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|By manzai||See other fanon and fan fiction works from manzai.|
|"The Civil War began because Genzai was a weak Firelord. He left issues on tariffs and trade routes unresolved for decades, creating unrest and division among the populous."|
|— Sozin, reciting information for a history lesson|
Genzai was the Fire Lord prior to and the second Fire Lord prior to Sozin. Though he had a few notable accomplishments his rule was largely uneventful. Near the end of his reign as Fire Lord misguided economic policies had caused his popularity to decline sharply, culminating in the immediately following his death. Genzai is often blamed for, if not causing the civil war, at least failing to prevent it. Consequently, Genzai is generally seen as incompetent and ineffectual in his role as Fire Lord. However, some historians assert that this reputation is somewhat unfair, even if Genzai was not a hero of the calibur of his descendant Zuko.
Genzai was born in 97 BG and came to power as Fire Lord in 68 BG. Early in his reign, Genzai commissioned several public works projects. Most notably a large dam on the Fire Nation's second-largest river to aid in irrigation. It was initially successful. During Azulon's reign, however, the river changed course, rendering the dam useless and adding to Genzai's legacy of perceived ineffectuality.
Avatar Roku was identified during Genzai's reign, but otherwise very few notable events occurred during his tenure. His daughterwas born in 56 BG, soon followed by a son, Kai Hin, in 51 BG.
It is generally believed that over time Genzai was either emotionally ground down by the responsibilities of his office or possibly even succumbed to senility, but toward the end of his reign he began to neglect his routine duties. A lengthy drought in the Earth Kingdom created demand shocks for certain exported foodstuffs from the Fire Nation. The already wealthy eastern portion of the Fire Nation became even richer because Genzai failed to adjust his tariff policy, breeding dissent in the west. This went on for several years, but the aging Genzai did not address it. When Genzai named his firstborn Izuma as his successor, the power-hungry Kai Hin attempted to influence his father to choose him as successor. Though Kai Hin's intentnions were obvious, Genzai attempted to placate him by increasing the size of Kai Hin's personal duchy. It only served to whet Kai Hin's appetite for power.
Genzai died of a stroke soon after, in 21 BG. Izuma succeeded him, knowing that she was walking into a political minefield. Kai Hin's plans were already laid, and within days of Izuma's ascention to the throne he lead the western provinces in open rebellion against his sister lending much-needed legitimacy to their rebellion.
Little can be surmised about Genzai's personal life. By some accounts, even some deriving from Fire Lord herself, Genzai's personality matched his historical reputation. He was weak-willed and indecisive, and rather absent-minded, if good-natured. He often attempted to placate all parties when faced with a conflict, but usually ended up disappointing them.
However, others have asserted that this assessment was generally not true of Genzai, citing the enthusiasm with which he assumed his position as Fire Lord, or the difficult task of the public works projects he commissioned.
Genzai kept intricate toys and gadgets around the palace, which ran on clockwork or the then-experimental steam power, and was said to be fascinated and amused by their workings.
Genzai was known to be a firebender, though nothing can be discered about his level of skill. He underwent the standard military training all Fire Nation royals were subject to, and was probably a capable enough warrior in his youth. It is said he favored the jian, or straightsword.
Behind the Scenes
Genzai is transliterated as xian zai, meaning "present" or "current". This is also the Japanese translation of the word.
The name Genzai was chosen simply because it was phonetically similar to the names of other Fire Nation royals. Coincidentally, however, some Japanese translations give the word's meaning as "original sin," which is very appropriate since the entire cycle of war and violence which cuminated in The War began, in the continuity, with Genzai.
Unknown Fire Lord
|Fire Lord (Enemies and Traitors continuity)|
68 BG - 21 BG
| Succeeded by|
For the collective works of the author, go here.