While the Hohei are officially a clan within Kusagakure no Sato, the truth of the matter is they see themselves as more a standing army comprised of a large amount of families. Due to this the Hohei have several peculiarities that other clans do not commonly have. The first of these oddities is that the Hohei clan members rarely ever make use of the name Hohei. Rather they all tend to keep the family names they originally held and only use the name Hohei to refer to themselves as a group they belong to rather than as their family.
Secondly, unlike most clans where a majority of them are civilians and a smaller percentage act as armed forces, the opposite is the truth for the Hohei. Roughly eighty percent of the clan are what the Daimyo and the heads of the Hohei would call soldiers. While a very large portion of them do not have shinobi training, all clan members are taught how to wield the most common weapons and trained on how to conduct themselves on the battlefield. While some of those being taught ultimately fail, the majority are at least capable of learning the basics of fighting with a sword or spear.
Unlike all the kekkai genkai, hijutsu or even some narashi clans; the Hohei hold no qualms when it comes to taking in outsiders. Where most clans at least require you to marry a clan member to enter into the clan, the Hohei are willing to take in any family so long as they agree to live by their rules such as undergoing combat training. Unsurprisingly, many families since the creation of the Hohei have taken the clan up on this offer. By the eagerness of families immigrating from the countryside wanting to ensure their family was protected in their new home, these families have also helped make the Hohei the largest clan in the entirety of Kusagakure with their members accounting for three out of every twenty-five citizens.
Perhaps the most unique and for some people, most unsettling thing about the Hohei is that they see their true allegiance as belonging to the Daimyo rather that Kusagakure. While the clan only wishes the best for Kusagakure and they do see the village as their home; if the village were declare war against the Daimyo then the Hohei as a whole would take up arms against those they called neighbor previously.
This deep admiration for the Daimyo also shows itself within the Hohei's ranks in a smaller, but in a somewhat terrifying way. When the Hohei hear of an individual who blatantly insults the Daimyo that person will find themselves shunned by the Hohei. While this would not ordinarily be an issue, given that the Hohei make up such a large percentage of the population this can make that person's life extremely difficult. Often the most painful repercussion from this punishment is that Hohei owned or affiliated shops will refuse service to that individual.
As their name suggests, the Hohei did not begin from a particular family like most clans; rather their origins are as a standing army, specifically the army of Nohara no Kuni's Daimyo. For hundreds of years the large ashigaru army of Nohara no Kuni defended the Daimyo's territory, protecting it from the ashigaru of other Daimyo as well as aggressive shinobi within the country's borders.
It is said that one of the reasons Nohara no Kuni was so slow to adopt the shinobi village system was due to the faith that the Daimyo placed with his ashigaru. As valiant and tenacious as his soldiers were however, they eventually could not stand up to the shinobi as they once had. As more and more shinobi began to be trained the ashigaru found themselves losing more and more men as the way of the sword and spear failed to stand up against the ways of ninjutsu. While the ashigaru would always manage to overwhelm shinobi with their numbers, they found themselves losing dozens of men even against weaker shinobi.
So, the Daimyo did what was required and decided to found a shinobi village of his own. Rather than simply throw away his ashigaru however or relegate them to make work as most Daimyo did; the Lord of Nohara no Kuni set the mandate in the village's creation that his ashigaru would be given the status of a clan within the village and any and all members that wished would be permitted to undergo shinobi training at the village's proposed academy.
While some of the clans found the demand to be a rather sour tasting one, the majority of the clans who had been part of the founding agreed to it. And so it was that day that the Daimyo's personal army was officially disbanded and the Hohei clan came into existence. Included in that clan were the families of all the ashigaru who had served the Daimyo.
From that day onward the Hohei worked hard to help build their fledling village, investing all the manpower and money they could into its construction. While they might not have given as much money as some of the other clans, they without a doubt can be attributed with the majority of physical labor in the village's construction.
The Hohei's efforts did not wane with the village's first stage of construction completed. After the majority of construction was done the Hohei moved into a renewed assault towards making the village flourish. They began to slow process of setting up trade routes from the village, using the connections and relationships they had developed with many merchants over the numerous years of guarding their caravans to fast track the village into becoming one of the main hubs of trade in Nohara no Kuni. Granted this outcome did not stem solely from their effort, but to say that they did not have a significant hand in it would be a lie.
As the village became a living, breathing entity; the Hohei found themselves able to focus on other matters. While their members had been training in the shinobi arts over the years of working to build up the village; their numbers had been somewhat stagnant. To overcome this the Hohei did something that very few clans in the world did; they opened the clan to any family that wished to be part of it.
While few joined initially, as more and more families came from the countryside to live in the newly blooming flower that was Kusagakure the Hohei's numbers began to dramatically climb. These families coming to an unfamiliar place found protection and a helping hand from the Hohei. The clan did its best to help new arrivals get on their feet. They often would aid in the construction of homes or businesses and most importantly ensured that these families were not taken advantage of or bullied by some of the less kindly clans or citizens within Kusagakure.
This reputation while not allowing the Hohei to become the most powerful clan in Kusagakure, has managed to make them the numerically largest clan within the village. More importantly it has also made the Hohei one of the most respected clans within the village even though only a handful of their members ever managed to rise to positions of power or influence.
As previously mentioned, while the Hohei are recognized as a "clan" in Kusa they still carry themselves largely like a military organization would. Due to this the hierarchy of the Hohei also resembles that of a more traditional military. At its core it has three sections it divides its members into, but these divisions hold sub-ranks of their own. While these ranks do not correlate to the ranks given by the village, those of the clan honor the ranks and treat them as if they were as important as the ranks of the village, at least among their own.
- A military is only as potent as its commanders can make it. While there are not an over abundance of Hohei that would fall within this category; it is not their numbers that make them a force to be reckoned with, but their own personal power.
- Technically the commander of the Hohei, his positions as the "head of the clan" is a largely symbolic one. While the Hohei will obey whatever his orders may be, the Daimyo is often too busy to be concerned by the daily duties of running the clan and lacks personal experience when it comes to warfare. As such the decision making of the Hohei is largely left up to the Shikken and the Naidaijin.
- The right hand of the Daimyo when it comes to keeping order within the Hohei clan, the Shikken is tasked with overseeing all matters related to recruiting, training and disciplining the Hohei clan members within Kusagakure no Sato. Lastly, the Shikken will act a middle man between the Hohei clan and Kusagakure in all military matters concerning the clan.
Naidaijin [Inner Minister]
- Where the Shikken is the Daimyo's right hand, the Naidaijin is his left. While the Shikken and the Naidaijin are seen as equal to one another in terms of standing and authority, it is the Naidaijin who could be said to be the actual clan head, as they are the one who handles the majority of the Hohei's affairs. They often act as the spokesman of the clan to the general public, will entertain foreign guests on behalf of the Hohei or if that guest's standing is not so high as to warrant the Kusa Lady's attention; may receive them on behalf of the village. Last, but not least he acts as an adviser to the Daimyo on all civil matters and corresponds with him regularly.
Taikun [Supreme Commander]
- To most of those outside of the clan, the Taikun is a rank that doesn't exist with the individual holding it simply being referred to as "boss" by those of the soldier class or those within the Shōtai. Publicly they are seen as little more than the leader of the Daimyo's platoon which in turn is seen as no more than his bodyguards for when he visits Kusagakure no Sato. While it is true that the Taikun commands the Shōtai and is in charge of all matters surrounding the Daimyo's protection, that is not their only responsibility. Those within the clan also understand that they also command the Metsuke who act as the eyes and ears of the Daimyo within Kusagakure and most importantly if unknown to most, they act as the invisible knife leveled at both the Shikken and Naidaijin's throats in the event they decide their power is greater than that of the Daimyo who graciously gave it to them.
Daimyo's Shōtai [Lord's Platoon]
- The Shōtai are comprised of the most elite and promising shinobi from among the Hohei's numbers. While they rarely number more than fifty men all of those within the Shōtai have achieved at least the rank of Sp. Jounin or Jounin within Kusagakure's forces. These men while publically acting as the Daimyo's bodyguards on the occasions he visits Kusagakure have a far more important role. Specifically they act as the Taikun's blade should he decide that either the Shikken or Naidaijin have overstepped their appointments.
- Like the Shōtai these men are under the command of the Taikun as well as only number roughly fifty men at any time. Unlike the Shōtai they are not particularly great fighters with many of them officially falling into the Ashigaru or Kiremono castes. While they are all at least moderately proficient with standard weapons their role is not combat, but rather to keep an ear open in the markets, parks and any other area they can gain entrance to. While they'll happily collect any information that seems useful their primary purpose is to keep an ear out for discontent towards the Daimyo and report it to the Taikun. The greatest strength of the Metsuke is that no one knows who they are save for the Taikun.
- The Gashira are simply put, the more seasoned warriors within the Hohei. Whatever Chuunin or rarely Jounin who are for some reason not chosen to be part of the Shōtai are generally titled as Gashira and expected to keep an eye on the Ashigaru and Betana below them. This is primarily to help ensure the Ashigaru and Betana get into less trouble, but also helps to teach the Gashira to be better leaders.
Ashigaru [Foot Soldier]
- Any Hohei clan member who has graduated Kusagakure's shinobi academy are considered part of the Ashigaru class. This is the second most numerous group within the entirety of the Hohei hierarchy and is filled solely with genin level Hohei members.
- The Betana are essentially the newest generation of the Hohei. They are those who are either attending the shinobi academy or if they have failed to show any potential as a shinobi, those who are undergoing more standardized weapon training. Upon being deemed trained they are moved into the Ashigaru or the Hoshuha groups. If those in the academy or those training in the mundane arts of defense fail for any reason, they are assigned to the Kiremono group for the remainder of their lives.
Hoshuha [Old Guard] ==== - While the Old Guard definitely has a great deal of elderly within it, it is not solely for retired Hohei shinobi. The Betana who are considered to have passed the mundane weapons training will also be placed within this group and allowed to live a rather normal life. The only difference between the Hoshuha and the Kiremono is the amount of respect Hoshuha are given and that should the Daimyo ever call for them, they are expected to pick up arms and act as an auxilary force. This is by far the largest group within the Hohei clan.
- By and large the Kiremono are looked upon with both regret and disgust by the majority of the Hohei. They are seen as those who are able bodied, but too weak willed to even so much as hold a spear in their hand. While they are allowed to remain within the clan and receive some benefits from being part of them, they are not exactly treated with kindness either.
- The final grouping of Hohei clan members. The Mijukuna consists of those too young to being training with the Betana or who were rendered incapable due to accident or birth defects. Unlike the Kiremono, the Mijukuna receive no ire for their inability to fight.
The Hohei clan do not wield any kekkai genkai or hijutsu, they do not even have any common techniques that their members specialize in or a summoning contract that could be called the clan's. What they do have though are weapons and hands to wield them. . . lots and lots of hands to wield them.
As stated before a large portion of Kusagakure's population is comprised of families who have for one reason or another affiliated themselves with the Hohei and are now counted among its members. Representing a whopping twelve percent of Kusagakure's population, the Hohei account for roughly fifteen thousand individuals. While only a tenth of the clan's members are part of the Kusagakure shinobi forces, the majority of them have been trained in the basics of sword and spear.
Additionally it could be said that due to their massive amount of members, that what the Hohei specialize in is people. By and large whatever a person might find themselves needing, it is likely that the Hohei have it. Whether that be a skilled doctor, a master carpenter or a shinobi specializing in a particular field of jutsu.