The Kusunoki clan (楠一族, Kusunoki Ichizoku) is a relatively small clan residing in Konohagakure, scattered across the village and throughout the Fire Country. This clan is primarily known for their Kekkei Genkai, which is known as the Molten Release, as well as for their role in the First Shinobi World War.
By legend, the Kusunoki family was said to descend from the offspring of a great sage who resided in the Eastern mountains of the Fire Country. This particular sage mastered the art of war and was considered to be an extremely dangerous opponent, having perfected both his water and earth ninjutsu, capable of destroying the villages located at the base of the mountains with ease. Blinded by his pride and arrogance, the sage was not above using this power, installing intense fear and loathing from the villagers residing below. Together, the village's elders came together to confront the sage, of which he killed and captured their estates, making a mockery of the attempt at peace. Unable to tolerate this behaviour anymore, the villagers came together and infiltrated these estates until they succeeded in forcing the sage to retreat to the crest of the mountains, where he was eventually killed. However, unbeknownst to the villagers, the sage had produced two daughters, Hanako and Sakuya, who had inherited their father's abilities. Hanako, the eldest, sought revenge against the villagers while her younger sister remained in the mountains. From Sakuya came the Kusunoki family, inheriting the sage's abilities in earth ninjutsu and Sakuya's fire ninjutsu, able to combine them both into what eventually became the clan's Kekkei Genkai. Abiding by their ancestor's will, the Kusunoki remained in the mountains while also being fearful of the villages' rage, fortifying their territory to prevent future war. Centuries later, the Kusunoki clan, prior to Konohagakure's founding, was one of the ample shinobi clans that worked for hire. Because of their location by the Eastern border, the clan was often hired and used as a buffer between Fire Country governments and invaders from the Lightning Country. The clan had a strong reputation for their defenses and fluency in the mountain terrain, said to have made the mountains impossible to infiltrate.
When Konohagakure was founded, the Kusunoki clan was one of the many stray clans that had been conquered by the Senju- Uchiha clan alliance, thus adopted into the ninja village system from the beginning. Having been forced to relocate and immerse into village life with other clans, the Kusunoki struggled to adapt and isolated themselves, refusing to accept what distrupted a huge part of their heritage. Concerned of further conflict, the leader of the Senju clan and First Hokage, Hashirama Senju, decided to utilize the clan's fortification skills and strong defense to help Konoha, appointing many Kusunoki ninja to patrol the village's outer wall. Because of the clan's unique abilities, the Kusunoki proved themselves useful to the village and were later promoted to upholding Konoha's defenses and worked as a detection force. Pleased with their new role, the Kusunoki remained loyal to Konoha and took great pride in their village.
After Madara Uchiha's defection from the village, the Uchiha clan recieved authority of the Konoha Military Police Force from the Second Hokage. With this new position, the Uchiha and Kusunoki clans often worked alongside each other to ensure the village's safety. This cooperative relationship lasted until the Kusunoki were disbanded after the First Shinobi World War.
First Shinobi World War
By the time the First Shinobi World War erupted, Kokushi Kusunoki was clan leader. Being 16 years old at the time, Kokushi was a very ambitious, but a rather selfish young shinobi who wanted the world for nothing. He was promoted to clan leader for his natural talents, being considered a prodigy for having three chakra types along with the Molten Release, an occurance that had only been seen in Sakuya herself. Wanting to restore the clan's reputation back to it's former glory, Kokushi could see no better opportunity to do so than in war. The clan was already torn about having a man so young leading them, splitting the clan in half politically, giving Kokushi the selfish need to also prove himself worthy.
During this period, Konohakagure had been faced with multiple enemies on several fronts. Seeing his opportunity, Kokushi dispatched a large number of Kusunoki family members to fight against Iwagakure shinobi with himself leading them, hoping to give Konoha a major advantage; however, while his strategies and formations appeared flawless, Kokushi was completely in over his head. What was a campaign for honour and glory turned bloody and brought about havoc. The fight seriously wounded both sides of the battlefield, as well as left gaping holes in Konoha's defense, resulting in more deaths as enemy troops infiltrated the Fire Country. After the battle, Kokushi succeeded in completing his initial objectives, but his victories were minor and were damped when he returned to Konoha with only one third of the men he originally brought along. This battle completely tore the clan apart as unsupportive members strayed from Konoha after the war, leaving the Kusunoki clan to be a mere fraction of what they once were.
The Kusunoki clan is a family that is especially adept at ninjutsu and nature transformation, being genetically more inclined towards the Earth nature. Being located in the mountains before Konoha's founding, the Kusunoki skillfully utilized the difficult terrain in the most practical ways possible, as foreign shinobi were often victims to staged ambushes, injuries from pitfalls and various traps, as well as getting trapped in the terrain's natural labyrinths. The clan was regarded highly for their fortification and defenses, strategically getting the advantage over their enemies. However, the clan was not strong in direct warring combat and was usually not hired for full-fledged battles. Their greatest offense was their defence, and so regional lords tended to use their abilities against foreign threats, allowing the clan to thrive in isolation, unaffected by other warring clans. They have rarely seen war at its worst, and are highly inexperienced in the art of it. Because of this, they were easily conquered when faced with shinobi of the Uchiha and Senju caliber.
The Molten Release (炙る遁, Aburuton) is the Kekkei Gekai of the Kusunoki clan when Earth and Fire chakra natures are combined. With this, the user embeds their chakra into the earth's surface, transforming their chakra into heat and ablate the surface to such a degree that it liquifies. This technique results in a metallic, grey in colour, molten and sludge-like substance that emerges from the ground where the user's chakra was embedded. The physical properties change according to the amount of fire nature chakra is used (ie; the hotter, the more liquified; the cooler, the thicker and more solid), but it is generally very similar to mud in texture and appearance.
Members of the Kusunoki generally have similar physical appearances due to generations of inbreeding and limited marriages outside of the clan, giving them very restricted genetic traits. Kusunoki members have straight, dark hair that are usually limited to black, brown, navy blue or dark green in colour. Their skin tones are tanned, rarely with any freckles or dark spots, while being fairly tall in height and lean in build. Their eye colours can vary, but in shape and size their eyes are well-rounded in a feminine curve, appearing to be quite large over their high cheekbones and curved jaws. Any additional features, such as their noses, foreheads, lips, and other physical features vary.
ReferenceThe Kusunoki clan symbol was a real Japanese mon that I found on Google. References to the Japanese gods were based on an article off of Wikipedia.All information and articles for anything pertaining to the Naruto series was found on Narutopedia.</li>
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