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Useful Notes / Ishikawa Goemon

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Ishikawa Goemon stealing.

"What a great view!"

Ishikawa Goemon is a Historical Domain Character from Japan, specifically the Sengoku Jidai. This outlaw character is considered the Japanese equivalent of Robin Hood, and his story is still featured in Kabuki Theatre.

This legendary rogue is Shrouded in Myth and has become a Japanese Folk Hero. He is often given exaggerated Ninja skills. His attempt to assassinate Toyotomi Hideyoshi has given rise to speculation for his reason (some say Hideyoshi had his wife killed, others that he wanted to stop a tyrant), but was caught when he accidentally knocked off a bell. Ishikawa was boiled alive in a iron kettle along with his son. With the last of his strength, Ishikawa held his child out of the kettle (and afterward plunged him into it to kill him quickly). This story has given rise to the nickname of "Goemon bath" (goemonburo) for the large iron kettle-shaped bathtubs common in Japan, as mentioned in Drum Bathing.

Traditionally, Goemon tends to be portrayed as a Gentleman Thief and a Large Ham, sometimes as a Big Fun-character type, often with Kabuki Sounds, mannerism and huge, afro-like hair. Also uses fireworks a lot.

Works that feature Goemon:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Lupin III has Goemon Ishikawa XIII, descendant of the real deal, though in counterpoint to his more outlandish ancestor he tends to remain The Comically Serious.
    • One episode of the Red Jacket series has the ghost of the original Goemon called forward to possess his descendant during a scheme; the ghost maintains his more traditional Large Ham nature and appearance.
    • In Lupin III: Dragon of Doom, Goemon is introduced watching the 400th anniversary of the Kabuki play about his ancestor. He cries.
  • The Ambition of Oda Nobuna has Hachisuka Goemon, who is a Composite Character of several people, including Ishikawa.
  • Yaiba features Goemon in all his characteristics: Ninja-like outfit, Kabuki face paint, huge hair, oversized Kiseru and at least one cover reference his "bath". This one, however, can use Fuuma Shuriken and can turn in a Bear man.
  • Episode 73 of Yatterman features Goemon Ishikawa as a gonkish person who's actually a Nice Guy (he immediately helps the protagonists, whom he just met, when he notices that one of them is suffering from food poisoning) and is beloved by the peasants. Of course, the Doronbo Gang helps the bad guy capturing him for the boiling bath execution so that they can get their hands on the Dokuro Stone. Fortunately, the story has an happy ending and Goemon is pardonned by the Daimyo if he promises to stop stealing.
  • Brave10 introduces a seemingly gender-flipped version of Goemon Ishikawa working for the Date clan (implied out of gratitude and love for Katakura Kojuuro) with a team of assassins. It is later revealed that, in fact, is the son of the original Goemon, who adopted a feminine disguise to evade persecutions (as the Shogunate was looking for Goemon's sons). He's killed in combat against Saizo.
  • The Great Teacher Onizuka spinoff Great Transporter Ryuji has a girl named Mimon Ishikawa, who claims to be Goemon's descendant, and is a professional thief like him.

     Live Action TV  

  • In Kamen Rider Ghost, Goemon is one of the 15 Heroic Eyecons. The eponymous Rider first used the Goemon Eyecon's ninja (and kabuki) skills to defeat the revived Katana Ganmanote  who had now Tsubame Gaeshinote .

     Film - Live Action  

  • The assassination attempt on James Bond in You Only Live Twice was attributed to Goemon himself (note: said method, involving a rope and a bottle of poison, is shown in Yaiba too, seen above).
  • A live action film simply titled Goemon stars a lanky and physics-defying version, with Lovable Rogue traits.

     Video Games  

Works that reference Goemon:

  • Itazura Na Kiss has a "Goemon bath" in Volume 7.
  • Jiraiya in Naruto has a technique named "Senpo: Goemon" which involves blowing a stream of boiling-hot oil, a reference to the original's means of death.