The Makiri, later known as Matou, a lineage that dates back over 500 years ago, were chased out of their homeland in Russia. They eventually took refuge in Japan, where they changed their name to Matou. Around 200 years ago, the Makiri entered into decline and their offspring started to lose their capacity to manifest Magic Circuits. Although they covered up with the excuse that they were incompatible with the spiritual land of Fuyuki, the true reason behind this sudden fall of their bloodline was never explained.
Their fall finally culminated in their last heir, Shinji Matou, having no Magic Circuits at all; Shinji’s paternal uncle Kariya Matou had been the last known member of the family to be naturally born with Magic Circuits, but had expressed such disgust towards the family’s practices that he left the family before learning any of the Matou’s Magecraft. With the practice of passing down their Thaumaturgical Crest among the family members being ceased since generations before, everything that is now left of their mystic heritage is simply knowledge in the form of books of Magecraft. Their only choice to continue with their line would be to take in pupils from other families, but because of their history of being overly prideful nobody would willingly go to them. That in mind, Zouken went to the Tohsaka while recalling the past pact of friendship between the two families. As a result, Sakura was adopted into the Matou.
The Magecraft of the Matou works around the concept of “absorbing” or, from another perspective, “to bind something to one’s self”. Their method of teaching of Thaumaturgy is not by letting the mind absorb the knowledge through study, but by literally carving it into the body through the use of Crest Worms. Despite the torture-like aspects of the process, it seems to be remarkably efficient.
Among their accomplishments include the establishment of the Servant system of the Heaven’s Feel and created the Command Spells for the Masters. They possess a considerable amount of monetary resources, which were accumulated during the time that they researched Thaumaturgy.