-Clan Symbol Coming Soon-The Tategami Clan (鬣 一族, Tategami Ichizoku) was a relatively small clan that flourished when samurai were favored over ninja. Tategami clansmen were reputed as one of the most talented samurai produced in the Land of Iron. The clan was also known for their cat-like features and is now considered extinct; the last recording of members living during the time frame of the First Shinobi War
According to legends of the creation of the Tategami Clan, it all started with a geisha woman of the name of Bakeneko, who was tired of living a life as an entertainer, and searched for anything that would lead her to a more fulfilling life. Bakeneko was known for her beautiful cat-like features and her musical talent, and once she started getting bored of her life as a geisha, sang sad songs as a result. Most men were not found her sad music and Bakeneko lost a majority of her past customers.
One particular evening, an upper-class samurai named Yorimichi came into the Geisha quarters with a couple of his comrades, and heard Bakeneko play her sad songs. The samurai's comrades ignored her dreary singing, but Yorimichi could not help but wonder why she was singing such songs. Yorimichi approached Bakeneko once she was done performing, and questioned why she seemed so unhappy. In truth, Bakeneko was surprised that someone approached her about her songs, since no one did previously. Bakeneko explained that she wanted to quit being a Geisha, and so Yorimichi offered her to go travel with him and his comrades. Bakeneko was grateful of his offer and knew deep down Yorimichi was sincerly trying to help her, and she later agreed to his offer and the two left the quarters, Bakeneko never coming back again.
After years of traveling, Bakeneko and Yorimichi fell in love, and later stopped their traveling and made their living to which is now the Land of Iron. The couple never married but soon had children. Bakeneko gave birth to 3 girls and 3 boys, all of them with different hair and eye colors. Yorimichi knew that these were their children due to their facial features, but wondered why they all had different coloring from each other, but he never questioned Bakeneko. Years passed and their children grew up to be fine adults and the family lived a very peaceful life together. Yorimichi and Bakeneko were beginning their elder years and suddenly Bakeneko disappeared. Yorimichi search everywhere for his lover, but could not find any note or piece of evidence of where she might of gone to. Saddened by the loss of his beloved Bakeneko, but still determined that she would come back to him, Yorimichi waited for her to come back and searched for her until his death.
Bakeneko was said to be a cat that could take on a human form, and once Bakeneko lived to an old age as a cat, transformed as a human and became a geisha because her owner was also one. Once she met Yorimichi and fell in love with him, Bakeneko could not tell him her secret in fear of possibly losing him. Once Bakeneko and Yorimich had children their coloring where all based off of colors of cats, and still Bakeneko could not bear to tell him despite his confusion. After taking on a human appearance for so long Bakeneko had once again turned into a cat and had no choice to leave Yorimichi. Tategamis believed that Bakeneko's cat form still acted as a guardian to their compound, and if you hear ringing of bells and no sign of their destination, Bakeneko's presence is in that area. It is also said that Yorimichi's spirit is still determined to find Bakeneko and roams around the compound to search of his lover.
Customs, Culture, and Etiquette
Face paint was popular to both Tategami clansmen and women. Once a new Tategami member is born, it is their tradition for the mother to smears a streak of paint on one cheek of the newborn while the father smears paint on the other, and that is when the newborn is officially a member of the clan. The gender of the baby determines the color of the face paint; girls receive red face paint while the boys receive black face paint. Typically face paint is worn around the eyes and cheeks, and some males wore face paint on their lips.
Males born into the clan were expected to become samurai and had no other choice for what they wanted to do with their occupation. Once the male babies are able to sit up, they are giving miniature bokuto (Japanese Wooden swords) to swing around for play, and the sword gets longer as the child ages. At the age of 5, male children are to train under their fathers or other elders within the clan, and are to train to everyday to become a full-fledged samurai. Once the child is believed to be skilled enough, generally in their early to mid-teens, they are considered to be true men and are given a real katana. This was considered a huge achievement to the clan and they honor those who passed their training by having a huge feast. There are some cases where a male Tategami would never receive a real katana if their masters did not believe they had enough skill or had a weak mindset.
Females within the clan were not allowed to become samurai and instead practiced the arts such as calligraphy, dance or music. Along with learning art forms, clanswomen practiced tea ceremonies and public speaking, and usually it was the women who were in charge of trying to end disputes within or outside of the clan. Tategami women were expected to wear layered kimonos and to always keep a nice appearance; they were always expected to wear some type of makeup or face paint throughout the day once they hit their teenage years. Despite not being allowed to become swordswomen, in rare cases those who were interested in swordsmanship trained for years and disguised themselves as men once they were confident with their skills, some fathers who only had daughters would also train their daughters in swordsmanship behind the scenes. Females who were caught practicing swordsmanship were exiled from their clan compound.
The Tategami Clan were extremely skilled in Kenjutsu, some clans members even owning dojos in the Land of Iron because of their skill. They were known to be very quick on their feet as well as having fast reflexes and other fast movements; Tategamis were considered one of the fastest samurai known to exist. Unlike other samurai in the Land of Iron, most could not manipulate and shape their chakra within their swords, and as a result used katana liked swords instead of the typical wakizashi styled swords. Tategami men who were able to channel chakra through their swords were thought after to reproduce a large amount of children in hopes for more Tategamis to manipulate chakra like other samurai.
The Tategami clan, being descendants of Bakeneko like told in their legend, had cat-like features such as having longer and narrow pupils, almond-shaped eyes. Some even had sharper and longer finger nails. Their eye colors ranged from blue, yellow, green, orange, brown, and hazel. Tategami children were known to have crested hair on top of their heads but usually grew out of it when they hit their preteens, although some kept their crested hair throughout their lifetime. Males in the clan had either straight or spikey hair, while the females typically had wavy and untamed hair (look at Kurenai, Mei, and Fuka for example). Hair colors within the clan were brown, grey, black, white, orange, or blonde. Skin colors ranged from tan to a pale-yellowish color.
Most Tategami males were lean but toned and only a selected few were burly. Males were also known to be on the taller side, the average male being 5'10" (177.80 cm) or taller. Females were known to have slender figures and medium-sized busts. Most females had long fingers nails and those who did not like their natural sharpness shaped them with nail files. Females were also tall, the average female reaching up to 5'7" (170.18 cm) or taller.
Temperament and Family Life
At large, Tategamis were quite charismatic and talkative, especially the females of the clan. Some clans members were more reserved and would rather spend time alone than with others. They were prideful people, especially when it came to their swordsmanship and speed for samurai. Most Tategami would rather die for their pride rather than run away from a fight. Women within the clan were prideful of their appearance and their charisma. The younger people within the clan were generally mischievous and were known to either deceit those who were more gullible or playfully tease those who were easily flustered. Both males and females were sexually promiscuous and had children with different clan members, and each member of the clan treated all children as if they are their own.
All Tategami clansmen and women refused to have relationships or children with people outside of their clan. Marriage was also quite rare since the Tategamis did not see any importance of it, and were perfectly comfortable keeping a romantic relationship without marriage. However, if their partners insisted on marriage, then their lovers were willing to do so. Most that were in a romantic relationship openly displayed their affection to others, and could care less if anyone thought it as inappropriate. The majority kept a polygamous relationship sexually because children were hard to produce within the clan. Tategamis were also aware of the short-lifespan of their clan due to being easily infected with disease, which the primary cause was due to the lack of varying genes in their genepool.
The result of the clan's lack of varying genes was due to a near extinction of their clan. A sickness in the Land of Iron took many Tategami lives, and thankfully those who survived were able restore most of the clan. But their refusal to breed outside of their clan ultimately lead to their downfall. Males generally had deformed sperm cells, low motility and sperm count which made it harder for reproduction. Some members in the clan were even infertile and caused even more trouble for the Tategamis, and it was also common for those who were able to conceive have a miscarriage. Those who were able to produce children were encouraged to mate even more children, and if they had romantic partners and both were willing to do so, were also encouraged to mate with others in hopes for a stronger gene pool.
Despite their efforts, the clan still had too many members that were infertile and there was still not enough gene variation. Most were very prone to illness and some children struggled to reach their adulthood. Later another disease epidemic struck the Tategami Clan and towards the time of the First Shinobi War, the clan officially goes extinct.
Tategami (鬣) means "Mane" and it is a reference to their untamed hair and having crested hair when they were children
The term "Tategami" was also used for young samurai, in reference to those with a full head of hair.
Males in the clan were named after famous samurai while females were named after female samurai or other famous women, such as in the Edo period or others.
The Tategami creeation story of Bakeneko was derived from a Japanese Yokai, more information can be find here
The lack of various genes within the clan is based off of the cheetah's gene pool, more information can be find here.