The Kengan matches (拳願仕合, kengan shiai) are a system implemented over 300 years before the events of Kengan Ashura that enables large corporations, organisations and businesses to settle conflicts and business deals by sending fighters to determine the victor in organised fights.
In Shotoku Year 5 (1715), in the darker recesses of the nation of Japan, there were bloody conflicts between the merchants as they all desired the status of Shogunate Purveyor (the highest rank among all merchant purveyors). With the merchants willing to go to any lengths to achieve the status, the increasingly violent conflicts spiralled out of the merchants' control until the intervention of 7th Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Tokugawa Ietsugu. Summoning the merchants at the heart of the quarrel, Ietsugu told them to settle their conflicts by "battling it out fair and square".
Upon the Shogun's command, the merchants formed a guild and, whenever a dispute arose, they would establish a venue of competition through the guild with the results of the competition being indisputable. Conflicts were settled in a simple 1-on-1 fist fight between combatants hired by opposing merchants. As such, merchants entrusted their desires to the fists of fighters.
The first official Kengan match was not between merchants, but was actually to decide who would become the next Shogun after Tokugawa Ietsugu's early death. The two branch families, the Owari Fief and the Kii Fief, put forward their fighters and the Kii Fief came out victorious, with their fighter being none other than the Lord of Kii Fief, Tokugawa Yoshimune, himself.
There are 1205 registered fighters in the Kengan matches with fighters having an average of 8½ matches a year. Because of how frequent and brutal the fights are, fighters retiring early or even dying are by no means rare. However, they are promised decent compensation in return.
After Nogi Hideki became the new Chairman, following the most recent Kengan Annihilation Tournament, Yamashita Trading Co. forsook its Kengan Association membership and became a referral agency for the Kengan Association instead. Whereas in the past, most corporations would hire their fighters directly, now they hire fighters on one-time or short-term contracts through Yamashita Trading Co. As a result, corporations are no longer allowed to hire new fighters directly and only freelance fighters registered with Yamashita Trading Co. can be hired.
Yoshitake Real Estate
|Construction rights to new Makunouchi Building||Tokita Ohma is victorious (5 minutes 17 seconds, K.O.)|
Nogi Group wins the wager
|Koyama Mart, Inc.|
|The "Rose" painting by Western artist van Cough (market value: ¥5 billion)||Tokita Ohma is victorious (2 minutes 11 seconds, Forfeit)|
Nogi Group wins the wager
|Gandai's endorsement in Nogi Group's proposal of a contest for the Kengan Association chairman's seat||Tokita Ohma is victorious|
Nogi Group wins the wager
|Nishihonji Security Services|
|Unknown||Imai Cosmo is victorious|
Nishihonji Security Services wins the wager
Taniishi Confectionery Inc.
|Value of the match is over ¥50,000,000||Gaoh Ryuki is victorious|
General Foodstuffs wins the wager
Cent Real Estate
|The plot to Shiodome||Gaoh Ryuki is victorious|
Japan TV wins the wager
|Unknown||Tokuno'o Tokumichi is victorious|
There are a set of rules that keep the order of the Kengan matches including, but not limited to:
- Any conflicts between corporations outside of official Kengan matches are strictly forbidden.
- Use of weapons by fighters is considered cheating and results in a disqualification.
When Nogi Hideki assumed office as the new Chairman, he enforced a new rule regarding affiliated fighter safety:
- Any corporation that causes a fighter to die will be banned from the Kengan matches for up to a year.
- If the corporation sends in a fighter with overtly heavy injuries and that fighter dies, the corporation who sent in the injured fighter will be held responsible.
- If the fighter kills the opponent after the ref has called the match or the opposing corporation has surrendered, the corporation who hired the murdering fighter will be held responsible.
- In the case of "ring death", neither corporation is held responsible.
The Kengan Association (拳願会, Kengankai) is made up of the managers of the Kengan matches. They all represent prestigious businesses and it is customary for members of the association to stand witness to the match results. There are currently 418 members in the Kengan Association with the current and 59th chairman of the Kengan Association being Nogi Hideki of the Nogi Group.
- Main article: Kengan Association members
To 'legally' become part of the Kengan Association, a person needs wealth and social standing in addition to the recognition of the Kengan Association. However, there are those who use the Kengan Association's authority to conduct unofficial matches with "membership" at stake, doing it for the money paid as the "challenger's fee". Despite the matches being unofficial, the referees are dispatched from the Kengan Association and the results of the match are absolute. The "challenger's fee" is ¥100 million.
Kengan Annihilation Tournament
- Main article: Kengan Annihilation Tournament
When at least 50 members of the Kengan Association endorse it, a contest for the Kengan Association chairman's seat becomes eligible. In recent times, Nogi Hideki of the Nogi Group, gathered the required amount of endorsements, eliciting the chairman of the Kengan Association at the time, Katahara Metsudo, to create a Kengan Annihilation Tournament, an influential event that decided who became the next Kengan Association chairman.
Notes & Trivia
- In the early days of the Kengan matches, the Kengan Association had a rule that members were only allowed one fighter in their employ.
|Martial Arts||Koei Style • Niko Style • Possessing Spirit • Raishin Style|
|Kengan||Bodyguards (Extermination Force) • Guardians • Kengan Annihilation Tournament • Kengan Association members • Kengan matches • Referees|
|The Public Sphere||Rokushin Kaikan • Rokushin Kaikan Tournament|
|The Underworld||Heavenly Wolves • Kengan Association VS Purgatory Tournament • Kure Clan • Mikazuchi Clan • Underground Martial Arts Industry (Kengan matches • Purgatory)|
|The Inside||The Black Messengers • The Inside|