The clan owned a family shrine, The Kihaku Shrine, which was made during the begins of the Land of Rice Fields to attract kami to promote good harvests in the village. Long ago the Kihaku family was thought to be shamans because they were committed to perform sacred dances to rid of evil spirits and seemed to have other influences in the world of spirits. As a result, they were told to become "keepers of the shrine" and so the shrine was named after the clan in due respect. In more recent years, the shrine was used for anyone that wished to pay respect to the Kami (Shinto gods) and clansmen and women were seen merely as ordinary people who were responsible for maintenance of the shrine.
Kihaku Shrine Massacre
Kihaku clansmen and women, through private worship and rituals, are able to draw in natural energy through their bodies to open a new way to satisfy the senses and the mind. This practice results in a "transformation" that alters the appearance once the ritual is done, therefore the practices are done in the honden (main hall) of the shrine. Some members are also known to go through this process when they are going under water purification, always done beneath a waterfall late in the evenings.
One night, a villager came across a Kihaku practicing their ritual outside of the shrine, unknowingly to the Kihaku until his transformation was finished. After watching the Kihaku go through his transformation and seemingly gaining new powers because of it, accused the Kihaku clan of summoning and being possessed by evil spirits. Soon word spread within the Land of the Rice Fields and caused much fear in the villagers, reawakening the Kihaku's past of descending from shamans. Villagers feared possible misfortunes that could happen to their village, especially regarding agriculture. Agirculture is the main source of the village's wealth and resources, and villagers did not want to see a possible downfall in their economy and family life. A group of fearful villagers attacked the Kihaku shrine and burned it down, killing many Kihaku people in the process. Few members managed to escape and survive the massacre and went into hiding. It was not until the arrival of Orochimaru and the making of Otogakure that the people of the clan were able to find relief again.
Most Kihakus went with Orochmaru and are currently spread out in his hideouts. They are learning the ninja arts and are trying to revive their clan as they once were in the past. After studying the Kihaku's "power" or "transformation", Orochimaru learned that Kihakus are able to sense and gather natural energy, creating senjutsu chakra, and their "transformation" is a result of achieving sage mode. After his discovery, members of the clan became test subjects in order to have a better understanding of senjutsu and how it is created. The few who do not follow Orochimaru have left the village to seek other ways to find a peaceful living as they once had.
Customs, Culture, and Etiquette
While working at the shrine before the massacre, all members were strictly required to wear white robes with red hakama trousers, and the only exception to the dress code was when they are in their homes or outside of the shrine. Those who did not follow the rules were told to change into their uniform, went under careful watch, and were required to do extra work around their clan compound.
Marriage is an important occurance and Kihakus are usually wedded within the clan. The majority of people were wedded through arranged marriages set up by both sides of the parents, usually during their children's childhood, but those who were set up in their later years did have some say in the arrangement. If children were not set up into an arranged marriage, parents were still very picky on who their child would be be betrothed to.
The Kihaku clan are raised Shinto and follow the Shinto religion. They upheld such beliefs such as the Ten Precepts of Shinto, The Four Affirmations, and Makoto.
Worship and Rituals
The clan practice all Shinto practices. However, Misogi is the most practiced ritual and every member is required to do it in order to perform their worship to the fullest. Misogi starts once the Kihaku reaches puberty and it is a slow process, taking up till about 1 year. The steps and requirements include...
- Preliminary Purification: Members first must undergo Harae in order to be cleansed of impurities before they begin their Misogi training. Harae is performed by the head priest of the clan along with others that have already trained in Misogi. Together they chant a liturgy, and the head priest then purifies the trainee using a haraigushi wand. Soon after the harae purification, they begin to fast, which lasts up till a week, and the only food and water they require is the minimum amount to survive the week. After one successfully completes the fast, they are provided a meal of their choice for their hard efforts. They continue praying and go under physical activities until they are believed to be ready for the next step.
- Furitama (spirit shaking): The trainee shakes their upper torso as a result of rubbing their stomachs with their fists. This is said to help them become one with the spirits within them. This is done in a couple months worth of time. They continue physical activities, now done in groups, as prayers are spoken to awaken their own spirit, thus unifying the kami around them.
- Final Purification: The misogi training officially starts and it is the longest step. They go under the waterfall and remain perfectly still in order to be one with nature and find their one-point. Once the trainee found their one-point they are able to reach higher levels of awareness in the senses, lifeforce, and mind by drawing in natural energy into their bodies. After continuous misogi training and learning how to efficiently draw in natural energy, the "transformation" begins, which is now know to them as sage mode.
Orochimaru research supports that once Kihaku members go through this process they are able to sense, gather, and create senjutsu chakra and enter sage mode, but the exact origins are unknown. He hypothesized that they may be in relation to Jugo's clan, in possibility that the Kihaku Clan may also have a way to passively collect natural energy, except in smaller levels that would not cause them to go berserk. After looking at DNA results, this was not in fact true. It is still a mystery where the origins of their powers exactly come from, since most have to go under training with the toads at Mount Myoboku or the snakes at Ryuchi Cave in order to achieve it.
It was not until recently that the clan started to train in the ninja arts, and as a result, they do not have the experience like other shinobi clans but they do show potential. All members have fire as their nature affinity and no one is able to utilize other chakra natures. They are not considerably strong physically but are shown to have good technique in taijutsu once they begin training. Most prefer a certain martial art, aikido. Genjutsu is hard to grasps for most, but some are able to perform it.
Clan members are able to go in sage mode gain the advantages and disadvantages of it. Those who perfected sage mode, in terms of appearance, they lose their irises so only their sclera is visible in the eye. They also gain some sort of face marking, magatama symbols show on the arms, and their hair spreads out to were it is not layed flat on their backs if kept long.
Members of the Kihaku clan have slender bodies with little to no muscle tone, but after training in the ninja arts are becoming more toned than what they were in the past. Both male and females are average in height, a male reaching up to 5'9" (175.26 cm) while the average female reaching up to 5'4" (162.56 cm). In general, both genders keep longer hairstyles and hime cuts are popular. Females are never seen with short hair, the shortest length being about bra strap length while males with shorter hair usually have bowl cuts (Most similar to this style and this one). The majority of females are flat-chested.
Kihakus have dark purple eyes, have larger pupils than other people, and light colored skin. Some members are known to keep their eyes shut throughout most of the day. Hair colors come in three varieties of purple; ranging from violet, indigo, and lavender. All members carry the recessive gene alleles that can result in albinism, which is quite common in clan members.
The name Kihaku (気迫) means "soul" or "spirit".
Their clan symbol has the Torii gate and a Magatama symbol underneath, which they are both reference to their Shinto religion. The color red symbolizes purity.