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Dragon Ball character
Tien Shinhan.png
Tenshinhan as depicted in the anime
First appearance Dragon Ball chapter #113: The 22nd Tenka'ichi Budōkai (1987)
Created by Akira Toriyama
Voiced by See Voice actors
Aliases Shinto (Harmony Gold dub)[1]
Tien Shinhan (Funimation dub)

Tenshinhan (Japanese: 天津飯?), named Tien Shinhan in Funimation's English anime dub, is a fictional character in the Dragon Ball manga series created by Akira Toriyama. He is introduced in chapter #113 The 22nd Tenka'ichi Budōkai (第22回天下一武道会 Dainijūnikai Tenkaichi Budōkai?), first published in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine on March 9, 1987,[2] entering the martial arts tournament to kill Goku and his fellow-students. However, he later teams up with them to defeat Piccolo Daimao, accompanied by his friend Chaozu. Tenshinhan becomes Goku's rival for a period and is notable for being the first person in the series to fly using Bukū-jutsu (舞空術?, lit. "Air Dance Technique") and to use the Taiyōken (太陽拳?, lit. "Fist of the Sun", "Solar Flare" in Funimation's anime dub) technique.

The character of Tenshinhan has received both praise and criticism from reviewers of manga and anime. They praised his quest for redemption in the Piccolo arc and his fights have been celebrated as dramatic, intense, and entertaining. On the other hand, other reviewers have referred to Tenshinhan as dull and uninteresting. Numerous pieces of merchandise have been released bearing his likeness including action figures, key chains, and capsule toys.


The Daizenshuu and other guidebooks mention that Tenshinhan is a descendant of the Three-Eyed clan (三つ目族 Mittsume-zoku?).[3][4]

The character's name is a pun on tenshindon, a quasi-Chinese dish actually invented in Japan and consisting of a crabmeat omelet over rice. It gets its name from the fact that it was originally made using high-quality rice. His name is written in kanji 天津飯 with a Katakana reading テンシンハン .


In Dragon Ball[edit]

Tenshinhan is introduced as the star pupil of Kame-Sen'nin's rival, Tsuru-Sen'nin (鶴仙人?, "Crane Hermit" in Funimation's anime dub), who has him and Chaozu enter the Tenka'ichi Budōkai to prove his students' superiority. He begins as an arrogant, but talented martial artist, antagonizing Goku, Kuririn, and especially Yamcha.[5] He first fights Yamcha in the tournament, whose leg he ruthlessly breaks to win. Upon learning that Goku killed Taopaipai, the brother of Tsuru-Sen'nin and a mentor of Tenshinhan's, he decides to kill Goku in revenge. He fights Kame-Sen'nin (disguised as Jackie Chun) in his next match, and Kame-Sen'nin shakes his resolve to kill Goku. In the final fight, he battles Goku, but defies his master and refuses to kill him.[6] He barely wins the Tournament and after abandons Tsuru-Sen'nin with Chaozu.

He participates in the search for the Dragon Balls with Chaozu and Kame-Sen'nin. But when they are both killed, he learns the suicidal Mafuba technique in order to seal away Piccolo Daimao.[7] He begins his assault but has to defeat Drum first, having to be rescued by Goku and he later assisting him in the final battle against Piccolo Daimao.[8]

Tenshinhan participates in the next Tenka'ichi Budōkai, where he fights the previously assumed dead Taopaipai.[5] Who had been saved by cybernetics and wants revenge on both Tenshinhan, for turning his back on he and his brother, and Goku. Despite fighting using weapons, Taopaipai is no match for him and is defeated, but not before giving Tenshinhan a scar across his chest, which he retains for the rest of the series.[9] Tenshinhan then fights Goku again in the semi-finals, is defeated, and later protects their allies from being caught up in Piccolo Jr.'s attacks during the final fight.[10][11]

He then trains along with the other heroes at Kami's, in order to fight the invading Saiyans. Tenshinhan manages to defeat a Saibaman, but when Chaozu sacrifices his life in a failed attempt to kill Nappa, he knowingly uses the last of his power attempting to kill Nappa, but fails.[12] Along with Yamcha, Chaozu, and Piccolo, he goes to Kaiō-sama's planet to train under him in the afterlife. He is revived by the Dragon Balls and prepares to fight against the returning Freeza, before Trunks appears and beats them to it.[13] He trains for the battle against the Androids, but doesn't bring Chaozu as he believes that he's not strong enough. He accompanies Piccolo and Goku to fight Android 20 and Android 19. He searches for Doctor Gero's hideout. After Androids 17 and 18 are released, he tries to fight them with Vegeta, Piccolo, and Trunks, but they're all defeated. He saves Android 18 and Android 16 from being absorbed by Cell and gives them time to escape by continuously attacking Cell, expending all his energy and having to be rescued by Goku.[14] He then participates in the battle against the Cell Jr.s.[15] When Goku returns from the afterlife and asks where Tenshinhan is, Kuririn says that he is not coming.[16] However, after Majin Boo is released, Tenshinhan appears and saves Dende and Mr. Satan from being killed by Boo, before being defeated.

In other media[edit]

Tenshinhan makes very brief appearances in Dragon Ball GT, the anime-only sequel to the series. He also appears in many of the series movies and video games. While usually a playable character in the games, he is occasionally an assist or a non-playable character.

He is referenced by American rapper Soulja Boy in the uncut version of his song "Goku", where he states that he "feels like Tien" along with other Dragon Ball characters and Pikachu.[17]

Voice actors[edit]

Tenshinhan is voiced by Hirotaka Suzuoki in most media, with the exception of episodes 82 and 84 of Dragon Ball Z, where he is voiced by Kōichi Yamadera. After Suzuoki's death in 2006, Mitsuaki Madono voiced Tenshinhan in several video games such as Burst Limit and World's Greatest Adventure, before Hikaru Midorikawa took over the role for Dragon Ball Kai and all media since. Suzuoki said that despite joining the cast while the show had already been in production for a while, it was easy for him to relax and find his place.[18]

In the Ocean English dub, Tenshinhan is voiced by Matt Smith. In the Funimation dubs of the series, he is voiced by Chris Cason in their initial dub of Dragon Ball Z, and by John Burgmeier in all other media, including their redub. In the Blue Water dub of Dragon Ball, he is voiced by Brendan Hunter. In the AB Groupe dub, he is voiced by Doug Rand in most media except in the ninth movie where he was voiced by David Gasman and the History of Trunks TV special where he has one scream attributed to Sharon Mann.[19] In the Filipino English dub distributed by Creative Productions Corp., he was voiced by Richard Jonson.


Tenshinhan is a popular character in the series, in 2004 fans of the series voted him the seventeenth most popular character for the book Dragon Ball Forever.[20] Tenshinhan's voice actor for the original broadcast, Hirotaka Suzuoki, said despite the character not being an ordinary human, the character's interactions with Chaozu showed his humanity.[18] Tenshinhan has received both praise and criticism from numerous publications. Theron Martin of Anime News Network stated that it was 'fun' seeing the groundwork for Tenshinhan being laid and reflecting on how he later changed.[21] Martin went on to say that Goku's fight with Tenshinhan "presents the most dramatic and intense duel to date in the series."[22] Davey C. Jones of Active Anime noted that "Tien's redemption made an interesting side story" and that it was "crucial in the final episodes" of Piccolo Daimao arc.[23]

Chris Beveridge of Mania Entertainment commented on episodes 62-92 of Dragon Ball, saying, "there are some dull moments to be had, especially as I don't find Tenshinhan or Chaozu to be interesting characters."[24] However he went on to say that Tenshinhan's fight with Goku "was really quite good" and expressed mixed feelings about the character, saying that as a villain "he was fairly one dimensional." But after being influenced by Kame-Sen'nin's teachings Beveridge said, he "becomes a much more interesting character" and was disappointed that he did not have a really "strong story told for him after this series."[25] Sean Connolly of the same site said that Tenshinhan "shows his worth" by holding off Cell "with a flurry of high powered attacks."[26] ANN's D.F. Smith said that Tenshinhan's fight against Piccolo Daimao's minions was entertaining, but the conclusion of his fight against Goku was random.[27]


  1. ^ Temple O' Trunks - Media - The Lost 80s Dragonball Dub
  2. ^ Weekly Shōnen Jump #13 March 9, 1987,
  3. ^ Racial Groups, Daizenshuu 4, 1995
  4. ^ Tenshinhan profile, Daizenshuu 7, 1996
  5. ^ a b Dragon Ball, volume 10, chapter 113 — ISBN 1-56931-848-4
  6. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 11, chapter 132
  7. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 13, chapter 153
  8. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 14, chapter 159
  9. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 15, chapter 170
  10. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 15, chapter 177
  11. ^ Dragon Ball manga, volume 16, chapter 190
  12. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 03, chapter 24
  13. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 12, chapter 140
  14. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 15, chapter 179
  15. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 18, chapter 214
  16. ^ Dragon Ball Z manga, volume 20, chapter 236
  17. ^ Suen, Michael (23 July 2010). "Why Anime is Doomed: Soulja Boy Records "Anime" and "Goku," Manga Also in Works". Geekosystem. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b DRAGON BALL 大全集 補巻 TV ANIMATION PART 3. Shueisha. 1996. pp. 107–113. ISBN 4-08-102019-1. 
  19. ^ http://www.behindthevoiceactors.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15614
  20. ^ Dragon Ball Forever (in Japanese). Shueisha. 2004. ISBN 4-08-873702-4. 
  21. ^ Martin, Theron (June 6, 2010). "Dragon Ball – Season 3". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 6, 2010. 
  22. ^ Martin, Theron (June 26, 2010). "Dragon Ball Season 4". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  23. ^ Jones, Davey (August 18, 2010). "Dragon Ball Season 4". Active Anime. Retrieved August 18, 2010. 
  24. ^ Beveridge, Chris (February 25, 2010). "Dragon Ball Season 3 Collection". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  25. ^ Beveridge, Chris (May 10, 2010). "Dragon Ball Season 4 Collection". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  26. ^ Beveridge, Chris (February 23, 2011). "Dragon Ball Z Dragon Box 4". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  27. ^ Smith, David (May 5, 2010). "Dragon Ball Season Four DVD Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 5, 2010.