Naming Conventions

A samurai can change his name many times throughout his life, and he may go by different names to different people which can make determining what to properly call a samurai confusing for those not properly trained.

Mechanics: Determining what name to address a given samurai is a Lore: Heraldry Skill Roll with a TN based on the target’s Glory Rank.


The first name a samurai has is the one given to them at birth. These names are typically provided by the child’s parents or other relatives. Sometimes the child’s daimyo will even name them as a special honor to their family. The child carries this name until their gempukku, when they take on an adult name. Members of his family may continue to call him by his childhood name, but it is considered very rude for an outsider to refer to by this.

Common Boy Names: Ichiro (1st Son), Jiro (2nd Son), Saburo (3rd Son), Shiro (4th Son), Goro (5th Son), Rokuro (6th Son), Shichiro (7th Son), Hachiro (8th Son)


This is the name that a samurai chooses for himself after completing his coming of age ceremony. It is common for a samurai to take parts of the name of a favorite parent, grandparent, or sensei to honor them.

For example: Doji Ichiro has just completed his gempukku. He wishes to honor both his father, Doji Masahiro, and his favorite sensei, Kakita Shukito. He has chosen the name Doji Masakito, taking the “masa” from his father’s name and the “kito” from his sensei’s name.

Rewarded Names

Sometimes samurai earn names through great feats of service to their daimyo. This is a rare occurrence, but when it happens it becomes the samurai’s new name.

For example, Hida Tokiru valiantly saved the 9th tower of the Kaiu Wall from falling to invading Shadowlands forces, saving thousands of Crab lives in the process. His daimyo, Hida Kisada, is so pleased with Tokiru that he bestows him with a piece of his name, taking the “sada” to rename his vassal Hida Tokisada. This is considered a great honor for Tokisada, and his descendants may continue to use “sada” in their names long after he is gone.

Naming Conventions

Shadows on the Border Perkele