Mukai In ‘House Of Ninjas,’ Explained: Is Houjou Clan Real? What Is Yellow Flower’s Significance?

House of Ninjas, Netflix series revolving around the life of a modern-day Shinobi family, draws heavily from the factual history of the Shinobi and feudal Japan. The first season, which debuted earlier this week, introduced viewers to a plethora of characters and conspiracies rooted in Japanese history, yet it left many questions unanswered. One enigmatic figure central to the unfolding narrative is Toko Mukai. Despite her limited screen time, her significance in the events is palpable, whether hinted at subtly in the background or through her abduction incident from six years prior that led to the presumed death of Gaku Tawara. In this article, we will discuss the speculations hinted at by the Netflix series.

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Spoilers Ahead


Who Is Toko Mukai?

Toko Mukai is a political figure introduced at the beginning of the series as a candidate for the Tokyo Governor election who gets kidnapped by the Fuma Clan. After her rescue by the Tawara family, she gains a lot of media momentum, winning the elections and taking the office of Governor of Tokyo. During the events of the series, she is depicted as a candidate for the presidency of the New Democratic Party. Regarded as a beacon of hope, Mukai promises the end of corruption and the upheaval of Japan as a nation, which speaks to a lot people. However, like all politicians, the truth behind the facade is something else. She is actually a descendant of the Houjou clan from feudal Japan and has been collaborating with the Fuma to alter the Japanese constitution to accommodate their plans. 

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Why Was Toko Mukai Kidnapped? 

A major question that left viewers wondering in House of Ninjas is the motive behind Mukai Toko’s abduction, especially when it is clear that she’s a part of the esteemed Sakaki family, the modern descendants of the Houjou clan. Hailing from Aoba, Yokohama, Toko, as the eldest daughter, had long been recognized as an achiever, kickstarting her career as a secretary to previous lawmakers and emerging as a formidable candidate for the Tokyo Governorship. The perplexing circumstances surrounding her kidnapping are still quite unusual. The abduction may have been orchestrated by the Fuma clan as a calculated tactic to bolster Toko’s popularity, a strategy that proved successful as her ordeal garnered widespread attention and sympathy, influencing the votes in her favor. However, I also think that, initially, Toko might’ve been reluctant to align herself with the Fuma cause, mirroring Gaku’s circumstances. Thus, the kidnapping could have been a deliberate effort to indoctrinate her into their ranks. 


What Is The Actual History Of The Houjou Clan?

House of Ninjas often draws inspiration from the real history of Japan’s Sengoku era, providing a background rich in historical significance. To understand the importance of the Houjou clan within this context, a journey back in time becomes necessary. In Japanese history, two prominent Houjou clans emerged, each leaving an indelible mark on the political landscape of the country. The first Houjou clan rose to prominence during the Kamakura Shogunate in the 13th century, which was also Japan’s first shogunate. This period saw the Houjou clan rise to power by serving as regents to the Kamakura shogunate, ultimately solidifying their authority and effectively ruling as the de facto leaders until their decline in 1333.

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The second Houjou clan, often referred to as the Later Houjou clan, emerged during the Sengoku era, a violent period known as the era of the warring states. Unlike their predecessors, the founder of this clan, Ujitsuna Houjou, was not a direct descendant of the original Houjou lineage. Instead, he hailed from the esteemed Ise clans, supporters of the Ashikaga Shogunate, Japan’s second shogunate. Upon assuming leadership of the Ise clan, Ujitsuna made a strategic decision to rebrand the clan as the Houjou, a move intended to enhance their reputation. This decision was influenced by Ujitsuna’s marriage to a member of the pre-existing regent clan, further cementing the new Houjou clan’s status within the political reputation of feudal Japan.


What Is The Significance Of Houjou And Fuma In The Series?

The association between the Fuma and Houjou clans in the series draws inspiration from actual historical events. The Fuma clan of Shinobi served as retainers of the later Houjou clan. Kotaro Fuma, portrayed as the founder of the Fuma in the series, indeed played a pivotal role in establishing the clan. Historical records suggest that the Fuma and Houjou clans collaborated during a period of rebellion against Shogun Hideo Toyotomi’s regime. It was during this time that the seeds of the eternal rivalry between the Fuma and Hanzou families were sown.

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In the series, the Sakaki family now represents the Houjou clan, but their dynamics with the Fuma clan have shifted over time. Following the Meiji Restoration era in Japan, samurai families saw a sudden decline in power and influence, yet exceptions persisted for shinobi clans like the Fuma and Hanzou. The existence of Shinobi remained a closely guarded secret, allowing the Fuma clan to quietly gain power from the shadows. Aligning with the Houjou clan in the series may serve as a symbolic gesture for Fuma, reflecting their shared history and mutual goals. The revival of the Houjou clan by the Fuma could stem from the same ambitions that drove Ujitsuna Houjou—a desire for total control over Japan, a nod to the first Houjou’s regency of the shogunate. Now, the Fuma seek to control the Houjou name to control Japan. 


What Is The Significance Of The Yellow Flower?

In House of Ninjas, the significance of the yellow flower extends beyond its toxic properties, serving as a symbolic emblem for the Fuma clan. Interestingly, this flower bears a resemblance to the symbol of their home province of Odawara. The flower contains a neurotoxic agent that is extremely lethal to humans. It is first seen by Haru Tawara and Ito Karen when they witness Sawabe commit a murder to obtain the flower. Gaku’s return to his family reveals his forced involvement in harvesting the flower, revealing its toxic properties. The Fuma have been processing the flower into a potent powder, often using it as a cruel initiation ritual for new recruits. Despite its lethal nature and lack of a known antidote, certain individuals exhibit immunity to its effects, a trait considered necessary by the Fuma as criteria for membership. It is speculated that the Houjou family, like the Fuma, may possess this immunity. The Fuma clan intends to weaponize the toxin for their Eclipse plan, with the aim of genocide. 


What Is The Eclipse Plan About?

Before his death, Tsujioka Yosuke revealed to Haru that the Eclipse plan had another meaning. Initially perceived as a terrorist act targeting the public during the solar eclipse, its actual intent runs much deeper. But why choose the term “eclipse”? I believe the answer lies within Japanese culture and language itself. In Shinto tradition, the sun is revered as a deity, Amaterasu Omikami, symbolizing its utmost importance in Japanese culture. Even the Japanese flag prominently features the sun. Regarding the term “eclipse,” the plan is not referred to as “Eclipse” in the conventional Latin sense; it is actually called Nisshoku (日食). The Kanji characters 日 (sun) and 食 (to eat), when combined, literally translate to “eating the sun.” In this context, the “sun” represents the representatives of modern Japan, the politicians. This is why the Fuma intend to eliminate government officials during the gathering before the presidential election, aiming to install Fuma operatives as the new authorities.

At the gathering, Fuma operatives, including Gaku and Ayame, secretly infiltrate the event with a sinister agenda: to spike the drinks with the deadly powder extracted from the yellow flower. As the toxin takes effect, everyone present falls victim, succumbing to its effects—everyone, that is, except Mukai Toko, who most likely has an immunity to the toxin, because of her Houjou Lineage.

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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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