Volume 5 is the fifth volume of Shigurui that includes chapters 21-26.
While Mie’s health begins to deteriorate, Kogan, Fujiki and Gonzaemon discover Iraku and Iku have allied themselves with Kengyou, a high ranking blind nobleman associated with Tokugawa Tadanaga and the Shogun himself.
"The Angel of Tokogawa"Edit
Half a year after the exile of Iraku, Mie was afflicted with anorexia. Mie was so thin her anus could be seen when her legs gathered. Her father would even force the liver of a foul smelling animal into her mouth to bring her back to vitality and return her body into a vessel ripe for mating. One night, Mie stole Kogan’s demon sword (“Nanacho Nunbustu”) and ran into the streets wearing only her undergarments. On hearing this, Kogan orders his disciples to strike her down and return the sword. Eventually, Yamazaki corners Mie into a small shrine. On raising the sword against him, Yamazaki unsheathes his own, explaining he has no choice but to strike her down. At this moment, a rock thrown by Fujiki incapacitates Yamazaki. Mie takes the Nagare stance and attempts to strike Fujiki but deliberately drops the sword. At this moment, Mie returns to lucidity. Only once the disciples of the Kogan-ryuu began falling due to an unknown assailant did Mie’s appetite return, exactly on the day it had all begun.
In Enshuu Kakegawa, Okitsu is blamed for the deaths of the Kogan-ryuu disciples. As a result, rumours of demons and unknown murderers quieted amongst the local populace. However, Kogan still suspected Fujiki and Gonzaemon were traitors. Having regained consciousness for the time first in 49 days, Kogan ordered the two disciples to perform Futawa. To prepare, both students empty their bowels, lest their intestines would stink if asked to perform Seppuku. The swords used were steel, which comprised of Kata. The Kata involved executing a series of attacks and counter attacks in rapid succession. However, when the precise series of attacks were carried out as fast as possible, the mortality rate was even higher with real blades. The loyal disciples place their lives on the line and complete the Futawa without serious injury to appease their master. Later that night, a man from Kengyou arrives bearing a letter to Kogan.
The Kogan-ryuu disciples are invited to the estate of Shizumata Kengyou. The incidental timing of this was not lost on Fujiki and Gonzaemon, but it was questionable whether Kogan knew that Kengyou had allied with Iraku, and was the man responsible for the deaths of his students. In the past, Kengyou had been invited to play the Biwa before Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and was awarded with honour far beyond what he deserved. He was a skilled acupuncturist, and current doctor to the Lord of Suruga and master of Sunpu Castle, the sadistic Tokugawa Tadanaga. In a chamber at the Kengyou estate sat Kengyou and Kogan. It was clear Kogan did not ignore social customs, for when dealing with those above his station, Kogan displayed a meek and sheepish demeanour never before witnessed by his students. Kengyou asks Kogan why he had no successors, and Kogan replied his daughter, Mie, was sick. Changing topic, Kengyou asks for his opinion of a fencing sword belonging to Sekiun, a man who had not a single hair on his entire body. Kogan considers the weapon a disgrace, a mere decoration which could not cut. Kengyou asks Kogan if one of his students could teach Sekiun a lesson in swordsmanship.
In the estate courtyard, Kengyou announces Fujiki would wield a wooden sword while Sekiun would wield the fencing sword, but Kogan orders Fujiki to stand back and takes his place in the duel. Sekiun performs a stance to demonstrate the fencing techniques of Spain, designed not to cut, but to stab. Hidden from view, Iraku and Iku look onwards in a separate chamber overlooking the courtyard.
It was said amongst the disciples of the Ono Tadaaki, swordsmanship instructor of the House of Shogun, was Sekiun. He was the son of a wealthy Samurai who was detested and abandoned by his parents. Sekiun eventually came across Ono, who would be his master and presented him with an unusual sword. It was the mission of the Ono style Ittouryuu to completely crush the fencing style of the heretic Christian converts in Japan. If a man’s Lord ordered him to take up the ways of that style as an experiment, it was of natural duty to follow those orders to the best of his ability and become well versed in foreign fighting techniques. Sekiun was the product of that experiment, and was taught to master the techniques of the Spaniards, which involved thrusting rather than cutting. Two years later, Sekiun defeated many students of Ittouryuu due to his rare style.
During the duel, Kogan’s gaze centred not on Sekiun, but of Iku and Iraku observing from another chamber, the latter wearing the ceremonial clothes of a Samurai, beyond anything Fujiki’s station could hope for. Set up in a trap by Iraku, Kogan was hesitant at killing Sekiun, given he knew that his opponent was Kengyou’s man. Kogan blocks Sekiun attack with his wooden sword, and then disarms and incapacitates Sekiun using his fists.
A disfigured Sekiun rises to his feet and points his sword towards his master, Kengyou. It was at this moment the true nature of Sekiun, a man unable to comprehend the meaning of loyalty, was revealed. As Sekiun attempts to thrust his blade towards Kengyou, his manservant, Semimaru, swings a wickedly curved battle claw and kills Sekiun. Later in his chamber, Kengyou commends Kogan for defeating the traitor. Kogan sees that the woman pouring the liquor for Kengyou was no other than his own mistress, Iku. Meanwhile, Fujuki’s and Gonzaemon, who were not permitted to gaze upon Kengyou’s face, sit waiting in a separate chamber. Iraku soon appears and as Fujiki attempts to stand, Gonzaemon reminds Fujiki where they are, for any commotion would reflect unfavourably on Kogan. In resignation, Fujiki sits back down. Iraku politely offers to pour a glass, and then immediately splashes the contents across their faces. Despite dripping wet, both students remain still as Iraku muses that his eyes were not what they used to be. Gonzaemon accuses Iraku of using barbarian swordsmanship in an attempt to kill Kogan, but Iraku retorts it was supposed to be ploy to kill Fujiki, until Kogan saved him, likely in his opinion because Fujiki required protection even from a man as old as Kogan. Deeply insulted, Fujiki bites into his own infected fist, sucks the blood within, and spits the blood back onto Iraku’s face. Iraku remains motionless, while Gonzaemon contends that Iraku was incorrect, as Kengyou requested they enjoy themselves, whereas Fujiki was not a man to fight for entertainment. Iraku is enraged at the hypocrisy, given they were the ones who branded Iku’s breast and blinded him for entertainment. Iraku stands to leave, but not before warning Fujiki that his turn would be next. Later that night at the Kogan estate, Fujiki discovers a letter from Iraku in his room. The letter was an invitation for a one on one duel at Mt. Ariba on the coming of the full moon.
6 days since the duel at the Kengyou estate, Gonzaemon reluctantly accepts an order by Kogan to visit schools across the region to display the martial prowess of the Kogan Ryuu. When the full moon of August drew near, the students of Kogan-ryuu would visit every dojo bearing Musou (unrivalled) on their gates. At one dojo, after Gonzaemon demonstrates the superiority of his martial prowess, the master of the dojo presents him with a modest sum, as a token of gratitude. This act was repeated, and was the infamous method Kogan had used to gather money in his youth. Though the students normally journeyed to separate places to divide the labour, this year, Gonzaemon went alone. While hurrying on his way back to the Kogan-ryuu school, Gonzaemon is ambushed by warriors and Semimaru, Kengyou’s battle claw wielding manservant. Gonzaemon immediately knew they were hired men skilled in martial arts. The men fired tiny poisoned darts impossible to parry with a sword, but they did not anticipate Gonzaemon’s large wooden sword "kajiki" (swordfish) had shielded him from the incoming projectiles. They also did not anticipate that even though they were seventeen feet away from striking distance, Gonzaemon still managed to strike them down using his own Kogan-ryuu technique (Hoshi Nagare). Gonzaemon then kills Semimaru, and although Gonzaemon evades Semimaru’s last ditch attempt to poison Gonzaemon by spitting a poisoned needle propelled by the terrifying force of his stomach, Semimaru‘s decapitated corpse still managed to drive its poisoned claw into Gonzaemon’s leg. Gonzaemon falls unconscious.