List of Rurouni Kenshin characters

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The image shows several of the main characters of Rurouni Kenshin, the faction of Shishio Makoto, and the Kyoto Oniwabanshū - Kenshin has the large picture on the top. The main characters and Kyoto Oniwabanshū characters on the top row include, from left to right, Shiro, Okon, Hiko, Kaoru, Saitō, and Sanosuke. The bottom row has Kuro, Omasu, Okina, Misao, Yahiko and Aoshi. Of the Juppongatana, Shishio has the large picture. The top row has, from left to right, Hōji, Yumi, Usui, Chō, Fuji, and Iwanbō. The bottom row has, from left to right, Sōjirō, Kamatari, Anji, Henya, and Elder Saizuchi.

The manga series Rurouni Kenshin features a large cast of fictional characters created by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Set in Japan during the Meiji period, several of the characters are real life people who interact with the fictional characters.

The story follows a pacifist wanderer named Himura Kenshin, who was previously an assassin known as "Hitokiri Battōsai" working for the Isshin Shishi during the Bakumatsu period. After helping Kamiya Kaoru, the instructor of a kendo school in Tokyo, in defeating a criminal he is invited by her to stay at her dojo. During his stay in Tokyo, Kenshin befriends new people including Myōjin Yahiko, a young child descendant from a samurai family who starts training under Kaoru, Sagara Sanosuke, a former Sekihō who enjoys fighting, and Takani Megumi, a doctor involved with the illegal drug trade. He also encounters old and new enemies whose ambitions cause Kenshin to return to fighting, this time to protect the innocent.


Himura Kenshin[edit]

Himura Kenshin (緋村 剣心), known as Kenshin Himura in the English-language anime dubs,[1] is the protagonist. Kenshin is a former legendary assassin known as "Hitokiri Battōsai" (人斬り抜刀斎)[note 1] (rendered as Battousai the Manslayer in the Media Blasters English anime dub,[1] as Battousai: The Slasher in the Sony English dub.[4] At the end of the Bakumatsu, he becomes a wandering samurai, now wielding a sakabatō, a katana that has the cutting edge on the inwardly curved side of the sword, thus being nearly incapable of killing. Kenshin wanders the countryside of Japan offering protection and aid to those in need, as atonement for the murders he once committed as an assassin. In Tokyo, he meets a young woman named Kamiya Kaoru, who invites him to live in her dojo despite learning about Kenshin's past. Throughout the series, Kenshin begins to establish lifelong relationships with many people, including ex-enemies, while dealing with his fair share of foes, new and old.

Kamiya Kaoru[edit]

Kamiya Kaoru (神谷 薫) is the instructor of a kendo school in Tokyo called Kamiya Kasshin-ryū. All of its students leave when a large number of people are killed by someone claiming to be Hitokiri Battōsai and a practitioner of Kamiya Kasshin-ryū, damaging her school's reputation. Kaoru is saved from this murderous impostor by the real Battōsai, Himura Kenshin, now a pacifist wanderer. Kaoru invites Kenshin to stay at her dojo as she notes that he is a gentle person instead of a hitokiri. As the series continues, Kaoru develops strong romantic feelings for Kenshin, who is constantly haunted by his past deeds and believes he does not deserve happiness.

Sagara Sanosuke[edit]

Sagara Sanosuke (相楽 左之助) is a former member of the Sekihō Army. When the group was destroyed by the Meiji Government, he became a fighter-for-hire to calm his anger by fighting. During his introduction in the series, he encounters the wanderer Himura Kenshin, who easily defeats him and is able to convince him to stop his mercenary work and instead start protecting people. After that encounter, Sanosuke becomes Kenshin's best friend as well as his partner in most of their fights.

Takani Megumi[edit]

Takani Megumi (高荷 恵) came from a famous family of physicians from the Aizu region, now Fukushima Prefecture.[5] She became the assistant to a Tokyo physician who had created a deadly new form of opium, and when the doctor was murdered she was forced to make the new opium for corrupt industrialist Kanryu Takeda. With Kenshin and Sanosuke's support and encouragement, she becomes a doctor to atone for her past misdeeds. She has a wicked sense of humor and enjoys flirting with Kenshin to make Kaoru jealous (both Kaoru and Sanosuke refer to her as a "vixen" and in the manga vixen ears appear whenever she indulges in her sense of humor), but helps Kaoru come to terms with her feelings towards Kenshin. She is loyal to her friends and is always there to patch them up, especially Sanosuke, whom she often cautions about fighting. When the Rurouni Kenshin series was first aired in Japan, Megumi's character was played by Japanese voice actress, Mika Doi. The English version of the series had Mari Devon voicing the character. Rebeca Robinson also voiced Megumi for the DVD release of Samurai X: Reflection (Rurouni Kenshin: Seisōhen). She was also portrayed by Yu Aoi.

Nobuhiro Watsuki, while creating Megumi as a "mature woman," had no specific character model in mind. Watsuki's describes his standalone Megumi as bearing a "lighter quality" as she had a small role in that story. In the final series Watsuki decided to give her an "earthy quality" so she could make an impression on the reader. By the time of the publication of Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4, Watsuki felt some disappointment in the result of the character since he did not feel that he portrayed her in the intended manner. Watsuki's drawing design used the grandmother from Takeshi Obata's Cyborg Jii-chan G as the model for Megumi. Initially, Watsuki had intended to introduce her as a minor character as the only other woman who Kaoru interacts with. Watsuki wished to express a "redemption for crimes" theme by using Megumi's determination.[6]

Myōjin Yahiko[edit]

Myōjin Yahiko (明神 弥彦) is an orphan from a samurai family who was forced to work as a thief to repay the debt he had presumably owed, as his parents died before they could repay it. When he is rescued by Himura Kenshin, he decides that he will grow up to be just like Kenshin. But because of his strong beliefs, Kenshin will not teach the sword style he had learned. Therefore, Kenshin arranges for Yahiko to be trained by Kamiya Kaoru, the teacher of the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū. As the series progresses, Yahiko becomes skilled at swordsmanship and faces many opponents.

Shinomori Aoshi[edit]

Shinomori Aoshi (四乃森 蒼紫) is the Okashira or leader of the Oniwabanshū, and a skilled swordsman who is highly respected by his comrades. His goal is to claim the title of "the strongest" for the pride of the Oniwabanshū. He raised Makimachi Misao, the granddaughter of the previous okashira under his protection as a member of the Oniwabanshū. Kenshin saved him from his madness after they deal with a battle. After the battle with Shishio Makoto, he spent his time meditating in temple to repent for his sins.

Makimachi Misao[edit]

Makimachi Misao (巻町 操) is a young kunoichi from Kyoto who was raised by the Oniwabanshū. She travels to Tokyo in search for Shinomori Aoshi whom she is in love with very much. She wishes to learn of what happened to Aoshi and his comrades and joins Kenshin on his way to Kyoto hoping to meet him again. When she learned on how Aoshi had become evil, she decided to be the "okashira" and tried to forget him but she can not. Kenshin promises her that he will bring Aoshi back to her again.

Saitō Hajime[edit]

Saitō Hajime (斎藤 一) based on the real-life person of the same name, was the leader of the 3rd Squad of the Shinsengumi during the Revolution. He has a long-standing rivalry with Kenshin and firmly believes in "Swift Death to Evil." He goes by the name of Fujita Gorō (藤田 五郎) and works as a Meiji police officer.


Hiruma Kihei and Gohei[edit]

In the manga 45-year-old Hiruma Kihei (比留間 喜兵衛, Hiruma Kihee) and 37-year-old Hiruma Gohei (比留間 伍兵衛, Hiruma Gohee), also known as the Hiruma Brothers (比留間 兄弟, Hiruma Kyōdai), scheme to take Kaoru's dojo. After Kaoru's father died, Kihei collapsed in front of the balay and Kaoru took him in; Kihei became a kind of a live-in apprentice and gained Kaoru's trust, but kept trying to persuade her to sell the dojo due to him not believing in women with swords. Gohei, a former samurai who becomes a murderer and falsely used the name "Hitokiri Battōsai" while Kihei did housework for Kaoru to gain her trust. They use the Kiheikan (鬼兵館), a former dojo in a neighboring town that became a gathering spot for gamblers and rogues, as their base of operations. When Kaoru begins to discover the truth, Kihei moves to seize the dojo and reveal himself and his brother as accomplices. When Kaoru struggles, they attempt to kill Kaoru, but Kenshin saves her life by defeating Gohei and scaring Kihei into unconsciousness. The brothers later ask Sanosuke to fight Kenshin and promise to pay him. Kenshin defeats Sanosuke; when Kihei tries to use his gun to attack Kenshin, Kenshin stops the bullet dead on the crossguard of his sakabatō. When the brothers try to attack Kaoru and Yahiko, Sanosuke defeats Gohei and Kenshin injures Kihei into submission. Later in the series, they are employed as bodyguards by Fudōsawa, a yakuza in Sanosuke's hometown, and then by Tani, Fudōsawa's uncle. Sanosuke beats them up on both occasions.

In the anime, Gohei is the only brother appearing and is more intelligent than his manga counterpart. He is a former student at the Kamiya dojo, but when Gohei insisted using swords for killing and then unsuccessfully attacked the master of the dojo, Kaoru's father, he received a broken thumb and an expulsion. In the story Gohei tries to take over the Kamiya dojo, but Kenshin prevents him from doing so. Gohei hires Sanosuke to defeat Kenshin, but this fails. Later, he hires the Kisaki brothers to defeat Kenshin. Though they almost succeed, Yahiko returns Kenshin's Sakabatō, the brothers are defeated, and Yahiko sends Gohei limping away after kicking him in the genitals.

Watsuki described the creation of the brothers as a "direct function of the story." Watsuki wanted "interesting villains to start things off with a bang." He wanted one as "brainy" and one as "wild." He decided that the story involving the two coming together was taking "too many" pages, so he made the duo as brothers instead of being "circumstantially related." He used a manager and director of Takeshi Obata's Chikarabito Densetsu (ja) (力人伝説 -鬼を継ぐもの-; "Legends of the Strong") as a model for Kihei. Watsuki used a character he found in a magazine that he thought "Ooh, impact!" for Gohei. Watsuki states that, unlike the faces of Kenshin and other characters, the faces of Kihei and Gohei are of basic shapes. In Watsuki's view, drawing the Hiruma brothers was "easy" as a result; Watsuki says that he drew the brothers in two minutes. He says that he became fonder of the brothers as his deadlines approached.[7]

Udō Jin-e[edit]

Voiced by: Akio Ōtsuka (Japanese); Dave Mallow (English)

Portrayed by: Koji Kikkawa

Udō Jin-e (鵜堂 刃衛, Udō Jin'e) (in Western order, Jinei Udoh), also known as "Kurogasa" (黒笠, "Black Hat"), was a hitokiri during the Bakumatsu, and there is evidence he continued killing people well after the end of the Meiji Restoration. A master of the Nikaidō Heihō technique (the forced character "Hei" is formed with the kanji for one, two, and eight[8]), attacked high-ranking Imperialist officials of the Meiji government (leading some to believe he fought for the Tokugawa shogunate during the war, since he did state that he was a member of the Shinsengumi, though his thirst for blood led him to killing members of his own squad), killing anyone who stood in his way. He appears as a man dressed in a long scarf, straw hat, and long kimono, and has a unique isukumi (paralyzing terror) technique to project chi toward people, hypnotizing them with his eyes (known as the Shin no Ippō or "One Side of the Soul"). It can also be used to strengthen himself. Jin-e became obsessed with defeating Himura Kenshin when he stopped from assassinating Tani Jūsanrō, a government official, kidnapping Kaoru Kamiya to force Kenshin to fight him as a Hitokiri Battōsai. Though he assumed his old mindset, Kenshin regains himself when Kaoru calls out.[9] Though spared Jin-e stabs himself in the heart so the police would not discover the fact that Shibumi employed him.

In the movie's storyline, Jin-e is the principal antagonist who uses the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū style for horrific acts. Having acquired Kenshin's old katana in the aftermath of the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, Jin-e found employment under the corrupt, power-hungry business man, Takeda Kanryū. While sent to assassinate Takani Megumi, Jin-e crosses paths with Kenshin and recognizes him. As Kenshin and Sanosuke deal with Kanryū, Jin-e captures Kaoru and paralyzes her lungs to force Kenshin into the duel that ultimately led to his suicide.

Watsuki intended for the motif of Jin-e to be Okada Izō, the top hitokiri of the Bakumatsu. Watsuki felt that the design looks less like his counterpart than Kenshin looks like his counterpart. Jin-e's outfit originates from that of Serizawa Kamo, the main character from a Shinsengumi comic released around 14–15 years before the release of Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2 in Japan. Jin-e's laugh, the "uhu-hu-hu," is from the character Ukon in the series "Kenka-ya Ukon (ja)." (喧嘩屋右近; "Fight Merchant Ukon"). Watsuki says that he designed Jin-e, a satsujin-ki ("murderous ogre"), to be the "polar opposite of Kenshin." Watsuki describes Jin-e as a "complicated fellow" who is "crazy-crazy" and not merely "crazy-acting." Watsuki struggled with the concepts for ending the Jin-e storyline before committing to the "tearful" suicide ending. Watsuki summarizes Jin-e as, in a sense, the only character to defeat Kenshin even though he did not defeat the Battōsai.[10]

The third volume of the drama CDs adapted the stories with Jin-e. In Volume 5 of the manga Watsuki stated that for Jin-e he wanted a voice actor with a "mature and cool voice" and therefore he did not want an actor who had a "high voice."[11]

Takeda Kanryū[edit]

Voiced by: Nobuo Tobita (Japanese); John Snyder (English)

Portrayed by: Teruyuki Kagawa

A cunning money-minded industrialist, Takeda Kanryū (武田 観柳) starts an opium dealing business in Tokyo and forces Takani Megumi to create a stronger and fast-working recipe called "Spider's Web" in a scheme to gain a foothold in the arms market by purchasing modern Western weapons. Kanryū hired his own private army with Shinomori Aoshi and his Oniwabanshū followers as his enforcers, Jin-e taking on the ninja group's position in the movie. Managing to capture Megumi, Kanryū finds himself over his head when Kenshin arrives to his manor and resorts to use a Gatling gun, which kills Aoishi's followers in the manga and anime versions. After his weapon is unable to fire, having run out of bullets and attempts to get Megumi arrested in the manga or the feeding ramp is jammed by a dart before being knocked unconscious, Kanryū is taken into police custody soon after.

Watsuki modeled Takeda Kanryū after Takeda Kanryūsai, the captain of the Shinsengumi's Fifth Unit. Watsuki says that there is no model in terms of design; he describes Takeda Kanryū as a "carryover" of Nishiwaki, a character in the second standalone Rurouni Kenshin story. Kanryū wears white since Watsuki felt that "between Kenshin and Aoshi, there was too much black already." Watsuki felt that, since he put so much emphasis on Megumi and the Oniwabanshū, Kanryū never "became the character" Watsuki intended, which for Watsuki "was a bit of a letdown." The historical Takeda Kanryūsai was known as a homosexual; Watsuki considered making Kanryū a homosexual, but dropped the idea as Watsuki felt it would "unnecessarily complicate things."[12]

Isurugi Raijūta[edit]

Isurugi Raijūta (left) and Tsukayama Yutarō (right)

Voiced by: Ryūnosuke Ōbayashi (Japanese); Richard Epcar (English)

Isurugi Raijūta (石動 雷十太) is a samurai dissatisfied with the current state of swordsmanship in Japan and plans to revive the old style of swordsmanship (satsujin-ken, "swords that bring death" or "murderous sword technique") with the Shinko-ryū (真古流, "Old School Style") by traveling around Japan and shutting down shinai dojos by force, gathering the strongest swordsmen he has met along the way. His Shinko-ryū is not a formal sword school but a league of swordsmen. He uses the Tsukayama family's money to fund his campaign. In the anime he aspires to form a "kingdom" of Japanese swordsmen with a rebel group of samurai, starting at the Tsukayama home in Izu Province by using his apprentice's admiration of the swordsman to his own advantage.

Although his signature technique, the vacuum-wave Izuna, severs the nerves in Yutarō's right arm, it only manages to scratch Kenshin's. In the manga, Kenshin figures out that despite all his talk of the killing sword, Raijūta has never killed anyone himself and is in fact a total fraud. Kenshin later defeats him. Shortly after, Raijūta picks up Yahiko and threatens to kill him. Yahiko tells Raijūta to kill him, and when Raijūta is finally confronted with the choice of killing Yahiko, he cannot because Kenshin explains what the killing sword truly entails; Raijūta's confidence breaks down and he can no longer wield a sword again. In the anime, Raijūta was depicted as a true murderer, as he ruthlessly killed the thugs he hired for conning his way into Yutarō's fortune, and after his defeat, he was simply arrested.

Raijūta was originally based on a character in an American comic book. As the story progressed, Watsuki said that Raijūta's appearance and personality "deteriorated." Watsuki intended for Raijūta to be "intelligently macho and a believer of satsujin-ken." Instead Raijūta became "a total fake" who became "a smaller and smaller man" as the story progressed, until he was "defeated by a single blow—ending almost as a villain." Watsuki wondered how Raijūta "sunk so low." Watsuki concluded that designing and developing Raijūta taught him "quite a bit." Watsuki wanted to give Raijūta "peace" in future stories, but added "then again...this guy—! Sigh." Watsuki experienced difficulty in trying to manage "the complicated details" of the Oniwabanshū story arc, so he gave Raijūta a relatively simple design. Watsuki used one design flourish and black feathers. Watsuki then experienced difficulty in drawing the feathers. Watsuki concluded that the development of Raijūta taught him about character design and that he feels enjoyment in drawing "macho" characters.[13]

Akamatsu Arundo[edit]

Akamatsu Arundo (赤末 有人) is a mercenary of Shibumi, a corrupt politician. Arundo feels jealous that Shibumi orders Saitō Hajime to kill Kenshin, but Saitō tells Arundo that Arundo could kill Kenshin. Arundo ambushes Kenshin and tries to use a chain to immobilize Kenshin. Kenshin ultimately defeats Arundo. Arundo discovers that Saitō is actually allied with Ōkubo Toshimichi. When Arundo, fearing for his safety, decides to cut ties with Shibumi and go out of the country, Saitō appears and decapitates Arundo with a strike from his sword.

Watsuki stated "this character's only here to get beat up." As Arundo appears to aid story development, Watsuki made Arundo arrogant (Watsuki's favorite personality trait for villains) and added no other personality traits. Watsuki believes that he was unable to make Arundo's chain-scythe to appear like real chains. His design originates from a superhuman soldier in an American comic book who has a name similar to Arundo's,[14] that being X-Men's Russian supervillain Omega Red (赤 aka relating to "red", and 末 matsu corresponding to "end", equivalent to "Omega", which is the last letter of the Greek alphabet - also related to the Christian concept of Alpha and Omega); Arundo's use of chains also parallels Omega Red's carbonadium tentacles.[15]


The Juppongatana (十本刀, lit. "Ten Swords") are a group of elite warriors and special attack force founded and commanded by Shishio Makoto for the purpose of leading his revolutionary army against the Meiji government. They are the primary antagonists group of the "Kyoto arc." Watsuki said that several of his assistants suggested ideas for the Juppongatana and that many of the characters grew out of those ideas.[16] In Watsuki's original concept, with the exception of Sōjirō none of the Juppongatana were intended to be "lookers." Watsuki added Kamatari and Fuji at a later point.[17] When Watsuki believed that one member of the Juppongatana, Saizuchi, had not been used to his full potential, in retrospect Watsuki wondered if having six or seven members of the organization would have been sufficient instead of ten.[18]

Shishio Makoto[edit]

Shishio Makoto is the leader of the Juppongatana and primary antagonist of the manga and anime's "Kyoto arc" and the Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends films. Like Kenshin, Shishio is a former assassin from the Revolution but has aspirations to conquer Japan by re-creating the chaos of the Revolution.

Komagata Yumi[edit]

Voiced by: Kanako Irie (Japanese); Wendee Lee (TV Series), Claire Hamilton (New Kyoto Arc) (English)

Komagata Yumi (駒形 由美) is an oiran, a courtesan in Yoshiwara, formerly an akasen. Because of that, she is beautiful, intelligent, dignified, well-cultured, and was brought up in a comfortable life. She was always interested in social issues and occurrences in Japan, and became reviled at the Japanese government's stance regarding prostitutes. She came to love Shishio Makoto with an utmost passion, which he returned. Thus, she joined Shishio's conspiracy to bring down the Meiji government. She is constantly concerned about Shishio's medical state.

Yumi dies trying to protect Shishio when his body becomes overheated in his fight with Kenshin. After she hurls herself in between Kenshin and Shishio and convinces the former to spare the latter, Shishio runs her through with his sword, mortally injuring her in the process and wounding Kenshin as well. Knowing that she has finally been of use to Shishio in his most important battle, she dies happy and released of her former frustration for not being able to fight next to him. She appears with Shishio and Hōji in hell.

Watsuki originally designed Yumi to be a "sexy" accessory for Shishio, as the Rurouni Kenshin author figured that a villain should have a "temptress" around him; Watsuki had not intended to develop Yumi into a character motivated by love. Watsuki had no particular personality model for Yumi. Yumi is a version of Ogin, a character played by the actress Kaoru Yumi in Mitokōmon Gaiden: Kagerō Ninpō-Chō, a spinoff series of Mitokōmon. Watsuki had no specific design model; he designed Yumi "on the spot" with the intention of her to "be sexy." Halfway through the development of Yumi throughout the story, Watsuki became a fan of Morrigan Aensland from Darkstalkers (Vampire Hunter) and as a result Watsuki began to expose more of Yumi's cleavage and shoulders, "eventually increasing the sexiness by about 120%."[19]

In the end Watsuki intended for Yumi to find happiness in following Shishio everywhere; Yumi's motivation for sacrificing herself is not receiving death, but being with Shishio. Watsuki said that the concept of Yumi going with Shishio to hell "struck" him. Watsuki reported that he received response letters for Yumi's sacrifice, including some praising the development and others criticizing it. Watsuki stated that some people who tried to cosplay as Yumi found difficulty in "keeping the top up."[19]

Watsuki stated that drawing Yumi taught him that he could have fun with drawing female characters not just by making them appear "cute," but also making them "seductive, or even evil." Watsuki added that, since Yumi had a "sexed-up body," botching "even one line" could make the character appear "downright indecent." Watsuki stated that Yumi taught him the importance of "skillful sketching."[19] Yumi will appear in the sequel to Rurouni Kenshin portrayed by Maryjun Takahashi.[20]

Abukuma Priests[edit]

The Abukuma Priests (阿武隈四入道, Abukuma Yonnyūdō, "Four Abukuma Priests") are followers of Shishio. When they see Shinomori Aoshi, they ask Aoshi to come with them to see Shishio. Aoshi refuses and the Abukuma priests attack Aoshi since they believe Aoshi had disrespected Shishio. Aoshi kills all four priests; Seta Sōjirō approaches Aoshi and tells him that Shishio created the setup to test Aoshi's strength.


Senkaku (尖角) is a minion of Shishio Makoto who oppresses Shingetsu Village. Senkaku killed Mishima Ei'ichirō and Ei'ichirō's parents after he discovered that Ei'ichirō was spying for the Meiji Government. He claims to have killed 99 people. Senkaku fights with a pair of knuckle blades and has high speed, contrary to his size. However, this proves to be his undoing, as Kenshin defeats Senkaku in a battle by using the gigantic size as a way to stress out Senkaku's limits, causing his leg to break. In the manga the police take Senkaku away, in which Saitō notes he would most likely be executed. In the anime he manages to escape and is killed by Seta Sōjirō.

Originally Senkaku was one of the Juppongatana and so Watsuki put a lot of effort into his creation. Since Shishio and Sōjirō were present and Kenshin needed to go to Kyoto, Watsuki decided to make Senkaku a "violent village despot." Originally Watsuki had Senkaku as an experimental character who could only say "Gaaaah" or "Guaaah" and not form any words. An editor commented that Senkaku "is not a wild animal" during a meeting, so Watsuki scrapped this idea. Senkaku had no model for his personality, and after the scrapping of the inarticulation trait Senkaku became "pretty much just muscle-head small fry." The origin of Senkaku's design stems from the design of the four Abukuma priests, a group of minor antagonists. Watsuki felt no attachment towards the priest characters, but he had some interest in discovering how well he could draw the different bald heads, and one of those was cone-shaped. He felt the cone-shape design was "a waste for an unimportant character," so he instead used that design for Senkaku, who to Watsuki turned out to be "unimportant" anyway. In retrospect Watsuki felt that he may have been influenced by the Coneheads, characters in a Sega Saturn commercial, and the Giant Soldier in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. When Watsuki wrote the creation profile of Senkaku in Volume 8 of Rurouni Kenshin, he still felt regret about the development of Senkaku; what he regretted most was how he was unable to use Senkaku's hissatsu-wata special technique "Piercing Head-Butt" in the storyline. In Watsuki's group of friends, Senkaku was referred to as "Sexy Dynamite," and Watsuki added that they said "especially in the groin area."[21]

Seta Sōjirō[edit]

Seta Sōjirō (瀬田 宗次郎) is a teenage boy who is Shishio's right-hand man. He is noted in the series for always smiling, and apparently displaying no emotions in battle. He met Shishio when he was a small boy. After his parents died in the war, he stayed with his abusive relatives that treated him as a slave. He witnessed Shishio killing police men, but instead of killing him, Shishio orders him to keep him in a safe house and to provide for him. Days pass and Sōjirō tended to him and explained his situation with his relatives. Shishio then explained his creed of survival of the fittest and gives him his sword. When Sōjirō is caught harboring Shishio in his family's rice silo, his older relatives try to kill him thinking that they can pin it on Shishio. In the end, Sōjirō kills his relatives and goes off with Shishio to become his protege.

Uonuma Usui[edit]

Voiced by: Shō Ryūzanji (Japanese); Jamieson Price (English)

Uonuma Usui (魚沼 宇水), the "Blind Sword" (盲剣, Mōken), used to be a swordsman working for the shogunate government. However, in a fight against Shishio Makoto, he was blinded and eventually left to die. He possesses the Shingan (心眼, mind's eye), which actually is superhuman hearing that lets him hear another's heartbeat thus enabling him to sense people around him and detect the emotions of others. This ability is so advanced that it appears to be similar to the sonar of a dolphin or bat. Usui and Shishio made a deal upon Usui joining the List of Rurouni Kenshin characters#Juppongatana: Usui could try to kill Shishio anytime he gets the chance. Saitō points out that deep down Usui knows he will not be able to kill Shishio and just boasts about killing him to hide that fact from everyone else. Since Usui cannot kill Shishio, he kills people weaker than himself to boost his ego. According to Chō, he is the second strongest of the Juppongatana.

Usui, a native of the Ryukyu Islands, fights using a short spear with a weighted end - the rochin - to attack, and a tortoise shell - the tinbei - as a shield to deflect attacks and block the enemy's vision. He dies during a fight with Saitō.

Usui originated from a chat Watsuki had with one of his assistants. The assistant proposed that Watsuki include a blind swordsman. Originally Watsuki was not interested in the idea, but after Watsuki and the assistant discussed "Shingan," the ability to read emotions of people by listening to their heartbeats and pulses, Watsuki decided to go forward with the idea. Watsuki originally planned to have Usui fight Kenshin while chasing him in the city in a similar manner to the Terminator; the plot went in a different direction, so instead Usui faced against and died at the hands of Saitō at Shishio's place. Watsuki said that he regretted creating Usui, like he regretted creating Raijūta, but Usui became more popular than Raijūta was, so Watsuki concluded "that must also mean" Usui is "stronger." The model for Usui's design is Taopaipai from Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama; Watsuki said that Taopaipai made "a strong impression" as he was the first villain to defeat Son Goku, the series' main character. Watsuki said that many readers incorrectly guessed that Lau Chan from Virtua Fighter was Usui's design model. Watsuki originally planned to give Usui a "tribal" outfit, but after Watsuki saw the "spider-like angel" in Neon Genesis Evangelion, he decided to give Usui an "eyeball-covered costume." Watsuki originally planned to make Usui a "handsome, long-haired type," but when he saw a sketch of the concept, Watsuki believed that it looked too much like Ukyo Tachibana from Samurai Shodown (Samurai Spirits), so Watsuki created the final Usui; the author of Rurouni Kenshin decided that while the final Usui originated from several sources, he believed "it came out pretty well."[16]

Yūkyūzan Anji[edit]

Voiced by: Yasuyoshi Hara (Japanese); Michael McConnohie (TV Series), Lowell Bartholomee (New Kyoto Arc) (English)

Yūkyūzan Anji (悠久山 安慈) is a warrior monk who fights alongside Shishio to destroy the Meiji government who did nothing to stop the anti-Buddhist purge which resulted in the destruction of his home and the deaths of the five orphaned children he cared for in his temple, who came from families who opposed the Meiji restoration and were wiped away during the war. Though he is a "fallen" monk he still maintains many of the Buddhist beliefs and now wishes to cleanse the world of those who are evil, driven by the goal of salvation, and is willing to side with evil to achieve this. Anji's title, "The Bright King" (Myō-ō) ("Anji the Destroyer" in the English dub),[22] comes from Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings, who shatters delusion and is a protector of the faith; Anji believes this to be his purpose.

Anji is the third strongest and most merciful of the Juppongatana and has made an agreement with Shishio that Anji shall decide whether someone lives or dies. He does not use a blade directly in combat, instead utilizing his skills in kenpo including Futae no Kiwami ("Double Layer Limit or "Mastery of Two Layers") to strike the blade into the ground to attack from a distance, or more usually directly with his fists. Upon meeting Sagara Sanosuke in a forest, he teaches him his secret technique, without realizing Sanosuke is allied with Kenshin. In Shishio's lair, Sanosuke battles Anji and overpowers him. Sanosuke convinces Anji that the life he has been living is not the one that the deceased children want for him like he believed. Anji stops in mid-attack and sees the spirits of children he used to take care of, sinking to his knees instead. After Shishio's death, he chooses to serve 25 years in prison in Hokkaidō.

Watsuki developed Anji before publication of Rurouni Kenshin; Anji appears as an extra in the "Rurouni" short story. Watsuki experienced difficulty in determining what Anji's backstory would be and whether Anji would be a protagonist or an antagonist, so he did not use Anji until the stories published in Volume 9. When Watsuki determined that Sanosuke needed to become more powerful, he introduced Anji as being a counterpart to Sanosuke's fighting style, so Watsuki would give Sanosuke a strong opponent and increase Sanosuke's power. Watsuki used no model for Anji's personality; Watsuki pictures Anji as being similar to Shinsengumi lieutenant Shimada Kai (JA) due to the "manly air." Watsuki said that Anji is his second attempt at "manly intelligence," as the first, Isurugi Raijūta, "failed." Anji's visual model originates from the lead vocalist of a band called "Angie", which had disbanded by the time of the publication of Volume 9 in Japan; the name "Anji" originates from "Angie." Watsuki believes that the band's bandannas on shaved heads and the black makeup under the eyes gave an impression suggesting intelligence and appeared "cool," therefore Anji received these traits. Watsuki intended to give Anji a "power-fighter" design but instead used a "macho" design.[23]

Watsuki reported that some people told him that Anji looks like Colossus in the "Fatal Attraction" story of X-Men. Watsuki said that this was not an influence in Anji's design, since Anji was created one year before the Japanese publication of Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13, and that he read the Japanese version of "Fatal Attraction" afterwards.[24] Watsuki reported that reader response to Anji's story was mostly positive. Watsuki planned to give Anji more of a backstory, but he had to cut it down so it would not interrupt the flow of the fighting; Watsuki originally planned to have Anji's heart momentarily stop due to the "Mastery of Three Layers." Watsuki's assessment is that if one reads into the story deeply enough, one can see that Anji's "rampage" to the dark side was stopped, but by the end of Volume 13, after his defeat at the hands of Sanosuke, Anji's soul had not yet been "saved."[25]

Sadojima Hōji[edit]

Voiced by: Hiroshi Takahashi (Japanese); David Mallow (English)

Sadojima Hōji (佐渡島 方治) is Shishio's second in command. He used to be an official in the Meiji government but lost faith in it when he saw no one in the government worthy of controlling the country. He abandoned his position in the government and eventually met Shishio. Hōji, too, envisions Japan as a mighty power led by Shishio, ruling with the principles of basic animal survival. Hōji is indeed unique; although he is not proficient in any fighting style, he is a cunning organizer and possesses formidable leadership qualities. His skills as a staff officer figure are quite amazing; he even manages to purchase Rengoku (煉獄, Purgatory[26])—the gigantic ship—on the black market. Hōji's plan with the Rengoku fails when Sanosuke blows up the Purgatory with bombs provided by his friend Katsu. Hōji was 'baptized' by Shishio's intense body heat to kindle in him a belief in hell.

Hōji strongly believes in Shishio's strength as he throws away a gun he had hidden after learning of Shishio's fifteen-minute limit. He is in utter disbelief when Shishio is finally defeated by Kenshin and then attempts to destroy the complex in which the fight took place in an attempt to kill Kenshin rather than accept Shishio's defeat. Saved by Anji and Sōjirō with the former convincing him to surrender himself to the police, Hōji intended to use the trial to project Shishio's ideals and plans. However, declared too dangerous to be granted a trial, Hōji commits suicide in his cell while using the blood from his throat to write a final message detailing his disgust with the regime: "This world is dead to me now. I go to follow my master to hell."[27] Ending up in Hell, Hōji is reunited with Shishio and vows to continue following him in his new quest to conquer Hell.

Watsuki stated that much of the overall concept for Hōji originates from a character from X-Men whose name sounds similar to Hōji's name (likely Forge); Watsuki said that the X-Men character gave him a "hint" for the story and that Hōji's personality does "not so much" originate from the X-Men character. The X-Men character did not directly fight but instead invents machines to help his team members, so Watsuki wanted a character who held a support role in the Juppongatana. At first Hōji was an individual who was often surprised, but Watsuki decided that was would "get awfully dull." Watsuki that when he decided to make Hōji Shishio's second in command, then the character concept "struck chords in my heart." Watsuki stated that Hōji's character design is "100% original" to him and that the design is one which Watsuki is the most confident in; Watsuki reported that several people believed that the design originated from Giant Robo. Watsuki added that the one aspect he did not like about Hōji is the costume; Watsuki wanted to make it more "European style authentic" to the time period, but he could not find sufficient resources to make the costume in this manner. Watsuki said that Hōji becomes "a pretty cool guy" at the end of the Shishio arc.[28]

Sawagejō Chō[edit]

Voiced by: Shinichi Fukumoto (Japanese); Derek Stephen Prince (TV Series), Clifford Chapin (New Kyoto Arc) (English)

Also known as "Sword Hunter" (刀狩), Sawagejō Chō (沢下条 張, IT) possesses quite a collection of rare and unusual swords, including; his favorite, a long flexible sword he keeps hidden around his waist named Hakujin no Tachi (薄刃乃太刀), and double bladed sword known as a Renbatō (連刃刀). He is only a mediocre opponent when not using the former (despite using a master sheathing technique), but he will still begin battles with regular swords, preferring to toy with his opponents. Only if they prove a true challenge will he reveal his full ability. A native of Osaka, Chō has a very calm and cool exterior, and normally keeps one eye closed when talking, and only opens both eyes when excited in the heat of battle. He speaks with a Kansai-ben accent.

His fighting style is determined by the sword he uses, but he mainly uses the style Garyuorochi. The first is Orochi (Eight-Headed Hydra), in which Chō bounces his sword, an Urumi type blade, the Hakujin no Tachi on the ground in waves. He uses "Reverse Mid-Air Sheathing" (Sakasa Kuchu Nōtō) on Arai Seikū's son Iori, threatening to kill Iori to intimidate Seikū and Azusa, Seikū's wife, into revealing the location of the final sword of Shakkū; Azusa reveals that the sword was placed in a temple as a godsword. Chō took Iori with him and threatened Iori's life. Kenshin fought Chō with the broken sakabatō; after Seikū gives Kenshin the sword, Kenshin defeats Chō. After Shishio Makoto's death, Chō pays Kenshin and his friends a visit to inform them of what happened to members of the Juppongatana after Shishio's demise, then he goes on to work under Saitō Hajime as a spy and informant.

Chō later appears in the anime when he tries to attack Amakusa but is soundly defeated. In the manga, he later appears in the Jinchū Arc to help uncover information about Enishi.

Watsuki used no particular model for his personality; Watsuki said that if he had to say one, it would be the stereotyped depictions of people from the Kansai region. Watsuki stressed that Chō is not intended to represent the people from the Kansai region. An assistant from Kansai checked Chō's accent. Watsuki then had the accent "broken down" so that everyone from Japan can understand it, so therefore Chō's Kansai accent differs from the actual accent. Watsuki said that he created Chō's design when he was 20 years old; originally the design was to be used for a space alien. While Watsuki did not use the alien aspect, for him the "horse-headed monkey-face" was "hard to throw out completely," so he used it for Chō. Originally the character design had swept back black, "messy" hair. To give the character more impact as the first Juppongatana member chronicled, Watsuki added a "punk rock" quality to Chō. Watsuki reported that his assistants incorrectly guessed that Galford D. Weller of Samurai Shodown was the model for Chō's design, while readers incorrectly guessed that Benimaru Nikaido of King of Fighters was the model for Chō; Watsuki added "I guess that due to the punk rock hair it was understandable that readers thought of Benimaru".[29]

Despite being a villain, Chō was a popular character with Rurouni Kenshin readers; Watsuki said that characters with Kansai dialects are "always pretty popular." Watsuki said that he enjoyed drawing Chō and that it would be "a waste" to "finish off" Chō after the conclusion of the Iori story. Therefore, Watsuki made Chō appear at later points, though he would be in "a bit more of a neutral position" since he felt it would be strange for Chō to "become friendly with Kenshin and the others." Watsuki added that most of the sketches sent by fans to him with Chō also had Iori in the pictures; Watsuki found this humorous and reported having "quite a laugh."[29] Chō will appear in the sequel to Rurouni Kenshin portrayed by Ryosuke Miura.[20]

Honjō Kamatari[edit]

Voiced by: Junko Takeuchi (Japanese); Melodee Spevack (English)

A crossdresser, Honjō Kamatari (本条 鎌足) appears like a woman who is biologically a man. He is homosexual and loves Shishio Makoto deeply, but knows that he will never be loved like Komagata Yumi nor will he ever become as talented as Seta Sōjirō, who serves as Shishio's right-hand man.[30]

Kamatari uses a very heavy scythe-like weapon, a reaper, with a chain ball on the end of the weapon; this is called Ogama.[31] He practices Honjō-ryū, his own style of martial arts with his scythe, and three of his special techniques are seen in the series, two of which are named after Benten, the only female of the Buddhist Seven Lucky Gods: Midare Benten (Disheveled Benten) is when the scythe is whipped over his head, and the chain forms a sphere, therefore creating both an offensive and defensive attack. Benten Mawashi (Unwrapping Benten) makes use of his broken scythe by twirling the blade and chain rapidly like the blade of a helicopter. Kaoru and Misao defeat Kamatari. Kamatari tries to commit suicide with a pin, but Misao hits him, preventing him from driving it into his neck.[32] As Kamatari recovers from his injuries, Sawagejo Chō lies to Kamatari that Shishio wanted for Kamatari to live so that the world will know of the work done by Shishio's faction so that he would not kill himself.

The concept for Kamatari originated from a play on words from Eiichiro Oda, who was one of Watsuki's assistants at the time. In Japanese okama (お釜, おかま) is a slang word for a homosexual, while the word for a scythe is a kama (). Watsuki used ideas from assistants to create the Juppongatana, and the word play led to the creation of Kamatari. Watsuki said that at first the concept "just wasn't coming together." In the beginning some of his ideas were "male-appearing on the surface, but personality-wise, will be feminine," "A very erotic and seductive, womanly appearance from the outside, but a manly man on the inside," and "a big macho gay guy." The conflicting ideas for Watsuki became "a big tangle." A friend of Watsuki asked if Kamatari could be "just a 'pretty girl' type," leading to the solidification of the character. Watsuki planned for Kamatari to have a "light-hearted and cheerful" personality, but Watsuki found complications when "the more serious side" began to emerge, leading him to feel some regret with the outcome. Watsuki added that when he writes with the character in the future he would have to "keep his outlook sunny" while not compromising the "essential self." Watsuki used Yui Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion as the visual model for Kamatari's face; the author colored the hair black, exposed more of the forehead, and had the back of Kamatari's hair "flip out as I've seen so many high-schoolers do these days." Watsuki added that he then made "Watsuki-style adjustments" to make the design origins less obvious. Watsuki found that the triangular silhouette has influences from Hsien-Ko (Lei-Lei) in Darkstalkers (Vampire Hunter). The type blade that Kamatari uses exists in real life; Watsuki made Kamatari's blade larger to give it "a real super-impact look." In real life the type of blade is not intended to be used in the way that Kamatari uses it in Rurouni Kenshin.[33]

Watsuki originally believed that Kamatari would be a "garden-variety character," but Kamatari took tenth place in a character popularity poll.[33]

Kariwa Henya[edit]

Voiced by: Eiji Takemoto (Japanese); Jake Martin (English)

Kariwa Henya (刈羽 蝙也, Kariwa Hen'ya), known as "the Flighted (飛翔), aids the attack on Aoi-Ya, the Kyoto secret headquarters of the Oniwabanshū, with four other Juppongatana members. His battle technique is called Hiku Happa, in which he uses dynamite to lift himself into flight and attack with from above. He can descend to attack the opponent with a blade on his arm and then blow himself back into the air. The power of flight is harnessed because Henya starves himself and is very emaciated; he is so light that the constant uplift from the explosions can easily keep him in the air, and synthetic bat wings allow him to control his movement. Yahiko defeats Henya by using a shōji door blown up by Henya's dynamite and then attacks from above. Later on, Henya is used as a government spy because of his aviation abilities.

Henya's personality was modeled after Matsubayashi Hen'yasai, a swordsman in the Edo period, who possessed "avoidance techniques," which would be called acrobatics in the modern era. Watsuki originally planned to introduce Henya as a tengu during the Megumi arc; Watsuki said the arc was "not as well-planned as it otherwise might have been," so Watsuki could not introduce Henya at that point and instead made Henya into one of the Juppongatana. Originally Watsuki planned for Henya to engage in a mid-air battle with Kenshin, but Watsuki felt that Kenshin would be too strong since Kenshin had gained the secret Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū technique, so Kenshin made Yahiko the opponent of Henya; Watsuki reported that some readers believed that Yahiko was too strong of an opponent for Henya. For Henya's design Watsuki used the bat as a model; he added a streamline head and "a little bit" from Jet Link (Cyborg 002) of Cyborg 009. Watsuki intended for Henya to be "monster-like" since, originally none of the Juppongatana aside from Sōjirō were supposed to be "lookers." Watsuki reported that some people around him felt that Henya was "still too good-looking," so Watsuki made his body "super-emaciated." Watsuki said Freak of Spawn was also a reference for Henya.[17]


Voiced by: Norito Yashima (Japanese); Lex Lang (English)

Iwanbō (夷腕坊) is a fat oaf who uses his immense size, his strength, and his ability to entrap weapons in his flab. He is armed with small blades worn on his fingertips. He is very stupid, and, apart from taking part in the battle of Aoi-Ya as well as grinning like an utter idiot, he does not say anything, and he does not do anything. He was last seen on a cliff outside of Kyoto. Iwanbō's only weapons were the metal nails on the end of each of his fingers that could cause damage. It is also noted that Iwanbō's skin was thick enough to withstand attacks.

As revealed after Shishio's death, Iwanbō is in reality a mechanical puppet, a primitive mech, controlled by Gein, the puppetmaster. Gein reappears as one of the six comrades in a more dangerous form of Iwanbō.


Voiced by: Ikuo Nishikawa (Japanese); Paul St. Peter (English)

Saizuchi (才槌) is a cunning elder who manipulates Fuji and lays out the battle plans for him. He believes that his old age makes him the one who is right since he has lived so long. Saizuchi's talents lie not in battle-abilities, but his proficient use of words: during the Juppongatana attack of Aoi-Ya, Saizuchi attempted to destroy the morale of the Oniwabanshū by giving a speech as to why it is impossible for them to defeat Fuji and himself. Saizuchi was knocked unconscious when Fuji's left arm fell on him, after Fuji was defeated by Hiko Seijūrō. Saizuchi later works for the Diplomacy Department in the government for sticky situations after Shishio's death.

The overall model for Saizuchi is the evil elf who tricks the Jötunn (Frost Giant) in Norse mythology; Watsuki combined the concept with the "image of a giant-robot pilot." In addition Watsuki compared Saizuchi to Kushana in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, using Fuji and the Gold-Soldier in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind as a comparison. Originally Watsuki planned for Okina to fight Saizuchi, but he cut the concept because he wanted to maintain the balance of the story and because his "inner story-editor" asked him if anyone would really like to see "two old codgers" fight each other. The design model is "Director-General Luchi of the Akuda Republic" from Purin Purin Monogatari ("Purin Purin Story"), an NHK puppet show. Watsuki said that the large size of Director-General Luchi's head would "freak me out." Watsuki commented that Luchi's design was "efficient" since one could tell that he was very intelligent at one glance.[18]

Watsuki added that, of the Juppongatana, Saizuchi got the "short end of the stick" since the character did not have a chance to fully display his intelligence. He described this as the "Senkaku Effect," where the characters with the "best noggins" are not used to their "full potential."[18]


Voiced by: Unshō Ishizuka (Japanese); Beau Billingslea (TV Series), Lowell Bartolomee (New Kyoto Arc) (English)

Fuji (不二) is a giant, considered a freak by everyone around him; his real name is not stated in the series. One day he was attacked and almost killed but the old man Saizuchi found him and took him in. The gentle, depressed Fuji was in an ideal state for Saizuchi to manipulate his emotions and turn him into an unbelievable fighter. Saizuchi keeps telling Fuji that he owes him for saving his life and uses that to control him. He was easily defeated by Hiko Seijūrō, though he spared his life, who unlocked his true martial artist's soul and was the first to look at Fuji as someone other than a monster. Upon capture, the Meiji government assigned him to northern Hokkaidō to develop land and act as a defending fighter during times of war.

The idea originated from the God-Soldier in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind; Watsuki saw the film and decided that he wanted to create a giant character. Around the same time he wondered if it would "even be interesting" for Kenshin to fight a giant. Watsuki decided to have Fuji fight against Hiko. Watsuki also received inspiration from Jötunn (Frost Giant), a Norse folktale in which a giant is revealed to have a compassionate heart; Watsuki used this idea with Fuji. The design had inspiration from the first Neon Genesis Evangelion. Originally the face originated from Eva #2. The assistants believed the design looked too similar. One then-assistant of Rurouni Kenshin, Hiroyuki Takei, suggested a 'skull-like riff on "Eva#1."' Watsuki added the skull biting the helmet anchor rope feature, finishing Fuji's helmet face. Watsuki tried "very hard" to keep the face from being too similar to the designs of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Fuji's actual face originates from Dogura Magura of Arabian Lamp-Lamp by Takeshi Obata; Watsuki wanted to work with the concept of a "monstrous character who's somehow still good looking," which Watsuki says Dogura Magura is "the epitome of" the concept. Due to the "tight" schedule of the Fuji chapters Watsuki said that he had insufficient time to revise the design, resulting in "an essentially unoriginal face." Watsuki reported that people correctly guessed the influence of Fuji's real face upon seeing it.[34]

When Watsuki told his editor about the giant character idea, the editor asked "Are you sure?" as the editor was concerned that the character was too large. Watsuki's assistants and friends told the author of Rurouni Kenshin that the idea "sound(ed) fun—do it, do it!" Watsuki decided to create the character; in retrospect he said that the "gamble" "seems to have paid off, so, I'm pleased."[34]

Yukishiro Enishi[edit]

Yukishiro Enishi (雪代 縁) is the brother of Yukishiro Tomoe and the primary antagonist of the Jinchū arc, the last major story arc of the manga. Enishi wants revenge against Kenshin since Kenshin killed Tomoe; he desires to bring Jinchū[note 2] upon Kenshin.

The Six Comrades[edit]

Five of the Six Comrades are pictured here; clockwise from top: Kujiranami, Yatsume, Banjin, Gein, and Otowa

The Six Comrades (Rokunin Nakama in Japanese), founded by Enishi, are from the Jinchū or Revenge arc. Most of them have connections to Kenshin's past as Hitokiri Battōsai; however, only three of them truly want revenge on Kenshin for the wrongs he did to them through their Jinchū campaign. The other three are only participating for fighting, enjoyment, or testing their skills.


Portrayed by: Go Ayano

Gein (外印) is the last remaining descendant of a small group of people who mastered the art of mechanics in the Middle Ages. He creates puppet-like suits out of corpses, most notably the Iwanbō series. He is actually an old man, yet he is very strong due to controlling his heavy puppets for so long. The diamond edged steel wires he uses (Zankosen) to control his puppets can also be used as a weapon as they are sharp enough to cut flesh and break bone. Gein just wants to test out his creations and needs to be around men of battle to do it since, according to him, the forefront of technology is always in battle. This is also the reason why Gein joined Shishio.

Gein first joined Shishio's Juppongatana disguised as Iwanbō and later, Enishi's Six Comrades. Once Shishio was dealt with, Enishi met Gein and had him organize the first meeting between the Six Comrades and acquire a mansion for them to stay at. For Enishi's Jinchū he creates a corpse doll of Kaoru to fool Kenshin into thinking she had been killed by Enishi, he considers this his masterpiece. When Gein gets to Tokyo he goes to the graveyard to get his Kaoru doll where he runs into a trap set by Aoshi, who had figured out that the corpse was a fake. Aoshi kills Gein after discovering where Kaoru was. In the live movie adaption, Gein appears as one of Kanryū's men and played by Gou Ayano.

Kujiranami Hyōgo[edit]

Kujiranami Hyōgo (鯨波 兵庫) is a large one-armed man. Sano points out that he is bigger than Anji. While shown to be a relatively selfless and understanding person when first introduced, his nature is later distorted until he reaches the point of insanity. His height also gradually expands, going from a large-but-still-believable height when first seen, to a towering behemoth with a hand the size of normal people on his rampage.

During the battle of Toba Fushimi in the Bakumatsu, Kujiranami fought Kenshin, who cut off his right arm. Kujiranami requested that Kenshin kill him since he did not want to live to see an era where wars are fought with guns instead of the swords, absent of skill and soul. However, Kenshin refused to kill Kujiranami, saying that he did not want to kill any more than he needed to and that Kujiranami should live in the new era. Already feeling that he had been robbed of a warrior's pride and era, being robbed of a warrior's death was the last straw for Kujiranami. Since then he vowed to kill Kenshin for dishonoring him and joined Enishi's Jinchū to get his revenge.

Enishi gives Kujiranami an Armstrong cannon to replace his missing arm which Kujiranami uses to blow up the Akabeko and the police chief's home. He is taken down by Saitō, arrested, and put in jail, but later goes berserk in his cell and breaks out, screaming after Kenshin. He gets his upgraded weapon from Enishi, a grenade launcher and goes on a rampage in Tokyo searching for Kenshin.

Yahiko is the only one around to fight Kujiranami at the time and manages to hold him off until Kenshin arrives and cuts off his grenade launcher, which returns his sanity. Afterwards Yahiko manages to convince Kujiranami that his hatred for a fellow samurai is wrong and has done nothing for him except lead him down the wrong path. Moved to tears by Yahiko's words, Kujiranami accepts that he was wrong, apologizes to Kenshin for his crimes and turns himself back into the police.

The idea for a one-handed fighter originates from Iba Hachirō, a swordsman from the bakumatsu. Watsuki originally considered making Enishi one-handed, but after considering the problems involving a one-handed swordsman facing the skilled Kenshin and deciding that "boss fights" should simply involve a sword versus a sword, Watsuki made Kujiranami one-handed instead. Watsuki planned to make Kujiranami a Terminator-like character, as he was unable to make Usui Terminator-like. When it became time for the story to be drawn, Watsuki and his assistants felt tired from the work. Since drawing the destruction of buildings and people fleeing would be tiring, Watsuki and his assistants decided to remove the Terminator-like aspects. The design model of Kujiranami is Apocalypse of X-Men, one of Watsuki's favorite villains. Watsuki felt that Apocalypse's lips are "quite interesting," so he gave Kujiranami similar lips. The author of Rurouni Kenshin believed that Apocalypse's belief in survival of the fittest is "true manliness" and Watsuki wanted to have the "manliness" and portray characters like Apocalypse. Watsuki Another theme used for Kujiranami is "macho middle age fatness," which Watsuki enjoyed depicting in the series. According to Watsuki some people mistakenly believed that Kujiranami's design originated from Hanma Yagyu of Samurai Shodown (Samurai Spirits, "Samu-Supi") or Barret Wallace from Final Fantasy VII; Watsuki had not played Final Fantasy VII at the time he wrote Kujiranami's profile.[36]

Inui Banjin[edit]

Portrayed by: Genki Sudo

Inui Banjin (戌亥 番神) is a camouflage-wearing, hand-to-hand fighter who mirrors Sanosuke in intelligence (lacking-in). He is the student of Tatsumi, the leader of the ninja group that tried to kill Hitokiri Battōsai. As Tatsumi was killed by Battōsai, Inui claims to join Enishi's Jinchū campaign for that reason, but he is actually using his master's death as an excuse to fight and prove how powerful he is and cares nothing for his master, of whom he thinks is a mere loser.

Inui wears gauntlets on his wrists called tekkō that, according to him, can deflect any attack, even bullets, due to the angling design of the gauntlets, despite their thinness. He wears them to compensate for the fact that he cannot take damage well. Later, Enishi gave Inui a new pair of gauntlets, even more powerful than the previous, when Sano broke a fragment of the first one. Inui is skilled in Jutsushiki Muteki-ryū, which is an amalgamation of various styles of martial arts. He likes to boast about being invincible and undefeated, but Sano figures out that Banjin is full of himself from wearing the tekkō and that he only fights people weaker than him.

Inui attacks Maekawa dojo as part of the Jinchū campaign where he fights Sano for the first time. During the battle, Sano ends up wrecking one of his tekkō with the Futae No Kiwami. He later gets a pair of upgraded Tekkō from Enishi and fights Sano again in the attack on Kamiya dojo. In the end Inui provokes Sano into attacking him with the Futae No Kiwami again and is defeated as a result with both of his Tekkō destroyed. After being taken down, Inui vows to kill Sano next time and Sano welcomes him to try but warns him that he will not win as long as he wears the tekkō to cover his weakness. Banjin is arrested by the police afterwards.

Otowa Hyōko[edit]

Otowa Hyōko (乙和 瓢湖) is an effeminate-looking user of assassin's weapons that he has hidden all over his body. He says he has thirteen total and used four during his manga existence. The first is Baika-Chusen, a small six-barreled arrow-launcher worn on his left wrist. The second is the Kasui Busuen, a paralysing mist generated by dropping two small cubes into water. The third is a jar of iron powder (Bishamonpun, 'Bishamon's Powder'), used in conjunction with his "enchanted" Bishamonken ('Bishamon's Sword'). The last is the Rikudouko, six long piercing tentacle-like appendages worn on his torso. His battle tactic is to outwit the opponent and catch them off guard with his hidden weapons as opposed to simply overpowering them. He also gave his friend Nakajō a Chusen, a scaled down version of the Baika-Chusen.

Otowa is a sadistic individual as he loves to kill people for exhilaration and is not above killing women and children. Otowa was the friend of the shadow ninja Nakajō, who he had nightly competitive killing sprees with. He said that he joined Yukishiro Enishi's Jinchū campaign because of Nakajō's death fighting Hitokiri Battōsai; in reality Otowa joined the fight just for pleasure.

Otowa later fights Myōjin Yahiko in the attack on Kamiya dojo. He comes close to killing Yahiko with a few of his weapons, but Yahiko eventually defeats him. As Otowa goes down he has a crazed smile on his face as he could not believe his defeat at the hands of someone not even half his age. Though Kenshin silences Sanosuke from revealing Otowa was starting to become fearful of Kenshin's abilities and thinking of fleeing from him after the duel with Yahiko, he was arrested by the police afterwards.

Yatsume Mumyōi[edit]

Yatsume Mumyōi (八ツ目 無名異, note: "Mumyōi" means "nameless", meaning he has no known given name) is a member of an old gold mining clan. Family tradition led them to elongate the limbs of the family members using iron rings to help them mine better. As a result, Yatsume's limbs are about 1.5 times as long as normal, with the notable exception of his left arm, which is twice as long and equipped with metal claws. His teeth have also been sharpened into fangs from a young age.

Yatsume took up fighting and joined the Yaminobu Shadow Warriors that tried to kill Kenshin in order to support his clan, who had fallen under hard times. When Kenshin sees and defeats him, he vows revenge and returns in the Jinchū arc under Enishi to exact vengeance. Though he states that wants revenge on Kenshin to uphold the laws of his clan (which state that anyone that sees a member of their clan must be killed), it's later revealed that his desire for revenge also stems from the misfortunes of his clan, which he blames the Meiji government, and by extension, Kenshin for. Before he can fight Kenshin however, he ends up fighting Saitō instead and is defeated, despite managing to once overpower the man's trademark move. After Yatsume is defeated by Saitō, Kenshin offers to let Yatsume fight him if he still wants to but suggests that he go up north and use his abilities to help his clan. He is arrested by the police afterwards. Of all those involved in the Jinchū, he appears to show the most respect to his comrades, formally greeting them (albeit from a hole in the ceiling). He also accepts Kenshin's generosity to go on with his life. He is also one of only three of the "6 Comrades" who was actually obsessed with taking revenge on Kenshin.

Yatsume's appearance is very similar to Venom, the Spider-Man villain. Nobuhiro Watsuki admits in Yatsume's character notes that his design was partially based on Venom.[citation needed] Additionally, Yatsume's long limbs could possibly have also been inspired from Venom, as Venom usually uses tendrils to extend his reach.

Woo Heishin[edit]

Woo Heishin (呉 黒星, Ū Heishin, Hanyu Pinyin: Wú Hēixīng) is Enishi's second in command of the Shanghai Mafia Organization. Heishin possesses no true fighting skills, although he is later seen wielding a pair of revolvers. As a result, he is accompanied by four bodyguards named Sū-shin (四星, Hanyu Pinyin: Sì Xīng, "Four Stars", or 四神, Hanyu Pinyin: Sì Shén, "Four Gods") skilled in various fighting styles. After Heishin the first in command, he becomes worried regarding Enishi allowing Himura Kenshin's group come to his island, and decides to kill before Enishi. All of his guards are defeated by Kenshin's partners, while Heishin is beaten up by Enishi. Shortly afterwards he is arrested.

Watsuki created Heishin after the editor told Watsuki that he needed to put more depth into the "Black Market Weapons Organization." Since the organization was made simply to explain Enishi's finances, Watsuki believed that the addition of Heishin "didn't seem to change anything." Watsuki felt that he had been unable to set Heishin's personality, so he became "this pathetic creature." Even though Heishin was Watsuki's favorite "#2," Heishin became "an unattractive character." Watsuki stated that he regretted how Heishin developed. Watsuki created Heishin without a specific character model; around the time of the Tomoe chapters he designed Heishin so he does not obviously look like any character from any particular work. Heishin was designed to be "heavy" on black to contrast with the "whiteness" of Enishi.[37]

The Yaminobu[edit]

The Yaminobu (闇乃武) are a group of assassins/ninja on the side of shogunate supporters. They were to kill Hitokiri Battōsai, using Yukishiro Tomoe to become his weakness (unbeknownst to her) and using Yukishiro Enishi as the contact. Most fight Battōsai in 'the Binding Forest', and die there. Before the encounter Battosai fight and kills one of their members Murakami (村上), a dual-katana wielder. In the Binding Forest he encounters Nakajō (中条), a warrior who uses hidden weapons; Sumita (角田), a large axe-wielder; and Yatsume Mumyōi, the only survivor who later joins Enishi. After Kenshin's victory, he fights the leader Tatsumi (辰巳), a hand-to-hand fighter who uses his subordinates to weaken Kenshin. Although Tatsumi has the advantage, he is killed by Kenshin when Tomoe tries to interrupt the combat. Another agent is Iizuka (飯塚) who acts as an Ishin Shishi member who had befriended Kenshin. After Kenshin defeats the Yaminobu, Katsura Kogorō sends Shishio Makoto to kill Iizuka, having discovered his true affiliation.


Fudōsawa (不動沢), a yakuza in a small town in Shinano Province (Shinshū), is a nephew of Tani Jūsanrō who tries to intimidate the Higashidani family. He hires Sagara Sanosuke to fight against Higashidani Kamishimoemon, but Sanosuke discovers that Kamishimoemon is his father and realizes that his family is being forced into poverty by Fudōsawa. Sanosuke defeats Fudōsawa's forces and injures Fudōsawa, causing him to receive six broken ribs. Fudōsawa has a forehead shaped like the letter "M."

Other characters[edit]

Hiko Seijūrō[edit]

Hiko Seijūrō XIII (比古 清十郎 十三代, Hiko Seijūrō Jūsandai) is the master of Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū and Kenshin's swordsmanship instructor. His imposing looks, unbelievable fighting prowess and ego are parts of his character. Seijūrō saved Kenshin from a pack of bandits as a child and gave him the name "Kenshin". The two effectively severed ties when Kenshin abandoned his training in order to serve the Ishin Shishi. During the series, Kenshin begs Seijūrō to teach him the final technique of Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū. The master accepts when learning that Kenshin has spent a decade working for the weak and atoning for his sins. Seijūrō later appears when he assists the Kyoto branch of the Oniwabanshū by defeating the giant Fuji. Seijūrō is also a potter under the name "Niitsu Kakunoshin" (新津 覚之進, Niitsu Kakunoshin). In Japanese he is voiced by Shūichi Ikeda. Richard Epcar voices him in the English dub. Lex Lang voices him the Sony dub whereas Joe York voices him in Trust & Betrayal. In Reflection he is voiced by James Brownlee. In New Kyoto Arc, he is voiced by Andrew Love. He is portrayed by Masaharu Fukuyama in Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno.

Watsuki had no design model for Hiko; when Watsuki imagined who the "Master" would be, the character initially became "this arrogant, twisted guy." The main design model for the Hiko in Rurouni Kenshin is the Hiko Seijūrō in his short story "Crescent Moon of the Warring States." Watsuki added some design influences from "Hiken Majin Hajerun" from the comic Arabian Lamp Lamp by Takeshi Obata. When Hiko was placed in Rurouni Kenshin, Watsuki simplified the design, such as redesigning the hair to make it easier to draw. Watsuki said that Hiko's body became "more macho" because Hiko was a different kind of Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū swordsman and because of the addition of "manliness." The cloak originates from the American comic book series Spawn. Watsuki created scenes showing Hiko drinking alcohol alone, while not becoming drunk, because Watsuki has a low tolerance for alcohol and because he sees the act as having "manliness"; Watsuki said that he is fascinated by images of "manliness" and that Hiko is one of the first characters to reflect the fascination.[38]

Watsuki received questions about whether Hiko is related to the Hiko in "Crescent Moon in the Warring States." Since Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū is passed by ability instead of blood, the Hiko in Rurouni Kenshin is not biologically related to the Hiko in "Crescent Moon of the Warring States." Watsuki added that he wanted to use Hiko more often in Rurouni Kenshin, but Hiko is more powerful than Kenshin. Watsuki's editor stated, "(The Master) is like the joker in a card deck." Hiko is, in Watsuki's words, "just too powerful," and so it would be difficult to find a place to use him in the story.[38] Watsuki described Hiko as "the original RuroKen wildcard."[34]

Yukishiro Tomoe[edit]

Voiced by: Junko Iwao (Japanese); Rebecca Davis (English)

Yukishiro Tomoe (雪代 巴) (later Himura Tomoe (緋村 巴)) was the first wife of the series' main protagonist Himura Kenshin—as well as the biological sister of Yukishiro Enishi. She plays a major role in the manga's final arc, the Jinchū arc (Jinchū meaning "punishment by humans"), and the Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal OVA.

The daughter of a low-level bureaucrat in the Tokugawa shogunate, Tomoe was initially engaged to Kiyosato Akira, the second son of another similarly-ranked family. Despite her happiness at the arrangement, she is unable to express her emotions openly (hence her keeping diaries to record her inner thoughts and emotions). This reticence left Kiyosato unaware of her thoughts, and—thinking that he needed to please her with greater accomplishments—made him join the Mimawarigumi. He was killed out on guard duty by the Hitokiri Battōsai (a.k.a. Kenshin), but not before injuring him with the first half of his cross-shaped scar.

Distraught with grief, Tomoe left home and came to Kyoto, where she was recruited by Shogunate spies to win her way into Kenshin's confidence. Katsura Kogorō approved of her as a calming influence to Kenshin's growing mental and emotional instability. After the Ikedaya Incident, Katsura sent both of them away from Kyoto to an isolated house near the town of Ōtsu.

To mislead spies, Kenshin and Tomoe were instructed to live as husband and wife (in the manga, Kenshin openly expressed his interest in formalizing the facade; in the OVA, Tomoe seemingly-relents and yet holds on to her mission of assassinating him). She also traveled with him around the nearby countryside as part of his further disguise as a seller of herbal medicines.

In reawakening Kenshin's former gentle nature, Tomoe became conflicted about her own feelings for him, and eventually decided to sincerely live with him. When Enishi arrived to tell her that the Yaminobu operation to eliminate the Battōsai is nigh, she sent him away, subsequently coming clean to Kenshin about her past (but not about the conspiracy) The following morning, Tomoe chose to meet with the Yaminobu in the hopes of misleading them and saving his life, only to find that she was nothing but a pawn in their plans, and ended up being used as bait to draw him in for the kill. By the time Kenshin reached her, he had been weakened by several preliminary ambushes and likely to fall in battle. In the middle of his final duel with the leader of the Yaminobu, Tomoe threw herself between them. Blinded with pain, Kenshin was unable to see her until it was too late, and delivered a fatal blow to his opponent and to her with the same slash of his sword—eventually leading to the second half of Kenshin's cross-shaped scar.

In the manga, Kenshin chose to cremate her body, later consecrating her ashes in a gravestone erected in a Kyoto temple, where he also left her diaries. In the OVA Kenshin brought Tomoe's body back to the house they had shared near Ōtsu, where he remained for a brief period of mourning before razing it as her funeral pyre.

Sekihara Tae[edit]

Sekihara Tae (right) and Sanjō Tsubame (left)

Voiced by: Sumi Shimamoto (Japanese anime), Michiko Neya (Japanese drama CD), Michelle Ruff (English anime)

Sekihara Tae (関原 妙) is the manager of the beef hot pot (gyūnabe, or sukiyaki) restaurant, the Akabeko (赤べこ). She also has an identical sister working in Kyoto named Sekihara Sae (関原 冴).[39] Sagara Sanosuke also owes her a seemingly large sum of money in which interest is accounted for. In the series she tries to push the relationship between Himura Kenshin and Kamiya Kaoru since it seemed it to her that it was not working.

Watsuki originally created Tae as a plot convenience in the Zanza story arc and he intended for Kaoru to patronize a restaurant operated by "a good friend"; the author said he used "no thought" while creating Tae, including a lack of planning in her character design. Tae's personality originates from Kamiya Megumi in Watsuki's first "Rurouni" story. As the story progressed Watsuki found himself adding additional details about Tae, such as her family name, her status as the daughter of the owner of Akabeko, and her collecting of Nishiki paintings. Watsuki said that Tae was his first character to evolve in the manner that she did. Watsuki did not give Tae lipstick so she would be easily distinguished against Megumi. Her character design originates from a rejected model for Kenshin with a prototype Kenshin hairstyle colored black and a "softer, female" face. Watsuki originally intended for Tae to have a Kansai dialect and had an assistant from the Kansai region to vet the dialog, but Watsuki ultimately rejected the idea after he felt the concept was becoming too strange.[40]

Sanjō Tsubame[edit]

Voiced by: Yuri Shiratori (Japanese); Michelle Ruff (English)

A waitress at Tae's restaurant, Sanjō Tsubame (三条 燕) becomes Myōjin Yahiko's sweetheart. She is saved by him from the ronin her family worked for as Yahiko stopped them from robbing the Akabeko. She is very shy and soft-spoken. When Himura Kenshin enters a deep depression after the supposed death of Kamiya Kaoru at the hands of Yukishiro Enishi, Tsubame pleads for Kenshin to help Yahiko fight back against one of Enishi's abandoned allies and brings Kenshin back into the world of the living. Tsubame and Yahiko become a couple in the manga storyline, and Watsuki mentioned in his notes that they had a son, Myōjin Shinya (明神 心弥, Myōjin Shin'ya), who he considered using in a story idea, though he was never featured in the manga or anime. In Samurai X: Reflection (Rurouni Kenshin: Seisōhen), Tsubame and Yahiko had become a couple.

Watsuki said that he did not use a specific model for Tsubame's personality. When the author thought of the concept "a young girl being a young man's motivation to act" he introduced her as the heroine of the Yahiko storyline printed in Volume 5. The author used Tsubame as a "testament" of "wrong thinking of a previous age" and gave her a manner that contrasts with Yahiko's "acts-before-he-thinks" manner. According to Watsuki the model originated from a popular "planet-themed" anime series. As Tsubame is "an average girl" the author decided that her hair should either be in a bowl cut or in pigtails. After watching the "planet-themed" series he decided to use a bowl cut.[41] In the final chapter and Yahiko no Sakabatō Watsuki designed Tsubame to look "as cute as possible" since he wanted a story where she was the heroine. Originally, he intended for the new waitress outfit, which looks similar to a maid outfit, to be exclusively for Yahiko no Sakabatō since the maid style was in fashion at the time. Watsuki feared that the fashion could be outdated by the time he wrote Yahiko no Sakabatō, so he used the new waitress outfit in the final chapter of Rurouni Kenshin.[42] Tsubame's name originates from places where Watsuki lived in Niigata.[43]

Chief Uramura[edit]

Voiced by: Sukekiyo Kameyama (Japanese); Bob Papenbrook (English)

A local police chief, Uramura (浦村) or Chief Uramura (浦村署長, Uramura-shochō) is a good friend of Kenshin's and often informs him of local disturbances. During Yukishiro Enishi's acts of revenge against Kenshin, Uramura's residence is attacked along with the Maekawa dojo and the Akabeko as part of Enishi's plan to strike at the places in Tokyo most important to Kenshin; fortunately Uramura and his family are saved by Kenshin. As a favor to Kenshin, he deliberately points the police in the wrong direction when they attempt to arrest Sanosuke toward the end of the manga. In the Rurouni Kenshin anime he is Chief Muraki.[44][45]


The Tokyo Oniwabanshū, (Clockwise from top right): Shikijō, Han'nya, Beshimi, and Hyottoko

The Oniwabanshū (御庭番) were the protectors of Edo Castle during the Edo period. In Rurouni Kenshin, they are Shinomori Aoshi, Han'nya, Shikijō, Hyottoko, Beshimi, Okina, Misao, and the others at the Aoi-Ya. Aoshi's group is referred as the Tokyo Group, while Misao and Okina's squad are known as the Kyoto Group. After the Bakumatsu, of all of the Oniwabanshū members, only Aoshi received job offers from government agencies, such as the intelligence services of the Imperial Japanese Army and protection services of political leaders; Aoshi instead chose to be a hired guard as his comrades would be able to work with him.[46]

After Watsuki first discussed the "Megumi arc" with the editor, the editor replied with the opinion that, in Watsuki's words, "having a swordsman of Kenshin's caliber fighting a group of punk-thugs still coming into their first facial hair mi-i-ight not make for the most epic of manga." To solve this, Watsuki modified the Tokyo Oniwabanshū to make them onmitsu (ninja; Watsuki does not like using the word "ninja" as he feels that using it "like that" is "cheesy" [47]), and added details as publication progressed. Watsuki created various shapes and temperaments for the various Tokyo Oniwabanshū characters.[47][48] Watsuki describes the addition of the Oniwabanshū as a "last minute" choice.[49]


Voiced by: Akio Nojima (Japanese); Tom Wyner (English) Han'nya (般若, Hannya) is a pupil of Aoshi. The village he was born in was poor, so he was abandoned at birth to reduce the number of people to feed. Han'nya survived, but he could not return to the village so he wandered around like an animal until Aoshi found him and gave him a position in the Oniwabanshū. After the Bakumatsu, Han'nya received no prosperous government job offers because of his appearance.[46] He took up as a ninjutsu disciple in Misao, and despite his appearance, accepted him as family and the two became close.

Han'nya is the master of disguise within the group; he gained his ability by removing all his prominent facial features, which is why he wears the demonic mask on his face. Han'nya burned his lips, cut off his ears and nose, and crushed his cheekbones so he could disguise himself as any individual.[50] The anime mentions nothing of his reason for the mask, although his face is still disfigured. Since Aoshi gave him something to live for in the Oniwabanshū, he is very loyal to him. Han'nya gives his life to allow Kenshin enough time to retrieve his sakabatō to defeat Kanryū and save Aoshi. Although working as a spy is more his specialty, Han'nya is still one of Aoshi's most powerful men (even mildly difficult for Kenshin to defeat). His style of combat evolves primarily from his discipline from Aoshi. However, he adds his own bit to it by having painted, possibly tattooed, his arms in horizontal stripes. Giving them the appearance of being shorter than they actually are, thus luring opponents into a false sense of security regarding distance of attacks. He also wears steel gauntlets beneath his gloves, which help him to block attacks from other weapons. These gauntlets contain retractable steel claws, which he will resort to as a sort of trump card.

Han'nya's personality is derived from Yamazaki Susumu, a member of the Shinsengumi. Some readers proposed that Han'nya had a handsome face under his mask, was Aoshi's kagemusha (such as Aoshi's twin brother), or was a kunoichi (a female ninja). The design model for Han'nya was a human skeleton. Originally Watsuki based Han'nya off of Joseph Merrick, the "Elephant Man." Watsuki initially intended for Han'nya's face to be deformed since a person stepped on it while Han'nya was still in his mother's womb. In Watsuki's original concept, other people treated Han'nya like a monster, and therefore he would live alone in the mountains. Aoshi discovers Han'nya and Han'nya becomes a member of the Oniwabanshū. Therefore, Han'nya, who finds his raison d'être in fighting, says "Only in the Oniwabanshū am I able to live as a human being." Watsuki and his editor discussed how this could mean "the shape of one's destiny is determined by how one is born." Watsuki decided that this message would be inappropriate for a shōnen series. Watsuki said that for him Han'nya was a difficult character since it made Watsuki aware of the responsibilities of writing for children. The fact that Han'nya's left and right eyes have different shapes and sizes originates from the Merrick concept. Watsuki said that since Han'nya's design became "more and more blocky" in development his assistants referred to Han'nya as "mobile suit", "robot", and other names.[51] Watsuki said that Han'nya is not a character one would describe as "evil."[52] Han'nya was not based on Masked Ninja Akakage.[51]


Voiced by: Taiki Matsuno (Japanese); Derek Stephen Prince (English)

The smallest of the Oniwabanshū, Beshimi (癋見) uses his speed to compensate for his lack of strength. Beshimi received no prosperous government job offers because he had competency in one skill.[46] He is a bottom-ranked onmitsu.[53] His favorite weapons are darts, with which he poisons Yahiko, and later on in the anime jams Kanryū's Gatling gun. He was gunned down by Kanryū shortly afterward to help Kenshin defeat him.

Watsuki stated that Beshimi was "largely created on-the-spot" and does not have a motif. Watsuki described the sketched out character sans an already-created personality as being "kind of timid." Not originally intended to be a standalone character, Beshimi became shorter than Kenshin. Watsuki said that Beshimi's shortness and timidness gave him a group of fans who write to Watsuki saying "Beshimi KAWAI'I" ("Beshimi is cute!"). Watsuki said "not too sure how to feel about that one..."[48]


Voiced by: Shōzō Iizuka (Japanese); Bob Papenbrook (English)

Hyottoko (火男, meaning "Fire Man" or "Flame Man") is one of the Oniwabanshū members that decided to go with Aoshi when he left Okina caring for Misao. His massive belly makes him nearly impervious to direct physical attacks. Hyottoko mainly breathes fire at his opponents, by means of a large oil bag he keeps stored in his stomach and a nozzle he keeps in his mouth. He lights the flames by using his front teeth, which he replaced with flint. Hyottoko received no prosperous government job offers because he had competency in one skill.[46] Hyottoko dies while charging for Kanryū.

Watsuki said he used no particular motif while designing Hyottoko. Using his rudimentary kanji knowledge (Hyottoko is formed by "Fire" (火) and "Man" (男)), he created a "fire-breather." The creator of Rurouni Kenshin made Hyottoko fat since Watsuki wanted the Oniwabanshū to represent several shapes and sizes and that Hyottoko would have a bag of oil in his stomach. Watsuki said that since he had never drawn a figure like that before, he experienced initial difficulties while drawing Hyottoko. According to Watsuki he adjusted to the design and could draw it comfortably and repeatedly. Watsuki described Hyottoko as "the guy who makes a big entrance and then gets just as spectacularly beaten." The creator of Rurouni Kenshin said that Hyottoko is "ridiculously confident" and "a bit of an idiot" and that the development was "natural evolution of the character, I guess."[47]

Watsuki decided to make Hyottoko "flashy" by giving him the ability to breathe fire, since he felt it would be natural for an "onmitsu" to be "flashy." By the publication of Volume 4, Watsuki saw the character as somewhat out of place and "not really organic" to his world. According to Watsuki the fire breathing and Kenshin's sword spinning method to defeat Hyottoko received criticism from fans, authors of dōjinshi fanzines, and personal friends.[47]


Voiced by: Kazuhiro Nakata (Japanese); Dean Elliot (English)

One of the Oniwabanshū members, Shikijō (式尉) is a muscle-laden hand-to-hand fighter. Prior to joining the Oniwabanshū, Shikijō was an onmitsu for the Satsuma faction of the Ishin Shishi. In the second year of Keiō (1866) Shikijō infiltrated Edo Castle so he could get information about an upcoming battle. 13-year-old Shinomori Aoshi appeared, created scars all over Shikijō's body, and defeated Shikijō. Aoshi gave Shikijō a chance to join the Oniwabanshū and gain strength using Oniwabanshū training methods and "medicines."[54] Shikijō received no prosperous government job offers because he was a traitor.[46] Shikijō is mainly a hand-to-hand fighter but he also swings around a large ball and chain. He fights Sagara Sanosuke at Takeda Kanryū's mansion and is (barely) defeated. He is the first to die at Kanryū's hand, protecting Aoshi from the Gatling gun.

Watsuki said that he modeled Shikijō after Sanosuke by giving Shikijō the same philosophy, strength, and personality. By putting them on opposite sides Watsuki intended to illustrate the differences between the two factions. Watsuki created Shikijō as a villain, but according to the Rurouni Kenshin author the "noble manner" of Shikijō's death made the character "a pretty cool guy." Watsuki used no specific model for Shikijō's design. Watsuki gave Shikijō many muscles as the character is a "power fighter." Since Watsuki felt that Shikijō was not sufficiently "strange-enough looking" Watsuki added scars and "superhero-like exaggerated musculature."[52]


Voiced by: Koichi Kitamura (Japanese); Michael McConnohie (TV Series), Marty Fleck (New Kyoto Arc) (English)

Kashiwazaki Nenji (柏崎 念至), also known as Okina (), is a strong fighter and a talented strategist. He is said to be the only one who can equal the former Oniwabanshū leader in a fight, wielding steel tonfa to block sword blows. Okina was to become the next leader but refused the position, saying that it was the time for the young, not the old and recommended Aoshi to be the next leader. He was then made an agent in Kyoto for gathering information. Upon retiring, he gave up his fighting ways (although he was seen fighting Aoshi) and now lives peacefully in Kyoto at the Aoi-Ya (House of Malva), the headquarters of the Oniwabanshū (which is now a hotel), where he raised Misao. Although old, Okina still possesses a quick mind and knows all of the outer and inner workings of Kyoto since the old intelligence network of the Oniwabanshū is still active. He uses this network to help Kenshin find Arai Seikū and Hiko Seijūrō. Okina tends to like drinking games and pretty girls. He is often assisted by Kurojō (黒尉), Shirojō (白尉), Masukami (増髪) and Ōmime (近江女) who help run the Aoi-Ya, and look after Misao.

Watsuki had no particular model for Okina's personality; Okina is Watsuki's image of an "old soldier." Okina, a "gentle, run-down-at-the-seams" elderly man, summons his powers and corrects the younger generation when it is confused or does something wrong; Watsuki supposes that a bit of the character Kohei from Shōtarō Ikenami's Kenkyaku Shōbai ("The Sword Trade") is in Okina. Watsuki said that he likes Okina since as a character he can "tie up loose ends." Okina's design model is Tokijirō Kaizō from Takeshi Obata's Cyborg Jii-chan G ("Cyborg Grandpa 'G'"). Watsuki said that while he is careful to not make his characters look too similar to their influences, his assistants guessed the design model "right away"; Watsuki added that his assistants are "too clever for their own good." Watsuki expressed disappointment with Okina's hair; he intended for the hair to stand up when Okina is very angry, making Okina resemble "Sally's dad from the anime." Because of a lack of available pages Watsuki concluded "this hasn't ended up coming across too well."[55] Okina will appear in a sequel to Rurouni Kenshin portrayed by Min Tanaka.[20]


"Geezer" (オイボレ, Oibore) is a kindly and friendly old man who wanders from place to place and resides within the fallen villages when he chooses to stay in one place for a while. When Kenshin falls into a deep depression after he believed that he had failed to protect Kamiya Kaoru from being killed, Geezer gently persuades Kenshin (partly through the use of hakubaikō perfume) to find his purpose to stand again rather than listen to his friends telling him to avenge Kaoru, who mean well but lack the insight to realize what Kenshin's inner conflict is.

He is later revealed to be the father of Yukishiro Tomoe and Enishi. He is aware that Tomoe has died and also of Kenshin's relationship to her. He is last seen with the broken Enishi in the fallen village in Tokyo; father and son remark that their company seems familiar, though Enishi fails to recognize the identity of the old man while Geezer's knowledge of the young man's relation to him is left more ambiguous.

Geezer appears to have a keen understanding of other people's natures. He correctly surmises Kenshin's inner conflict and its outcome, and later predicts that Enishi will also some day find a new purpose in his life.

Watsuki based Geezer off of an empty milk can who is a character in "Now go, Robot!," a story by Makoto Ōishi. The motif of the entire plotline involving Kenshin in the fallen village is based on that same story, with the plotline also taking influences from the comic Silver Surfer. Some readers mistakenly believed that Geezer was influenced by Cagliostro, a character in Spawn who gives advice to Spawn. Watsuki used no visual model for Geezer; Watsuki used the attributes that Geezer is homeless, has "an unusual personality," and does not easily show his true thoughts. In restrospect, Watsuki felt that Geezer was similar to "Grandpa Bob" in Bøy by Haruto Umezawa.[56]

Tsukayama Yutarō[edit]

Voiced by: Mayumi Tanaka (Japanese); Michael Lindsay (Raijuta arc) and Brian Donovan (Black Knights arc) (English)

Tsukayama Yutarō (塚山 由太郎) is a young boy who wishes to become a better swordsman. Yutarō lives with his father, Tsukayama Yuzaemon (塚山 由左衛門), a former samurai who became rich by selling swords to Europeans. Yutarō feels that his father's actions degraded him. Therefore, Yutarō wants to become better than his father. The Tsukayama family was deceived by Isurugi Raijūta, who faked a robbery so the Tsukayama family would pay him to teach Yutarō how to use swords. Yutarō becomes the rival to Myōjin Yahiko and the two gain a mutual desire to become better than one another. After Raijūta initiates a failed sneak attack on Kenshin's group, Raijūta slices Yutarō's right arm so that the nerves are severed, therefore making Yutarō unable to hold a sword with that hand. Yuzaemon takes Yutarō to Germany to get medical treatment. Before he leaves, however, Yahiko confronts him, scorns his sulking, and tells him that he can overcome his sorrow by working to be better than he imagined Raijuta to be. Yutaro responds that he will never stop practicing swordsmanship and his left arm is still enough to become great. At the end of the series, Yutarō (though never making an appearance) is identified as one of the instructors of the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū dojo, along with Yahiko.

In the anime Yutarō's father, a well-known swordsman, is dead. Yutarō, who had inherited a lot of money after his parents died, wishes to learn swordsmanship to become as skilled as his father. When he sees Kenshin, he demands lessons on how to use a sword, but Kenshin refuses. Yutarō finds Raijūta, who plans to overthrow the Meiji government, instead. During a scuffle one of Raijūta's men accidentally hits Yutarō, causing him to fall into the ocean. After Kenshin rescues him Yutaro gets to know Kenshin's group. In a similar manner Raijūta injures Yutarō's right arm, and Yutarō goes to Germany for medical treatment.

Watsuki developed Yutarō as Yahiko's rival; Watsuki said there was no "real model" for Yutarō's character. Watsuki gave Yutarō the traits of admiring Kamiya Kaoru, an older woman, and admiring Kenshin's strength while Yutarō could not "be honest" about this as Kenshin and Kaoru were Raijūta's enemies. Watsuki felt that Yutarō was a "good guy" who was "brought down a bit" by the "most disgraceful" Raijūta and that Yutarō may not have been developed "to his full extent." Watsuki drew Yutarō to be the opposite of Yahiko. Watsuki initially found difficulty in drawing Yutarō's hair but it became easy to him once he adjusted to it, and Watsuki enjoyed drawing Yutarō's hair. Watsuki found difficulty in compensating for the all-white Yutarō in the page design, which would need more black.[57]

Ōkubo Toshimichi[edit]

Voiced by: Yoshisada Sakaguchi (Japanese); Doug Stone (English)

In history, Ōkubo Toshimichi (大久保 利通) (1830–1878) is one of the five Ishin Shishi - Men of Spirit and the last of the three to have the highest honors in the government. He outlived Katsura Kogorō and Saigō Takamori. He was a leader of the Satsuma clan, who supported the restoration of imperial power. He was responsible for the suppression of the Satsuma rebellion in 1877, led by Ōkubo's university friend, Saigō Takamori. In Rurouni Kenshin, Ōkubo appears to Kenshin for help in the Shishio Makoto crisis accompanied by Kawaji Toshiyoshi (川路 利良), a government official. In real life, Ōkubo was murdered by six discontented clansmen on his way to Tokyo on May 14, 1878. In the Rurouni Kenshin series, Seta Sōjirō murders him and the clansmen take responsibility.

Watsuki feels that many Japanese people have bias towards Saigō and that Ōkubo was "sly" and "cunning." Watsuki expressed disappointment in this and instead stated that while Ōkubo was a strategist during the Bakumatsu, Ōkubo was ethical during the Meiji era and did not try to enrich himself while other politicians conspired with the wealthy to make money. To support his point, after Ōkubo died he had few assets and many debts; many of his debts were due to his covering government shortfalls. Watsuki felt that Ōkubo, who had been demonized during his time period, needed more appreciation from the population. In the design Watsuki tried to use portrait photographs, but he could not find any. He tried using a statue as a model, but Watsuki believes that the final character does not look at all similar to the statue. In retrospect he believed that the character resembles President of the United States Abraham Lincoln, another historical figure that Watsuki had respect for. He commented "that must have found its way in there, somehow..."[58]

Himura Kenji[edit]

Voiced by: Yuki Kaida (Japanese); Joey Hood (English)

Himura Kenji (緋村 剣路) is the son of Kamiya Kaoru and Himura Kenshin that first appears in the last chapter of the manga as a young child. Although he bears an uncanny resemblance to Kenshin, he is more fond of his mother and less caring towards his father (he has a habit of pulling Kenshin's hair). His last manga appearance is in Yahiko no Sakabatō, where he is about four years old and is seen training with a shinai.

Nobuhiro Watsuki used "stupid" as Kenji's personality model; Watsuki described Kenji as "equivalent to Iori." Kenji's role is to be the son of Kenshin and Kaoru; even though the character was "cliché" Watsuki felt that Kenji had to appear. The author said that he is not "twisted enough" to place "negative elements in the ideal family." Kenji's character design is "a small Kenshin."[42]

Tsukioka Tsunan[edit]

Voiced by: Hiroshi Yanaka (Japanese); Kim Strauss (English)

Born Katsuhiro (克浩), Tsukioka Tsunan (月岡 津南) is a survivor of the Sekihō Army after it was disbanded by the government. Called Katsu by Sanosuke, Tsunan became a printmaker after the Meiji Restoration. He is an expert at explosive weapons and gunpowder, and intends to use them against the Meiji government. When he and Sano try to embark on a terrorist campaign against the Meiji government later in the series, they are stopped by Kenshin. Since then, Kenshin buried his bombs and Katsu became a journalist for his own newspaper (in the anime Katsu buried his own bombs). However, he still makes bombs solely as a hobby - he has several to give Sanosuke just before following Kenshin to Kyoto. Later on in the anime series, he becomes a valuable source of information for Kenshin and Sanosuke, serving as their intelligence source during the Feng Shui arc.

Watsuki says that Tsunan originated from a false advertisement, labeled "Mysterious Artist Appears," within the series. When Watsuki created the extra Sanosuke chapters he created a "comrade from the Sekihō Army — lone explosive expert plotting overthrow of the government." Watsuki believed that this alone did not give Tsunan "interesting" qualities, so he added the "fake artist" trait. In Volume 6 Watsuki expressed a desire to use Tsunan at a later point since, at that point, he is the sole character with a "mass media" connection and therefore could have further use at a later point. Despite the fact that Tsunan is "a little depressing," Watsuki likes Tsunan's "straightforward personality." Tsunan had no design model. Due to a lack of time Watsuki used an earlier concept of a man with dreadlocks; Watsuki believed that the concept "to my surprise, turned out to be just right." The author added that the character could be "a good villain." After making some "tweaks" the design assembled "quickly." Watsuki added the bandanna and the "oddly patterned" jacket as he wanted "artist-y" clothing.[59]

Mishima Eiji[edit]

Voiced by: Naomi Matamura (Japanese); Joshua Seth (English)
Mishima Eiji (三島 栄次) is a young boy from Shingetsu Village who wants to take revenge against Shishio's forces, who killed Eiji's parents and brother, Mishima Ei'ichirō (三島 栄一郎, Mishima Eiichirō). Saitō Hajime sent Ei'ichirō to Shingetsu to investigate the incidents there, hoping that he would not raise suspicion; Ei'ichirō's cover was blown, and he failed to save his parents. Kenshin defeats Senkaku, who killed Ei'ichirō and Eiji's parents, and Shishio and his forces leave. At that point Eiji tries to kill Senkaku with a sword; Saitō appears and stops Eiji. When Eiji insists that Senkaku needs to be killed in his family's honor, Kenshin tells Eiji that his dead family wants him to be happy, not for him to kill someone. Saitō arranges for his wife, Tokio (時尾), to care for Eiji in the near future. Watsuki created Eiji as the process of the tragedy in Shingetsu Village and the concept of a new beginning. Eiji's main theme is revenge. In retrospect Watsuki wishes that Eiji developed as a character since he felt the plot pulled Eiji in its own direction. Watsuki felt the design looked too similar to Myōjin Yahiko's design.[60]

Sagara Sōzō[edit]

Voiced by: Hidehiro Kikuchi (Japanese); Steve Cannon (English) Based on the actual captain, Sagara Sōzō (相楽 総三, 1839–1868) was the leader of the Sekihō Army's 1st Unit. Sanosuke looked up to him greatly; he was, to Sanosuke, the ideal role model. He was killed when the Meiji government purged the Sekihō Army, leading to Sanosuke's embitterment towards the Meiji government. In the manga, Sagara's head was placed on a platform and in a cage for all to see, haunting Sanosuke for many years. In the anime Sagara died of fatal gunshot wounds while protecting Sanosuke. In a flashback late in the Kyoto arc of the anime, it is also shown that Sanosuke remembers seeing Sagara's head in the cage in a crowd. Sometime after his death, Sano took Sagara Sōzō's family name his name and became Sagara Sanosuke.

Watsuki said that since Sagara Sōzō is an actual historical figure, "talking about his "motif" as a character seems beside the point." The author's mental image of Sagara Sōzō became important in the character development. According to Watsuki, the framework of Sanosuke's memories glorifies Sagara Sōzō in the story. Since, according to Watsuki, Sagara Sōzō genuinely wanted equality for Japan's people, Watsuki wonders about the fate of Japan if Sagara Sōzō survived. Watsuki debated whether to include the Sekihō Army Incident due to its obscurity. Since he believed that the movement exposed the truths and lies of the Meiji Restoration, he decided to include the movement. One of Watsuki's friends told the Rurouni Kenshin author that another one of his friends feared that Watsuki may be "getting in too deep." In addition, as Watsuki wrote the storyline, the popularity of the series fell to the lowest point since the debut of the series. Watsuki reasoned that he wished to explore the "true story of the Meiji Revolution" and therefore could not leave out the story of the Sekihō Army. Watsuki did not base the appearance of Sagara Sōzō on actual historic photographs; he wondered about the appearance of the real Sagara Sōzō. Watsuki instead formed his version of the character based on his mental image of the real person. He says that the character is popular "in the eyes (and hearts) of female readers." [61]

Arai Family[edit]

The Arai Family consists of Arai Seikū (新井 青空), the father, Arai Azusa (新井 梓), the mother, and Arai Iori (新井 伊織), the baby boy. In the English version of the manga, Iori says "shake, shake" when referring to Himura Kenshin. In the Japanese version, when referring to Kenshin, Iori says Gojaru! (ごじゃる!), his own version of the word de gozaru (でござる), a polite, humble verb used by Kenshin. Iori, therefore, is trying to say "Kenshin."[62]

When Kenshin goes to Kyoto he asks Okina about Arai Shakkū (新井 赤空), the swordsmith who made Kenshin's sword, since Kenshin hopes to get a replacement for his broken sakabatō. Okina tells Kenshin that Shakkū is dead but that his son Seikū is still alive. When Kenshin asks Seikū to make a new sword, Seikū refuses because he wants to live a peaceful life and does not want to make any more instruments of war. Sawagejō Chō, a member of the Juppongatana, wants to take Shakkū's final sword, so he kidnaps Iori and uses him as a hostage until Azusa reveals where Shakkū's final sword is. Chō keeps Iori and goes to the Hakusan Shrine, where the sword is located. Kenshin appears and struggles to fight Chō with a broken sakabatō. Seikū realizes the importance of Kenshin's struggle and hands his father's sword to Kenshin, who uses the sword to defeat Chō; the opponent is still alive as, to Seikū's surprise, the sword is also a sakabatō.

Watsuki said that he had "lots of different things in my mind" when he created the family, but that he forgot many of them. Watsuki designed them so that Iori symbolizes peace, Seikū demonstrates selfishness demonstrated by fathers, and Azusa "uh... holds it all together?" Iori's design originated from "a fairly famous women's manga involving babies." Watsuki said that he created the father and mother "on the spot." Watsuki felt that Seikū's design in the end "kind of" looked similar to the design of Takeda Kanryū, so Watsuki concluded that the design "didn't turn out quite right." With Azusa he originally thought "she's not quite right," but in the end he felt "she's a really good character." Watsuki added that he found "refreshing" the fact that Azusa is the first female character he designed who shows her entire forehead.[63]

Watsuki reported that many female readers loved Iori since "he's so cute," especially when Chō hung him on the tree. Watsuki planned to have Seikū's family appear later in the Kyoto arc with Yahiko as the lead character in the story.[63]

Higashidani Family[edit]

Sanosuke's father and younger siblings live together in Shinano Province (Shinshū). His father, Higashidani Kamishimoemon (東谷 上下ェ門), is a farmer, Higashidani Uki (東谷 右喜) is his younger sister, and Higashidani Ōta (東谷 央太) is his younger brother. The mother, Naname (菜々芽), died years after the birth of Ōta due to a cold. Uki became protective of Ōta because Sanosuke left the house and because her mother died, so she was afraid of losing other family members. As a result, Ōta, nicknamed "Apple Cheeks" by Sanosuke, was sheltered. After learning about Sanosuke's deeds Ōta becomes willing to fight. At the end of Rurouni Kenshin Ōta becomes a student at Kaoru's dojo.

Watsuki said that he always had some idea of what Sanosuke's family would be like, and therefore formed the Higashidani family along those concepts. Therefore, Kamishimoemon is what Sanosuke would be like as an older person, Uki is "lively" and protective of others, and Ōta is a weak, small child. Watsuki felt that illustrating the family was fun and that he liked challenging his illustration skills by drawing a whole family. Watsuki had no models for the visual design of the characters. Kamishimoemon originates from a concept of an aged Sanosuke that was considered for a final Rurouni Kenshin chapter. Watsuki describes Uki as a "modern, easy to draw type." Ōta is a "typical Watsuki image" of a weak child from a rural area who has cheeks with circle marks. Watsuki intended for a design that would be drawn quickly, but he found difficulty while trying this. As the designs evolved Watsuki decided that he needed to study images of real people.[64]

Katsura Kogorō and Takasugi Shinsaku[edit]

Katsura Kogorō (桂 小五郎) (Tomokazu Seki, Corey M. Gagne) and Takasugi Shinsaku (高杉 晋作) (Wataru Takagi, Jason Phelps) were important figures in the Ishin Shishi faction during the Bakumatsu. In Rurouni Kenshin they were allied with Kenshin during the Bakumatsu.

Oguni Gensai[edit]

Oguni Gensai (小国 玄斎) (Yoku Shioya, Steve Kramer) is the doctor who takes Megumi as his apprentice. In the anime he has two grandchildren, Ayame (あやめ) and Suzume (すずめ). In the Sony Rurouni Kenshin English dub the "g" in Gensai is pronounced as a "soft" g.[65]

Tani Jūsanrō[edit]

Tani Jūsanrō (谷 十三郎) (Koichi Kitamura, Tony Pope) is a politician in the War Ministry and a former member of the Ishin Shishi. Tani is very wealthy, pompous and self-centered. Kurogasa marks him as an assassination target, but Kenshin and Sanosuke successfully defend Tani.

Later in the manga Tani and Sanosuke get into an altercation; Tani, the uncle of the yakuza Fudōsawa, supports the tyranny in Fudōsawa's town. After Sanosuke defeats Fudōsawa, Sanosuke goes to Tani's residence, defeating the Hiruma brothers, who act as Tani's bodyguards, before injuring Tani. At the hospital Tani, described by villagers as being "wrapped like a mummy", mutters "evil scary, evil scary."[66]

Minor characters[edit]

  • Yamagata Aritomo (山縣 有朋) (Seiji Mizutani and Hari Kaneko, Simon Prescott, Crispin Freeman (Media Blasters) and Bill Harwell (Samurai X: The Motion Picture)) was one of Kenshin's comrades. Yagamata grew a mustache since taking position of power in the Meiji government. Yamagata tries to convince Kenshin to stop carrying a sword, but Yamagata realizes that Kenshin's openly displayed sword and his actions as a rurouni ensure safety for others. Though Yamagata only has one appearance in the manga, in the anime, he appears again as the assassination target of a corrupt politician, Takuma Hashizume, but thanks to Kenshin, he was saved and Hashizume was arrested. Much later, he alerts Kenshin about an assassination attempt led by Ukyo Inagi. Yamagata also plays an important role in the Feng Shui arc assisting Kawaji and Tsunan with stopping the plot to destroy the Circle of Eternity. Watsuki said that he could not get his version of Yamagata to resemble surviving photographs of the real Yamagata.[61]
  • Maekawa Miyauchi (前川 宮内), a character only in the manga, is the owner of a martial arts dojo where Kaoru trains. He is the master of the Chūetsu-ryū style. Isurugi Raijūta appears at Maekawa's dojo and defeats him in a match; Kenshin prevents Raijūta from mortally wounding Maekawa. After the attack Inui Banjin makes against his dojo, Maekawa does not blame Kenshin, but decided to retire and choose a young successor.
  • Shibumi (渋海) (Masaru Ikeda, Steve Kramer) is a corrupt politician who employs assassins to eliminate rivals in order to further his own career. He employs Udō Jin-e, Akamatsu Arundo, and Saitō Hajime. Shibumi orders Saitō to kill Kenshin, not knowing that Saitō is in actuality allied to Ōkubo Toshimichi. After Saitō appears at Shibumi's place and kills Arundo, Shibumi begs for his life and offers money to Saitō; Saitō refuses and kills Shibumi.

Anime-only Characters[edit]

Below are characters created for the anime version only, and are not found in the original manga.


Shura (朱羅) (Kazue Ito, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) is the daughter of the former leader of the Kairyu Pirates, who were poor villagers dedicated to robbing only from the corrupted wealthy people. After her father's death, she succeeded him in leader, and continued his legacy of robbing only the corrupt. During one raid, some pirates wanted to kidnap Kaoru but Shura did not accept that because of her belief that the Kairyu do not harm woman or children, so she took Kenshin to free Kaoru. Due to Shura's strictness and honor-bound rules, along with the fact that she is a woman, she became very unpopular amongst the crew, with the exception of two, Sarujiro and Iwazo. As a result, the rest of them chose Ginjo, one member who allied with an opium dealer (Senbonya Yohei) they once robbed, as their new leader, and attempted to kill Shura in mutiny after adding firearms in their dealings. Shura returned, and with the help of Kenshin, defeated her wayward crew, and with Sarujiro and Iwazo, she left to the sea, as they were still criminals. Shura fought with a three-section staff that can disconnect into a chain-staff, and has great agility and reflexes. She might have developed feelings for Kenshin.

Amakusa Shōgo[edit]

Real name Mutō Shōgo (武藤 翔伍), Amakusa Shōgo[67] (天草 翔伍) (Junichi Inoue, Crispin Freeman) was taught Hiten Mitsurugi by his uncle. Shogo is also a Christian, and sought revenge for Christianity, and to make the Holy Land, after his parents were killed for their beliefs, when Christians were persecuted during the Shogunate. He mastered "God Speed" by the age of 14, and according to Kenshin, had surpassed even God Speed. His followers believe that he is the "Son of God". Some of his "miracles" were really just due to his education in Western Medicine, and other sciences.

Lady Magdalia[edit]

Real name Mutō Sayo (武藤 小夜), Lady Magdalia (マグダリア, Magudaria) (Hiroko Kasahara, Lia Sargent) is Shogo Amakusa's younger sister. She serves as a holy mother to their crowd of followers and a teacher to the young children. She has suffered from consumption ever since she was a child (which she perhaps obtained from her mother, who suffered the same illness). She is often seen accompanied by Shozo, a childhood friend whom she and her brother saved from persecution. Magdalia is a devout Christian and believes in everything that her brother says and does, which leads to her and Sanosuke Sagara having clashing personalities. Her most prized possession is her mother's holy medallion which is lost and eventually returned to her by Sanosuke. She comes to respect him and wishes that she had met someone like him earlier in life so that she could have had a more open heart to those outside her faith. She is shot as she protects the Dutch consul, who can save her townspeople, and refuses to be treated in the hope that the people she cares for will be saved. She dies in Sanosuke's arms after telling him her real name. Shogo promises to make her dreams of a land of equality and peace a reality.


  1. ^ "Hitokiri". The term refers to an assassin and translates as "manslayer". Within the Rurouni Kenshin universe "Battōsai" refers to someone who has mastered battōjutsu.[2] Assassins during the bakumatsu adopted professional names; for instance Kawakami Gensai was known as Hitokiri Gensai.[3]
  2. ^ Hitokiri believed in tenchū ("judgment from the heavens"), and therefore they were fond of the word. Enishi believes that if the heavens will not judge Kenshin, he will give Kenshin jinchū, his own brand of judgment.[35]


  1. ^ a b "Rurouni Kenshin TV Series Season One Box". Media Blasters. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2009. 
  2. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro (2003). "Act 13: The Meaning of the Name". Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 2. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-249-1. 
  3. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Glossary of the Restoration". Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 3. Viz Media. p. 190. 
  4. ^ "Samurai X A Killer Without Mercy." Sci Fi. August 8, 2007. Retrieved on July 22, 2009.
  5. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 19: Daughter of Aizu." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. VIZ Media. 76.
  6. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (13) Takani Megumi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. VIZ Media. 164.
  7. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (4) Hiruma Kihei & Gohei," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 1. VIZ Media. 144.
  8. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 10: One Side of the Soul." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2. Viz Media. 78.
  9. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 13: The Meaning of the Name." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2. VIZ Media. 146.
  10. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (7) Udō Jin-e," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2. VIZ Media. 168.
  11. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 5. Viz Media. p. 15. 
  12. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (12) Takeda Kanryū," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. VIZ Media. 142.
  13. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (16) Isurugi Raijūta," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 6. VIZ Media. 88.
  14. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (20) Akamatsu Arundo," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 7. Viz Media. 66.
  15. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. Ruroni Kenshin, Brazilian Volume 13 (correspondent to the first half of original vol.7). JBC. p.66.
  16. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (35) Uonuma Usui," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 14. Viz Media. 66.
  17. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (36) Hariwa Henya," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 66.
  18. ^ a b c Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (39) Elder Saizuchi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 146.
  19. ^ a b c Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (40) Komagata Yumi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 17. Viz Media. 124.
  20. ^ a b c Live-Action Rurouni Kenshin Sequels Cast Okina, Sawagejō
  21. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (25) Senkaku," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 9. VIZ Media. 66.
  22. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 107: The Bright King." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. VIZ Media. 96.
  23. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (28) Yūkyūzan Anji," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 9. Viz Media. 146.
  24. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (34) Tsubaki and the Children," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. Viz Media. 164.
  25. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (28) Amendment: Yūkyūzan Anji," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. Viz Media. 184.
  26. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 99: As If tn Flight." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 12. Viz Media. 128.
  27. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 148 Kyoto Epilogue: Fate of the Juppongatana (Part II)." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 17. Viz Media. 184.
  28. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (33) Sadojima Hōji," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 13. Viz Media. 84.
  29. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (29) Sawagejō Chō," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 10. Viz Media. 108.
  30. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 124: The Shadow of Despair," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 72.
  31. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 123: Put to the Test (Girl)," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 51.
  32. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 124: Shadow of Despair," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 77-78.
  33. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (37) Honjō Kamatari," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 86.
  34. ^ a b c Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (38) Fuji (Real Name Unknown)," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 15. Viz Media. 126.
  35. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Glossary of the Restoration". Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 25. Viz Media. p. 188. 
  36. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (49) Kujiranami Hyōgo," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 25. VIZ Media. 186.
  37. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (52) Woo Heishin," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 27. VIZ Media. 114.
  38. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (32) Hiko Seijūrō," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 12. VIZ Media. 92.
  39. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 82: Where the Strings Meet," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 10. Viz Media. 141-143.
  40. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (18) Sekihara Tae," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 6. VIZ Media. 128.
  41. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (15) Sanjō Tsubame," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 5. VIZ Media. 68.
  42. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (54) Himura Kenji and the rest of the 15th Year of Meiji," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 28. VIZ Media. 154.
  43. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro (2005). "Interview with Nobuhiro Watsuki". Rurouni Kenshin Profiles. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-0160-4. 
  44. ^ Episode 21 Rurouni Kenshin anime. (Media Blasters version)
  45. ^ Episode 21 Rurouni Kenshin anime. (Japanese version)
  46. ^ a b c d e Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 28: Battle's End." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. Viz Media. 113.
  47. ^ a b c d Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (9) Oniwabanshū ● Hyottoko," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. VIZ Media. 46.
  48. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (8) Oniwabanshū ● Beshimi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. VIZ Media. 26.
  49. ^ "The Secret Life of Characters (13) Okashira ● Shinomori Aoshi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. VIZ Media. 184.
  50. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 23: The Martial-Artist and the Spy." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. Viz Media. 29.
  51. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (10) Oniwabanshū ● Han'nya," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. VIZ Media. 66.
  52. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (11) Oniwabanshū ● Shikijō," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4. VIZ Media. 86.
  53. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 17: The Oniwabanshū Strike." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 3. Viz Media. 44.
  54. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 25: Duel of the Masters". Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 4. Viz Media. p. 55. 
  55. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (31) Okina (Kashiwazaki Nenji)," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 11. Viz Media. 126.
  56. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (48) Geezer," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 25. VIZ Media. 152.
  57. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (17) Tsukayama Yutarō," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 6. VIZ Media. 108.
  58. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (22) Ōkubo Toshimichi," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 7. VIZ Media. 186.
  59. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (19) Tsukioka Tsunan," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 6. Viz Media. 148.
  60. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (27) Mishima Eiji," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 9. Viz Media. 106.
  61. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (5) Sagara Sōzō," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2. VIZ Media. 28.
  62. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Glossary of the Restoration," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 10. VIZ Media. 188.
  63. ^ a b Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (30) Seikū's Family," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 10. Viz Media. 128.
  64. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "The Secret Life of Characters (50) Higashidani Family," Rurouni Kenshin Volume 26. VIZ Media. 132.
  65. ^ Episode 5, Samurai X (Sony English dub).
  66. ^ Watsuki, Nobuhiro. "Act 234: A Man's Back 7: The Back Tells Tales." Rurouni Kenshin Volume 26. Viz Media. 127.
  67. ^ "Rurouni Kenshin TV Series Season Three Box." Media Blasters. Retrieved on July 15, 2009.

External links[edit]