|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2015)|
Hamato Yoshi mutating into Splinter in the opening credits of the 1987 cartoon.
|First appearance||Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
|Created by||Kevin Eastman
|Notable aliases||Splinter (1987/2012 series only)|
|Abilities||Skilled master of Ninjutsu
Excellent physical abilities
Experienced in hand-to-hand combat and numerous martial arts and karate
Hamato Yoshi is a central character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and all related media. In all continuities, he was once a great and honourable ninja whose story is always closely intertwined with that of Splinter: he was the owner of a pet rat who becomes Splinter in the original comics, films, The Next Mutation, and the 2003 cartoon series, while Splinter was Hamato Yoshi in the 1987 cartoon series, the Adventures comics, the 2011 IDW comic series, and the 2012 cartoon series.
In the original comic book version (TMNT vol. 1 issue 1 (May 1984), Hamato Yoshi was the greatest shadow warrior of the Foot Clan in Japan. He owned a rat named Splinter, who copied his movements as he practiced ninjutsu. He was romantically involved with a woman named Tang Shen. However, their relationship attracted the jealousy of Oroku Nagi, who also loved Shen. When Nagi was rejected by her, he became enraged and violently beat her. Shortly after, Yoshi arrived and, in his fit of anger, murdered Nagi. He was dishonored for having killed another member of the Clan and forced to choose between suicide or exile to another country. He chose the latter, and left with Shen and Splinter to the United States. Years later, Nagi's brother Oroku Saki climbed the ranks of the Foot to become assigned the leader of its New York branch. He followed the two lovers to New York City and killed them both in vengeance of Nagi. However, the rat Splinter escaped to the sewers and mutated along with the Turtles. He then proceeded to teach ninjutsu to the Turtles as he himself had learned it from Yoshi, in order to have them avenge his owner's death.
In Tales of the TMNT #22, the turtles encounter a female ninja with a Shredder gauntlet on her arm; she vows to kill the turtles for crimes Hamato Yoshi committed against her family, but she is not a member of the Oroku family. This has the turtles wondering if Splinter was not telling them something.
In Turtles Forever, the original Mirage version of the Turtles mention that their "Master Yoshi" was killed by the Shredder which they one day will avenge.
1987 cartoon & TMNT Adventures
In the 1987 TMNT cartoon and the TMNT Adventures comics that followed, Hamato Yoshi and Splinter are the same character, and the romantic subplot was eliminated. In the Japanese dub of the 1987 series, his name is "Takeshi Yoshihama" (吉浜武士 Yoshihama Takeshi).
Hamato Yoshi was once the Shidoshi of the Foot Clan in Japan. One of his students Oroku Saki framed him for attempted murder of a visiting master sensei, and had him exiled to New York, where Yoshi was forced to live in the sewers in shame, and befriended the rats. Years later, when Saki moved to New York himself, he dumped mutagen into the sewers to kill Yoshi. Instead, the mutagen caused Yoshi and his four pet turtles to mutate. Yoshi himself mutated into a humanoid rat, as the last animal he was in contact with before he stepped into the mutagen were rats, even though he picked up the turtles just after he touched the mutagen (he tried to clean the mutagen off of them right before they mutated into their humanoid forms). Yoshi took on the nickname "Splinter" as given to him by the turtles themselves because he could break wooden boards into splinters. He then proceeded to teach ninjutsu to the Turtles, to teach them self-defense because those who are different are feared by many.
In the Season 2 episode "Splinter No More", Donatello finds a remedy to the mutagen effect and uses it to turn Splinter back into Hamato Yoshi. He thus returns to the surface and the streets, but finds it difficult to re-adapt into normal everyday human life. As the effects of the remedy soon wear off, Hamato Yoshi turns back into Splinter and returns to the Turtles with few regrets about leaving his human life behind.
Yoshi's story, as explained in the first of the four TMNT movies, mirrors that of the comics, although Oroku Nagi is completely removed from the story, and Yoshi's conflict is with Oroku Saki himself. Yoshi and Saki are portrayed as rival members of the same clan who constantly competed against each other, with their competition for Tang Shen's affections being particularly fierce. Instead of fleeing from the murder of a clan member, Tang Shen persuades Yoshi to flee to America to avoid fighting Saki (presumably to the death) for her hand in marriage. Saki vowed vengeance and spent years searching for them. Saki eventually finds and kills Yoshi and his wife in their New York apartment, leaving Yoshi's pet rat Splinter homeless. The actor who played him was uncredited.
In the third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, the turtles save a child named Yoshi from a burning building in 17th century Japan, Michelangelo getting him out of the building and Leonardo subsequently performing CPR. This Yoshi's relationship with Hamato Yoshi is never fully explained, but based on the past incarnation of another character that the turtles meet on this adventure (a possible British ancestor of Casey Jones, Whit) a direct relationship between this boy and Hamato Yoshi seems implied. If this is indeed the case, then by saving the boy's life, the turtles had also saved their own future, as their origin is inexorably tied to the fate of Hamato Yoshi.
In the 2014 reboot, Hamato Yoshi does not appear anywhere in the turtle's new origin story. However Splinter remarks to April that he does not remember a time before living in Sack's laboratory. This implies there may be a wider story in the origin of the turtles and Splinter.
In the 2003 cartoon, Hamato Yoshi's background was once again thoroughly revised. He was no longer a former member of the Foot Clan. His new origins are described in the season 4 episode "A Tale of Master Yoshi".
Hamato Yoshi was an orphan, who, along with his best friend Yukio Mashimi, begged in the streets of 1960s Japan. When Yoshi returned a 5-yen coin dropped by the Ancient One, he took the two of them in for his honesty, and raised them both as his sons, training them in the art of Ninjutsu. The two boys grew up together in the same house, and learning the same arts. Unfortunately, they both also loved the same girl, Tang Shen, another orphan the Ancient One had taken in. Tang Shen loved Yoshi more. During this time, Tang Shen spared a rat that had sneaked into the house, and took it as a pet. One night, Yoshi, Shen, and Mashimi observed a lone man being attacked by four ninja. The two young men decided to help him, and fought off the ninja. The man they saved was none other than the Utrom Mortu, and the ninja were members of the Foot Clan. Impressed by their skill, and having been partially exposed when his robotic arm was sliced off in the battle, Mortu gave Yoshi and Mashimi the offer to become Guardians, which they both accepted over the objections of their master.
As a Guardian, Yoshi was promoted time and again, but Mashimi never seemed to advance. Mashimi grew jealous as Yoshi surpassed him in every way, and in his anger, he murdered Tang Shen and betrayed the Utroms to Ch'rell. Yoshi and the Utroms escaped. When Yoshi discovered what had happened he went into a rage, stormed the Foot's citadel and slew Mashimi in single combat. With their Tokyo headquarters compromised, the Utroms relocated to New York, under the name of TCRI. Yoshi went with them, taking along Tang Shen's pet rat, which he named Splinter, to remind himself of what he had done and what he had failed to do..
The Shredder eventually tracked Yoshi down, and tried to force him to reveal the location of the Utroms. Yoshi resisted, and was killed for his defiance. Splinter escaped and fled to the sewers, where he mutated along with the Turtles. He then proceeded to teach ninjutsu to the Turtles as he himself had learned it from Yoshi. In the "lost season" of the series, it is learned that Yoshi and the Ancient One had tried, in vain, to get the Ninja Tribunal's help in the fight against the Utrom Shredder. They refused as he was not the 'true' Shredder even though the Utrom Shredder was growing in power. Due to their refusal to help, Splinter partly blamed the Ninja Tribunal for Yoshi's death.
Yoshi, a former Battle Nexus champion, is seen in flashbacks of the history of the Battle Nexus. A statue of him is in the hall of champions of the Nexus, and next to him are statues of Splinter and Michelangelo, who won the following two tournaments. Before the Utroms departed Earth, they gave Splinter an orb that contained a hologram of Yoshi. That orb was destroyed by the Utrom Shredder's adoptive daughter, Karai, when she attacked the Turtles' lair in the episode "Scion of the Shredder".
In the "lost" season five's final episode "Enter the Dragons Part II", a spirit of Hamato Yoshi appears, summoned by the combined power of the Turtles' dragon avatars, and defeats the Tengu Shredder. After delivering the final blow against the Tengu Shredder, he exchanges a brief greeting with Splinter before he disappears.
Splinter is/was known as a wise sensei, a protective parent, a loving father, a stern disciplinarian, a quirky master, and a Zen philosopher. He was born Hamato Yoshi in Japan and was part of the Hamato clan until the destruction of his family - including his wife, Tang Shen and presumably his daughter, Hamato Miwa (later found), and his clan at the hands of Oraku Saki, later to be known as the Shredder. After arriving in New York in exile, he buys 4 turtles and while on his way, he is exposed to mutagen which changes him into a rat. In "'Tale Of The Yokai'" , Oraku Saki (the Shredder) accidentally injures and kills Tang Shen while trying to kill Hamato and thentakes away Miwa, much to Hamato Yoshi's despair and devastation as Hamato believes that he lost all his family. The turtles save Hamato Yoshi from his death and go back to the Present. In "Showdown" it is revealed that Karai is Hamato Yoshi's biological daughter. In "The Wrath Of Tiger Claw", Hamato Yoshi gives the same photo that Karai has of her mother ang Shen only to discover that Oruko Saki is a traitor and not her real father. In 'Vengeance Is Mine, Hamato Yoshi's daughter was mutated into a mutant snake, much to Hamato Yoshi's despair. In "The Invasion", Hamato Yoshi battles the Shredder, but loses and is left to drown until Karai saves him. In "Vision Quest" Hamato Yoshi's spirit (which was detached from the body) guides the turtles to face the spirits of the forest. In "Return To New York", April, Casey and the turtles return to see that Hamato Yoshi lost his sanity (which April then heals). In "The Deadly Venom", Karai is brainwashed by Shredder's brain-worm as Hamato Yoshi teaches Leonardo "The Healing Hands." In "The Fourfold Trap" Hamato Yoshi uses "The Healing Hands" to get rid of the worm that was possessing Karai. Unfortunately, much to Hamato Yoshi's despair, Karai fell and was flushed away into the sewers. Hamato Yoshi's healing hands worked because Karai was able to free herself from the brain washing worm.
In the episode "Annihilation Earth", the Triceratons, another species of aliens that are antagonistic to the Krang, threaten to destroy earth. Hamato Yoshi decides to seek help from Shredder while April informs him that if the Triceratons win, they will never find Karai again. Despite everyone trying to save Earth, everything fails. As Hamato Yoshi attempts to terminate the countdown of the Black Hole, Shredder kills him and the Turtles, April, and Casey are seen mourning. As Hamato Yoshi falls and closes his eyes, the black hole activates and sucks absolutely everyone in except for the turtles, April and Casey, who are managed to be rescued by Professor Honeycutt.
Professor Honeycutt (the Fugitoid), The Turtles, April and Casey fly off in a space-ship
Hamato Yoshi is (for now) presumed deceased . His future remains unknown.
- "‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’: A gen-X tale retold, reinterpreted". The Jakarta Post. 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
- "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: "Tale of the Yokai" Review - IGN". Uk.ign.com. 2015-08-09. Retrieved 2015-10-18.