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Grasscutter Chapter 1


Grasscutter Prologue 4: Dan-no-ura <-- --> Grasscutter Chapter 2: Heike Gani

General Info

First Published: October, 1997 by Dark Horse Comics

Comics Which Contain This Story

USAGI YOJIMBO Volume 3, Number 15

USAGI YOJIMBO Book Twelve: Grasscutter
(Pages 55-78)

Characters in This Story
Story Notes

Tokugawa Shogunate & Jishin-Uwo

Usagi's adventures take place at the turn of the 17th century Japan. I've deliberately kept exact dates vague to give myself more latitude in storytelling; however, I'm making an exception in this issue with the retirement of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.

In 1603, Ieyasu (1542-1616), the first of the Tokugawa Shogun, received the title Sei-i-tai Shogun, or "supreme military dictator," from Emperor Go-Yozei. Two years later, he abdicated in favor of his son, Hidetada, then 26 years old. He did this to guarantee the succession of the position to his family. Ieyasu retired to Shizuoka but still maintained an active role in politics. And, after almost a lifetime on the battlefield, he now devoted his leisure time to literature and poetry.

Hidetada ruled until 1622 when he abdicated in favor of his son, Iemitsu.

The Tokugawa Shogunate endured for fifteen successions and came to an end in 1868 with the Meiji Restoration, which gave power back to the emperor.

Jishin-Uwo (pg. 17 [of UY Vol. 3, #15] ) is a giant catfish that lives under Shimofusa and Hitachi Provinces. Its movements are responsible for Japan's many earthquakes. A stone in the temple of Kashima is the exposed part of a sword that the gods used to pin the fish in place.

The Kanji characters on page one read "Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi," literally "The Grasscutting Sword."


Lord Sakana-No-Ashiyubi's procession winds along a busy mountain road, until Jei denies them passage.

Meanwhile, Gen the bounty hunter, finds some dead brigands and seeks to claim their bounty, but is arrested for deceiving the police. The police and Gen pass Inazuma on the trail, and come to an inn where the brigands' leader is caught looting the dead innkeeper's cashbox, and is arrested for his murder.

Usagi is caught in an earthquake as he walks along the shore of Shimonoseki Strait where the Battle of Dan-No-Ura had taken place, and helps rescue a fisher's son in a nearby village.

Lord Noriyuki and Tomoe, as well as the Conspiracy of Eight, are faced with an unexpected change in the political climate, one that Lord Kotetsu, leader of the Conspiracy, seeks to use to his advantage to restore the Emperor, even as he enlists the witch Ryoko to find the lost Grasscutter.

Grasscutter Prologue 4: Dan-no-ura <-- --> Grasscutter Chapter 2: Heike Gani

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Usagi Yojimbo, including all prominent characters featured in the stories and the distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of Stan Sakai and Usagi Studios. Usagi Yojimbo is a registered trademark of Stan Sakai. Names, characters, places, and incidents featured in this publication either are the product of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events, institutions, or locales, without satiric content, is coincidental.