Cultures And Traditions
In the village, children that were born were required to undergo ninja training, such as the ways of killing, endurance, and learning to abandon the values of life. The training was said to be very gruesome, the fact being that very little children managed to survive. For example, Iwagakure would make their children inhale a pain stimulating drug and have them endure it for three days and nights until they eventually became used to the pain. According to Shija, fewer than one out of ten children survive this part of the training. Killing among peers was allowed in the village no matter what the reason may be and any disputes between shinobi were settled with fights to the death.
The women in the village were forced to be used as tools to supply the village with more shinobi by giving birth to children. Some also had the eligibility to become kunoichi.
As dictated in shinobi law, it was forbidden to abandon the village and any action or thoughts of doing so would result in punishment by death. So far, the main reason for people wanting to leave the village stemmed from them wanting to start a new life.
Gabimaru the Hollow
Gabimaru the Hollow (がらんの画眉丸 Garan no Gabimaru?) was the title given to Iwagakure's strongest shinobi. After Tsuki, the previous Gabimaru, betrayed the village, Shija was recently chosen to become the new Gabimaru, however, since the previous holder still remained alive, Shija was unable to take their place until they had killed him. Upon their death by the hands of their predecessor, along with Iwagakure's disbandment, the alias remained and ended with Tsuki.
To society, people believed that Gabimaru the Hollow was a single bloody murderer that had been in service to Iwagakure for decades and was incapable of aging or dying, even if others had witnessed his death right before their very eyes or have heard about it. In actuality, "Gabimaru the Hollow" was an alias that had been passed down from generation to generation within Iwagakure, with each successor causing more bloodshed down the line. Because of this, those who have claimed to have seen Gabimaru and live to tell the tale would describe him in a different way, making it difficult to distinguish the truth. Since the infamous shinobi continued to live throughout history, the alias served as Iwagakure's symbol of terror, bringing fear to the eyes of many, even to other ninja villages, and was considered to be of high value to the chief.
Rite of Succession
When it came time for the next inheritor, the Iwagakure chief would pick a suitable candidate from one out of the few children that survived their shinobi training. However, before they could earn the title, the successor had to complete the Rite of Succession (襲名式 Shūmei Shiki?) where they engaged in a death match with the current Gabimaru of their time. This ceremony was viewed as being important since the alias had to be held by only one individual.
|Gabimaru the Hollow|
|Shija * †||Tsuki ‡||Gabimaru †|
|Aogyōbu †||Ginkakubō †||Karasutengu †||Kinkakubō †||Kumokiri †|
|????? †||????? †||????? †|
|Arakagi †||Hagetaka †||Hyakume †||Nobusuma †||Susubikimaru †|
|????? †||????? †||????? †||????? †||????? †|
|????? †||????? †|
Click here to see the legend of the symbols used
- †: the character is deceased.
- *: the character's status is unknown, or show additional information. Hovering the symbol may give further details.
- ‡: the character is no longer part of this group.
The shinobi from Iwagakure were highly revered and feared. Their strength were highly valued that even the shogun trusted their skills in acquiring the Elixir of Life from the dangerous island known as Kotaku. After the chief tricked him into being captured, Gabimaru, Iwa's former elite and most infamous ninja, did not resist arrest in fear of Iwagakure's forces hunting him down until the very end.
|— Gabimaru thoughts while fighting Aza Chōbei.|
At a young age, Iwagakure shinobi gained the mindset of cold-blooded assassins. They had no qualms who they had to assassinate, including one of their own, and were used to the sight of death. Any Iwa shinobi who showed a great display of cruelty and ruthlessness than to be expected was highly respected and admired by their peers, an example being Gabimaru, who was stilled viewed as a celebrity even after defecting from the village. Iwa shinobi who showed signs of weakness were looked down upon and were dealt with severely, such weakness being sentimentality. Having been personally raised by the village chief, Gabimaru carried this notion up until his defection and was drilled into believing that having sentimentality did not make him strong.
Iwagakure shinobi followed the belief that it was their duty to lay down their lives when assigned a mission, and that they viewed themselves as pawns for their master to use. As pawns, they believed that their lives held no value, and that they have nothing to lose if they were to die. They pride themselves on loyalty by following orders without question, even going so far as to commit suicide if given the command. Kumokiri was shown to be a prime example of this commitment during his departure to Kotaku. This commitment was shown once again after Shija gave the signal to the remaining Iwagakure shinobi to kill themselves in order to have them not interfere with Gabimaru's escape.
Although they have an inability to value their own life, Iwagakure shinobi retained the sensation to feel fear and despair in the face of death, which, according to Shija, caused them to yearn for their very life. Death was also seen as a sense of satisfaction for Iwagakure shinobi. With the case of Gabimaru, Iwagakure shinobi considered engaging him in a death match, or simply dying by his hands, to be a great honor.
Iwa shinobi wore long sleeve black robes, pants tied with a white sash, armguards, and tied gaiters with sandals. Their heads were covered by a black headpiece along with a black mask covering the lower-halves of their faces, leaving only the eyes visible. They also wore masks to further conceal their identities.
Abilities and Powers
Iwa shinobi were trained at a young age to have their bodies enhanced to superhuman levels. As shinobi, they had high amounts of endurance that allowed them to travel long distances on foot without rest and keep guard at night for at least ten days. Since they are ninja, they are capable of using the three types of jutsu, which are ninjutsu, taijutsu, and genjutsu.
A particular trait that all Iwa shinobi seem to possess was their immense durable bodies. After being sentenced to beheading, Gabimaru was able to harden his neck and snap the executioner's blade in half. Two Iwagakure shinobi were shown capable of performing the tasks that they were ordered to do despite their bodies being set on fire. Shija's body was tough enough to handle strikes from Gabimaru that were capable of bypassing an Iwagakure shinobi's durability.
The village was headed by a man who was said to be an immortal and had produced many generations of cold-blooded shinobi, especially one infamous shinobi known as Gabimaru the Hollow, who has been of service to Iwagakure for generations. After the current Gabimaru was married off to the chief's daughter, the shinobi came to the chief in hoping to get his blessing in starting a normal life with his wife. Seeing this as treason on his path as a shinobi, the chief had Iwagakure mark down Gabimaru as a traitor and set him up to be arrested where he would be executed for his past crimes.
At some point, Iwagakure is hired by the shogun to dispatch a squad of shinobi to a mystic island that had been said to hold the Elixir of Life. Upon learning that Gabimaru had escaped execution, the Iwagakure chief agrees to have his shinobi cooperate but also gives the order to find Gabimaru and kill him to reclaim back the title of "Gabimaru the Hollow". This mission however ended in failure as the fifty assigned shinobi were all killed during the events on the island, while also leaving Gabimaru alive to escape. After the authorities caught wind of the chief's personal goal, which was viewed as treason against the shogun, Iwagakure became dissolved and had the village head executed for his actions.
- There was a rumor that the shinobi of Iwagakure were all immortal due to having drank the Elixir of Life, which was also connected to the separate rumor about the village chief acquiring immortality through the same method.