Shosuro Hyobu

Governor of Ryoko Owari

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Shigeko’s Dossier: Shosuro Hyobu is the current Governor of Ryoko Owari, and has been since the death of her husband Akitada eight years ago. Technically, her son Jocho should have take the throne after his gempukku, but he shows little inclination to do so; he is happier as the leader of the Thunder Guards.

For this, we should probably be thankful. Though far from a perfect woman, Hyobu appreciates the importance of social order, and she is adept at maintaining Ryoko Owari’s situation. This is both her greatest strength and her greatest weakness.

Her reign has provided Ryoko Owari with the blessings of prosperity and a fair degree of peace and safety. However, her intransigence also protects corrupt elements that have arrayed themselves with her. Because she considers things “good enough”, she is unwilling to take actions that will have good effects in the long term, but which will result in necessary upheaval in the immediate future. The greatest case in point is the opium trade. Her husband tolerated it, and so does she. It has undoubtedly brought wealth to her city — but only through the most corrupt and debased individuals. She is unwilling to chase elusive honor; instead she is content to pursue less lofty game, such as wealth.

Unless her hand is forced, she is unwilling to make hard choices. Hyobu would always prefer to talk than to fight. She is a born negotiator, and good at it; if she wants a problem resolved without bloodshed, she will sacrifice much and make good on her promises. She is reluctant to give permission for duels that she feels are ‘unwarranted’ – those based on impulse rather than an insurmountable point of honour. However, her ‘good nature’ is self-serving — she has no compunctions about extracting favors from those she has helped out of tight spots. Furthermore, she can only be pushed so far; if she decides she has been deliberately crossed or disobeyed, she will not hesitate to use force.

In other words, her ‘forgiving nature’ is a function of strength, not weakness. She prefers to think any offenses against her are unintentional, because she knows only the worst kind of fool would cross her on purpose.

Memoirs 15

Shosuro Hyobu

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