From Tales of Rokugan

Info provided by Jeanne Kalvar (Kakita Kaori)

Paper Qualities

Paper Thickness

Even that which a normal samurai would not think of can influence the picture a courtier is trying to paint with their letter. So thickness and texture is not to be forgotten. A thick, heavy paper suggests a serious topic, while a thin tissue conveys a more light-hearted tone.

Paper Size

here is also the matter of size to take into consideration when constructing your letter. Using a large piece of paper to convey a short message suggests generosity or extravagance, while a small piece of paper crowed with writing conveys a subtle insult, suggesting the recipient is not worthy of more paper.

Paper Color

The color of paper establishes the mood, conveying a particular emotion to the reader. Pink might suggest young love, while Black may bring to mind a more serious topic.

  • Red: Passion, Danger.
  • Yellow: Honor, Warmth, Clarity.
  • Orange: Knowledge, Change
  • Purple: Wealth, Privilege
  • Blue: Relaxation, Calmness
  • Green: Life, Youth
  • White: Purity, Spirituality.
  • Black: Sorrow, Mystery
  • Brown: Earth, Stability
  • Grey: Dull, Unremarkable.
  • Pink: Love, Fragility.
  • Silver: Trust, Romance


Each letter is generally scented with a special perfume, though in very rare instances they can go unscented. Like everything else in this letter, the fragrance chosen is another piece of the puzzle behind the author's message.

These can be applied to both Perfumes and Incense Sticks

  • Jasmine: a heavy, flowery scent known for its relaxing and soothing properties, but also has heavy ties to sexual intimacy.
  • Lavender: a light, playful scent known for bringing about a peace of mind.
  • Lilac: a gentle, flowery scent known for inspiring creativity.
  • Rose: a thick, common scent known for promoting thoughts of love and passion.
  • Iris: a subtle, flowery scent known for its connection to wisdom and cherished friendship
  • Lotus: a heavy, thick scent known for its connection to the Kami, often a representation of spirituality.
  • Chamomile: a soft, flowery scent known for its connection to fortune and prosperity.
  • Ginger: a spicy musk known for its connection to luck.
  • Mint: a tingling scent that tickles the nose, known for its invigorating qualities.
  • Sage: a leafy, natural scent known for its connection to inspiring wisdom and meditation.
  • Cocoa [Colonial]: a thick, exotic scent known for its connections to the decadent and tantalizing.
  • Coffee [Colonial]: this is a scent becoming more well known in Rokugan, it brings to mind the exotic and energizing.
  • Vanilla [Colonial]: a light, sweet scent that is known for its connection for inspiring warmth within others.

Accompanying Object

Each letter, without exception, is attached to a small, accompanying object, the symbolism of which once again plays into the bigger picture the letter paints. It can be anything from a flower, a sprig from a tree, an incense stick or a multitude of other, small but telling items.


The Language of Flowers

  • Red Rose: Romance, passion.
  • Carnation: Family love, friendship
  • Amaryllis: Shyness, coyness
  • Azalea: Patience, modesty
  • White rose: Innocent, devotion, silence
  • Yellow Rose: Jealousy
  • Red Tulip: Fame
  • Violet: Honesty
  • Gardenia: Secret Love
  • Jasmine: Grace, Friendship
  • Primrose: Desperation
  • Lavender: Faithful
  • Sweet pea: Goodbye
  • Bluebell: Gratitude
  • Pansy: Caring, Thoughtful
  • Freesia: Childishness, Immaturity
  • Cactus Flower: Lust, Sex
  • Hydrangea: Pride
  • Red Camellia: Love, but to a Samurai these are considered Bad Luck.
  • White Camellia: Waiting, Wanting
  • Dahlia: Good taste
  • White Chrysanthemum: Truth but more commonly associated with Grief.
  • Daffodil: Respect
  • Anemone: Sincerity
  • Narcissus: Selfishness
  • Forget-me-not: True Love
  • Hibiscus: Gentleness
  • Iris: Loyalty, Good Tidings
  • Peony: Bravery
  • White Lily: Purity, Chastity
  • Orange Lily: Hate, Revenge
  • Holly: Single and looking
  • Morning Glory: Willful promises
  • Verbena: Cooperation
  • Snowdrop: Hope
  • Sampaguita [Colonial]: Simplicity, Purity, Humility.
  • Frangipani [Colonial]: Shelter, Protection
  • Laelia [Colonial]: Often referred to as the Moon Orchid. It represents the Moon and all that is connected with it.

Tree Blossoms and Sprigs

These can either be presented as the flowers or, as a small clipping from a branch

  • Take (Bamboo): Longevity, Strength
  • Momo (Peach): Generosity
  • Ume (Plum): Beauty
  • Sakura (Cherry): Kindness, Fragility
  • Bonsai: Harmony, Balance.
  • Matsu (Pine): Immortality, Everlasting.
  • Momiji (Maple): Great Blessings

Brush Work

A Courtier may go through several drafts of letters to perfect their intent behind the calligraphy. Messy or uneven brushwork might suggest an insult or lack of emotional control, where as steady, tidy hand writing can bring to mind the controlled On of a skilled courtly opponent.

Letter Fold

While these letters are rarely sealed, they are often folded, sometimes into elaborate folds that are meant to show off the constructor's talent just as much as the calligraphy within. A simple, elegant fold could indicate lack of care in regards to the message inside, where as a more elaborate fold can show the seriousness with which the game is being taken. The Scorpion in particular are known to be master's of a specific style of folding that is beautiful to look upon but incredibly difficult to unfold without tearing.


Much like courtly romance, Letters is played anonymously, the participants never signing their letters to one another. However, they may often leave some form of mark to give a vague representation of who they are. Just like everything else, it too can convey a meaning.