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The Yamani Islands (pronounced yah-MAH-nee Islands) is an archipelago that is located to the northwest of Tortall and west of Scanra in the Emerald Ocean. They are ruled by an Emperor and have very strict ettiquette, particularly regarding the showing of emotions. Their palace women were taught to fight, but only to defend themselves, as Keladry of Mindelan learned when she lived there for 6 years of her childhood. The women of the Islands use the naginata, which is a Glaive in Common (the language Tortall uses), and have fans (shukusen) that look harmless but are really deathly as the fans are made of steel. It is also a game in which girls would toss the fan and catch it by its handle. The ladies also wear kimono. The Yamani are also known to wear their hair in topknots[1].

The land of the island is mountainous, which makes it particularly vulnerable to bandits. They are also often attacked by sea from Scanra and Jindazhen.[2]

Known Yamani include Princess Shinkokami, Lady Haname, Prince Eitaro, and Lady Yukimi. Also mentioned in "Page" is Princess Chisakami, the original princess engaged to Roald, only to die in an earthquake.

The Yamani Empire's greatest treasures are the swords of law and duty. At some point in 447 H.E., Scanran pirates had attempted to steal the swords. After a Yamani lady-in-waiting protecting the swords was killed, Ilane and Keladry of Mindelan protected the swords until Yamani guardsmen had arrived. This helped to clear the way for peace treaties between Tortall and Yamani.

Culture

One particularly notable characteristic of the Yamani culture relates to their expression of emotions. Similar to Japanese culture, it is socially expected that Yamanis not allow their facial expressions to reveal their emotions. For Keladry, who picked up this skill while living in the Islands as a child, hiding her emotions was an asset when she faced harassment as a page.

Architecture

It was mentioned in First Test that fires on the Yamani Islands were especially hazardous due to the interior design, that typically featured paper walls dividing the rooms, and straw mats for floor coverings.

Trivia

Tamora Pierce based the Yamani culture on the culture of ancient Japan. So far Tamora Pierce has no plans to write a story set in the Yamani Islands themselves, but she also has said that this might still change[3].

Notes and references

  1. Terrier, May 7, 246 (p. 399; Random House paperback)
  2. Page, Cp 8
  3. Random Buzz; "Random Tortall Questions..."; April 22, 2009

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