Soratami, who guide the headmaster and his faculty. They are often prayed to by the staff of the school. Soratami are magic practicing moonfolk that live in the clouds above the academy. The school is besieged and ravaged by Hidetsugu, an ogre whose pupil was killed by a Minamo student. Minamo Academy was guarded by Keiga, the Tide Star.
    • The academy is also located north of the Jukai Forest.[19]
    • A less-traveled path between Eiganjo and Minamo skirts the northwest edge of the Jukai Forest. It is about a day's ride long by horseback.[20]
  • Takenuma — Takenuma is a large area of swampland, west of Eiganjo. Here bandits and Nezumi (rat-folk) live. There are also a multitude of Oni (demon spirits) who live in the darkest regions, leaving the place corrupted and void of sunlight. Here the most brutal battles are fought against the kami. Kokusho, the Evening Star, watches over the vile swamps.
  • Sokenzan Mountains — The Sokenzan mountain range is the largest in Kamigawa and it lies south of Eiganjo. Akki, cunning goblin creatures, live here, among bandits and renegade samurai called ronin. Godo, a famous warlord of the bandits, lives here. Hidetsugu, an O-Bakemono (powerful shaman ogre) summons Oni spirits here. Deep in the Sokenzan mountain range lay the Tendo Peaks, the steepest mountains in Kamigawa. The Heart of Frost, one of the Tendo Peaks, was haunted for some time by a Yuki-onna. The Sokenzan is guarded by Ryusei, the Falling Star.
    • The foothills of the Sokenzan border Takenuma to the northwest, and Towabara and Jukai to the north.[21]
  • Jukai Forest — A thick forest that harbors many varying kinds of kami. It lies east of Eiganjo. Here, an order of monks train to tune themselves in with nature and the spirit world. Kitsune (fox-folk), live in the Jukai along with the Orochi (snake-folk), who tend to stay in the Western fringes. No one has ever discovered what lies to the east of the Jukai Forest, and all exploration attempts have failed. Jukai Forest is watched over by Jugan, the Rising Star.
    • Circa 1,200 years after the Order of the Jukai was established to preserve nature and reverence for the spirits.

Secondary locations

  • Oboro Palace — Oboro is a secret floating palace of the Soratami. It is kept secret from those who dwell on the grounds of Kamigawa. The only non-Soratami ever to set foot in Oboro were the human disguise-genius Sakashima, the ronin kanji mage Toshiro Umezawa, and the famed Akki wizard Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.
  • Shizo, Death's Storehouse — Shizo is a battlefield cursed by the death of 891 samurai in a single confrontation. It is a loathed sight to all who view it. Now, only a single spirit, Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker, stays there. He walks through the dead and prevents lower souls from leaving Kamigawa.
  • Mikokoro — A sacred island of crystal that sits amid one of Kamigawa's seas. Also known as the Eye of the World and the Shrine of Enlightenment.[22]

Languages Spoken

  • Common Kamigawan
    • It occasionally uses Japanese numerals.[23]
    • Moonfolk write using a unique calligraphy[24]
    • "Hayaku ikee" translates to "Move it"[25]
  • Hidetsugu's ritual language[26]
  • Kitsune[27]
  • Orochi
    • It includes hissing sounds.[28]
  • Nezumi-tongue [29]

Currency

Like its real-world influence, Kamigawa operated on Ryō.[30] Circular copper, silver, and gold coins are used by most races on the plane, including humans, kitsune, and nezumi.[31][32][33] Copper coins with a hole cut in the center were used as offerings to kami before the Kami War, representing the circle of life.[24]

In the modern era, credit chips attached to citizens' wrists are preffered, but gamblers still carry translucent physical banknotes.[16]

Planeswalkers

Native

Visitors

In-game references

Represented in:
Associated cards:
Referred to:

References

  1. Mark Rosewater. "Mark with the last vote you had on the plans and...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Rei Nakazawa (August 30, 2004). "We Are the Champions, My Friend". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Jeremy Cranford (September 06, 2004). "Behind the Scenes: Creating the World of Kamigawa". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Brady Dommermuth (October 18, 2004). "A Series of Fortunate Events: Kamigawa World Design". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Alex Smith (March 07, 2005). "Truth in Fantasy". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Rei Nakazawa (April 11, 2005). "Worlds of Flavor". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Aaron Forsythe (February 18, 2005). "The Creative Side of Kamigawa". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Brady Dommermuth. "You Are a Planeswalker". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2008-09-26.
  9. Grace Fong (January 18, 2022). "The Shattered States Era". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Emily Teng (January 17, 2022). "The Dragon-Kami Reborn". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Grace Fong (January 19, 2022). "Era of Enlightenment". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Emily Teng (January 21, 2022). "The Modern Age". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Magic Showcase 2021 (live) (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (August 24, 2021).
  14. Mark Rosewater (August 24, 2021). "Is Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty concurrent with the rest of Magic's story, or is it set in the future?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Mark Rosewater (August 25, 2021). "The numbers". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  16. a b c Akemi Dawn Bowman (December 16, 2021). "Kaito Origin Stories: A Test of Loyalty & The Path Forward". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Magic Arcana (April 14, 2005). "Kamigawa Style Guide: Moth Mounts". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty First Look (Video). Weekly MTG. YouTube (December 16, 2021).
  19. Heretic: Betrayers of Kamigawa
  20. Outlaw: Champions of Kamigawa, Chapter 10
  21. Outlaw: Champions of Kamigawa, Chapter 3
  22. Magic Arcana (June 13, 2005). "Culture Corner: Shimenawa". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Chris L'Etoile (October 5, 2016). "Release". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  24. a b Alexander O. Smith, The Sound of Crickets (archived).
  25. Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar (June 13, 2005). "Tales From Beyond the Veil". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Outlaw: Champions of Kamigawa, Chapter 4
  27. Rei Nakazawa, Eight and a Half Tales (archived).
  28. Outlaw: Champions of Kamigawa
  29. Heretic: Betrayers of Kamigawa, Chapter 4
  30. Brady Dommermuth. (January 26, 2016.) "Ask Brady Archive", No Goblins Allowed, Wizards of the Coast.
  31. Gwendolyn Kestrel, Security (archived).
  32. Gwendolyn Kestrel, Iizuka the Ruthless (archived).
  33. Alex Smith, The Meeting (archived).
  34. Akemi Dawn Bowman (January 25, 2022). "Episode 3: An Unexpected Alliance". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  35. Chris L'Etoile (October 5, 2016). "Release". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  36. Greg Weisman (November 2019). "War of the Spark: Forsaken." Del Rey.
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