Stan Sakai (Author, Artist, Cover Artist) Hi – Fi Design (Colorist)
Usagi Yojimbo #15 is the first retelling of an important part of Usagi′s past.
Here, he is walking towards his second master, Sojobo, a type of yokai known as the tengu or “Heavenly Sentinel”. This particular teacher has a major role in Japanese Folklore, having taught swordsmanship to the greatest Japanese hero: Minamoto no Yoshitsune himself.
In Folklore, Sojobo is the god of all Tengu, and has the appearance of a yamabushi, a Japanese mountain hermit. You may recognize him for his long, white hair and his unnaturally long nose. Usagi had defied him at a very young age, but consequently decided he wanted to train under him, before enrolling as a samurai in the service of Lord Mifune.
Usagi pledged his right hand to Sojobo in order to be able to be trained by him, and this price would not be paid if he managed to defeat the tengu on a duel at first light.
The clashes and battle cries of both warriors are formidable, and with this issue, they begin a new telling: The Tengu war!
The ability of Sakai to introduce us to Japanese lore and culture is uncanny, heavily researched but, at the same time, invisible to the eye. I really do admire that.
I cannot resist and must tell you that the Unicode Emoji character U+1F47A (👺) represents a tengu, under the name “Japanese Goblin”.
AVAILABLE: December 2020
PAGE COUNT: 32
DIAMOND CODE: SEP200518
Featured image by Stan Sakai, all images belong to IDW Comics