The Land of Bridges is a small country located beyond the Land of Lightning. The country is led by a Daimyo, and its name originates from the plethora of bridges intricately connecting the fractured landscape. It contains the ninja village Hashigakure.
In the past the country was known as the Land of Barriers. The mountains, rivers and valleys that spanned the nation served as natural barricades many ninja clans used to fortify their hidden villages. While any group of ninja could form a clan, and if desired a hidden village, it took special recognition to be acknowledged by the Daimyo. This recognition could be earned in a number of ways, but the fastest and most common method was the elimination of other ninja clans to claim territory. With more land under their control, a clan leader might be granted an audience with the Daimyo and potentially earn money and his favor. It was even the belief of some clans that if the Daimyo looked favorably upon them, he would name their leader his successor. Seeking this recognition some clans would ally to help each other conquer lands or in some cases merge into a larger and stronger clan. For fun, the Daimyo would often invite ninja from various clans to fight in death matches for his amusement. On some occasions even members of the same clan would be forced to fight each other.
The Daimyo eventually passed away and his two sons, Uramasu and Ujimasu had a dispute about which of them would succeed him. This erupted in civil war, and as the conflict spread across the nation, its various shinobi clans were forced to choose sides in one of the brothers' factions. Those in neutrality would suffer without protection from collateral destruction. Among other clans, one of the most prominent to ally with Ujimasu's faction were the Rikuyo. Meanwhile the Kojogin and other clans served under Uramasu's faction. Of all the neutral clans, the Kujaku and Odei were the most feared, as they consisted primarily of ninja with powerful Kekkei Genkai for Explosion and Mud Release respectively. The chaos of this war pulled in more clans with each passing day. This war redefined the scope of battle for the nation as many clans and independent ninja alike made names for themselves. The formerly neutral Yamabuki Clan, known for their medical ninjutsu specialty, developed an antidote to the Dokusei Clan's secret mixture of poison. Tokazane of the Rikuyo clan became known as "Tokazane the Shadowless" for his incredible speed through his Swift Release Kekkei Genkai. Hisamaru of the Kojogin was dubbed, "Hisa the Deft" for his ability to traverse the battlefield and slaughter the enemy without leaving a footprint via his Magnet Release Kekkei Genkai. Powerful rivalries between these and other ninja were formed.
While the head of the Kujaku chose for the clan to remain neutral in an attempt to preserve their bloodline, many of its members were dissatisfied with the choice. They relished the chance to use their Kekkei Genkai in combat for either side. Disguised, a branch of the clan allied with the Ujimasu faction on the battlefield and decimated the opposition with their explosive abilities. Uramasu took the branch’s actions as a personal transgression by the whole clan, sighting the damaged landscape as residual proof of the Kujaku’s entry into the war against him. The head of the Kujaku, adamant in his initial decision, refused to officially align the clan with Ujimasu’s faction and begged Uramasu for forgiveness. However his pleas fell on deaf ears and both factions eradicated the members of the Kujaku clan to rid themselves of the potential threat. Using the massacre of the Kujaku as an example, the head of the Rikuyo clan under Ujimasu’s faction convinced the Odei clan to ally with them and enter the war. This alliance was pivotal in Ujimasu’s victory and the downfall of Uramasu’s faction marking the eventual end of the war.
Much like the lives of its residents, the country’s landscape was forever scared by the aftermath of the war. 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 Daimyo Ujimasu, suffered greatly. Many of the clans who previously opposed Ujimasu were driven from their homes into areas known as the Ruined Land. These areas were spaces where the greatest battle damage had occurred and were difficult to inhabit. The Kojogin were one of the only clans to survive living in the Ruined Land for a prolonged period of time.
Efforts by the Rikuyo Clan's new leader Tokazane to assist people outside of his own clan led to an audience with the Daimyo. Together they agreed to the establishment of a unified shinobi village, provided Tokazane could convince the other previously allied clans of Ujimasu's Faction to join. After the head of the Aohiru Clan refused Tokazane's offer the Kojogin Clan were recruited instead. The new village, dubbed Hashigakure, united many ninja and produced countless more who helped bridge the divided landscape. Inspired by their construction of paths and unification of people, the Daimyo renamed the country from the Land of Barriers to the Land of Bridges.
Land of Barriers Daimyo (Uramasu/Ujimasu's father)
Land of Bridges Daimyo Ujimasu (current)
The Land of Bridges has a fractured landscape with gorges, ravines, and sheer cliffs parting the landscape. In the north is a large mountain eroded by the infamous Seething Glacier. This glacier is a frigid and extremely dangerous area to traverse and serves as the testing grounds for Hashigakure Genin to become Chunin. At its furthest edge is a large crystal deposit where massive geodes naturally form from the underground mountain water. There are many bodies of water, especially in the lowlands surrounding Hashigakure. The village sits atop islands of varying sizes and altitudes which are connected by bridges. In the regions far south are semi-tropical coastlines which experience frequent rainstorms. Across the entire country the land is divided by the scars of war from explosions and other man-made influences. This makes travel hazardous, though the village's ninja work hard to repair the environment.
In the Land of Barriers Era, the general attitude of the country was one of hostility and distrust. The many ninja clans vied for supremacy, and the Daimyo only encouraged this behavior by arranging death matches between certain ninja for his own entertainment. After the Rikuyo Clan began selflessly assisting the people of other towns, the climate began to shift in a more amiable direction.
Since Hashigakure's foundation, the entire country has become significantly more welcoming towards visitors and each other. Traditionally the clans still rival each other, but often this is used as motivation to encourage the growth of their ninja rather than a reason fight against each other. This inspired a sport of boat racing, where people form teams to construct boats and sail through a set course for prizes and glory.
Similarlly, footraces and horse races through the country's hazardous landscape have become common place. During each season there is at least one type of nation-wide race, and one festival heavily supported by the ninja of Hashigakure and the Daimyo. Commonly festival games incorporate some theme of building and environment restoration. This is by design to influence the youth to help rebuild the shattered landscape. These celebrations also serve to unify the people of the country and attract tourists despite the risk in traveling. It is said that if one is able to visit all the country's bridges within the year, they will have excellent fortune in the following one.
The ninja of this country use a wide variety of diverse jutsu, many of which are derived from the secret techniques of the nation's clans. As such, there are no universal signature techniques aside from those used by the clans. Notably Hashigakure ninja are known to be especially agile and dexterous from their style of training. Their frequent travel across the hazardous landscape makes them exceptional survivalists.
During the era when the country was known as the Land of Barriers, there were numerous hidden villages ruled by the individual ninja clans which inhabited them. Few of these villages were allied with each other, and most fought to declare supremacy and claim land. Following the Daimyo Succession War, Hashigakure became nationally recognized as the official ninja village of the country. While other ninja villages may still exist, none are officially endorsed by the Daimyo and as such not usually acknowledged. A notable exception is a facility known as the Vessel of the Water Lily, the funding for which came from the Daimyo. Though it is officially credited as being an orphanage and boarding school, its residents do receive some training in martial arts and weapons handling.
Since many of the clans fell into ruin after the Daimyo Succession War and later foundation of Hashigakure, only a select few still exist in an organized sense. Though occasionally, survivors of the dissolved clans have been noted to appear from time to time.
Clans of Hashigakure
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.
Aohiru Clan (青蛭一族, Aohiru Ichizoku) was a clan of ninja allied with the current Daimyo, Ujimasu, during the war. The Aohiru were known for their unique ability to absorb chakra through their hands as part of their taijutsu. For this reason they were associated with the imagery of leeches. Desiring to retain their independence they refused to join Hashigakure and were later defeated after attempting to invade it. The few survivors were taken as prisoners.
Kujaku Clan (孔雀一族, Kujaku Ichizoku) was a clan of ninja feared for their Explosion Release Kekkei Genkai. It was often said their magnificent explosions resembled the bursting feathers of a peacock. Despite their neutrality during the war, they were targeted by both factions and wiped out.
Shirokawa Clan (白川一族, Shirokawa Ichizoku) was a clan of ninja from the country's northern region, named after the white rivers surrounding their village. This clan primarily used bandages in their techniques, and by flowing chakra into cloth could manipulate them as desired. During the nation's conflict they sided with Uramasu's faction, eventually resulting in their downfall. Though some members survived, by the end of the war the clan in an organized sense had been destroyed.
All image credit belongs to the original artists:
Land of Bridges Image = lp ysg, Source
Infobox Image Boat Races = Nate Rudichuk, Source