NACHI (なち): one of the ten chosen children raised up by Grampa. He promises Azumi they'll go together on the trip in the outside world, but during the trial he fights against her and dies.
NAGARA (ながら): one of the ten chosen children raised up by Grampa. During the trial he fights against Hiei and kills him. Nagara dies during the children first mission in the outside world.
NAGASE (長瀬): a hatamoto embarked on a ship with other men with the mission to kill Azumi.
NAKA (なか): Shizune and Tadane wet nurse. They don't have the slightest hesitation in using her for “funny” games, nor to toy with her life and kill her on purpose with guns as punishment for trying to kill Azumi.
NAMU AMIDA BUTSU (南無阿弥陀仏): "total reliance upon the compassion of Amida Buddha", “I entrust myself to the Buddha Amida”, “Praised be the Lord Amida”. You should Google it and find the answear you like the most.
NANKŌBŌ TENKAI (南光坊天海1536 – 1643): he was a Japanese Tendai Buddhist monk of the Azuchi-Momoyama (1573-1603) and early Edo periods. He achieved the rank of Daisōjō, the highest rank of the priesthood. His Buddhist name was first Zuifū, which he changed to Tenkai in 1590. Also known as Nankōbō (monk of the southern light), Tenkai died in 1643, and was granted the posthumous title of Jigen Daishi in 1648. Tenkai was at Kita-in temple in Kawagoe in 1588, and became abbot in 1599. He was on the staff of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and served as a liaison between the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Imperial Court in Kyōto. One of his projects was the rebuilding of Enryakuji, which had been devastated by Oda Nobunaga. He also revitalized Kita-in, and changed the characters of its name from 北院 to 喜多院. Nearing death in 1616, Ieyasu entrusted Tenkai with his last will regarding matters of his funeral and his posthumous name. Tenkai selected gongen (believed to be the manifestation of an Indian buddha in the form of a local kami, an entity who had come to guide the people to salvation) rather than myōjin, and after death Ieyasu became known as Tōshō Daigongen. Tenkai continued to serve as a consultant to the next two Tokugawa shoguns. In 1624, retired shogun Tokugawa Hidetada and ruling shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu asked him to establish Kan'ei-ji, a Buddhist temple to the northeast of Edo Castle in Ueno. There are several theories concerning his early life. Some fiction writers postulate that he was in actuality Akechi Mitsuhide (or one of his sons). It is not certain whether Mitsuhide died at the Battle of Yamazaki or not, and some suppose that he survived and began a new life as the priest Tenkai. Some even think that Tenkai were more than one people, due to the very long life he had. In Azumi, he's an old Reverend who give his friend Gessai (Grampa) the task to raise a group of extremely skilled martial artists to serve him for important assasination missions. He's very close to Ieyasu.
NARA (奈良): the capital city of Nara Prefecture located in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, directly bordering Kyōto Prefecture. Eight temples, shrines and ruins in Nara, specifically Tōdaiji, Saidaiji, Kōfukuji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangōji, Yakushiji, Tōshōdaiji, and the Heijō Palace remain, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See wikipedia for more information.
NARITA SHINZŌ (成田慎蔵): a friend of Takizawa who invites him to join Katagiri supporters in order for him to show his skills and maybe to get employed. He challenges Azumi who wants to kill his Lord and dies by her hand.
NATSU-DONO (夏どの): Mantarō's little sister who gets ganged raped and killed by Bishamonten and his men.
NIJŌJI (仁条寺): I think here the author means the entire complex of temples in Nijō, Kyōto or even the castle itself.
NINJA (忍者): old secret agents, spies, assassins, proficient with most bizarre and lethal weapons. They were often used to carry out recoinnasance missions, infiltrations and assassinations in feudal Japan (1185 – 1868). They survived after that period becoming less in number but gaining higher proficiency, learning even other languages and being used in a more focused way. See wikipedia for more information.
NINOMARU (二の丸): the “second circle”, a region that serves as an outside layer for a castle. It may vary in size and shape. Expansive ones can also house large living spaces similar to the structures within the core part of the castle area itself.
NISHIDA BENZŌ (西田弁蔵): a man who tailed Azumi and claims to be an old acquaintance of Obata Gessai/Grampa. He shelters Azumi at the temple he is in charge of until Tenkai arrives so she can safely meet with him. He accepts Azumi's request to have Yae live there with her.
NOBUSERI (野伏せり): mountain-dwelling robbers, brigands, thieves.
OBATA GESSAI (小幡月斎): see “grampa”.
OBATA TSUKINOSHIN (小幡月之進): Azumi's alias while she fights in Asano's contest against Kawamata.
OCHIMUSHA (落ち武者): a defeated soldier fleeing the enemy. A fugitive defeated soldier.
ODA NOBUNAGA (織田信長 June 23, 1534 – June 21, 1582): he was the initiator of the unification of Japan under the shogunate in the late 16th century, which ruled Japan until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was also a major daimyō during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. His work was continued, completed and finalized by his successors Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was the second son of Oda Nobuhide, a deputy shugo (military governor) with land holdings in Owari Province. Nobunaga lived a life of continuous military conquest, eventually conquering a third of Japan before his death in 1582. His successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a loyal Oda supporter, would become the first man to unify all of Japan, and was thus the first ruler of all Japan since the Ōnin War. See his hude entry on wikipedia for more information.
ODANI CASTLE (小谷城): it was a Sengoku period mountain-top castle located in the present day town of Kohoku in Higashiazai District, Shiga Prefecture. Only the ruins remain today. It was the home castle of the Azai clan and the mountain it was built upon was considered to be impregnable. However, the castle fell during Oda Nobunaga's siege in the Genki (April 1570 through July 1573 ) and Tenshō (July 1573 through December 1592 ) eras. The 1573 Siege of Odani Castle (小谷城の戦いOdanijō no Tatakai) was the last stand of the Azai clan, one of Oda Nobunaga's chief opponents. Nobunaga took Odani Castle from Azai Nagamasa, who, left with no other option, committed suicide along with his son. His wife and three daughters were entrusted to Nobunaga, considering they were his sister and nieces. Two of Nagamasa's daughters would later marry into powerful families. Their escape from the besieged castle became a fairly common sentimental scene in traditional Japanese art. Before Azai Nagamasa committed seppuku he decided to make one last siege on Nobunaga's main camp; in the end, however, he failed and was instead captured. Azai also knew from the beginning he would lose this battle, so before he died he gave Nobunaga's sister Oichi back, saving her from death. Odani Castle is regarded as among Japan's Five Greatest Mountain Castles, along with Kasugayama Castle, Nanao Castle, Kannonji Castle and Gassantoda Castle. Now it is one of Japan's nationally-designated historical ruins.
OEYO (於江与, Gō 江, Ogō 小督or Satoko達子: 1573 – September 15, 1626): she was a prominently-placed female figure in late Sengoku period. She married three times, first to Saji Kazunari, her cousin, then to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's nephew Toyotomi Hidekatsu. She had a daughter named Sada with Hidekatsu, but he died due to an illness during the Korean War. Her third and last husband Tokugawa Hidetada became the second Tokugawa shogun. She was also the mother of his successor Iemitsu, the third shogun. She had Senhime, Tamahime, Katsuhime, Hatsuhime, Takechiyo (Iemitsu), and Tadanaga. Hatsuhime was adopted by Oeyo's sister Ohatsu, who is the wife of Kyogoku Takatsugu. Hidetada's changing fortunes affected Oeyo's life as well. See wikipedia for more information.
OGATA TAICHIROU (尾形太一郎): he seems to be the leader of the Yagyū men sent by Tenkai to kill grampa. He dies for last by Azumi hands.
OGURI TESSHŪ (小栗鉄舟): Grampa's identity while serving under Hideyori.
OICHI (お市1547–1583): a female historical figure in the late Sengoku period. She is known primarily as the mother of three daughters who married well – Yodo-dono, Ohatsu and Oeyo. Oichi was the younger sister of Oda Nobunaga; and she was the sister-in-law of Nōhime, the daughter of Saitō Dōsan. Oichi was equally renowned for her beauty and her resolve. She was descended from the Taira and Fujiwara clans. Following Nobunaga's conquest of Mino in 1567, in an effort to cement an alliance between Nobunaga and rival warlord Azai Nagamasa, Nobunaga arranged for Oichi, then twenty years old, to marry Nagamasa. Their marriage was through political means, ensuring an alliance between the Oda and the Azai clans. She bore Nagamasa one son (Manjumaru) and three daughters – Yodo-dono, Ohatsu and Oeyo. In the summer of 1570, Nagamasa betrayed his alliance with Nobunaga and went to war with him on behalf of the Asakura family. A story relates that Oichi sent her brother a sack of beans tied at both ends, ostensibly as a good-luck charm but in reality a warning that he was about to be attacked from both front and rear by the Asakura and Azai clans. According to the story, Nobunaga understood the message and retreated from his brother-in-law's assault in time. The fighting continued for three years until the Asakura and other anti-Oda forces were destroyed or weakened. Oichi remained with her husband at Odani Castle throughout the conflict, even after Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a trusted vassal of Nobunaga at the time, began laying siege to the castle. When Odani was surrounded, Nobunaga requested that his sister be returned to him before the final attack. Nagamasa agreed, sending out Oichi and her three daughters. Nagamasa had no hope of winning, and chose to commit seppuku. Oichi and her daughters remained in the Oda family's care for the next decade. After Nobunaga was assassinated in 1582, his sons and vassals broke into two major factions, led by two of Nobunaga's favored generals, Katsuie and Hideyoshi. Nobunaga's third son, Nobutaka, belonged to the former group, and arranged for his aunt Oichi to marry Katsuie in order to ensure his loyalty to the Oda clan. But in 1583, Katsuie was defeated by Hideyoshi in the Battle of Shizugatake, forcing him to retreat to his home at Kitanosho Castle. As Hideyoshi's army lay siege to the castle, Katsuie implored Oichi to flee with her daughters and seek Hideyoshi's protection. Oichi refused, insisting on dying with her husband after their daughters were sent away. The couple reportedly died in the castle's flames. Oichi's three daughters each went on to become important historical figures in their own right. The eldest and the most famous, Yodo-dono became a concubine to Hideyoshi, whose army had killed not only both her birth parents but also her stepfather. She became known as Yodo-dono or Yodogimi (from Yodo Castle, given to her by Hideyoshi), and she bore him his only two sons, including his heir Hideyori. Yodo-dono and Hideyori later died in the Siege of Ōsaka, the final battle of the Warring States era. The second, Ohatsu, married Kyogoku Takatsugu, a man from a noble family once served by the Azai clan. The Kyogoku clan sided with Ieyasu after Hideyoshi's death, giving her the means to serve as an intermediary between Ieyasu and Yodo-dono. She worked in vain to end their hostilities, and after Yodo-dono and Hideyori's death, managed to save Hideyori's daughter by putting her in a convent. The youngest, Oeyo (also called Ogō), married Tokugawa Hidetada, Ieyasu's heir and the second Tokugawa Shogun. They had many children, including the third Shogun Iemitsu, and Kazuko, consort to Emperor Go-Mizunoo. Kazuko's daughter Okiko became Empress Meishō, thus posthumously making Oichi both a grandmother to a Shogun and a great-grandmother to an Empress.
OJICHAN (おじちゃん, 伯父ちゃん, 叔父ちゃん, 小父ちゃん): middle-aged man, “uncle”. A word used to refer to middle-aged men you don't know.
OKŌ-SAN (おこうさん): Kennosuke's mother. She accepts his son request to give Azumi and Kiku hospitality.
OKUDANI (奥谷): “interior valley”, “depht valley” and so on, the place where the chosen children and Grampa live.
ŌGOSHO (大御所): a title indicating a leading, outstanding or influential figure.
ONI (鬼): a kind of yōkai from Japanese folklore, variously translated as demons, devils, ogres or trolls. They are popular characters in Japanese art, literature and theatre. Depictions of oni vary widely but usually portray them as hideous, gigantic ogre-like creatures with sharp claws, wild hair, and two long horns growing from their heads. They are humanoid or the most part, but occasionally, they are shown with unnatural features such as odd numbers of eyes or extra fingers and toes. Their skin may be any number of colors, but red and blue are particularly common. They are often depicted wearing tiger-skin loincloths and carrying iron clubs, called kanabō (金棒). This image leads to the expression "oni with an iron club" (鬼に金棒oni-ni-kanabō), that is, to be invincible or undefeatable. It can also be used in the sense of "strong beyond strong", or having one's natural quality enhanced or supplemented by the use of some tool. See wikipedia for more information.
ONIGIRI (お握り): or simply, nigiri. Also known as omusubi (お結び; おむすび), nigirimeshi (握り飯; にぎりめし) or rice ball, is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shapes and often wrapped in nori (海苔 seaweed). Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (梅干し umeboshi), salted salmon, katsuobushi, kombu, tarako, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative. Because of the popularity of onigiri in Japan, most convenience stores stock their onigiri with various fillings and flavors. There are even specialized shops which only sell onigiri to take out. See wikipedia for more information.
ONO TADAAKI (小野忠明): see Mikogami Tenzen and Onoha Ittōryū.
ONOHA ITTŌRYŪ (小野派一刀流): it is the oldest of the many Ittōryū styles which branched off from Ittosai Kagehisa's original art. It continues to be one of the most influential of the traditional kenjutsu styles today, exerting a major influence, along with Hokushin branch, upon modern kendō's kata, tactics, and aesthetic. Onoha was founded by Ittosai's immediate successor, Ono Jiroemon Tadaaki (1565–1628), from whence the name of the art is derived. Oral tradition indicates that Ittosai made Tadaaki fight a serious duel with another student, Zenki, in order to establish a successor to the style. Serving as an instructor to both the second and third shoguns, along with Yagyū Munenori of the rival school the Yagyū Shinkageryū, Tadaaki was able to continue to give his art wide exposure. It was said that Tadaaki was Munenori's superior in swordsmanship, but that his severe character led him to be the less favoured and respected of the two. Known as a dueling style which focused upon the sword rather than a more multifaceted, multi-weapon, battlefield style, Ono developed a mock sword (shinai) in order to reduce training injuries and allow more committed fighting practice. From a technical standpoint this style consists of more than 150 techniques for both long and short swords. Kiri-otoshi, which translates simply as "cutting down", is still the defining technique, like that of its parent style. Characteristically, practitioners often feel that they have the ability to strike freely due to their technique of cutting down the centre-line during an opponent's cut in order to displace their attacker's sword and gain victory. The style adheres to a philosophy articulated in the phrase "itto sunawachi banto" or "one sword gives rise to ten thousand swords," meaning that a thorough understanding of the fundamental technique of cutting will lead one to understand the myriad variations. Although formally established as a system for unarmoured fighting, the techniques maintained an awareness of the demands and tactics of armoured fighting, making the techniques adaptable to such circumstances. The transmission of the system passed out of the Ono family briefly and was maintained by the feudal lord Tsugaru Nobumasa. The second headmaster from this family taught Ono Tadakata, allowing the Ono family to continue preserving the line while the Tsugaru family continued their practice of the art, thereby having two families maintain the main line of the Onoha Ittōryū tradition thereafter. The Tsugaru family also taught the system to members of Yamaga family, and they worked together to preserve the line of their art. Sasamori Junzo, a well known and high ranking kendo practitioner, took over the preservation of the system in the Taishō period and his son, Sasamori Takemi, is presently the 16th headmaster of the system.
ŌNO HARUNAGA (大野治長, 1569 – June, 1615): was a Toyotomi retainer who served in the Sekigahara campaign on the Tokugawa side under Fukushima Masanori. He became one of the noted defenders of Ōsaka castle during the two campaigns there in 1614 and 1615. He was killed during the climactic Battle of Tennōji in June 1615.
ŌSAKA (大坂old, 大阪 modern): a city in the Kansai region of Honshū, the main island of Japan. Talking about Ōsaka back in the day meant almost immediately Ōsaka Castle, the magnificient and formidable castle built from 1583 to 1597 by Hideyoshi and then passed to his son Hideyori when he died.
ŌSAKA CASTLE (大坂城 old, 大阪城 modern): is a castle in Chūō-ku, Ōsaka. The castle is one of Japan's most famous, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. In 1583 Toyotomi Hideyoshi commenced construction on the site of the Ikkō-ikki temple of Ishiyama Honganji. The basic plan was modeled after Azuchi Castle, the headquarters of Oda Nobunaga. Toyotomi wanted to build a castle that mirrored Oda's, but surpassed it in every way: the plan featured a five-story main tower, with three extra stories underground, and gold leaf on the sides of the tower to impress visitors. In 1585 the Inner donjon was completed. Toyotomi continued to extend and expand the castle, making it more and more formidable to attackers. In 1597 construction was completed and Hideyoshi died. Osaka Castle passed to his son,Toyotomi Hideyori. In 1600 Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated his opponents at the Battle of Sekigahara, and started his own bakufu in Edo. In 1614 Tokugawa attacked Hideyori in the winter, starting the Siege of Ōsaka. Although the Toyotomi forces were outnumbered approximately 2 to 1, they managed to fight off Tokugawa's 200,000-man army and protect the castle's outer walls. Tokugawa had the castle's outer moat filled, negating one of the castle's main outer defenses. During the summer of 1615, Hideyori began to dig the outer moat once more. Tokugawa, in outrage, sent his armies to Ōsaka Castle again, and routed the Toyotomi men inside the outer walls on June 4. Ōsaka Castle fell to Tokugawa, and the Toyotomi clan perished. In 1620, the new heir to the shogunate, Tokugawa Hidetada, began to reconstruct and re-arm Ōsaka Castle. He built a new elevated main tower, five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and assigned the task of constructing new walls to individual samurai clans. The walls built in the 1620s still stand today, and are made out of interlocked granite boulders without mortar. Many of the stones were brought from rock quarries near the Seto Inland Sea, and bear inscribed crests of the various families who contributed them. In 1660, lightning ignited the gunpowder warehouse and the resulting explosion set the castle on fire. In 1665, lightning struck and burnt down the main tower. In 1843, after decades of neglect, the castle got much-needed repairs when the bakufu collected money from the people of the region to rebuild several of the turrets. In 1868, Ōsaka Castle fell and was surrendered to anti-bakufu imperial loyalists. Much of the castle was burned in the civil conflicts surrounding the Meiji Restoration. Under the Meiji government, Ōsaka Castle became part of the Ōsaka Army Arsenal (Ōsaka Hohei Kosho) manufacturing guns, ammunition and explosives for Japan's rapidly-expanding Western-style military. In 1928, the main tower was restored after the mayor of Ōsaka concluded a highly successful fund-raising drive. During World War II, the arsenal became one of the largest military armories, employing 60,000 workers. Bombing raids targeting the arsenal damaged the reconstructed main castle tower and, on August 14, 1945, destroyed 90% of the arsenal and killed 382 people working there. In 1995, Ōsaka's government approved yet another restoration project, with the intent of restoring the main tower to its Edo-era splendor. In 1997, restoration was completed. The castle is a concrete reproduction (including elevators) of the original and the interior is intended as a modern, functioning museum. The Castle grounds, which cover approximately 60,000 square meters (15 acres).
OTAMA-SAN (おたまさん): Kohyuōta asks her to make lunch boxes for four, so she should be one of the women tasked with coocking duty in the Ono mansion.
ŌTSUKA HYŌE (大塚兵衛): a great tactician who gives strategy lectures to Hideyori. He is killed by Azumi.
ORE (俺): a very male and rude way to speak about oneself. Azumi always speaks like this.
OWARI YAGYŪ (尾張柳生): see Yagyū Shinkageryū.
OZEN (お膳): a four-legged tray for festive food.
RASETSUGARASU (羅刹鴉): a seven men squad of assassins that uses conventional and non conventional weapons to do what they have to do. They seem to be very well acquainted with Gensai. Rasetsu is the Japanese for the Sanskrit “Rakshasa”, a type of evil spirit, and “garasu” comes from “karasu”, meaning “crow” (infact, they're completely claded in black clothes). They come to the snow country to “hunt” as much as they want, as Gensai told them. They make a massacre at the country border, kill innocent people waiting for Shizune to cross from the other side of the valley, slaughter Matsuchiyo, his escorts and Gacchi's father. One of the seven dies by Azumi's hands while “testing” her at Gensai's house. Three of them face Tobizaru, gravely injuring him and making him fall into the valley. They all get killed by Azumi during a six vs one showdown at the Devil's Face Rock.
RED RICE: Sekihan (赤飯, rice boiled together with red beans) is a Japanese traditional dish. It is sticky rice steamed with azuki beans, which give a reddish color to the rice, hence its name. The rice of ancient times of Japan was red. Therefore, red rice was used in the ancient divine work. Red rice has a strong taste of tannin, and its cultivation has been almost completely abandoned. The present Sekihan is colored red using azuki. Sekihan is often served on special occasions throughout the year in Japan, for example, birthdays, weddings and some holidays, such as Shichi-Go-San. In some places it is customarily made when a young woman reaches menarche, although this is less common now than it was in the past. Sekihan is so strongly connected with celebration that the phrase "Let's have sekihan" has acquired the meaning "Let's celebrate." It is believed that sekihan is used for celebrations because of its red color, symbolic of happiness in Japan. It is usually eaten immediately after cooking but it may also be eaten at room temperature, as in a celebratory bento (boxed lunch). Sekihan is traditionally eaten with gomashio (a mixture of lightly toasted sesame and salt). There are also regional varieties of sekihan. Some versions call for sugar instead of salt to give a sweet flavor. Others use amanattō (sweetened bean confectionery) instead of azuki.
RENSHŌJI (蓮正寺): a temple in Sunpu.
RŌNIN (浪人): a rōnin was a samurai with no lord or master during the feudal period (1185–1868) of Japan. A samurai became masterless from the death or fall of his master, or after the loss of his master's favor or privilege. In modern Japanese usage, the term also describes a salaryman who is "between employers" or a secondary school graduate who has not yet been admitted to university. See more information on wikipedia.
ROPPONMATSU (六本松): the place where Yae-chan lives in Tango.
RYŌ (両): it was a gold piece in pre-Meiji Japan. It was eventually replaced with a system based on the yen. See wikipedia for more information.
SAGAWA SŌZABURŌ (佐川惣三郎): one of the bosses of the rōnin group in the snow country. He's killed by Azumi while he's trying to rape her with some of his comrades at the secret hot springs.
SAIGANJI (西願寺): a buddhist temple. Gacchi orders his siter to go there and wait for him.
SAJI (佐治): one of the ten shinobi chiefs, and the first to be killed. His name is unknown. Disguised as a traveling priest, he sees Musashi fighting. After, he enters in the same place where Musashi stops to refresh. Azumi comes in and he thinks that she could not already know his face, so he plans to kill her with a surprise attack. The moment he tries, he is killed by her in the blink of an eye.
SAJIKAWA BUNDAI (佐治川文内): one of the ten shinobi chiefs who are going to work with Date. After Hatsune is interrogated he sneaks in her room in the dead of night trying to have her sexual favors, but he falls in her trap to have her ropes unfastened a bit. She escapes but he catches up to her and throws a shuriken in her naked back. After, he takes part in the assault tothe knew lodging where Azumi group resides.
SAJIKI BROTHERS (佐敷三兄弟): three brothers summoned by Kanbee to give chase and kill the children and Grampa. Sanzō (三蔵) is the youngest, Nisai (二斎) the second one and Isshin (一心) the eldest. Their names contain the numbers 1, 2 and 3 as the order in which they were born, plus they all have some meaning connected with Buddhism. “Isshin”, a whole, single mind, “sai”, worship, purification, Buddhist food, and “sanzō”, three branches of Buddhist sutras (whatever it means). The three mistake Yae-chan, Tasuke and their Master for Grampa and the children. The former is raped while the latter are killed. Realizing their mistake they keep searching for their targets. They find Grampa and Ukiha and fight them. Grampa is deeply wounded but he manages to escape, likewise Ukiha, who's almost unscathed. They go at the inn where they found Grampa and Ukiha to kill the remaining children and engage a fight with Azumi and Hyuuga, who kills Nisai, while Azumi herself kills both Isshin and Sanzō.
SAKAI (堺): it is a city in Ōsaka Prefecture. It has been one of the largest and most important seaports of Japan since the Medieval era. See wikipedia for a lot more information.
SAKAKURA-SAN (坂倉さん): a very clever man who devised for Bishamonten the plan to abduct the military commander of the soon to be expedition against them. Probably a shogunate spy?
SAKE (酒): Sake or saké is an alcoholic beverage of Japanese origin that is made from fermented rice. Sake is sometimes called "rice wine" but the brewing process is more as rice beer, converting starch to sugar for the fermentation process. In the Japanese language, the word "sake" generally refers to any alcoholic drink, while the beverage called "sake" in English is usually termed nihonshu ("Japanese liquor"). Under Japanese liquor laws, sake is labelled with the word "seishu" ("clear liquor"), a synonym less commonly used colloquially.
SAKUZŌ (作造): one of the other boys Kiku's boss uses for missions.
-SAMA (様): a polite suffix to indicate high respect towards a person, due to his title, position in life or personal importance to whom is speaking.
SAMURAI (侍): usually referred to in Japanese as bushi or buke, were the military nobility of medieval and early-modern Japan. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany persons in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean "those who serve in close attendance to the nobility," the pronunciation in Japanese changing to saburai. According to Wilson, an early reference to the word "samurai" appears in the Kokin Wakashū (905–914), the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10th century. By the end of the 12th century, samurai became almost entirely synonymous with bushi, and the word was closely associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class. The samurai followed a set of rules that came to be known as bushidō. While the samurai numbered less than 10% of Japan's population,their teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts.
-SAN (さん): the most common suffix to show respect toward a person.
SANADA MASAYUKI (真田昌幸 1544 (1547?) – July 13, 1611): he was a Japanese Sengoku period daimyō. He was the third son of Sanada Yukitaka, a vassal daimyō to the Takeda family in Shinano province. He is known as a master strategist. Sanada Nobuyuki and Sanada Yukimura were his sons. See wikipedia for a lot more information. In “Azumi” he's killed by Azumi's comrades.
SANADA YUKIMURA (真田幸村1567 – June 3, 1615): also known as Sanada Nobushige (真田 信繁), was samurai warrior of the Sengoku period. He was especially known as the leading general on the losing side of the Siege of Ōsaka. Yukimura was called "A Hero who may appear once in a hundred years" and "Crimson Demon of War", and the famed veteran of the invasion of Korea, Shimazu Tadatsune, called him the "Number one warrior in Japan" (日本一の兵). See wikipedia for a lot more information.
SANJŌ-ŌHASHI (三条大橋): a bridge in Kyōto. It spans the Kamo River as part of Sanjōdōri (三条大通りThird Avenue). It is well-known because it served as the ending location for both the Nakasendō and the Tōkaidō. It is unclear when this bridge was first built, but there are records of Toyotomi Hideyoshi orders for it to be repaired in 1590 as well as one of the original gibōshi (擬宝onion-shaped posts that are located on bridges, shrines and temples in Japan). The current concrete bridge, which includes two lanes for driving and a walking path on either side, was built in 1950.
SANNOMARU (三の丸): the “third circle”, a region that serves as an outside layer for a castle. It may vary in size and shape. Expansive ones can also house large living spaces similar to the structures within the core part of the castle area itself.
SANYŌDŌ (山陽道 literally, "southern mountain circuit" or "southern mountain region") is a Japanese geographical term. It means both an ancient division of the country and the main road running through it. The San'yōdō corresponds for the most part with the modern conception of the San'yō region. This name derives from the idea that the southern side of the central mountain chain running through Honshū was the "sunny" side, while the northern side was the "shady" (山陰 San'in) side. The region was established as one of the Gokishichidō (Five provinces and seven roads) during the Asuka period (538-710), and consisted of the following eight ancient provinces: Harima, Mimasaka, Bizen, Bitchū, Bingo, Aki, Suō and Nagato. However, this system gradually disappeared by the Muromachi period (1333-1467). The San'yōdō, however, continued to be important, and highly trafficked through the Edo period (1603-1867). Running mostly east-west, its eastern terminus, along with those of most of the medieval highways (街道, kaidō), was at Kyōto. From there it ran west through Fushimi, Yodo, Yamazaki, and Hyōgo; from there it followed the coast of the Seto Inland Sea to Hagi, near Shimonoseki, the western terminus of both the San'yōdō and the San'indō, and very near the westernmost end of the island of Honshū. It ran a total of roughly 145 ri (approx. 350 miles). As might be expected, the road served an important strategic and logistical role in a number of military situations over the course of the years. Emperor Go-Daigo in the 14th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century, and many others used it to flee from conflict, to return to the core of the country (kinai), or to move troops. Many daimyō also used this road as part of their mandatory journeys (sankin kōtai) to Edo under the Tokugawa shogunate. Of course, the road also served the more everyday purpose of providing transport for merchants, traveling entertainers, pilgrims and other commoners. The modern national highway, Route 2, the San'yō Expressway, and the San'yō Main Line of the West Japan Railway Company, follow the approximate route of the San'yōdō.
SARUTOBI (猿飛): Bijomaru always call Tobizaru like this. Incidentally, Sarutobi Sasuke (猿飛佐助) is a fictional ninja who appears in kōdan narrative art and fictional writings. The nickname is generally believed to have been concocted from Meiji to the Taisho period. Some argue he is based on real live personages, such as Kōzuki Sasuke (上月佐助). See wikipedia for more information.
SASAKI KOJIRŌ (佐々木 小次郎also known as Ganryū Kojirō, 1585? – April 13, 1612): was a prominent Japanese swordsman widely considered a master of his craft, born in Fukui Prefecture. He lived during the Sengoku and early Edo periods and is most remembered for his death while battling Miyamoto Musashi in 1612. See wikipedia for much more information.
SAYO (小夜): Yae prostitute name in Kyō.
SEIRYŪ (青龍, “azure dragon”): one of the main men of Bishamonten gang of rōnin. He too has a bold name. The azure Dragon is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. It represents the east and the spring season. It should not be confused with the mythological yellow dragon that is associated with the Emperor of China. It is also referred to in media, feng shui, other cultures, and in various venues as the Green Dragon and the Avalon Dragon. It is known as Qinglong in Chinese, Seiryū in Japanese, Cheongnyong in Korean, and Thanh Long in Vietnamese. It is sometimes called the Azure Dragon of the East. See wikipedia for more information.
SEKIGAHARA (関ヶ原): it's in present-day Gifu Prefecture. Sekigahara was the site where the decisive battle between the western army, lead by Ishida Mitsunari of the Toyotomi faction, and the eastern army, lead by Tokugawa Ieyasu, took place on October 21, 1600 which cleared the path to the Shogunate for Ieyasu himself. Though it would take three more years for Ieyasu to consolidate his position of power over the Toyotomi clan and the daimyō, Sekigahara is widely considered to be the unofficial beginning of the Tokugawa bakufu (military government), the last shogunate to control Japan. Japan had a long period of peace after the battle. Sekigahara was chosen because it was the largest place were tens of thousands of troops could maneuver.
SENDAI (仙台): it is the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, and the largest city in the Tōhoku region. In 2005, the city had a population of one million, and was one of Japan's 20 designated cities. The city was founded in 1600 by the daimyō Date Masamune, and is well known by its nickname, the City of Trees (杜の都 Mori no miyako); there are about 60 zelkova trees on Jōzenji Street (定禅寺通Jōzenji dōri) and Aoba Street (青葉通Aoba dōri). In the summer, the Sendai Tanabata Festival, the largest Tanabata festival in Japan, is held. In winter, the trees are decorated with thousands of lights for the Pageant of Starlight (光のページェント), lasting through most of December. Although the Sendai area was inhabited as early as 20,000 years ago, the history of Sendai as a city begins from 1600, when the daimyō Date Masamune relocated to Sendai. Masamune was not happy with his previous stronghold, Iwadeyama. Iwadeyama was located to the north of his territories and was also difficult to access from Edo (modern-day Tōkyō). Sendai was an ideal location, being in the centre of Masamune's newly defined territories, upon a major road from Edo, and near the sea. Tokugawa Ieyasu gave Masamune permission to build a new castle in Aobayama (Mount Aoba), Sendai after the Battle of Sekigahara. Aobayama was the location of a castle used by the previous ruler of the Sendai area. At this time Sendai was written as 千代 (which literally means "a thousand generations"), because a temple with a thousand Buddha statues (千体sentai) used to be located in Aobayama. Masamune changed the kanji to 仙臺, which later became 仙台 (which is literally "hermit/wizard", "platform/plateau" or more figuratively, "hermit on a platform/high ground"). The kanji was taken from a Chinese poem that praised a palace created by the Emperor Wen of Han China, comparing it to a mythical palace in the Kunlun Mountains. It is said that Masamune chose this kanji so that the castle would prosper as long as a mountain inhabited by an immortal hermit. Masamune ordered the construction of Sendai Castle in December 1600 and the construction of the town of Sendai in 1601. The grid plan roads in present day central Sendai are based upon his plans. More information on wikipedia.
SENDŌ (千堂): a hatamoto embarked on a ship with other men with the mission to kill Azumi.
SENGOKU PERIOD (戦国時代): or the Warring States Period in Japanese history was a time of social upheaval, political intrigue, and nearly constant military conflict that lasted roughly from the middle of the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century. Its name is a reference to the Warring States period in ancient China, and it is sometimes called by that name in English. The Sengoku period in Japan would eventually lead to the unification of political power under the Tokugawa shogunate. See wikipedia for more in-depht information.
SENHIME (千姫, Princess Sen or Lady Sen, April 11, 1597 – February 6, 1666): she was the eldest daughter of the shogun Tokugawa Hidetada and his wife Oeyo. She was born during the warring-states period. Her paternal grandfather was the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu; her maternal grandfather was Azai Nagamasa; her grandmother was Oichi, whose brother was Oda Nobunaga. In 1603, when Senhime was seven years old, she married the successor to the Toyotomi clan, Toyotomi Hideyori and lived with him in Osaka Castle along with his mother, Lady Yodo, who was a sister of Oeyo. Little is known about their life together, but it didn't last long as her grandfather, Ieyasu, besieged the castle in 1615, when she was just nineteen. When Osaka castle fell, Hideyori was forced to commit suicide along with his mother and his child by Senhime. Senhime was luckier and had been rescued from the castle before it fell. In 1616, Ieyasu remarried Senhime to Honda Tadatoki, a grandson of Honda Tadakatsu, and in few years she moved to Himeji. A famous legend tells that a certain Sakazaki Naomori planned to capture Senhime just before her remarriage, wishing to marry her himself. However his plan was revealed and Naomori was either killed or forced to commit suicide. It was long believed that Naomori was the one who saved Senhime out from the Osaka Castle, believing the words of Tokugawa Ieyasu that he would give Senhime to whoever rescued her, though recently this has been doubted. Stories tell that Senhime refused to marry Naomori, whose face was ill-favored because of the burn he got when he saved her, and rather preferred handsome Tadatoki. Senhime and Tadatoki had an amicable marriage and had two children together, a daughter, Katsuhime and a son, Kōchiyo. However tragedy struck when Kōchiyo died at the age of three, and five years later in 1626, Tadatoki died of tuberculosis. His mother and Oeyo (then known as Sūgen'in) died in the same year. As was the tradition for a widow at that time, Senhime cut her hair short and became a Buddhist nun, taking the name Tenjuin(天樹院), moved back to Edo and spent the long years of the rest of her life there.The dramatic life of Senhime produced many legends. Some legends talk about her tenderness, such as how she saved a daughter between her husband Hideyori and another wife of him at the Siege of Ōsaka. Some other tell her lecherousness during her later days at Edo. Today, Senhime figures prominently in jidaigeki ("period dramas", a genre of film, television, and theatre most often set during the Edo period of Japanese history, from 1603 to 1868) and taiga dorama ("Big River Drama", the name NHK gives to the annual, year-long historical fiction television series it broadcasts). Senhime is also a beloved figure in Himeji. Little after her marriage to Honda Tadatoki, they moved to Himeji Castle, a present-day world heritage, and its west wing was mostly constructed at this time. Most of the west wing is lost now, but a tower called keshō yagura (Dressing Tower) remains, where it is believed that she actually dressed herself.
SENSEI (先生 lit. "person born before another"): in general usage, it is used, with proper form, after a person's name, and means "teacher", and the word is used as a title to refer to or address teachers, professors, professionals such as lawyers, CPA and doctors, politicians, clergymen, and other figures of authority. The word is also used to show respect to someone who has achieved a certain level of mastery in an art form or some other skill: accomplished puppeteers, novelists, musicians, and artists for example are addressed in this way.
SEPPUKU (切腹): "stomach-cutting" is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honor code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies (and likely suffer torture), or as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed for other reasons that had brought shame to them. The ceremonial disembowelment, which is usually part of a more elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a Tantō, into the abdomen and moving the blade from left to right in a slicing motion. See wikipedia for more information.
SETO SEA (瀬戸の海): today, Seto Inland Sea, often shortened to Inland Sea, is the body of water separating Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū, three of the four main islands of Japan. It serves as a waterway, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan. It connects to Ōsaka Bay and provides a sea transport link to industrial centers in the Kansai region, including Ōsaka and Kōbe. Before the construction of the San'yō Main Line, it was the main transportation link between Kansai and Kyūshū. Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Hyōgo, Ōsaka, Kagawa, Ehime, Fukuoka, and Ōita prefectures all have coastlines on the Inland Sea; the cities of Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Takamatsu, and Matsuyama are also located on it. The Inland Sea region is known for its moderate climate, with a stable year-round temperature and relatively low rainfall levels: the area is often called "the land of fair weather" (晴れの国 hare no kuni). The sea is also famous for its periodic red tides (赤潮akashio) caused by dense groupings of certain phytoplankton that result in the death of large numbers of fish.
SHIBATA KATSUIE (柴田 勝家, 1522 – June 14, 1583, or Gonroku (権六): he was a Japanese military commander during the Sengoku Period who served Oda Nobunaga. Katsuie was born in the village of Kamiyashiro (present-dayMeitō-ku, Nagoya), a branch of the Shiba clan (who descended from the Ashikaga clan, and were the former suzerains of the Oda clan). Note the differences between Shibata (柴田), Shiba (斯波), and the Shibata clan of Echigo (新発田). Katsuie was the retainer of Oda Nobukatsu (Oda Nobuyuki). When control of the Oda clan was contested, Katsuie initially supported his lord, Nobukatsu, against his elder brother Oda Nobunaga. In 1556, Katsuie launched a coup d'etat against Nobunaga. He was defeated at the Battle of Inō, and in the aftermath Nobunaga had his brother executed, but impressed with the retainer's loyalty and bravery, decided to spare the life of Katsuie. Katsuie pledged his services to Nobunaga, earning his praises. In 1570, while a joint Oda-Tokugawa coalition fought the battle of Anegawa, Katsuie was under siege at Chokoji Castle by 4000 soldiers of the Rokkaku clan. Katsuie eventually won via an all-out attack, forcing the Rokkaku to retreat. This action, along with a series of brilliant victories, gained him renown as "Oni Shibata". In 1575, after gaining control of Echizen, he took command of Kitanosho Castle (Hokujō) and was ordered to conquer the Hokuriku region. After controlling Kaga and Noto, he began a campaign against Etchu Province in 1581. In 1582, Nobunaga was betrayed at Honnō-ji by Akechi Mitsuhide and although Katsuie wanted to join the hunt for Akechi, he was unable to return south as he was heavily invested with the Siege of Matsukura and the army of Uesugi Kenshin. In a meeting in Kiyosu to determine the successor to Nobunaga, he supported Oda Nobutaka, the third son, for whom Katsuie had performed the genpuku ritual (an historical coming-of-age ceremony). He allied with Oda Nobutaka and Takigawa Kazumasu to battle Hideyoshi. However, his domain was sealed off in the winter by snowfalls and this limited his ability. Both of his allies were defeated while Katsuie battled snowfalls and Uesugi. His forces, under the leadership of Sakuma Morimasa, besieged Nakagawa Kiyohide at Shizugatake in a move to turn the tide launching the battle of Shizugatake. Sakuma ignored Shibata's orders to merely test the enemy's defence and was destroyed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi's returning forces. He retreated to Kitanoshō castle but with the army destroyed, Katsuie had no option but to surrender. Katsuie committed seppuku and set the fire to the castle. He implored Oichi to take their daughters and leave, but she decided to follow his death, while letting her daughters escape. Ironically, Katsuie had not so much as lifted a spear personally during the battle.
SHIJIMI (蜆): shijimi clam (corbicula japonica).
SHIMAZU YOSHIHISA (島津 義久, February 9, 1533 – March 5, 1611): he was the eldest son of Shimazu Takahisa (1514-1571) and a lady of the Iriki-in family. As talented as his father, whom he succeded in 1566, Yoshihisa continued the long struggle to unify the fragmented Shimazu domain. To this end he was compelled to subdue both the Tomotsuki and Hisikari within the borders of Satsuma and Ôsumi while fighting hard to fend off advances from the outside lords Sagara and Ito. In these difficult endeavors Yoshihisa was well-served by his brothers (Yoshihiro, Iehisa, and Toshihisa) and his steadily growing retainer band, which included the noted generals Ijuin Tadamune, Niiro Tadamoto, and Uwai Akitane. See wikipedia for more informations.
SHIMAZU TADATSUNE (島津忠恒, November 27, 1576 – April 7, 1638): he was a tozama daimyō (“outside daimyō”, a daimyō who was considered an outsider by the rulers of Japan) of Satsuma, the first to hold it as a formal fief (han) under the Tokugawa shogunate, and the first Japanese to rule over the Ryūkyū Kingdom. As lord of Satsuma, he was among the most powerful lords in Japan at the time, and formally submitted to Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1602, to prove his loyalty, being rewarded as a result with the name Matsudaira Iehisa; Matsudaira being a branch family of the Tokugawa, and "Ie" of "Iehisa" being taken from "Ieyasu", this was a great honor. As of 1603, his holdings amounted to 605,000 koku. Tadatsune was the third son of Shimazu Yoshihiro. Since Yoshihiro's elder brother Shimazu Yoshihisa did not have a son and his other elder brother Shimazu Hisakazu died of illness in Korea, he was deemed successor to their uncle and he later took the name of Iehisa (家久). Like his father and uncle, he was known for bravery on the battlefield, and during the latter half of Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea, fighting beside his father, he helped drive off the Ming army of over 100,000 men with only 8000 men. As head of the Shimazu clan, he sought to remove corrupt or disloyal counselors, and to reform the clan leadership. To this end, in 1599, he killed a long-time retainer and karō (家老 “house elder", top-ranking samurai officials and advisors in service to the daimyō), Ijuin Tadamune as well as his son Ijuin Tadazane when they tried to part with the Shimazu clan. In 1602, he became the head of his clan but his father held real power until 1619. In 1609, Tadatsune led an expeditionary force to the Ryūkyū Kingdom, subjugating it and using it to effect trade with China. The Ryūkyūs were allowed to remain semi-independent, and would not be formally annexed by Japan until after the Meiji Restoration (1868); if China knew that the Ryūkyūs were controlled by the Japanese, trade would have come to an end. Thus, Tadatsune forced this unusual status upon the Kingdom.
SHIMOTANI (下谷): the place were Yazaemon-sama lives. The name can mean “low valley” or “inferior valley” and it's probably derived by the placement of the vally itself on the land. A ninja village.
SHINKAI (真快): one of the teachers of the Hōzōinryū at the temple where Nishida Benzō is in charge and where Azumi is being sheltered.
SHINKEN SHIRAHADORI (真剣白刃取り): “live blade catching”, an extremely dangerous technique used to catch blades using only the bare hands when the swings come from above the head.
SHINO-DONO (志乃どの): the daughter of the military commander who should have been in charge of the battle to deal with the rōnin who invaded their domain. Kennosuke wants to help her.
She secretly loves him.
SHINOBI (忍び): see ninja.
SHINSUKE (晋介): one of Munenori's men who are pursuing Grampa and Azumi.
SHINZABURŌ (新三郎): Lady Yodo's lover, one of Hideyori's guards. Checking if Ukiha died in the pitfall trap he activated, he gets pulled down with him and dies while Ukiha uses his body to survive the fall impact.
SHIRAISHI KINSUKE (白石金助): one of the ten shinobi chiefs who are going to work with Date. He is impressed to meet Abe Kurando. He tails Hatsune with Yamanaka and when she faints he transport her in the temple. He is one of the men for the inn attack group, with ten of his followers he secretly brought with him. He is killed by Azumi during the attack at the inn.
SHŌGUN (将軍): a shōgun (literally, "military commander") was one of the (usually) hereditary military dictators of Japan from 1192 to 1867. In this period, the shōguns, or their shikken regents (1203–1333), were the de facto rulers of Japan though they were nominally appointed by the emperor. When Portuguese explorers first came into contact with the Japanese (Nanban period), they described Japanese conditions in analogy, likening the emperor, with great symbolic authority but little political power, to the Pope, and the shōgun to secular European rulers, e.g. The King of Spain. In keeping with the analogy, they even used the term "emperor" in reference to the shōgun/regent, e.g. in the case of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, whom missionaries called "Emperor Taicosama" (from Taikō and the honorific sama). The modern rank of shōgun is equivalent to a generalissimo. Although the original meaning of "shogun" is simply "a general", as a title, it is used as the short form of seii taishōgun (征夷大将軍), the governing individual at various times in the history of Japan, ending when Tokugawa Yoshinobu relinquished the office to the Meiji Emperor in 1867. A shogun's office or administration is known in English as the "office". In Japanese it was known as bakufu (幕府) which literally means "tent office", and originally meant "house of the general", and later also suggested a private government. Bakufu could also mean "tent government" and was the way the government was run under a shogun. The tent symbolized the field commander but also denoted that such an office was meant to be temporary. The shogun's officials were as a collective the bakufu, and were those who carried out the actual duties of administration while the Imperial court retained only nominal authority. See other information on wikipedia.
SHŌJIRŌ (正二郎): could even be read Seijirō, Tadajirō or Masajirō. He's the second son of a samurai and a friend of Shunjirō. They have the same age. He trains with zeal at the dōjō.
SHŌSUKE-SAN (庄助さん): this is a part of a very nonsensical popular song in the 1600 period, sang by itinerant entertainers (Echigojishi or Kakubeejishi) wearing a lion mask and doing tumbling acts. Usually the Master (Oyakata), hitting a drum or little drum with a stick in his right hand, sings the song, while little boys and girls do acrobatics. Here, the Master was somewhere else, as you saw. The song does something like “Bring a bucket and hit it with a stick in your hand, boom boom boom. Shōsuke-san, no matter how many bowls of rice you eat, it's not difficult for you”. Nonsense. In other versions of this song there's a lion that eats southern barbarians (the early Europeans who came to Japan back in the day).
SHOSHŪ HONZAN HONJI SHOHATTO (諸宗本山本寺諸法度 lit. Acts Relating to the Head Temple and Temples of Each Sect): it was a code of laws established in 1615 that regulated the conduct of temples and head temples of each sect.
SHURIKEN (手裏剣): a metal throwing star shaped weapon.
SŌJŌ (僧正): a High Buddhist Priest, like Tenkai.
SUE (すえ): Kiku's little sister. She becomes Azumi's friend. Her father and elder sister die to protect her.
SUGI (すぎ): Kogenta/Kanbee's little sister.
SUMMER SIEGE OF ŌSAKA (大坂夏の陣): in April 1615, Ieyasu received word that Toyotomi Hideyori was gathering even more troops than in the previous November, and that he was trying to stop the filling of the moat. Toyotomi forces (often called the Western Army) began to attack contingents of the Shogun's forces (the Eastern Army) near Ōsaka. Commanded by Ban Danemon, they raided Wakayama Castle, a coastal fortress belonging to Asano Nagaakira, an ally of the Shogun, on April 29. Asano's men sallied forth from the castle, attacking the invaders, and driving them off. By early June, the Eastern army had arrived, before Hideyori managed to secure any land to use against them. At the battle of Dōmyōji, on June 2, 2,600 of his men encountered 23,000 of the Eastern Army. Hideyori's commander at the battle, Gotō Matabei, attempted to retreat into the fog, but the battle was lost and he was killed. After this, Tokugawa forces intercepted those of Toyotomi general Sanada Yukimura at Honta-Ryo. Sanada tried to force a battle with Date Masamune, but Date retainer Katakura Shigenaga retreated since his troops were exhausted; Sanada's forces followed suit. The same night, Chōsokabe Morichika and Tōdō Takatora battled at Yao. Another battle took place at Wakae around the same time, between Kimura Shigenari and Ii Naotaka. Chōsokabe's forces achieved victory, but Kimura Shigenari was deflected by the left wing of Ii Naotaka's army. The main Tokugawa forces moved to assist Tōdō Takatora after Shigenari's death, and Chōsokabe withdrew for the time being. After another series of shogunate victories on the outskirts of Ōsaka, the Summer Campaign came to a head at the battle of Tennōji. Hideyori planned a hammer-and-anvil operation, in which 55,000 men would attack the center of the Eastern Army, while a second force, of 16,500 men, would flank them from the rear. Another contingent waited in reserve. Ieyasu's army was led by his son, the Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada, and numbered around 155,000. They moved in four parallel lines, prepared to make flanking maneuvers of their own. Mistakes on both sides nearly ruined the battle, as Hideyori's rōnin split off from the main group, and Hidetada's reserve force moved up without orders from the main force. In the end, however, Hideyori's commander Sanada Yukimura was killed, destroying the morale of the Western Army. The smaller force led directly by Hideyori sallied forth from Ōsaka Castle too late, and was chased right back into the castle by the advancing enemies; there was no time to set up a proper defense of the castle, and it was soon ablaze and pummeled by artillery fire. Hideyori committed seppuku, and the final major uprising against Tokugawa rule was put to an end, leaving the shogunate unchallenged for approximately 250 years. History indicates that the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi participated in the battle on the Tokugawa Shogunate side, though he has no recorded accomplishments in this battle
SUNPU (駿府): today's Shizuoka.
SURUGA (駿河): it was an old province in the area that is today the central part of Shizuoka prefecture. It was sometimes called Sunshū (駿州). Suruga bordered on Izu, Kai, Sagami, Shinano, and Tōtōmi provinces and had access to the Pacific Ocean through Suruga Bay. See wikipedia for more information.
SŪGEN (崇厳): one of the monk attendants working with Azumi and her group. He is one of the only two monks there who knows what face Date has.
TACHINO YŌSUKE (立野要助): could even be read Tatsuno or Tateno. One of the Yagyū men sent by Tenkai to kill Grampa. He dies fighting Azumi.
TAE (たえ): Gacchi's little sister. She manages to escape death by staying inside the closet behind the futon while the Rasetsugarasu massacre everyone. Gacchi sends her to take refuge at the Saiganji and after he frees Azumi he goes there too. Tae will be taken in at the temple with him by the high priest and she'll say farewell to Azumi after receiving one of her tops. Seeing her beaten up with snow balls by the villagers she rushes to shield her but Gacchi takes her away and starts hitting Azumi with snow balls too.
TAKAGAKI JIN'ICHIRŌ (高垣陣一郎): one of Yagyū Munenori close men who are pursuing Grampa and Azumi. He devises the plan to kill them while they are blocked on a bridge. He's killed by Grampa. He's Jōjirō's older brother.
TAKAGAKI JOUJIRŌ (高垣丈二郎): one of Munenori's men who're following Grampa and Azumi. He's very shocked by his older brother's death by the hands of Grampa.
TAIKŌ (太閤): In Japan, Sesshō (摂政) was a title given to a regent who was named to assist either a child emperor before his coming of age, or an empress. The Kanpaku (関白) was theoretically a sort of chief advisor for the emperor, but was the title of both first secretary and regent who assists an adult emperor. During the Heian era, they were the effective rulers of Japan. There was little, if any, effective difference between the two titles, and several individuals merely changed titles as child emperors grew to adulthood, or adult emperors retired or died and were replaced by child emperors. The two titles were collectively known as Sekkan (摂関), and the families that exclusively held the titles were called Sekkan-ke or Sekkan family. After the Heian era, shogunates took over the power. A retired kampaku is called Taikō, which came to commonly refer toToyotomi Hideyoshi. For all the differences and more in-depht information, see wikipedia.
TAKAGI KANSUKE (高木勘助): Inoue Kanbee's new identity while sojourning at Ono Tadaaki's residence.
TAKANO-SAMA (高野様): could be read Kōno or Kōya too. One of the key members of the operation against the rōnin who is surprised in his sleep, captured and held hostage at the Anpuku temple.
TAKAYAMA YAEMON (高山八衛門): one of the ten shinobi chiefs who Azumi and her group must prune. When confronted by Azumi, instead of accepting her offer to change places and have a one on one, he suddenly attacks and gets killed on the spot.
TAKEMOTO (竹本): one of Shino-dono's bodyguards.
TAKIGAWA-SAMA (多喜川様): could be read Takikawa too. One of the key members of the operation against the rōnin who is surprised in his sleep, captured and held hostage at the Anpuku temple. He is Shino-dono's father.
TAKIGAWA SHINO-DONO (多喜川志乃どの): see Shino-dono.
TAKIZAWA RYŪTARŌ (滝沢柳太朗): waterfall+swamp+willow+thick+serene/cheerful/bright. You can understand why for Azumi it sounds like a strong name. Moreover, “rō” is one of the most used suffix for male names. He was invited by his friend Narita Shinzō to serve under Lord Katagiri Hyōbu. While going to Daiganji he meets Azumi and the two become friends, but since her mission is to kill Katagiri and his is to protect him, the two ends up fighting and he dies by Azumi hands.
TANEGASHIMA (種子島): a type of matchlock or arquebus firearm introduced to Japan through the Portuguese. The name comes from the Japanese island where a Chinese junk with Portuguese adventurers on board was driven to anchor by a storm in 1543. The lord of the Japanese island, Tanegashima Tokitaka (1528–1579), purchased two matchlock rifles from the Portuguese and put a swordsmith to work copying the matchlock barrel and firing mechanism. The smith (Yaita) did not have much of a problem with most of the gun but "drilling the barrel helically so that the screw could be tightly inserted" was a major problem as this "technique did apparently not exist in Japan until this time." The Portuguese fixed their ship and left the island and only in the next year when a Portuguese blacksmith was brought back to Japan was the problem solved. Within ten years of its introduction, an upwards of 300,000 tanegashima firearms were reported to have been manufactured. Tanegashima were used by the samurai class and their foot soldiers (ashigaru) and within a few years the introduction of the Tanegashima in battle changed the way war was fought in Japan forever.
TANGO (丹後): the old name for north Kyōto Prefecture.
TANZEN (丹前): large padded kimono.
TASUKE (太助): a little street performer that Azumi and co. meet during their journey. Thinking he's one of the children, he gets killed with his Master by mistake by the Sajiki Brothers.
TATAMI (畳): a type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms. Traditionally made of rice straw to form the core (though nowadays sometimes the core is composed of compressed wood chip boards or polystyrene foam), with a covering of woven soft rush (igusa 藺草) straw, tatami are made in standard sizes, with the length exactly twice the width, an aspect ratio of 2:1. Usually, on the long sides, they have edging (heri 縁) of brocade or plain cloth, although some tatami have no edging. See wikipedia for more information.
TANUKI (狸): or Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus, a subspecies of the raccoon dog. As the tanuki, the animal has been significant in Japanese folklore since ancient times. The legendary tanuki is reputed to be mischievous and jolly, a master of disguise and shapeshifting, but somewhat gullible and absentminded. It is also a common theme in Japanese art, especially statuary.
TEMARI (手毱 old, 手毬modern): balls that are a folk art form that originated in China and was introduced to Japan around the 7th century A.D. "Temari" means "hand ball". Embroidered balls may be used in hand ball games. Historically, temari were constructed from the remnants of old kimonos. Pieces of silk fabric would be wadded up to form a ball, and then the wad would be wrapped with strips of fabric. As time passed, traditional temari became an art, with the functional stitching becoming more decorative and detailed, until the balls displayed intricate embroidery. With the introduction of rubber to Japan, the balls went from play toys to art objects, although mothers still make them for their children. Temari became an art and craft of the Japanese upper class and aristocracy, and noble women competed in creating increasingly beautiful and intricate objects.Temari are highly valued and cherished gifts, symbolizing deep friendship and loyalty. Also, the brilliant colors and threads used are symbolic of wishing the recipient a brilliant and happy life. Traditionally, becoming a craftsman in Japan was a tedious process. Becoming a temari artist in Japan today requires specific training, and one must be tested on one's skills and technique before being acknowledged as a crafter of temari. Traditionally, temari were often given to children from their parents on New Year's Day. Inside the tightly wrapped layers of each ball, the mother would have placed a small piece of paper with a goodwill wish for her child. The child would never be told what wish his or her mother had made while making the ball. Alternately, some balls contained "noisemakers" consisting of rice grains or bells to add to the play value. It is said that traditional temari were wrapped so tightly they would bounce.
TEMPURA (天ぷら or 天麩羅tenpura): a dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. See wikipedia for more information.
TENKAI: see Nankōbō Tenkai.
TERASAWA GENSAI (寺沢玄斎): he's the boss of the rōnin group in the snow country. He plans to manipulate Shizune to have the population fight a battle against the castle samurais, so he can have a battlefield to enjoy on. And he succeeds. After the battle, he rushes to the border to have the cannons ready so he can fire them at Tenkai and his priest soldiers, but at least this plan is put to an and by Azumi, who kills him just in time.
TERUTOMO (輝友): the feudal Lord of the snow country.
TERUTOMO MATSUCHIYO (輝友松千代): the nephew of the feudal Lord of the snow country. With the help of the castle samurais elite he flees from the siege and takes refuge in Gacchi's house. Following the footprints, the Rasetsugarasu are lead to Gacchi's house, where they kill his father, the castle samurais and even Matsuchiyo. They don't find Tae, who was hiding in the closet behind the futon.
TOBIZARU (飛猿): Inoue's personal ninja. He follows Azumi with his great sense of smell but loses her. Some time later he witnesses the duel between Bijomaru and Hyuuga and mercifully kills the latter after Bijomaru deeply wounds him and plans to have some nasty fun with him.
TOKUGAWA FACTION/SIDE: it included all the vassals, retainers and supporters of the Tokugawa clan.
TOKUGAWA HIDETADA (徳川秀忠 May 2, 1579 – March 14, 1632) was the second shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty, who ruled from 1605 until his abdication in 1623. He was the third son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate. See wikipedia for more information.
TOKUGAWA IEYASU (徳川家康 January 31, 1543 – June 1, 1616): was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but remained in power until his death in 1616. For a ton of more information, check his entry on wikipedia.
TORAZŌ (寅蔵): the second men that Kiku kills at the inn in order to protect his disguise.
TOSHIYORISHŪ (年寄衆 lit. “old persons”): elder chiefs of a village or town during Edo Period; it was called Rōjū after.
TŌDŌ SHIRŌ (藤堂四郎): one of the bosses of the rōnin group in the snow country. He's killed by Azumi while he's trying to rape her with some of his comrades at the secret hot springs.
TŌSHŌ DAIGONGEN (東照大権現): Ieyasu's posthumous name after he was enshrined at Nikkō Tōshōgū.
TŌTA (登太): one of the four disciples accompanying Kōsaka, the smallest and cheerful one. He eats a lot. His forte is cathing fish and shellfish. He is Kochō younger brother. While dining on the beach with what he and his comrades catched in the sea, Azumi arrives. She eats with them and then go back. They tail her discovering where she lodges and decide to inform their Master. They are allowed inside the temple during the assault meeting. After that, they take part in the inn attack but they have a minor role with their Master. Seeing that no enemies are coming on the road they are watching, they go to the inn just to find out that everyone has been killed. While asleep in the temple, he and his sister feel the presence of an intruder. They chase Kagari and face him, running away almost immediately to call the other because he is too strong for them. This in truth is a trap and they tail him to find Azumi's group new lodging. Tōta takes part with his Master and the others in the new assault and confront Azumi. His sister manages to blind Hyōsuke but Azumi easily deals with them without killing them and she manages to escape with Hyōsuke. While keeping watch at the new location, Tōta and his sister spot Kagari who came out thinking that there was no one around and was weeping on Hatsune's dead body. They both face him and kill him. After returning to their positions and seeing Azumi coming back, Moichi wants to attack her and, after his Master comes back, he jumps out and he is going to do it. His Master goes along with his desire and together they strike at Azumi. Tōta can't do very much before his Master is killed.
TOYOTOMI FACTION/SIDE: it included all the vassals, retainers and supporters of the Toyotomi clan.
TOYOTOMI HIDEYORI (豊臣秀頼 born September 8, 1593, precise time and place of death debated) was the son and designated successor of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the general who first united all of Japan. His mother, Yodo-dono, was the niece of Oda Nobunaga. When Hideyoshi died in 1598, the five regents he had appointed to rule in Hideyori's place began jockeying amongst themselves for power. Tokugawa Ieyasu seized control in 1600, after his victory over the others at the Battle of Sekigahara. Hideyori's arranged marriage to Senhime, the seven-year-old granddaughter of Ieyasu, was designed to mitigate Toyotomi clan dissension and plotting. In this period, the eight-year-old boy practiced calligraphy with phrases wishing for peace throughout the world. However, Ieyasu continued to view the young Hideyori as a potential threat...check the rest on wikipedia.
TOYOTOMI HIDEYOSHI (豊臣秀吉 February 2, 1536 or March 26, 1537 – September 18, 1598 ): was a preeminent daimyō, warrior, general and politician of theSengoku period who is regarded as Japan's second "great unifier." He succeeded his former liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, and brought an end to the Sengoku period. The period of his rule is often called the Momoyama period, named after Hideyoshi's castle. After his death, his young son was displaced by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hideyoshi is noted for a number of cultural legacies, including the restriction that only members of the samurai class could bear arms. He financed the construction, restoration and rebuilding of many temples standing today in Kyoto. Hideyoshi played an important role in the history of Christianity in Japan when he ordered the execution by crucifixion of twenty-six Christians. See wikipedia for the rest.
TOZAMA DAIMYŌ (外様大名): “outside daimyō”, a daimyō who was considered an outsider by the rulers of Japan. The term came into use in the Kamakura period and continued until the end of the Edo period. The daimyō who submitted to the Tokugawa shogunate after the Battle of Sekigahara, that is who became Tokugawa vassals only after the battle, were classified as tozama. They included both daimyō who fought with the Tokugawa and those who fought against them. Many of the largest fiefs were ruled by tozama. The biggest was the Maeda clan of Kaga with a value of 1,000,000 koku. Others included the Shimazu family of Satsuma, the Mōri, the Date, Hachisuka, and the Uesugi. Many, but not all, of these families, had been living in roughly the same regions for centuries before the Tokugawa shogunate. Tokugawa Ieyasu had treated the great tozama vassals amicably but later, between 1623 and 1626, Tokugawa Iemitsu was less tolerant of them. Particularly in western Japan, the tozama daimyō heavily profited from foreign trade in the mid 17th century. Their growing success was a threat to the shogunate, which responded by preventing the ports of western Japan and Kyūshū from trading. To keep the tozama in check, the shogunate stationed fudai daimyō (a class of daimyō who were hereditary vassals of the Tokugawa) in strategic locations, including along major roads and near important cities. For much of the Edo period, the shogunate ordinarily did not appoint tozama to high positions within the government. These went instead to the fudai daimyō. However, this began to change in the Bakumatsu era (1853 - 1867); one tozama daimyō (Matsumae Takahiro) even became a rōjū. Tozama daimyō from Satsuma and Chōshū (Shimazu and Mōri clans respectively) were responsible for the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Bakumatsu era. Rallying other tozama to their cause, they fought against the shogunate, Aizu, and the Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei during the Boshin War of 1868–69. Many people from Satsuma and Choshu dominated politics in the ensuing decades, and well into the 20th century, as part of the Meiji oligarchy.
TSUDZURA (つづら): Azumi firs contact in the snow country and one of her new comrades. His name could stand for a type of wicker basket for storing clothes. He fails a mission were he was searching for or investigating something, gets captured and used as a practice doll by the women folk of the village armed with bamboo spears...
TSUTSUI CLAN (筒井家): a Japanese clan originating during the Sengoku period (16th century) of Japan. Throughout the time of the 16th century, the Tsutsui clan would mainly control the Yamato province, due to the efforts of the daimyō Tsutsui Junkei (March 31, 1549 – September 15, 1584). The Tsutsui soon on became a retainer family under that of the Oda clan, resulting in a minor rise within their power. After Junkei had been killed during a certain battle against Oda Nobuo, the power of the Tsutsui fell away to a high extent. The Tsutsui are well known for a samurai under the service named Shima Sakon (), though he later became a rōnin. Junkei (順慶), son of Junshō (順昭, 1523–1550 a warlord of the Japanese province of Yamato during the Sengoku period of the 16th century), had very early on his castle (Tsutsui castle) taken away by Matsunaga Hisahide, one of the most powerful warriors of the region in feudal Japan at that time. Later by joining forces of Oda Nobunaga, Junkei defeated Hisahide at Mount Shigi in 1577. Junkei's original castle was regained after the battle, but shortly after had to be abandoned following the order of Nobunaga. He was then appointed to the lord position of Yamato by Nobunaga, and was allowed to build a new castle (Kōriyama Castle) in Kōriyama. During the Battle of Yamasaki in 1582, Junkei refused to take either side and simply stayed neutral. His governance over Yamato was guaranteed by the victorious Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After Junkei’s death the Tsutsui clan was succeeded by Tsutsui Sadatsugu (定次, June 6, 1562 – April 2, 1615) ), a cousin and adopted son of Junkei. The Tsutsui subsequently lost governance of Yamato to Toyotomi Hidenaga, Hideyoshi's stepbrother, at the death of Junkei in 1584. The Tsutsui themselves were moved to the Iga Province by orders of Hideyoshi. There, Sadatsugu built the Iga Ueno Castle. In 1608, however, he was removed from his position by the Tokugawa shogunate, in an accusation of sloppy governance. In addition, the Tsutsui clan was forcefully abolished. The castle of Iga Ueno was accordingly taken over by Tōdō Takatora.
UDA SONJŪRŌ (宇田孫十郎): one of the ten shinobi chiefs who are going to work with Date. He takes part in the assault to the knew lodging where Azumi group resides.
UJI RIVER (宇治川): a river with it's source in the lake Biwa, in Shiga prefecture. Uji is also the city between Nara and Kyōto that gets its name from the river itself.
UKIHA (うきは): one of the ten chosen children raised up by Grampa. During the trial he fights against Yura and kills him. Captured in Ōsaka Castle, where he intruded to rescue Azumi, he's forced to fight against Azumi but, weakening his sword on purpose, manages in his original intention: to be killed by his beloved Azumi.
UTSUBO (うつぼ): at first glance he seems to be the youngest new male comrade of Azumi in the snow country. His name could stand for the moray eel or for a quiver of arrows. While escaping from inside the castle where he was imprisoned together with Kagari and Hatsune, he's mortally wounded and takes his own life.
WATAKUSHI(私): a more feminine and elegant way to speak about oneself.
WATASHI (わたしor 私): the normal, common way for everyone to speak about oneself.
WINTER SIEGE OF ŌSAKA (大坂冬の陣): it was a series of battles undertaken by the Tokugawa shogunate against the Toyotomi clan, and ending in that clan's destruction. Divided into two stages (Winter Campaign and Summer Campaign), and lasting from 1614 to 1615, the siege put an end to the last major armed opposition to the shogunate's establishment. The end of the conflict is sometimes called the Genna Armistice (元和偃武 Genna Enbu), because the era name was changed from Keichō (October 1596 to July 1615 ) to Genna (July 1615 to February 1624) immediately following the siege. When Toyotomi Hideyoshi died in 1598, Japan came to be governed by the Council of Five Elders, among whom Tokugawa Ieyasu possessed the most authority. After defeating Ishida Mitsunari in the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Ieyasu essentially seized control of Japan for himself, and abolished the Council. In 1603, the Tokugawa shogunate was established, with its capital at Edo. Ieyasu sought to establish a powerful and stable regime under the rule of his own clan; only the Toyotomi, led by Hideyoshi's son Toyotomi Hideyori and based at Ōsaka, remained as an obstacle to that goal. In 1614, the Toyotomi clan rebuilt Ōsaka Castle. At the same time, the head of the clan sponsored the rebuilding of Hōkō-ji in Kyoto. These temple renovations included the casting a great bronze bell, with inscriptions that read "May the state be peaceful and prosperous" (国家安康kokka ankō), and "May noble lord and servants be rich and cheerful" (君臣豊楽kunshin hōraku). The shogunate interpreted "kokka ankō" (国家安康) as shattering Ieyasu's name (家康) to curse him, and also interpreted "kunshin hōraku" (君臣豊楽) to mean "Toyotomi's force (豊臣) will rise again," which meant treachery against shogunate. Tensions began to grow between the Tokugawa and the Toyotomi clans, and only increased when Toyotomi Hideyori began to gather a force of rōnin and enemies of the shogunate in Ōsaka. By November of that year, Ieyasu, despite having passed the title of Shogun on to his son in 1605, nevertheless maintained significant influence, and decided not to let this force grow any larger, leading 164,000 men to Ōsaka (the count does not include the troops of Shimazu Tadatsune, an ally of the Toyotomi cause who nevertheless did not send troops to Ōsaka). The siege was begun on November 19, when Ieyasu led three thousand men across the Kizu River, destroying the fort there. A week later, he attacked the village of Imafuku with 1,500 men, against a defending force of 600. With the aid of a squad wielding arquebuses, the shogunal forces claimed another victory. Several more small forts and villages were attacked before the siege on Ōsaka Castle itself began on December 4. The Sanada-maru was an earthwork barbican defended by Sanada Yukimura and 7,000 men, on behalf of the Toyotomi. The Shogun's armies were repeatedly repelled, and Sanada and his men launched a number of attacks against the siege lines, breaking through three times. Ieyasu then resorted to artillery (including 17 imported European cannons and 300 domestic wrought iron cannons) as well as men to dig under the walls. On January 22, the Winter Siege was ended, with Toyotomi Hideyori pledging to not rise in rebellion. The walls of the outer layer defenses were torn down, and the outer moat of Ōsaka castle was allowed to be filled in.
YAE-CHAN (やえちゃん): a little girl who does street performing with her brother, Tasuke, to earn money for their Master so, one day, he'll bring them back to their mother who had money problems. While traveling with her Master and Tasuke, they get mistaken for grampa and the children. Her brother and the Master are killed by the Sajiki brothers while she gets raped and survives. She's found by Azumi and Hyuuga and brought back to the inn where they lodge.
YAGYŪ HYŌSUKE [HYŌGONOSUKE兵庫助 1579 – 1650 or TOSHITOSHI 利厳]: he was the founder of the Owari mainline of the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū style of swordsmanship in the early Edo period. He was a son of Yagyū Toshikatsu and a grandson of Yagyū Muneyoshi (Sekishūsai). From 1603 to 1607, he served Katō Kiyomasa. Thereafter, he became an itinerant warrior. Beginning in 1615, he served Tokugawa Yoshinao, the founder of the Owari branch of the Tokugawa clan. He directly instructed Yoshinao in the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū. In the manga his name is written as Hyōsuke.
YAGYŪ MUNENORI (柳生宗矩, 1571 – May 11, 1646): he was a swordsman, founder of the Edo branch of Yagyū Shinkage-ryū, which he learned from his father Yagyū "Sekishusai" Muneyoshi. This was one of two official sword styles patronized by the Tokugawa Shogunate (the other one being Ittō-ryū). Munenori began his career in the Tokugawa administration as a hatamoto, a direct retainer of the Tokugawa house, and later had his income raised to 10,000 koku, making him a minor fudai daimyō (vassal lord serving the Tokugawa), with landholdings around his ancestral village of Yagyū-zato. He also received the title of Tajima no Kami (但馬守). Munenori entered the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu at a young age, and later was an instructor of swordsmanship to Ieyasu's son Hidetada. Still later, he became one of the primary advisors of the third shogun Iemitsu. Shortly before his death in 1606, Sekishusai passed the leadership of Yagyū Shinkage-ryū to his grandson Toshiyoshi. Following a period of musha shugyō (a samurai's quest or pilgrimage, the concept is similar to Knight Errantry in feudal Europe), Toshiyoshi entered the service of a cadet branch of the Tokugawa clan that controlled the Owari province. Toshiyoshi's school was based in Nagoya and came to be called Owari Yagyū-ryū (尾張柳生流), while Munenori's, in Edo, the Tokugawa capital, came to be known as Edo Yagyū-ryū (江戸柳生流). Takenaga Hayato, the founder of the Yagyū Shingan-ryū, was a disciple of Yagyū Munenori and received gokui (secret teachings) of the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū from him. In about 1632, Munenori completed the Heihō kadensho, a treatise on practical Shinkage-ryū swordsmanship and how it could be applied on a macro level to life and politics. The text remains in print in Japan today, and has been translated a number of times into English. Munenori's sons, Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi and Yagyū Munefuyu, were also famous swordsmen. In “Azumi” Munenori is plotting for Ieyasu's indirect death by making Azumi believe he's the one who gave the order to kill Grampa and manages in realizing his plan.
YAGYŪ SEKISHŪSAI TAIRA NO MUNETOSHI (柳生石舟斎平宗厳 1529 - May 25, 1606 ): was a samurai in Japan’s Sengoku period famous for mastering the Shinkage-ryū school of combat, and introducing it to the Tokugawa clan. See wikipedia for much more information.
YAGYŪ SHINJIRŌ TAIRA NO TOSHIKATSU (柳生新次郎平厳勝 1552 - 1616): the oldest son of Munetoshi, second Yagyū family head and successor to the Shinkageryū.
YAGYŪ SHINKAGERYŪ (柳生新陰流): it's is one of the oldest Japanese schools of swordsmanship (kenjutsu). Its primary founder was Kamiizumi Nobutsuna, who called the school Shinkage-ryū. In 1565, Nobutsuna bequeathed the school to his greatest student, Yagyū Munetoshi, who added his own name to the school. Today, the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū remains one of the most renowned schools of Japanese swordsmanship. Its name roughly means Yagyū New Shadow School. See wikipedia for more information.
YAHEI-SAN (八平さん): the Ono residence garden caretaker.
YAKICHI (弥吉): a man living with his wife and children near a river. Passing by, he founds Kiku on the river bank left there by Azumi when she went to search for medical herbs to get her fever down. He carries her to his home and Azumi tags along. He's a former soldier of the Toyotomi side. He fought at Sekigahara, in the Korea expedition and at the Siege of Ōsaka. He then turned into a nobuseri. He decided to die trying to kill Ieyasu but couldn't do it to his passing out from hunger. He was took in by Kai and for eight months he lived at her house with her two little children. The meeting with Azumi brings him misfortune. He tries to survive the attacks of Kazō and Dozō, exchanging even some blows with the latter and giving the finishing blow after Azumi severely wounds him. He let his guard down and Dozō, still alive, pierces his abdomen with his sword. He dies not long after.
YAKICHI (弥吉): one of other boys Kiku's boss uses for missions.
YAMAGUCHI NOBUTSUNA (山口信綱): one of the bosses of the rōnin group in the snow country. He dies by Azumi hands (just before Hayashi and Terasawa) inside the cave with the cannons on one side of the mountains at the border.
YAMANAKA GENZABURŌ (山中源三郎): one of the ten shinobi chiefs who are going to work with Date. He tails Hatsune with Shiraishi and when she faints he transports her in the temple. He is one of the men for the inn attack group, with the followers he secretly brought with him. He is killed by Azumi during the attack at the inn
YASHA (夜叉 jp, or Yaksha in Sanskrit): Yaksha (Sanskrit: yakṣa) is the name of a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, who are caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots. They appear in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist literature. The feminine form of the word is yakṣī or Yakshini (yakṣiṇī). In Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist texts, the yakṣa has a dual personality. On the one hand, a yakṣa may be an inoffensive nature-fairy, associated with woods and mountains; but there is also a darker version of the yakṣa, which is a kind of ghost (bhuta) that haunts the wilderness and waylays and devours travelers, similar to the rakṣasas. See wikipedia for more information.
YASSAN (やっさん): one of the fellows met along the road. He gets struck from behind by a flying weapon. Will he survive?
YAZAEMON-SAMA (弥左衛門様): dweller of Shimotani, teacher of spying skills and other ninja arts. He even teaches some basic common knowledge to the children. He's killed in combat by Azumi.
YODO NO KATA (淀の方speculated to have been born on 1569, died in 1615?) was Azai Nagamasa's eldest daughter. Her mother was Oichi no kata, one of Oda Nobunaga's sisters. Her childhood name was Kikuko (菊子) and her given name was Chacha (茶々) or O-Cha (お茶). She was also known as Lady Yodo (淀殿 Yodo-dono), Ni no Maru-dono and Nishi no Maru-dono. Her other name, Yodo-gimi (淀君), isn't found in historical records and is likely a derogatory alias conceived during the Edo Period. Yodo-gimi was used to describe her as a "wicked and wanton" woman who plotted the death of the Toyotomis. After her parents' deaths, Chacha was sent to live with Oda Nagamasu at Azuchi Castle. It is believed that she was later transferred to Jurakudai (a lavish palace constructed at the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Kyōto) and relied on Kyogoku Maria (Nagamasa's older sister) and Kyogoku Tatsuko (Maria's daughter) for her upbringing. It is said that as she grew older, Chacha bore a striking resemblance to her mother. She was skilled with Waka poetry and was regarded as the highest ranked princess of the Azai family. She treated her sisters and other relatives well though it is said that she was also a passionate speaker regarding the Toyotomi's future. In 1588, she became Hideyoshi's noble concubine. When she was announced pregnant a year later at Yodoko Castle, Hideyoshi was pleased and officially named her Yodo no Kata. Two years after Hideyoshi's death, she commissioned a shrine to be built to honor her father's kin and her mother's remains. During the Sekigahara Campaign, Lady Yodo didn't take an active part during these events and remained within Osaka Castle. When the castle fell, many accounts assume that she committed suicide with her son. However, there are few personal records regarding her demise, and a few theories state that she fled from the castle with her maids to either Satsuma or Kozuke Province.
YOHEI-SAN (与平さん): probably the factotum where Yae-chan works as a prostitute. He heats up the bath for her.
YOKOUCHI-DONO (横内殿): a retainer that Kinkaku and Ginkaku's men take as hostage.
YOSHIYASU (義安): one of the teachers of the Hōzōinryū at the temple where Nishida Benzō is in charge and where Azumi is being sheltered.
YURA (ゆら): one of the ten chosen children raised up by Grampa. During the trial he fights against Ukiha and dies.