Though related to the garou as a branch of the Shadow Lords, these werewolves native to Japan underwent isolation from the rest of the world during the Edo Period along with the rest of Japanese society. During this time, they almost entirely lost their ranks of the lupus breed (as wolves in the islands of Japan were almost entirely killed off during this period), and today are almost entirely composed of Homid. This imbalance has wrought considerable change on their culture, making them markedly distinct from other garou in their practices.
Though the Hakken consider Japan to be their homeland, a substantial minority now make their homes in other nations around the Pacific—primarily in China, South Korea, and the West Coast cities of the U.S. and Canada. Some werewolves believe the Hakken to be nothing more than an Asian branch of the Shadow Lords. Any similarities pale in comparison to the vast differences between the two. Most Hakken consider the Garou Nation to be little more than murderous barbarians who have spurned their place in the Emerald Mother's great plan by refusing to work with the other Changing Breeds.
The Hakken are the hengeyokai's foremost warriors and protectors, often acting as the first line of defense against the dreaded Bakemono. They get along well with Kitsune and Tengu, but find the Khan to be troublesome rivals and regard the Nezumi as dishonorable and unclean, if also occasionally quite useful. In the midst of the long ago wars between both different hengeyokai courts and between mortals and the Changing Breeds, werewolves in Japan sought to end both types of wars by strengthening their ties with mortal society. To accomplish this, they infiltrated Japan's class of elite warriors, the samurai.
Within a few generations, their descendants felt more of a connection to the culture and customs of Japan than to Garou traditions. This connection to Japanese culture increased as the local wolf population declined, as the tribe found it harder and harder to locate wolf Kin to breed with. Humans believe that wolves died out in Japan in 1905, but the Hakken keep a small number of wolf kinfolk in remote and protected wild areas, hiding them from human sight.
The secret packs of Japanese wolves help keep Hakken populations from declining, but the vast majority of Hakken are homids who lead extremely human lives. They still follow a warrior code clearly derived from the Samurai code of Bushido, adapted for a werewolf’s thoughts and deeds. The Hakken organize themselves in clans based on family lineages and in battle they adorn themselves with their clan's crest. The few lupus Hakken are the only members of this breed who retain a traditional pack structure.
Without the pressure of a family expecting them to hold to ancient (and, to a kinfolk, nonsensical) traditions, they’re free to be more spontaneous. Lupus Hakken are also more likely to join the sentai of the Beast Courts than their homid cousins. Within their own clans and packs, Hakken settle disputes in single combat, usually with swords or in some other form of one-on-one competition, like poetry or storytelling contests. Despite all of their differences from other werewolves, in a few ways the Hakken clearly show their connection to the garou. Their clans and packs regularly hold moots at their caerns that closely resemble the moots of Garou elsewhere in the world.
Traits and GiftsEdit
The Hakken make use of the same broad array of rites as their Western counterparts, as well as partaking in the rites of the Beast Courts. Exclusive Gifts of the Hakken are well known to exist.
- Changing Breeds (book), p. 272-273