Tale of Ronin

Yagyu Jubei: Japan’s One-Eyed Samurai Folk Hero

Yagyu Jubei Mitsuyoshi was a samurai who lived in Japan’s Edo period. He lived from 1607 to April 21, 1650, and is often depicted in modern and contemporary accounts with a single eye. It’s unknown how he lost the eye, or if he actually did. In fact, very little is known about his life for many reasons, including a twelve-year-long gap where he vanished from history. Perhaps because of this uncertainty, he has become one of the most legendary and romanticized samurai in Japanese history.

Jubei was born to the prestigious Yagyu family. His father was Yagyu Munenori, who fought on the Tokugawa side during the Battle of Sekigahara and was made both a minor daimyo and sword instructor to the shogun. Munenori went on to train three shoguns. Unfortunately, Jubei’s political career proved rockier.

In 1616, Jubei became an attendant for the second Tokugawa Shogun and a sword instructor for the third Tokugawa Shogun. He occasionally filled his father’s role. After that, his name vanished from history until 1631, when he was acknowledged as the greatest swordsman in the Yagyu clan and inexplicably dismissed from the shogun’s service.

There are many theories about why Jubei left the Tokugawa shoguns’ service. Some believe he was fired for being too honest for courtly politics. Others theorize that he left of his own will to begin a warrior’s pilgrimage. Another theory argues that Jubei never actually left the shogun’s service and simply went undercover as a spy.

Whatever the case, he disappeared for twelve years. When he reappeared at the age of 36, he exhibited his swordsmanship before the shogun and was reinstated. Jubei also wrote The Art of Looking at the Moon, a treatise on his school of swordsmanship and teachings influenced by the monk Takuan Soho, a friend of Jubei’s father.

Jubei’s incredible swordsmanship and the twelve-year-long gap in his history have given rise to many tales about his activities. Tale of Ronin takes place during this period and Jubei’s hidden activities take center stage. In this game, players will learn from him and uncover the truth behind his dismissal from the shogun’s court. As conflict threatens to sweep over Japan once more, Yagyu Jubei’s legend becomes intertwined with an old tragedy. In order to regain their honor, the player ronin must first understand how much has been lost—and what men like Jubei are willing to do in order to regain it.