I did some spring cleaning this weekend with my little daughter, and we came across a box with old Magic stuff. Among those, I found the booklets from Kamigawa block fatpacks. After asking Jay, I am sharing them here.
I have scanned all flavor-related pages, omitting the game stuff, card galleries and "top tens". Enjoy!
These are great lore bits -- Kamigawa is truly one of Magic's most developed, lore-rich worlds, and the player's guides add so much to what can be known about the plane. I really appreciate the background for Azusa, Godo, Oyobi, Maga, and Urami here; all characters who went otherwise unseen in the novels or online vignettes. Kamigawa is just too rich in legends to have a story for every single one, but that only adds to the richness of the plane.
I see just a couple interesting conflicts here with other canonical sources, however:
1.) The player's guides give Mochi (the Kami of the Crescent Moon) too much responsibility for the Kami War, even going so far as to suggest he'd influenced Konda. This directly contradicts the novels, where Konda alone is the mastermind behind the War, and Mochi merely tagged along. We even get a scene from Mochi's POV in the Saviors novel, where Mochi reflects on Konda starting the War, as well as his own motivations:
His (Mochi's) agents in Eiganjo had told him of Konda's plan to raid the spirit world as soon as the daimyo consulted them about it. Instead of seeing this as an outrageous blasphemy like any decent kami, Mochi saw only opportunity.... Konda was intending to disrupt the natural order of things, the balance between the physical and spiritual. Such an act would have dangerous, unpredictable repercussions, and so Mochi decided that he would not only allow it, but facilitate it.
In the twenty years of strife since Konda made his raid, Mochi had time to reflect on the wisdom of his actions and their true motivations. His introspection revealed three important things: One, he did not know what to expect as a result of Konda's crime, but he was sure he could capitalize on it for his own benefit; two, if Konda succeeded it meant the oldest and most sacred laws could be broken by someone with enough will and power, which he could capitalize on for his own benefit in the long-term; and three, it was a waste of time second-guessing his own genius because he made good decisions even when he didn't have all the facts.
When the kami attacks started, Mochi knew that Konda's reign would not survive. The daimyo had done a remarkable job uniting the different people's behind him, but once he was gone they would undoubtedly fall back into petty skirmishing and tribal warfare. Mochi knew the soratami would be largely unaffected, safe in their cloud cities, but he also thought the soratami destiny was to be more than elite survivors. They were exalted beings who worshipped him, after all. If anyone was fit to rule Kamigawa, it was the moonfolk.
If he had conceived of the plan on his own beforehand, Mochi might have tried to bring Konda down or perhaps even challenge him on the field of battle... Once Konda had decided his course, however, it became unnecessary to take action in order to topple him--he had doomed himself by his rash act. It might take decades, even centuries, but eventually the spirit world would come to claim what the Daimyo had stolen. When it did, Mochi intended for the soratami to rise in Konda's place as the dominant culture in Kamigawa.
(Guardian: Saviors of Kamigawa, pp. 156-8)
Of course, when Mochi's forces actually meet Konda's army a few chapters later, Konda realized the attempt at betrayal and utterly annihilates them. Mochi was always a smarmy little d***** who talked a bigger game than he could really deliver. The player's guide gives him too much credit.
(A side note: The soratami were still amazing bastards though. Tamiyo presents a kinder, more peaceful face of the moonfolk for newer generations of Magic players, but originally in the Kamigawa block they were an elitist, power-hungry, genocidal culture through and through. The above passage took place while Mochi watched the moonfolk razing Jukai Forest and exterminating the orochi snake-folk. That's the soratami I remember).
2.)The other clear discrepancy is the design and location of Shinka. The books describe Shinka not as a keep high in the mountains, but as an ogre hut in the lower slopes of the mountains - a relatively humble lodge that covers a larger, subterranean lair. Though the novels are typically considered the primary canon, in this case, however, I feel we can give preference to the player's guide version, since that interpretation comes not only from the player's guide, but from the cards as well--card art, card names, and card flavor texts. If we want to reconcile both versions, we can perhaps assume that the original Shinka Keep in the mountains was destroyed/dismantled and restructured/relocated by the time the novels occur, since the books cover only the 20th and final year of the Kami War.