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The Topaz Championship is the most prestigious gempukku ceremony in Rokugan.

It is held every
spring in the Month of the Serpent in the village of Tsuma in the Kakita Provinces of the Crane
Clan. Contestants from all of the Great Clans, as well as those from minor clans or ronin who have
a sponsor among the Great Clans or Imperial Families, competed in diverse skill tests that ranged
from composing haiku to Iaijutsu duels. Bushi tend to dominate the quite martial contest. [1] The
winner is traditionally gifted with a golden kabuto [2] and the Topaz Armor. [3]

Name's Origin
The annual gempukku festival of the Kakita Dueling Academy invites young men and women from
every Great Clan and even a few Minor Clans to a competition designed to showcase the talent of
Rokugan's youth. The pomp surrounding the competition grew to extraordinary proportions when
Hantei XXXVIII began fondly naming the young champions his "Topaz Champions." [4]

Organization
The Topaz Championship is broken into five parts spread over three days. A contender was tested
against another competitor, and a point was awarded to the winner of each pairing. A contestant had
to score five points to attain adulthood and to be allowed to participate in the third day's Iaijutsu
challenge and fealty ceremony. [5]

Rules Edit
There were no written rules. Maturity was to be proven with honorable behaviour, and shugenja
could not use their magic against opponents. Contestants were required to sign in by noon the day
before the tournament opens. [6]

First Day
During the first day, contestants would compete in Sumai and Heraldry, then the Athletics foot race
was run through an obstacle course set up in the woodlands surrounding the school. Athletics was
followed by Horsemanship, where contestants maneuvered horses through a simple course and
strike two targets, one with a sword, one with an arrow. The day ended with the Conduct contests.
Contestants were interrogated by superiors about a points of law, etiquette, or bushido. [7]

Second Day
During the second day, the Weapons contest was held using practice weapons--real but blunted.
Each competition ended at first blood. Along with weapons, the second day included Poetry -
usually creating a haiku based on a topic selected by the judges--and the Courtier competition with
questions about the role of the clans in Rokugan society. Along with those courtly competitions, the
second day included, Go and Archery. It ended with the only cooperative contest, the Hunting
contest, where competitors were required to retrieve three Tsu fish eggs from the neighboring
woodlands. [8]

Third Day
Competitors who earned at least five points over the previous two days earned the right to enter the
third day's Iaijutsu single-elimination contest to determine the actual winner of the Topaz
Championship that year. This contest was followed by a the fealty ceremony for all who passed
their gempukku during the competition. [9]

Ritual for the winner


After the fealty ceremony of those who passed their gempukku, the last gempukku to be celebrated
was that of the Topaz Champion. The Champion would approach the altar where his clan's daimyo
and a shugenja awaited him/her. The clan daimyo would hold out a small bowl covered by a cloth
emblazoned the samurai's mon with the samurai's own wakizashi on top, blessed by the attending
shugenja. The samurai's palm was cut with the blade, and the clan daimyo would catch the drops of
blood in the bowl.

The shugenja used the blood to prepare a scroll pledging the samurai's loyalty and obedience to his
clan and family. The scroll was read aloud by the samurai before being burned by the shugenja. Its
ashes were dissolved into a tea and given to the clan daimyo. Kneeling before the daimyo, the
samurai takes the cup and drinks the mixture. Upon rising, the clan daimyo proclaimed the name of
the newest member of his clan. [10]

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