Goemon Ishikawa XIII

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Goemon Ishikawa XIII
Lupin III character
Goemon drawn by Monkey Punch
First appearanceLupin III chapter 28: "Appearance of Goemon"
Created byMonkey Punch
Voiced bySee Voice actors
Portrayed byGō Ayano (2014)
AliasSamurai (Toho/Frontier dub of The Mystery of Mamo, TMS subtitled print of The Castle of Cagliostro, Cliff Hanger)
RelativesGoemon Ishikawa (ancestor)

Goemon Ishikawa XIII (Japanese: 十三代目 石川 五ェ門, Hepburn: Jūsan-daime Ishikawa Goemon) is a fictional character created by Monkey Punch for his manga series Lupin III, which debuted in Weekly Manga Action on August 10, 1967. Goemon is a thirteenth generation descendant of the renegade samurai Ishikawa Goemon. He is famous for a reticent personality coupled by apparent unlimited skill in martial arts and swordsmanship with his sword Ryusei (流星, Ryūsei), known in the anime as Zantetsuken (斬鉄剣). A partner with Arsène Lupin III and Daisuke Jigen, he tends to join their exploits only on a when-interested basis.


Goemon is unique to the series as he was the only character not there from the beginning. Monkey Punch, in an interview featured on the American Dead or Alive DVD release, mentioned he added Goemon later as he felt the manga needed a more Japanese character. As such, Goemon was primarily based on the character Kyūzō, the master swordsman of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 film Seven Samurai. From the role came Goemon's strict demeanor and fast draw blade, as well as the long-faced countenance of actor Seiji Miyaguchi.


In the original manga, Goemon first appears as a very dangerous enemy of Lupin in chapter 28 "Appearance of Goemon" (五右ェ門登場, Goemon Tōjō). Lupin attempts to steal Goemon's master's alchemic formula for impervious sword blades through infiltration of Goemon's clan, but his cover is blown by Fujiko Mine, who is Goemon's girlfriend at the time. Goemon tries to kill Lupin over the next several installments, making attempts ranging from hiring assassins as skilled as Daisuke Jigen himself, to entering the service of three martial arts masters, to planting bombs in Lupin's belongings. However, he later decides that he could learn more working for Lupin than against him, and rather abruptly switches his allegiance. His position at Lupin's side is cemented when Lupin ruins the government's case against the man who killed Goemon's uncle, allowing Goemon to take his revenge as brutally and publicly as he wants without having to break into prison to do so.

By the events of the second manga series, Lupin trusts Goemon implicitly, and Goemon reciprocates. When a rival of Lupin's captures and hideously tortures Goemon, Goemon refuses to even respond to his interrogation, except to say that Lupin would find him and allow him to take revenge. Lupin then captures and seduces his rival's wife, and uses the information gleaned thereof to release Goemon, who slays his captor with Jigen's help.

In the original anime Goemon's relationship to Lupin starts off more professional than close friendship. By the second anime series, Goemon has developed a true loyalty to Lupin. However, he easily gets annoyed by Lupin's antics, especially Lupin's infatuation with women and Fujiko Mine in particular. He will occasionally oppose Lupin directly when Lupin's jobs or actions do not agree with his morals. He has even promised that the last act he will take with Lupin is delivering his deathblow. However, Goemon doesn't hesitate to help Lupin in serious situations, and readily assists him any time Lupin works for a just cause. However, in 1978's The Mystery of Mamo, he claims that he helps Lupin simply so he can keep his vow to kill him himself.

Goemon has a much more amicable relationship with Jigen. Goemon sees Jigen as a fellow honorable warrior, while Jigen sees Goemon as a trustworthy "foxhole buddy", and the two are frequently paired together during jobs, and usually help keep Lupin in check. On the odd occasion and increasingly in recent years, Goemon will ally himself with Fujiko, in spite of his distrust of her.


A master of a number of classic Japanese martial arts, Goemon excels at Kenjutsu and Battōjutsu. Using his trademark Zantetsuken sword, he has the ability to cut through virtually any substance, even steel girders, automobiles, and multi-storied buildings. His training includes Jujutsu, Aikido and Karate, enabling barehanded vanquishing of several attackers at once with minimal effort.

Goemon has an extreme sense of pride in his abilities, and when he cannot accomplish a task, feels shame and remorse afterward. Breaking Zantetsuken, as he did in a battle with Flinch in The Mystery of Mamo, is a common cause of shame. He will also show chagrin when he succumbs to his weaknesses, as when a woman ran off with his sword in 1998's Memories of the Flame: Tokyo Crisis. On many of these occasions, Goemon will leave to meditate or further train to rid himself of his weak points.

Goemon shows allegiance to Japanese culture as strictly as his traveling and unique lifestyle can allow. He dresses in a hakama and fundoshi, and prefers wearing his hair long and somewhat unevenly cut. He only eats Japanese cuisine, willing to fast rather than settle for any Western options. He is a firm believer in Buddhism and Shinto. Although he may toast with champagne, his drink of choice is sake. He occasionally has been seen smoking a kiseru and usually wears a Sugegasa style hat.

While Goemon is traditionally fearless in battle, he shows a boyish shyness when confronted by attractive women. His reaction to viewing a woman in scanty clothing is adverting his gaze and blushing...this embarrassment typically is performed even when in the company of women he has romantic interest for, such as Murasaki Suminawa, his fiance in The Plot of the Ninja Clan.

Goemon's most often seen pastime is meditation. Even under threat or when locked up, he is typically seated on the floor in a state of mental seclusion so deep he cannot be budged from his position. Other activities Goemon favors include fishing, attending noh theater, and participating in martial arts competitions.

Although typically a person of mellow aloofness, Goemon has been seen exploding with frustration, as well as admiring beautiful women and (very rarely) screaming in fright. Such out of character moments are usually treated as humorous takes. If Goemon has a true weakness, it is that he's a sucker for women, even more than Lupin. He readily trusts any woman who seems superficially trustworthy or innocent, often landing him in much trouble. At the same time, he fears sultry women will distract him from his training, and tends to blush or flee when any woman puts him in a less than modest situation.

Goemon also is very bad with money as well as falling for any scam that states will show the path of enlightenment, and constantly charges Lupin for his services in some fashion. In $1 Money Wars he gives it to the female leader of a cult, who promptly runs off with it.

Commonly thought to be just a samurai, an episode of the second TV series ("Goemon's Revenge") has Goemon visiting his Iga ninja sensei. This episode depicts him as having had the training of a master ninja, perhaps giving some reason behind his willingness to find thievery as an acceptable practice, in spite of his samurai ways.

Voice actors[edit]

Goemon Ishikawa was first voiced by Gorō Naya in the CinemaScope version of the 1969 pilot film for the first anime, while Osamu Kobayashi voiced him in the pilot's TV version.[2] However, Chikao Ōtsuka was given the role when the first anime was actually produced (1971–72).[3] Goemon was taken over by Makio Inoue for the second anime (1977–78), who continued to voice the character until 2010, with one exception. Due to budget concerns, TMS decided not to employ the regular voice cast for the 1987 original video animation The Fuma Conspiracy,[4] with Goemon voiced by Kaneto Shiozawa. The 2011 TV special Blood Seal - Eternal Mermaid marked the first appearance of Daisuke Namikawa as the character and he continues to voice Goemon Ishikawa to this day.[5] Inoue did return to the role once more for the 2012 Lupin Family Lineup short original video animation.[6]

William Ross voiced Goemon in the 1979 Toho English dub of The Mystery of Mamo, where his name was changed to "Samurai". Ross founded Frontier Enterprises, the studio that produced this dub under his direction.[7] Other voice actors include Steve Kramer (1992-3, Streamline), Mark Franklin (1995, AnimEigo). Ardwight Chamberlain (1995, Streamline), Garrick Hagon (1996, Manga UK), and Michael Gregory (2000, Animaze/Manga). Mike McFarland voiced the character for Funimation Entertainment's dubs of several TV specials and theatrical films between 2002 and 2005, and their 2013 dub of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine.[8] Lex Lang voiced Goemon in the Phuuz dub for Pioneer/Geneon's release of the second anime between 2003 and 2006, and reprised the role for Discotek Media's dubs of the fifth and sixth anime.[9]

Live Film Actor[edit]

The 2012 film Lupin the Third featured TV and Film star Gō Ayano as the first live-action Goemon. Originally it was arranged to present the filmed Goemon in contemporary suit and tie with Director Ryûhei Kitamura expressing "it would be nonsense for Goemon to exist in current society wearing samurai garb and carrying around a katana." Apparently due to the demand of fans world over, this idea was scrapped and the completed film features Gō Ayano as a swordsman wearing robes similar to his drawn and animated counterparts.


In 2007, Oricon magazine polled readers on which characters they would most like to see in their own series.[10] Goemon appeared in the number eight position on the female readers polls, and seventh place in the combined poll.


  1. ^ "Lupin World ルパン三世NETWORK" (in Japanese). Lupin the Third Network. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
  2. ^ Reed Nelson. Lupin the 3rd The Complete First TV Series (Disc 4) (DVD). Discotek Media.
  3. ^ Reed Nelson. Lupin the 3rd The Complete First TV Series (Disc 1) (DVD). Discotek Media.
  4. ^ "So, Which Lupin the Third Anime Should You Watch Next?". Otaku USA. Sovereign Media. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  5. ^ "Lupin III's Voice Cast Changed for 1st Time in 16 Years". Anime News Network. October 8, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  6. ^ "Lupin III Master File BD/DVD to Include New Anime Short". Anime News Network. January 19, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  7. ^ A History of Mamo in English. The Mystery of Mamo. Discotek Media. 2012.
  8. ^ "Funimation Reveals Dub Casts for Fujiko Mine, Eureka 7 AO, Michiko & Hatchin Anime". Anime News Network. May 16, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  9. ^ "Discotek Licenses Lupin III: Part IV for 2017 Release With English Dub". Anime News Network. November 1, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  10. ^ "Oricon: Fans Want L, Char Aznable Spinoffs". Anime News Network. 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2007-07-01.

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