Midnight Steel / 黒夜鋼
Founded by: Kawai Yusukake
Founded in: The Late Sengoku Period / 戦国時代
Current Hombu location: Most likely the Nagoya/Gifu area. 名古屋/岐阜県
Midnight steel had it’s genesis during the troubled Sengoku Jidai, a time of constant war and uprising.
It is thought that initially, based on records and letters from the famous Samurai Kato Kiyomasa in which he writes:
I am troubled deeply by the desertion of my once closest friend Kawai Yusukake. He was not only a valued friend but a fierce Samurai, and his apparent obsession with the dark arts has driven me to an unpleasant conclusion, simply put, he must die.
This illustrates that in fact, Kawai Yusukake was originally a Samurai himself who simply “went Rogue” with the intention of learning more about the arts of espionage and assassination.
It is not clear when, but likely during the Sakoku period between 1600- the 19th century, a time of relative peace saw less combat needed from both the Samurai and the Ninja. It is a widely held thought in scholarly circles that this period of relative calm was when the upper echelon members of Midnight Steel, on commands from their jōnin (highest ranking ninja in the clan) began the slow task of infusing Japanese witchcraft (found by making deals with Yamanba 樱井 and studying with the Shinto Shamans) with their already highly deadly ninjutsu arts, warring systems and espionage skills.
It should be noted now that this type of supernatural practice inevitably lead to a consistently increasing desire for more power in the dark arts. It should also be noted that these abilities that were developed, although sometimes simliar, are actually vastly different than the traditional powers of other ninja clans. Members of Midnight Steel do not employ the Kuji, or nine seals when activating their super natural abilities but instead follow the practices of the Yamanba while calling on dark forces to dispense energy for them to use.
During the Edo period it is clear the a conscious decision was made my the clan to disappear from view and operate only from the deepest Shadows. This time period saw a further development both in the witchcraft and magic of the clan due to members being sent abroad to Europe and the Middle east to apprentice under Wizards and shamans abroad, but also a slow yet dramatic rise in the clans financial holdings.
Thefts of grand artifacts and treasure were a consistent theme of the period. The clan then used this vast wealth and invested in various industries such as Shipping and the import of foreign goods as well as investing heavily in land via various false credentials and third parties.