Ten-thousand bright stars,
Captured sunshine in a bag,
I control the dawn
Appearance and Mannerisms: Smile for the Customer!
The Yasuki are a stark contrast to what many expect of the Crab Clan, and Zansatsu is certainly an iconic member of his family. Slim and lean, he does not cut a particularly intimidating figure, which suits his needs just fine. In fact, everything about his appearance, from his neatly trimmed beard to his smiling eyes, are carefully crafted to put one at ease. While certainly not weak (Zansatsu is a Crab, afterall), he prefers to apply his lyrical voice and considerable social prowess to any situation.
Zansatsu is a man who believes strongly in the power of the almighty koku. Perhaps the Son of Heaven may have no need for material wealth, but all those who stand beneath that most august personage certainly do. Samurai might not like to talk about it, but their lifestyles are only maintained with money, just the same as a peasant or eta. The only difference is in the cost of living. Even the most pious of monks still begs for alms to pay for their rice. It is this attitude that defines the very of Zansatsu’s being; the Golden Rule. He who controls the gold makes the rules.
History and Family: The Cost of Duty
In a family that prides itself on the skill and cleverness of its merchants, Zansatsu stands among them as perhaps the greatest mercantile mind of his generation. Born in Friendly Traveler Village, Zansatsu was quietly trained by one of the few local Yasuki sensei. Though his immense talent was obvious, the remoteness of his home village may have precluded him from achieving much, were it not for the timely intervention of his uncle, Yasuki Shishinza. Appointed to Emerald Magistrates, and sending home to Crab lands vast sums of wealth, Shishinza earned recognition for his family, and the wise eyes of the wily Yasuki turned to regard the rest of the Magistrate’s relations. It is in this way that the master sensei of Yasuki Yashiki came to learn of Zansatsu and his talent.
In one years time, the young Zansatsu was relocated to the Palaces of the Yasuki, and his training resumed in earnest. His head for commerce impressed even the greatest of the Yasuki sensei, and Zansatsu earned his gempukku at the young age of fourteen.
He struck out on his own, applying his keen talents to generating the most wealth possible for the Yasuki family and the Crab Clan. In less than a decade, he had become the head patron of a vast network of mines, smelting houses, and shipping lanes for the one thing he prized the most: gold. He was just past his twentieth year, and all seemed to be going well, when he received the devastating news: his beloved uncle Shishinza had been murdered on the far distant Kaigen’s Island. Receiving no word of resolution to the terrible crime, Zansatsu promptly got his affairs in orders, and made arrangements for travel and semi-permanent residence in Broken Wave City, where he intends to see to it that his uncle’s killers are brought to harsh Crab justice.
Hopes and Ambitions: Everything is for Sale
Money might not literally make the world turn, but Zansatsu is of the opinion that you could probably pay off enough earth shugenja to make that happen, if you wanted to. While he is a man who enjoys the company of beautiful women and partaking of the finest rice wines, his ultimate joy is the accumulation of wealth. Calculating taxation, running numbers, squeezing every last zeni possible for profit is, in his mind, the most glorious and noble of passtimes. After all, koku represents (nominally) the value of rice, which is owned by the Emperor. The Emperor, in his wisdom, gives his favor to people and permits them to partake of his rice. Thus, logically, every koku is a small favor of the Emeror, and any good samurai should do his best to earn as much of the Emperor’s favor as possible for his family and clan.
For now, Zansatsu seeks to honor his uncle’s memory, but when that crime is solved, he has his sights set much higher. Ultimately, the brilliant young merchant hopes to sit as one of the Emperor’s Chosen: the Imperial Treasurer. In this way, he can do what he loves to do the most, and serve his Clan gloriously while providing the Crab all the tax relief they need to help support the Wall.
Theme Song: Paparazzi
Theme to Shishinza’s Killer: Death Rides a Horse