Characters / Usagi Yojimbo

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    Main Good Guys 

Miyamoto Usagi
It's not a fair fight. Those zombies are doomed.

Our hero, a young samurai whose liege lord died in battle not long after Usagi entered his service. Now masterless, he walks the earth, occasionally hiring himself out as a bodyguard (hence the title), honing his skill as a warrior and meeting lots of interesting people.

  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Flip-flops a bit. He's pretty skeptical about the supernatural, though he's encountered more supernatural elements than any of the other characters (except Sasuke). He also strongly doubts Jei's claims of divine inspiration, and felt that the earthquake that occurred when Jei stuck the Sword of the Gods into the ground was 'coincidence'.
    • Though given that it is Japan, which has hundreds of fault lines and sits at the boundaries of several plates, earthquakes are common enough that it could have been a coincidence.
  • Bash Brothers: Often with Mr. Vice Guy Gen.
    • Any appearances in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 has him be this to Leonardo. It helps they have the same weapons and that Usagi's just a more cynical version of him.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Usagi's nice, friendly and very good with kids. His enemies think that makes their job killing him easy. His enemies are also dead.
  • Chick Magnet: He's a kindhearted, sword wielding badass. Plenty of the ladies have noticed.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome:
    Usagi: I can't just stand by and do nothing.
    Chizu: Of course you can...but you never do.
  • Cultured Warrior: On top of being really tough and skilled in a fight, he's also good at calligraphy.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Usagi means rabbit. He's a rabbit.
  • Ears as Hair: His ears are tied back to resemble a Samurai Ponytail.
  • Expy: Of Miyamoto Musashi.
  • Friend to All Children/Friend to All Living Things: Usagi always gets along famously with most of the children he interacts with, usually the kids of those he's a guest of for the night, and is unusually nice to the dino lizards that litter the setting.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Usagi is probably the nicest samurai ever. Many have mistaken this pleasant nature for weakness. Those people are dead now.
  • Hyper Awareness: A skill that Katsuichi-sensei physically beat into him and one that has saved Usagi's life many times. It can be over-sensitive and Usagi has a tendency to ignore correct hunches. Katsuichi-sensei also drew a distinction between this trope and Properly Paranoid.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Toward Mariko.
  • Kid Samurai: in flashback chapters.
  • Knight Errant
  • "Leave Your Quest" Test
  • Martial Pacifist: He sought war and glory when he was young. Now he attacks only in self defense or on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves.
  • Master Swordsman: He thinks nothing of taking on six or seven warriors of ordinary skill.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: With Gen.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: Usagi isn't quite in the One-Man Army category, but he regularly takes out whole bands of bandits or criminals unassisted.
  • Righteous Rabbit and Rascally Rabbit: Usagi is kind and honorable almost to a fault, but has a trickster streak as well.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Gen's Red Oni.
  • Ronin
  • Scars Are Forever: Usagi has a scar above his eye, which he got from Lord Hikiji at the Battle of Adachigahara while trying to avenge his lord. It looks like a Fascinating Eyebrow.
  • Shout-Out: His name "Miyamoto Usagi" is one to the famed samurai/ronin/author of The Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi. He also often uses both swords at once during some fights, a style Musashi is famous for inventing/popularizing and something no other character in the comic does.
  • Victory Through Intimidation: Has ended more than one conflict with a Death Glare at his would-be opponent. Usually after slaying one or two of their comrades to add some weight to the silent threat.
  • White Bunny

Tomoe Ame

Chief retainer to the young Lord Noriyuki; a controversial position for a woman, but one she's earned several times over. She and Usagi become friends early in the series after he helps her foil an assassination attempt on her master, and they gradually develop feelings for one another.

  • Action Girl
  • Cain and Abel: She and Noriko.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Although the idea for Tomoe's character was drawn from the historical female samurai Tomoe Gozen, Grasscutter actually includes a scene with the original Tomoe Gozen (in her elder years as a Buddhist nun.)
  • Lady of War
  • Naginatas Are Feminine: Tomoe began her career wielding a naginata. She had learned the sword from her swordmaster father but could not use them because she was a lady. By saving her lord from a ninja attack she was appointed "guardian of the heir" and was allowed to again wear her swords.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Noriko's Red Oni.
  • Samurai
  • Ship Tease: With Usagi. By the time of "The Mother of Mountains", they became actual lovers, though Usagi's travels and Tomoe's upcoming arranged marriage have made the future of such a relationship iffy. .
  • You Go, Girl!: Due to the chauvinistic nature of the period, she's constantly having to prove her worth over and over.

Gen (Murakami Gennosuké)

Usagi's less morally upright friend, a bounty hunter who cheats Usagi out of money the first few times they meet: which later becomes a running joke between them. He's more interested in preserving his gruff image than his samurai honor, but is not as callous as he pretends.


A street performer/thief/con woman who remains friends with Usagi despite the fact that his purse tends to go missing when they meet.

  • Catch Phrase: "A girl has to do what she can to get by, neh?"
  • Classy Cat-Burglar
  • Cool Big Sis: To her apprentice, Kiyoko. Before that, to her poor doomed sidekick, the mute Gentle Giant she only knew as 'Noodles'.
  • Cunning Like a Fox
  • The Gadfly: She loves to rattle the cages of the self-important. She's pulled pranks on most of the people she's encountered, except Inspector Ishida. (This backfired really badly when she tried her pranks on Chizu.)
  • Let's Get Dangerous: When Noodles was framed and executed for theft, Kitsune was not content until the corrupt official responsible was utterly ruined and commanded to perform seppuku.
  • Like Brother and Sister: She enjoys Usagi's company but shows no romantic interest (unless she's up to something.)
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Sachiko in Kitsune's backstory.
  • Ship Tease: With Gen.
    Usagi: Gen?! Ewww!
    Kiyoko: Ha ha! That's what I said!


Usagi's son by his childhood sweetheart Mariko, raised in the belief that her husband Kenichi is his father but later learns the truth.

  • Kid-Appeal Character: And sometimes an Audience Surrogate.
    Chizu: I see what you mean. He's adorable.
    Jotaro: Hey!!
    Usagi: I also told her you're very brave.
    Jotaro: That's better.
  • Kid Samurai: He's determined to be the coolest samurai ever. Considering he has defeated foes literally twice his size armed only with a wooden bokken, he is well on his way.
  • Wooden Katanas Are Even Better
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Doesn't say it to Usagi's face, but shouts it after he leaves. Usagi hears something, but thinks he just imagined it.
  • He Is All Grown Up: At the beginning of Senso, 20 years after the main series.

    Occasional Allies 

Iké the farmer/General Ikeda

A general who joined an uprising against Lord Noriyuki's father, Lord Mataichi. When it failed, he and some of his soldiers went into hiding disguised as commoners, intending to take up arms again at a politically opportune moment; but when Mataichi died a few years later, Ikeda had become too attached to his farm and his peasant wife and children and decided to stay with them.He became an ally of Noriyuki after the latter saved his son Motokazu's life.

  • Badass Mustache: He's got an impressive black mustache that's easily one of his most identifiable features.
  • Call to Agriculture: He and two soldiers manage to flee when their rebellion failed. Ikeda and one man stay at an abandoned farmhouse, while the other leaves to regather their forces. Ikeda and the other man adopt life as farmers, managing to raise a thriving farm. Ikeda even notes the feeling of success when digging an irrigation ditch far outweighs any war victory he's had. After the other man dies, Ikeda meets a woman and raises a family. Years later, the second soldier returns, bringing news of Lord Matiachi's death and that they have enough soldiers to launch a new attack. Ikeda chooses to stay with his family and informs the soldier that he's never met him.
  • Disney Death: In Grasscutter.
  • Heel–Face Turn
  • Heroic Sacrifice
  • Retired Badass
  • Sacrificial Lion: In Grasscutter II.

Ikeda Motokazu


After killing the yakuza boss who had her husband tortured and killed, the swordswoman who went by the stage name 'Inazuma' lived a life on the run, outfighting all manner of assassins. Usagi once covered the price of her drinks at a wayside inn, and she saved him from a hidden archer as thanks; but he doesn't much like her. Later in the series this 'chance meeting' becomes more significant: Inazuma becomes the new host body for the demon, Jei.

Inspector Ishida

A middle-aged detective, highly competent but sometimes hampered by corrupt superiors. He and Usagi have solved several murder mysteries together.

Inukai/Stray Dog

A Bounty Hunter who sometimes works with Gen. He's a ruthless, double-crossing Jerk Ass who claims he only looks out for himself...


The old hermit who taught Usagi more or less everything he knows: humility, compassion, thinking before he acted, and not least importantly his unusual style of swordsmanship. He's currently teaching Jotaro the same things.

Lord Noriyuki

The new head of the Geishu clan following the death of his father, Lord Mataichi. At the beginning of the series Noriyuki is about ten; he's one of the few characters to have visibly aged, though only by a couple of years.

Priest Sanshobo

  • The Atoner: Gave up his former life when Lord Ikeda's son accidentally fell to his death, which resulted in Sanshobo's son jumping after him in order to atone for their failure to protect him. Though Ikeda held him blameless, Sanshobo felt shame enough to renounce his status and retire to a monastery.
  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: Sanshobo is Japanese, and doesn't know any Shaolin tricks. But he's skilled in armed warfare and Hyper Awareness, since he was a samurai warrior before his life as a priest.
  • Good Shepherd
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: He displays the ability to exorcise an evil kami, but it's not clear if this is because he has power or because the demon thinks he does.
  • Simple Staff: He renounced his right to use swords after the death of his only son.
  • Warrior Monk

Sasuké the Demon Queller

A skilled fox ronin, Sasuke is a demon slayer and has devoted his life to hunting them.

  • Determinator: When he's set upon a target, he travels miles to get to it. Whenever he expends too much energy, he's left an old man, but the spirit who grants him his powers continues to order him to the next destination, and Sasuke goes without complaint.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: To almost every other character in the series, supernatural monsters and wizards are rare and terrible things. But it's starting to look like Sasuke is the reason they're rare.
  • The Hunter: In the case of wizards, he's a Hunter of His Own Kind.
  • Magic Knight
  • Mind Reading: Or possibly foretelling the future. He knows the names of people he's never met before, which is a bit of a Running Gag with him.
  • Playing with Fire
  • The Stoic: He doesn't talk much.
  • Summon Bigger Fish
  • Really 700 Years Old: His wife's ghost is six hundred years old. The math is easy to do, though he does not confirm his age.

Yagi and Gorogoro/Lone Goat and Kid

Yagi is a grim but honorable samurai who turned assassin after being framed for treason. He travels the land while pushing a wooden cart in which his young son Gorogoro rides.


The Neko Ninja

The most frequently encountered ninja clan in the series, principally because they are the agents Lord Hikiji uses when he has dirty business to do and can't have his name attached to it. They are frequently antagonists of the heroes.

  • Enemy Mine: They ally with Usagi to face Lord Tamakuro. They then declare that they have no further alliance with Usagi.
  • We Have Reserves: Usagi and his companions have killed a lot, to say nothing of those lost to Lord Tamakuro in The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy. By the end of Grasscutter II it's clear that they cannot continue to sustain such terrible losses, leading Chizu to question their continued association with Bad Boss Hikiji.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: In many early stories the Neko ninja were simply a vast swarm of interchangeable cats in black garments. However, over time the series has focused on individual ninja, examined their philosophy and gone into detail about the reasons for their service to the Bigger Bad.



  • Dark Action Girl: Her clan serves Hikiji. Eventually, just Action Girl.
  • The Drifter: Eventually goes on the run from her clan.
  • Friendly Enemy/Foe Yay: Gets some Ship Tease with Usagi.
  • Femme Fatale
  • Ninja: Becomes the kashira after her brother's death.
  • Noble Demon: During her tenure, she makes a number of decisions that she claims are Pragmatic Villainy but which probably stem from her personal code of ethics.
  • Team Mom: When she becomes head of the clan. Not all of the Neko are pleased...
  • Trauma Conga Line: When Kagemaru pulls his coup, she has all her friends and allies turned against her, she's cut, poisoned, and dropped into a moat. Kimi finds her sick, freezing and bleeding on the side of a building later on and a barely coherent Chizu must accept that she's now a fugitive.

Nakamura Koji

  • Badass: He's legendary for defeating the best students and teachers of some of the best schools and laid out Usagi in their match. On record only two people have managed to defeat him, Isao and Katsuichi.
  • Badass Grandpa: He's an elderly man, but also one of the most powerful Samurai in the comic.
  • Break the Haughty: In his backstory he was an arrogant and haughty instructor, poised to gain favor of Lord Hikiji himself, until he came to challenge a hermit named Katsuichi. He was defeated three times in front of Hikiji, and humiliated. Upon his lost he renounced his dojo and became a wanderer, growing in both skill and humility.
  • Character Tics: Usagi realizes that Koji would, seemingly unconsciously, dip his sword before an attack. Usagi considered this knowledge key to his technique and defeat but Katsuichi makes a point to remain ignorant about it so their duel may be fair.
  • Punch Clock Villain: He wants to duel Katsuichi to the death, and that is the extent of his villainy. Outside of that, Koji is pleasant, honorable, and has no quarrel with Usagi or anyone else. He even teams up with Katsuichi and his students to help free a village from a local gang.
  • Unknown Rival: To Katsuichi. After he defeated Koji in their youth, he faded into Katsuichi's memory along with the other rivals he's had over the years. Though due to being a hermit, Katsuichi doesn't get much news, so Usagi specifically is sent to inform him of Koji's wishes to duel.
  • Worf Had the Flu: When talking with Katsuichi, Isao specifically cites this as the reason why Koji lost to him. He'd been so worn down fighting Isao's students, that he'd lost to Isao himself. An impressive feat seeing as all the other schools he'd challenge ended with Koji whipping the floor with their best disciples before taking down the Sensei.
  • Worthy Opponent: He feels this way to Katsuichi, one of the few to ever defeat him. During their final battle Katsuichi clearly reciprocates giving him a respectable funeral, and even stating that it was only luck that allowed him to triumph

Yamaguchi Kyosai

A mercenary first encountered by Usagi as an enemy, next time as an ally. Quite cordial outside work.

  • Punch Clock Villain: Ceases attacking Usagi the moment the stone he attempts to steal breaks, rendering the point moot - and has absolutely no hard feelings about it the next time they meet.

    Bad Guys 

Lord Hikiji

Enemy of Usagi's Lord Mifune, personally killed Usagi's defiant father and made Keniichi village leader, and employer of the rival Neko and Komori ninja clans.

  • Big Bad
  • Evil Overlord
  • The Faceless: Played Straight, oddly enough. Hikiji's face is either in shadow, covered by something in the scenery, or by a helmet. Even after we know what he looks like, the comic just keeps his face hidden for all future appearances.
    • It's strictly from the audience's point of view, though. In-universe, his face is well-known enough to require a body double.
  • Famous Last Words: During the Senso miniseries.
    Lord Hikiji: Hebi! You are a lackey like all the others! You will obey me, or you will be--!
  • Greater Scope Villain: He often remains unseen, while others act as his emissaries.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: As a Japanese lord he doesn't need to be seen to be influential. So far, he's the only human character in a world of animal people. When he's shown in Usagi's village, he's wearing a battle mask.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Though this is not given as the explanation for his personal morality.
  • Starter Villain: Hikiji is still around, but has faded into the background as Usagi's focus has changed from the past (and vengeance) to the present.
  • Tin Tyrant: He wears face-concealing "great armor" in all but one of his appearances.

Lord Hebi

A giant snake who's Lord Hikiji's second-in-command.

  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Lord Hebi is so huge he fights ninjas by picking them up with his mouth and hurling them to their death.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He isn't just a cunning politician, but a fierce combatant. One notable example is when his entourage gets attacked by ninjas, and he lunges into the fray despite the warning of his guards, proceeding to hold his own and then some:
    Lord Hebi: And leave my safety to you incompetents?!
  • The Dragon: To Hikiji—he consistently shows up as the "voice" of the Shadow Lord.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Hebi gets considerably more screen time than Hikiji and is the active schemer amongst Hikiji's inner circle. He might as well be the Big Bad in his own right.
  • Enemy Mine: Hebi sent the Neko ninja with Usagi and Tomoe to stop a lord who was planning to betray Hikiji, and had stockpiled guns. Noriyuki tells him that he only did it to serve his interests. Hebi merely states that they should be grateful that they stood together against this threat.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Though ruthless himself, Lord Hebi is shocked, disgusted and horrified when he learns that his master Lord Hikiji has made a deal with the Martian invaders and betrayed Earth. In retaliation he kills Hikiji, before being killed in turn by the Martians.
    Lord Hebi: You make a pact with monsters! And you.. you are the greatest monster of all! You would kill your own people!
    Lord Hebi, after killing Hikiji: You're the worst kind of monster there is. You should have died long ago. I followed you blindly, but now I can see you for the abomination you were. I can see.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: When facing the Martian tripod that is about to incinerate him, just as it's started to rain:
    Lord Hebi: It's starting to rain. Good. We need the rain.
  • Pet the Dog: After lord Ito succeeds in a bet with a fellow lord, to have ice delivered from the mountains to his home (a very difficult task as the ice melts easily in the summer weather), Hebi is impressed and gives him the position of honor during Hikiji's visit.
  • Undying Loyalty: Of all Hikiji's servants, he is the most faithful. It doesn't stop him from turning on Hikiji after the latter announces his alliance with the Martians despite the ruin they're inflicting on his own people.
  • Unwitting Pawn: As smart as Hebi is, he's clueless to the Neko Ninja's power struggle, and is manipulated into ousting Chizu by Kagemaru.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Hebi is one of the cruelest and most inhuman characters, and coincidentally also one of the scariest-looking and least human.

Jei-san the Blade of the Gods

One of Usagi's deadliest enemies. In his first appearance he is showed as a crazy killer who think himself as an emissary of the gods in a mission to clean the world from the evil by any means needed; but with each appearance, although it's never confirmed that he is the blade of the gods, it's made more clearly that he isn't just a normal person, neither.


Jei-San's "niece", who he spared after killing the thieves who killed her grandpa because she was "innocent". Having nowhere else to go, she started following him. She was originally supposed to become Jei's new host, but the author felt uncomfortable so he created Inazuma.

General Fujii

One of the more memorable bandit chiefs Usagi faced; a renegade former samurai of considerable skill and cunning.

  • Bad Boss: He has no concern for the lives of his own men and at one point destroys a bridge to make a getaway, leaving several of his men on the other side.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows
  • Card-Carrying Villain: He doesn't gloat exactly, but when Usagi calls him a "monster", Fujii just calmly responds: "Yes, I suppose I am."
  • Genre Blindness: He stole Usagi's swords. He even had the option of putting down the swords and walking away, but he felt he had to prove himself superior.
  • It's Personal: He makes things personal between himself and Usagi by stealing Usagi's swords, and later using them to cut down an argumentative village elder.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Made the villagers build a wall around their village, supposedly to protect them from bandits, and then locked them up inside and forced them to work for him.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Invoked the trope by name.
    Fujii: Bah! I'm surrounded by idiots and cowards.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He has one when Usagi finally catches up with him after he steals his swords.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Insists on being called "General".


Koroshi, the League of Assassins

  • Beware the Nice Ones: While some of the Koroshi are openly dangerous, murderous types, the really nasty ones wouldn't hurt a fly!... for free, anyway.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Generally speaking, the more harmless a minor character seems, the better the odds that somebody's going to die mysteriously within a few pages.
  • The Unseen: The directors of Koroshi rarely, if ever, meet Usagi face to face.

The Komori Ninja

The Komori are a ninja clan that are constantly striving to gain Lord Hikiji's favor and become his principal servants. They are relentless and bloodthirsty, but (for the most part) not terribly bright. To make up for their lack of hands, they wear blades strapped to the leading edge of each wing, turning their dive attacks into a sort of guillotine.

The Mogura Ninja

A third ninja clan that has only appeared once or twice. They don't seem to have a daimyo to sponsor them, acting as mercenary spies and saboteurs instead. These moles have poor day vision and burrowing abilities, so they tend to rely heavily on ambush by night.


Lord Mifune

Usagi's beloved lord, defeated by Lord Hikiji's forces thanks to General Toda's treachery at the Battle of Adachigahara. The war was caused by Hikiji sending the Neko Ninja to murder his wife and child. Usagi personally decapitates his lord's body to ensure his head isn't used as a trophy.

The Woodcutters

Two monkeys, husband and wife, who have an amazing - and totally coincidental - tendency to travel to whatever area Usagi is in: they're routinely seen in any scene set on a road. They play a minor role in stories in Book 3 and Book 9, and come within a hair of being the victim of a villain in Book 22, but ordinarily they have no lines and are simply seen passing by. They refer to each other as "husband" and "wife".

The Snitch

A hooded figure who first appeared in Space Usagi, he sells information to anyone with enough money.

  • Actually Pretty Funny: When he's finally caught doing an elaborate double-cross, Gen isn't sure whether to be angry or amused.
    Stray Dog: "You've been playing us against each other -"
    Gen: "- and charging us for it! I'd wring your neck if I didn't admire you so much."
  • Hidden Depths: He's still a coward and a weakling, but he does have considerable archery skills. After sending an entire gang of sell swords at Usagi to tire him out, he very near kills him with a well shot arrow to the head. Usagi wouldn't have even noticed it Inazuma hadn't caught it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Eventually, one of the large violent men he sold out catches him alone in a secluded location, beats him up and takes all his money.
  • No Name Given: He's just "The Snitch," though his Space Usage counterpart was named Toady.
  • Punch Clock Villain: He'll snitch to the heroes too. But villains usually pay more.