|Rōmaji||Hashigakure no Sato|
|Literal English||Village Hidden in Bridges|
|English TV||Hidden Bridge Village|
|Country||Land of Bridges|
In the wake of Land of Barriers Daimyo Succession war, the country’s landscape and the lives of its residents were forever scared by the aftermath. Ravines and gorges cut through previously untouched forests and plains as a plethora of lakes and newly formed waterways flooded the lowlands. Hazardous travel made efforts to repair the damaged towns nearly impossible since materials could not be transported. This only further divided the country’s residents, who were still bitter from the memories of war. Prices rose and competition between local clans for natural resources lead to more fighting. Hostile and poverty stricken, many of the nation’s ninja clans fell into ruin. Even those who had allied with and were rewarded by the new Daimyo Ujimasu, suffered greatly. Most of the clans who previously opposed Ujimasu by siding with the other faction were driven from their homes into areas known as ruined land. These zones were spaces were the greatest battle damage had occurred and were difficult to inhabit. After the death of his father, Tokazane of the Rikuyo Clan became the new leader and sought preservation of life above all else. Tokazane championed the ideal of forging bonds to unify the nation and minimize everyone's suffering. Carefully rationing their spoils from the war, he rallied his clan to work selflessly in support of others. Small but numerous, the impact of their deeds helped foster kinship between the neighboring towns. He dreamed of building a united village for ninja to rest and form teams to complete missions more efficiently. Deciding that he would need more funding to make a larger impact, he requested an audience with the Daimyo. By the end of their meeting it was decided that Tokazane would be provided the funds only if he could convince the six leaders of the previous allied clans to sign their approval. With their support the Daimyo could secure his investment by forming a collective village of eight powerful clans including the Daimyo's clan, the Rikuyo, the Aohiru, the Dokusei, the Kinukami, the Mushoku, the Odei and the Yamabuki clans.
Though they had all been allies during the war, Tokazane's journey to recruit them was arduous and filled with obstacles. Eventually he was able to convince all but the Aohiru, who insisted that a unified village would result in their personal tragedy. Their leader Sekiso Aohiru believed that the unique customs and secret techniques of his clan would either be spread to the world or completely lost with assimilation, and found either outcome to be undesirable. Driven from the Aohiru Clan's village, Tokazane met with his war rival and new head of the Kojogin clan Hisamaru. Allied with the opposing faction during the war, the Kojogin had been forced into the ruined land and were struggling. Despite protests from the other clans, Tokazane extended an invitation to the Kojogin in the hope they would join the village. Eager to lead his clan out of the ruined land, Hisamaru accepted but not before threatening Tokazane in their negotiation. In addition to helping form the new village, Tokazane agreed to let Hisamaru become its second village head. Afterward Tokazane, Hisamaru and representatives from the other five clans met with the Daimyo, who honored the agreement despite the slight modification.
The leaders of the eight clans assembled in the Rikuyo Clan Village, the site which they decided would become the location of their unified village, and began discussing their plans. Firstly deciding to construct bridges that would help the members of the other clans relocate to their new home, they moved on to select a village head. Though it had been Tokazane's ambition, his war injuries negatively impacted his public image, and everyone agreed the leader would have to appear strong. Each of the different heads presented either themselves or notable members of their clan, which could only be settled by voting. Despite protests, particularly from the head of the Dokusei Clan who questioned the village's equality, Hisamaru was allowed to retain his promised leadership role after the first leader due to votes from the Odei Clan leader Shige, himself, and Tokazane. Following this, Hisamaru voted for Shige Odei to be their first village head, which resulted in Shige winning. The group titled their new village Hashigakure, after the bridges which unified the land and their previously divided minds. Under Shige's rule, with assistance from Tokazane and the others, the village flourished.
Within a year’s time the village was prosperous, and many people from across the country requested assistance from the famed village. The Daimyo was so moved by their efforts that he renamed their country, from the Land of Barriers to the Land of Bridges in honor of the village. Eventually the nation’s other ninja, comprised of mercenaries and dwindling clans either joined the village or were forced into retirement. It was at this point that the wandering Makitabi clan settled in Hashigakure. The Aohiru, one of the clans to refuse aid from the village, grew bitter and believed the Daimyo had renounced them by adhering to Tokazane’s request despite their refusal to join. The Aohiru leader Sekiso, met with the Daimyo to request additional funding to bolster their own village but was denied it. Infuriated by this, the Aohiru clan assembled in preparation for battle. They attacked Hashigakure in full force using their powerful secret techniques to take many lives. During the onslaught, Shige lost his life and Hisamaru took over immediately. Under his leadership, the village was able to counter the Aohiru clan, as Hisamaru was aware of the methods behind their secret techniques. The Aohiru clan’s forces were eliminated, and the few survivors were taken prisoner. Due to the swiftness in their defeat once Hisamaru took over, some in the village suspected that the attack had been a secret plot of to hasten his rise to power. This greatly hurt the reputation of the Kojogin clan and some of the villagers requested Hisamaru resign in favor of another leader. With help from Tokazane, these requests were denied and Hisamaru’s office was secured.
With the last of their major enemies eliminated, Hisamaru believed that the requests for jobs would start to slow down and the village would suffer as a result. To prevent this he began sending the village’s ninja outside the country to accept jobs in other nations. This decision was met with skepticism by some, though others welcomed the chance to prove their efficiency and in some cases superiority to the ninja of other lands. Years later, even though the village continued to prosper, many were still distrustful of Hisamaru. Pressure from the village’s officials was enough for him to select a successor and resign soon after. This successor was an exceptional kunoichi named Hitoe of the Mushoku Clan. Becoming the village’s third leader, she ensured its prosperity by adhering to the council of the aging Tokazane and Hisamaru, among other officials.
The village gate is the main entrance to the village and dutifully guarded by ninja.
Here students are taught in a curriculum that covers both traditional academic subjects and the study and practice of ninja techniques. To graduate, students run an obstacle course built into a nearby ravine. Completion requires excellent physical endurance and agility.
Dokusei Clan (毒性一族, Dokusei Ichizoku) is one of Hashigakure's founding clans. From childhood, members of this clan are forced to ingest incremental doses of poison until their body develops a full immunity. As a result, their own bodies become toxic to others. Anyone who makes direct physical contact with their body such as by kiss will soon perish if not treated. The Dokusei's unique poison mixture is a clan secret, however the antidote is known to both the Dokusei and Yamabuki clans. During war a common warning was to "Beware the Dokusei blood."
Kinukami Clan (絹髪一族, Kinukami Ichizoku) is one of Hashigakure's founding clans. Its members specialize in hair-based techniques. Proper care and treatment of one's hair is paramount to the members of this clan and integeral to their culture.
Kojogin Clan (向上銀一族, Kojogin Ichizoku) is uniquely the only founding clan of Hashigakure to have not sided with the current Daimyo in the war. Their loyalty has been brought in to question on multiple occasions because of this fact. Their current leader is Hisamaru, who also served as the second village head of Hashigakure. Members of this clan are known for their usage of bōjutsu and makibishi.
Makitabi Clan (茉希旅一族, Makitabi Ichizoku) is a clan residing in Hashigakure. In the past, the Makitabi were a wandering clan of mercenary ninja who fought against the current Daimyo's faction during the war. Their worldly experience allowed them to resist the collapse that many other clans in the Land of Bridges suffered. Sometime after the village's foundation, they chose to ally themselves with Hashigakure in favor of lasting peace.
Mushoku Clan (無色一族, Mushoku Ichizoku) is one of Hashigakure's founding clans. Its members are born with a powerful otherworldly connection. Through their secret techniques, the Mushoko are able to temporarily become conduits for the deceased to speak with the living. A shared mentality among the members of this clan is that even in death, they are still unified. Notably, the clan maintains a comprehensive record of the locations where each of their deceased members have perished and their body. This allows the Mushoku to quickly find and speak with the deceased when necessary. As the technique is not without limitation, the Mushoku are exhausted by its usage somewhat resemble the dead in pale skin and caved cheeks.
Odei Clan (汚泥一族, Odei Ichizoku) is one of Hashigakure's founding clans. Almost all members born into this clan possess the Mud Release Kekkei Genkai. A result of their abilities, they are branded with the stigma of being considered unclean and dangerous. Even so, they produced the first village head in Hashigakure's history.
Rikuyo Clan (陸よ一族, Rikuyo Ichizoku) is the primary clan responsible for Hashigakure's creation. Their current leader is Tokazane. Members of this clan are known for their use of wire strings in their techniques.
Yamabuki Clan (山吹一族, Yamabuki Ichizoku) is one of Hashigakure's founding clans. Its members specialize in medical ninjutsu, and as such it consists almost entirely of medical-nin. A testament to their skill, the ninja of the Yamabuki were the only clan able to create an effective antidote to the Dokusei's poison. After the war, they accepted the greatest number of displaced ninja into their ranks.
Land of Bridges Daimyo's Clan is one of Hashigakure's founding clans. Not much is known about this clan other than that its members greatly benefited from their victory in the war and the eventual formation of Hashigakure. It is said to consist of wealthy nobles and aristocrats.
As a whole, the village possess no universally exclusive jutsu aside from the signature techniques of its clans. Notably Hashigakure ninja are known to be especially agile and dexterous from their style of training.
1st Village Head: Shige Odei
2nd Village Head: Hisamaru Kojogin
3rd Village Head: Hitoe Mushoku (Current)
Hashigakure ninja begin as academy students and usually graduate by age 12. Some clans begin training their children in traditions and secret techniques prior to enrollment. After completing an obstacle course the students are given a forehead protector and titled "Genin Candidates". It is not until a ninja ranked Jonin or above determines they have passed a specific test that they officially become Genin. These tests can vary between proctors. Following this some Genin are placed into three-man teams led by a Jonin, while others are permitted to work outside of an official team for a more flexible approach to missions. These "Solo Genin" must be approved by both the Village Head and their proctor before they can work in this format. The progress and results of these Genin are carefully documented by a management branch of Hashigakure's ninja. When it is believed that a Genin is ready to advance to the rank of Chunin, they are approved to traverse the Seething Glacier in pursuit of a unique crystal. Safely returning to the village with even a small shard is proof of that the Genin's survival ability has advanced to the Chunin level. Notably the village places more emphasis on survival than leadership skills when considering Chunin. Alternatively, the Village Head can promote any Genin to the rank of Chunin at their discretion. Hashigakure has recently begun sending Genin teams to other villages to participate in Chunin Exams. Chunin are promoted to Tokubetsu Jonin and Jonin solely at the Village Head's discretion. Recruitment into Hashigakure's Anbu task force is decided by both the Village Head and Anbu captain, and can happen to a ninja of any age provided they meet the criteria. When selecting a Village Head, the heads of each founding clan and a few other village officials hold a summit to offer themselves or endorse candidates. The decision is put to a vote and the winner, after being approved by the Daimyo, is made the Village Head. This is only done if the current Village Head has not appointed a successor. If the current Village Head has appointed one, they will take over immediately after being approved by the Daimyo.
The territory that makes up Hashigakure is comprised of a lowland body of water divided up by islands of varying sizes and elevations. The scattered islands are not a natural formation, as they were caused by battles around the Rikuyo Clan's village and neighboring towns during the war. Further north, this area is bordered by a mountain which traps wind and moisture on Hashigakure's side of the formation. For this reason the village experiences frequent rain in the spring and heavy snow in the winter. This also results in a cooler temperature from overcast skies during these seasons. Sometimes the village's waterways freeze, and Genin are tasked with missions to break up the ice and plow snow to prevent further erosion. In the warmer months, the village is abound with flowering trees and grassy terrain. This plant life beautifully complements the numerous ponds and flowing rivers of the village.
The country the village is located in, the Land of Bridges, was renamed from the Land of Barriers in honor of the village.
Hashigakure does not hold open chunin examinations.
All image credit belongs to the original artists:
Infobox Image Border = Nate Rudichuk, Source
Infobox Image Hashigakure = Original Artist Unknown, Source Unknown
Infobox Image Hashigakure2 = Original Artist Unknown, Source
Hashigakure Ninja Academy = Dmitry Zaviyalov, Source