|Portrayed by||David Anders, |
|First appearance||Four Months Later...|
|Formal name||Takezō Kensei / Takezō Kensai|
|Aliases||Adam Monroe, |
|Date of birth||1584|
|Significant others||A princess (in legend), |
|This article contains international text.|
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At the Museum of Natural History, Hiro begins a quest to find a sword that belonged to Takezo Kensei (Takezō Kensei), a Bushido swordsman who reportedly became a great Japanese leader when he obtained the sword. After time traveling to 1671, Hiro meets the man behind the stories he had grown up with.
Three people are identified as Kensei:
- Adam Monroe,
- Kensei's decoy, and
- Hiro Nakamura, whom Yaeko states is the true Kensei for whom the stories would be told.
At the Museum of Natural History, Hiro and Ando visit a display dedicated to Kensei. Hiro tells Ando about the sword Takezo used. He says that it focused his energy and made him a hero. People everywhere feared him.
Hiro types Kensei's name into the computer at Linderman's archives to retrieve the sword. When Linderman's curator asks Hiro if he knows to whom the sword belonged, Hiro says it belonged to Takezo Kensei. "He was a hero."
After Hiro time travels to 1671 in Otsu, Japan, an ersatz swordsman rides alone against a larger unit of Japanese soldiers before a solar eclipse occurs. Hiro stops time, believes the man is Kensei and teleports him away. The man is startled, reveals that he's not really Kensei, and runs away. Later, the real Kensei appears, and argues with Hiro, revealing that he is from England and speaks English. Hiro tells Kensei that he is supposed to save the village of Otsu, as it is revealed that Otsu is on fire. The legendary swordsmith's daughter from Otsu takes Kensei's sword, stating that her father made the sword and blames Kensei for allowing the village to burn.
After resuming his position as town drunk, Kensei's armor, sword, and horse are "borrowed" by Hiro, who, after much pleading with Kensei to save Yaeko, decides to take up the task of being Kensei for himself. Hiro does indeed save Yaeko using his powers in the Battle of Twelve Swords, and credits the rescue to Kensei, who agrees to team up with Hiro to fulfill his future image as a hero. However, Kensei takes two arrows in the shoulder and one in the chest from the band of thugs who threatened Yaeko earlier. Chest covered in blood, he dies. However, after Hiro removes one of the arrows from his chest, Hiro is shocked to see Kensei's wound heal right before his eyes.
After Kensei regenerates from his arrow wounds, he is shocked. He believes that Hiro has cursed him and exclaims, "Lazarus Risen!" Later, Hiro finds Kensei testing his powers by slicing his arm with a sword. Hiro then demonstrates his own powers by teleporting around a log. Kensei ponders upon the possibilities of his new found powers and that it will make him "richer than the Pope". Hiro, still wanting Kensei to follow the stories that were read to him as a child, teleports them both to Whitebeard's Hidden Fortress, insisting he fights past the ninety angry ronin and claim the fire scroll. Kensei manages to complete this task and rejoins Hiro and Yaeko with the scroll. When Hiro tells Kensei he must leave, Kensei is somewhat saddened and wishes him well. Kensei then playfully showers Yaeko with cherry blossom petals before Hiro returns.
Kensei and Hiro (who looks like a small cat) discover the map scroll with information on the secret lair of White Beard being guarded by a small bear on a large rock. Believing the bear to be the Black Bear of Sakashita, Kensei draws his sword and lunges at the animal, only to find a much larger bear behind the rock. The larger bear chases Kensei while Hiro plucks the scroll out of the paws of the smaller bear.
Ando brings the scrolls from Hiro to Tatsuya Atsumi, and after some work, Tatsuya puts it under a microscope to show the hidden characters. On the scroll, it tells Hiro's tale of helping Kensei. Kensei and Hiro run up to Yaeko with another fragment of the tapestry to find Whitebeard's camp and help find Yaeko's father. Ando reads more on the scrolls about Kensei's journey. Yaeko insists that she follows Kensei and Hiro into battle, and the three see how massive Whitebeard's army is. The story cuts off, and Ando cannot read the rest.
At nightfall, Kensei, Hiro, and Yaeko sneak into Whitebeard's camp and Kensei takes care of one of the guards. They enter the smoldering tent and find Yaeko's father, distraught that he showed Whitebeard how to make guns. Kensei then hacks off Yaeko's father's ankle chains in return that he promises that he will destroy all of the guns. The four of them leave the tent and proceed away from Whitebeard's camp. On their leave, Yaeko gets shot at but Hiro teleports them away so she avoids getting hurt. Kensei goes to look for them, and finds them alone, kissing.
Later on, Hiro finds Kensei and is glad to see him. Kensei replies that he saw Hiro and Yaeko kissing and that he has been cut deeper than any wound could be. Hiro tells him that he will not interrupt their friendship and promises it was the first and last time that they will ever kiss. As Kensei appears to believe Hiro and continue his adventure, he knocks Hiro unconscious as Yaeko and her father are brought before him by Whitebeard's men. Whitebeard promises Kensei anything he wants for his help, and Kensei glances at Yaeko while he walks away.
Kensei sits by an intoxicated Hiro in Whitebeard's camp. The swordsmith and his daughter are chained, and Kensei tells Yaeko that Whitebeard will give Kensei half of Japan and Yaeko as his princess for Hiro's captivity. After Hiro escapes, he battles Kensei inside Whitebeard's encampment while trying to destroy Whitebeard's guns. Kensei is knocked to the ground and Hiro vanishes just as the tent explodes. Later, Hiro finds a burned body next to Kensei's armor, and takes the armor with him. Hiro teleports to Yaeko, and tells her that Whitebeard's men have disbanded. Yaeko asks Hiro if he will stay with her, but Hiro tells her the last trial of Kensei was with the Dragon of Kiso Mountain, where Kensei and the princess are separated. Yaeko tells Hiro that all she knows about Kensei was from Hiro, and she will tell his tale for as long as she can speak.
Years ago, Kaito reads stories of Takezo Kensei to his son, including Kensei's victory over Oni of Tottori. After the army's victory, Kensei finds two samurai bickering over who would lay claim to the Sword of Oni. Kensei tells the two selfish warriors that they are bickering like children and that they have disgraced their honor. To his followers that "there is no individual...only Japan," he snaps the sword in half.
Later, Kaito admires a new piece of art depicting Kensei in battle. After Kaito's death, Kimiko learns that not many people are interested in Kensei's legacy, artifacts of which are on display at Yamagato Fellowship. Kimiko wonders if it's time for Kensei to fade into obscurity. However, when confronted with a workplace dispute over a PDA, Kimiko realizes that Kensei, whom she had hated for many years, actually holds answers for her. She follows Kensei's example: she grabs Kaito's sword and slices the PDA in half. She then calls Yamagato Fellowship's curator and tells her that they will bring the legacy of heroes, including Kensei, to the world.
In Hiro's blog, Hiro describes his role-playing game self as "Class: Kensei". Later, he blogs about visiting the Kensei exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. Hiro says that his father told him stories of Kensei's great fighting skills and the insurmountable odds that Kensei had to overcome, including facing a large army and coming out unscathed. Hiro notes that Kensei weilded a sacred sword called "自由刀 jiyuutou".
In Chapter 1, “The Battle of the Twelve Swords”, the narrator introduces Takezo Kensei as the Sword Saint and a samurai living in 1671. Professor Donna Dorn documents that White Beard is met by Takezo Kensei, who saves the people of Otsu, in what becomes known as the Battle of Twelve Swords. Curator Tatsuya Atsumi documents that Kensei knew that to save Japan, he would have to defeat White Beard. Kensei’s journey to find the Hidden Fortress is known as The Trials of Takezo Kensei.
In Chapter 2, “The Trial of the Fire Scroll”, the year documented is 1671. Takezo Kensei is the one man standing in White Beard’s way of conquering all of Japan since the Battle of Twelve Swords. Kensei must find White Beard’s hidden camp in order to defeat him. His first task is to find the Fire Scroll. In order to get to the Fire Scroll, Kensei has to defeat the ninety angry ronin. The documentary comments on Kensei’s next two quests which include climbing a frozen waterfall and finding the single crimson peony.
In Chapter 3, “The Trial of the Hidden Fortress”, the year documented is 1671. Professor Karen Chamberlin documents that Takezo Kensei must find the missing piece to White Beard’s map, which the Black Bear of Sakashita is guarding. The bear’s description changes in different versions of the story, but regardless, Kensei is the victor. Kensei now has the location of White Beard’s Hidden Fortress. However, Kensei has to overcome the Snake Women’s charm. Kensei defeats the Snake Women and finally arrives at the Hidden Fortress. Kensei fights for eleven days against Whitebeard's men until it is only Kensei and White Beard left alive. Kensei defeats White Beard and rescues Japan. The narrator continues to comment that facing the ninety angry ronin, the Black Bear, and White Beard’s army makes Kensei a god among men. However, he meets his end in his most famous tale: Kensei and the Dragon.
In Chapter 4, Part 1, “Kensei and the Dragon”, Takezo Kensei meets a beautiful princess who makes him swear to defeat White Beard with everything in his power. Kensei seeks out the Dragon of Kiso Mountain to help train him. Professor Karen Chamberlin documents that the Dragon agrees to help Kensei as long as he gives up what he most loves in life. Kensei agrees and is able to then defeat White Beard. Kensei requests marriage to the princess and she agrees. Karen Chamberlin comments that their wedding is the most beautiful wedding in Japanese history. However, the Dragon appears at their wedding demanding Kensei to honor their agreement and give the Dragon his love. Kensei takes a sword a stabs out his heart and tells the Dragon, “My love is in here. Take it."
In Chapter 4, Part 2, “Kensei and the Dragon”, Professor Karen Chamberlin documents that Takezo Kensei dies in the arms of his princess. Many different stories are recorded through history about how Kensei died, what happens to Kensei after the Dragon comes to him, and who the Princess is. Chamberlin believes that Yaeko was Kensei’s great love. Professor Donna Dorn believes that Yaeko did in fact exist, but she was not Kensei’s great love.
In Chapter 5, “The Mystery of Kensei”, Curator Tatsuya Atsumi documents that Takezo Kensei means “Sword Saint” and so we have little records of his actual name or if he even existed. Legend claims that Kensei was feared before he found his sword. The sword was said to give him focus and calm to his wild temper. Professor Karen Chamberlin adds that Kensei had to pull the sword from a field of solid ice. In 1977, Daniel Linderman, CEO of Linderman Corporation found the sword that proved Kensei’s existence. Atsumi comments that Linderman held the largest collection of Kensei artifacts and refused for them to go on tours. This only adds to the mystery because Linderman had been recently killed and the sword went missing shortly before that. Could the killers and everything be connected somehow to Kensei?
Yamagato Fellowship also has a page about Takezo Kensei that reads:
- Hiro tells Charlie about Takezo Kensei, calling him "the greatest Bushido warrior of all time". Hiro says that Kensei was a wild savage with great power. All Japan feared him until one day he found "a sacred sword, frozen in the snow". As soon as he found the sword, it focused Kensei's strength, let him control his power, and ultimately became a great leader and a hero. He says that at home, he has a book of the Kensei Tapestries, which hang in the Meiji Museum. Later, Hiro wonders how Kensei ever managed to find gi (equanimity). (Chapter 13)
- When Hiro sees a scary mask in Charlie's apartment, Charlie says, "I bet Takezo Kensei wore masks that were even creepier." (Chapter 16)
- Hiro buys a gift for Charlie: a reproduction of one of the Kensei Tapestries from the Meiji Museum. This particular reproduction shows the legend of Kensei and the Dragon, which is Hiro's favorite story about Kensei, the great Bushido warrior. (Chapter 22)
- Hiro gives Charlie a gift: a reproduction of the Kensei and the Dragon legend, where Kensei looks proud and stoic as death creeps up on him. Hiro says that when Kensei was a young man, he finds a sacred sword and longs to unite Japan. He goes to the dragon and asks to learn the secrets of the sword so he could fight his enemies and save his people. However, when the dragon demands the life of Kensei's princess, Kensei draws his sword and plunges it into his own heart. He hands his heart to the dragon and says "My love is in here—take it." Hiro says that in order to save what was important to him, Kensei had to be strong enough to lose his heart. For Kensei, this was all part of finding gi. (Chapter 23)
- Hiro takes courage from the thought that Takezo Kensei wouldn't give up. He says that Kensei had chugo (devotion), part of the Bushido code. (Chapter 40)
- When Kaito says that he can't say good-bye to his deceased love because "it's like saying good-bye to my own heart", Hiro is astounded to realize that Kaito is "just like the great swordsman Kensei", in love with his princess. (Chapter 44)
Kensei's decoy (as Kensei) possessed no known abilities.
"Takezo Kensei. My father used to tell me stories about him before bed. He was a wild savage with great power. All of Japan feared him. Until one day he found a sacred sword, frozen in the snow. From the moment Kensei held it, it focused all his strength. He said the sword let him control his power. And so he became a great leader. A hero."
"My love is in here. Take it."
"First you show me that I can be harmed by no weapon, and then you cut me deeper than any blade possibly could."
"Everything Kensei accomplished... You did all these things. Not him. As sure as I live, you are Takezo Kensei."
- The Museum of Natural History lists the man's name as Kensei. When Hiro speaks about him, his name is spelled Kensai. Both are real, but rare, Japanese names.
- According to Michael Green, the fictional Takezo Kensei is based on various legends, including the real figure of Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645). He is believed to have been one of the most skilled swordsmen in history and is considered as the greatest samurai. Prior to adulthood was known simply as Shinmen Takezo. After his death, various legends began to appear. Most talk about his feats in kenjutsu and other martial arts, some describing how he was able to hurl men over 5 feet backwards, other about his speed and technique. Other legends tell of how Musashi killed giant lizards in Echizen, as well as Nues in various other prefectures. He gained the stature of Kensei, a "sword saint" for his mastery in swordsmanship. Some believed he could run at super-human speed, walk on air, water and even fly through the clouds. Musashi wrote Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings) in 1645. It is a treatise on sword fighting, martial arts, and military strategy.
- Future Hiro sports a similar look to depictions of Takezo Kensei — both wear a "soul patch" and a ponytail.
- In Saving Charlie, Hiro says that Takezo Kensei was the greatest Bushido warrior of all time and that he considered chugo, devotion in English, the most important principles of the Bushido code.
Adam Monroe as Kensei.
Kensei's decoy as Kensei.
Hiro Nakamura as Kensei.
Takezo Kensei faces the Black Bear of Sakashita.
Takezo Kensei is depicted on a tapestry at the Museum of Natural History.
...defending a princess whom he loved.
Panels from the tapestry hang in Linderman's gallery.
...who faced a dragon...
...and paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Kensei's legendary companion is the cat-like Hiro.
The documentary Sword Saint documents the Trials of Takezo Kensei, including:
The Trial of the Fire Scroll.
Defeating the ninety angry ronin.
Vanquishing the Black Bear.
Facing the Dragon...
- For other uses of Kensei, see Kensei (disambig).
- Miyamoto Musashi at Wikipedia
- Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings) by Miyamoto Musashi - as translated by Victor Harris (Full text online)
- Miyamoto Musashi at Samurai Archives - a brief biography, with references.
Please refer to Theory:Takezo Kensei for fan-created theories and other speculation.