Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Genjuro Kibagami


Genjuro is a character in SNK’s Samurai Shodown (sic) series of weapons based video games set in 18th century Japan. He made his debut in Samurai Shodown II (released in 1994). Born of a prostitute, he became a skilled samurai killer for hire, he also loved to gamble by playing cards (as well as kill) and as the series showcased various aspects of Japanese culture, here he represented Hanafuda. 

Victory Poses

Genjuro's victory pose in Samurai Shodown 2 is where he opens his umbrella looking at a frog jumping on his right side.  Many players observe ‘Why does the frog follow Genjuro’? The answer is on the card ‘Yanagi ni Ono no Toufuu’ which is a card with a noble holding a green umbrella, looking at a jumping orange frog under the willow tree (Rain-man card). The answer comes from 'Samurai Spirits Q & A' of Shinseisha's SS Amakusakohrin Fan book which the answer was said by SNK staff :

- The frog and Genjuro first met under a willow tree.
- The frog has no name. Genjuro just calls it ‘O-Mae’ or ‘you’.
- For the frog, Genjuro is like its breath (sic)
- Genjuro seems not care about the frog, but while the frog hibernates in the winter, he would feel a little bit bored. 

Make of the above four sentences what you will! 

Genjuro's other victory pose shows him drinking Sake from a Sake cup and then throwing the cup away. Inside of the Sake cup there is a black Chinese character which translates as ‘longevity’ like in the card ‘Kiku Ni Sakazuki’.

Ono no Toufuu or Ono no Michikaze (894-966), was a famous calligrapher from the Heian Period (794-1185) and also a grandson of courtier-poet, Ono no Takamura. He is one of the So-called ‘Sanseki’ (Three Brush Traces), along with ‘Fujiwara no Sukemasa’ and ‘Fujiwara no Yukinari’. ‘Toufuu’ is considered the founder of Japanese Style calligraphy.

Genjuro's stage

His stage is titled ‘Susuki field at Mikatagahara in Hazuki (August) (or more precisely Mikatahara, Diluvial upland on the eastern side of Lake Hamana, in Shizuoka Prefecture, Honshu). The background represents the card ‘Susuki Ni Tsuki’ (Harvest Moon Card). Sometimes, geese fly across the stage and this also represents the card ‘Susuki Ni Kari’.


Genjuro's Kimono has the picture of a card on its back. The picture is from the Hanafuda ‘Sakura No Tan’.

‘Miyoshino’ appears on the ‘Tanzaku’ (Ribbon): 'Mi’ is a term of respect and ‘Yoshino’ is a place name of Kyoto. Yoshino is the most famous place noted for cherry blossoms. Japanese Emperor (Tennou) had a villa there. Thus, ancient Japanese people called the place ‘Miyoshino’ out of respect for their Emperor. Incidentally, It is said in Ninja’s Technical terms, ‘cherry blossoms’ means ‘Yoshino’. 

Sword Name

Genjuro's sword's name is ‘Bioh-doku’ which means ‘Poison of the Plum Nightingale’. This name probably derives from the Hanafuda ‘Ume Ni Uguisu’.

Special Moves

A certain points of Genjuro's sword slashing moves, you will see various Hanafuda. Some of them are card combination sets found in Hanafuda games. The combination sets of hands are called ‘Yaku’. 


This doesn’t actually form a yaku but consists of a Junk, Ribbon and Bright of the Sakura suit, which coincide with his weak, medium and strong sword slashes.


The yaku shown in this slashing sequence is ‘Ino-shika-Cho’ (Boar-Deer-Butterflies).


The yaku shown here is ‘Tsukimi-zake’ (Moon viewing party).


The yaku shown during this move sequence is ‘Aka-tan’ (Red poetry strips).


The yaku here is ‘Ao-tan’ (Blue ribbons).


The ‘Gaji’ (Storm) card from the November suit is shown.

Uraohka Ayame

This is another one that doesn't actually make a yaku but is similar to 'Ohkazan' in its make-up.  Here we have a Junk, Ribbon and Animal card from the 'Ayame' (Iris) suit representing the weak, medium and strong slashes.


This shows the yaku of 'Sanko' (Three Brights) and here we see the January (Crane and Pine), December (Paulownia and Phoenix) and August (Moon and Pampas) 'Bright' cards.


The 'Rain-man' card of the November suit is featured - 'Yanagi Ni Ono No Toufuu'.


This move shows the cards which make 'Shiko' (Four Brights). 

Touha Koyokujin

This move does not have any Hanafuda in it but at the middle of the slash, there is a face which may be the face of Ono No Toufuu. 

Genjuro's Goko

When Genjuro gets angry, he can use his special move, ‘Gokohzan’ or ‘Uragokoh’. Now, when Genjuro starts his move and the opponent doesn't defend, the Hanafuda will be ‘Goko’ yaku (Five Brights). If the opponent defends, the cards that will appear will be different cards from the same suits that the five brights come from. These are all ‘Kasu’ or Trash/Junk cards of ‘Goko’.


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