Like a Dragon: Kenzan!
|Like a Dragon: Kenzan!|
|Developer||New Entertainment R&D Deptartment|
|Released||JP: March 8, 2008|
|October 26, 2018|
In the 17th century, a rōnin named Musashi Miyamoto took on the alias of Kazumanosuke Kiryu.
On October 20, 1600, at the end of the Sengoku period, Musashi Miyamoto was a sensei at a martial arts dojo. He is teaching his students a move he named the Dance of Two Swords. He claims that it is just a dance because no one could actually fight with two swords.
The swordsman of the House of Tokugawa, Nagayoshi Marume, entered the dojo, telling the students that they wanted to use their dominant arm but that some people could fight with two swords.
He then apologizes for the sudden entrance, tells Musashi he wants to talk to him alone, and asks if he can tell his students to go home. He complies and asks his students if they have any questions before they leave. A student named Toutarō asks if it is true that there are different kinds of katana. He confirms that and tells him there are even rumors of a bewitched katana. He then shows students named Nujirō, Renzaburō, Boushirō, and Zengarō, how to use a sword.
After his students leave, Marume tells Musashi that he wants him to perform a test. Musashi asks if it is a test to see if he is worthy of fighting for the forces of Tokugawa in a civil war between Eastern Japan and Western Japan. Marume denies this but claims the task he wants Musashi to run will shake the foundations of Japan.
Musashi initially declines before he is told that if he passes the test Marume will recommend that he become an assistant instructor at the House of Tokugawa. Marume then tells him that the test is to fight him, so he does so and loses the fight. Despite the loss, Marume tells him that due to his fighting spirit, he passed the test.
That night, one of Musashi's students tells him that he knows that he is going to Sekigahara as he sees him talking to a fighter named Marume and pleads for him not to go. Musashi tells him that he knows the battlefield is dangerous, even for him, but that he feels he must go to prove his skills with a sword. He assures his pupil that he will return from the battlefield to teach his students even better techniques.
Musashi goes to Marume to ask him to tell him the real reason he passed the test. The latter tells the former that it is simply because he is strong. Musashi feels he shouldn't have passed because his skills are no match for his skills. Marume agrees but tells him that his skills will improve.
Marume says he sought Musashi because he ran a dojo yet had no school style. He is looking for a swordsman who has the skill to win on the battlefield yet has yet to kill anyone. He feels that it takes someone with skill as well as someone who would enjoy killing his enemies. Musashi denies that he will be a swordsman who takes pleasure in killing, but Marume believes he will since when he fought him in the test he kept his mind set on winning and had a look in his eyes of someone who was intent on killing. In Marume's opinion, someone who is experienced in battle knows their limits and would run away from an enemy stronger than them. When Musashi stated he would never run away, that confirmed to Marume that he made the right choice. Musashi is satisfied with his answer and states that he will be on the battlefield in the morning.
That night, the warriors are drinking, but Musashi declines to drink before a battle. After he insulted him for being young and therefore weak, Musashi threw sake in the face of Goromachi Majima, also known as Gormachi the killer. After it appears Musashi won, Majima charges in to continue the battle. However, they are stopped when Marume grabs both of their practice swords mid-swing.
Marume tells them both to save their strength for the battle, but he is interrupted by Nankobo Tenkai who tells him that all that matters is that they have the energy to fight. Everyone bows to him when they become aware of his presence except for Musashi. When asked where he is from, Musashi tells Tenkai that he is from the Mimisaka province and does not have a school style.
This angers Tenkai who whispers to Marume that they can't afford to make any mistakes. Marume then assures him that there will not be any mistakes and says that a warrior named Kojirō is in position. Tenkai accepts that answer and takes his leave.
Marume tells the warriors that that night, the night before the battle, they will sneak into the place where the traitor of the army of Tokugawa is sleeping and kill him. Despite knowing that there is a good chance of dying, both Musashi and Majima volunteer. The rest of the army will be their backup.
The rest of the army of Tokugawa fight the guards from the front, while Musashi and Majima sneak in the back. Majima killed one of the remaining guards, while Musashi killed the other. However, he was shaken by the fact that he had just killed someone with his blade.
They fight the swordsmen inside until they reach a room where they are surrounded. Majima tells Musashi that he will handle things there while he goes on. Musashi fights more warriors until he reaches the traitor, who is waiting for him. Musashi wounded him, but before he died, he told Musashi and Majima that his only regret was that he couldn't save his brother from Tenkai. Musashi was stunned by his words, while Majima was surprised when he picked up his sword as the hilt contained the Tokugawa crest. Majima wonders if the traitors were from the House of Tokugawa itself.
Tokugawa warriors entered the room and told them that they had killed the heir of the House of Tokugawa, Hideyasu Yūki. Majima and Musashi are momentarily surprised but regain their composure so that they can fight their way out the back. They run seven miles down the mountain road until they reach the old temple where they are supposed to meet up with the rest of the Tokugawa army.
When they see no one inside, Majima has Musashi look around the area to make sure there are no enemies lurking nearby. As Musashi didn't know of the man he had killed, Majima explains that Yūki was the eldest son of Ieyasu Tokugawa, a daimyo, or vassal of the shogun. He was to become the head of the House of Tokugawa.
There was a rumor that after doing something that angered his father, Ieyasu put Yūki up for adoption against his will. Majima assumed that this action was what led Yūki to become a traitor to his own house. However, Musashi didn't believe the rumor and was suspicious of the fact that Yūki knew that Tenkai had ordered them to assassinate him. Majima was surprised that he knew about the assassination plot yet hadn't run away. Musashi reminded Majima that Yūki mentioned he couldn't save his brother from Tenkai, and took this to mean he was being imprisoned somewhere. However, Majima just felt Musashi was overthinking things.
Musashi tells Majima that he has killed someone for the first time and is no longer fearful of killing. He now feels that a sword is an instrument for killing people. Majima tells him that he has the wrong mindset because those are the words of someone obsessed with killing. He knows that as he feels that way and believes that he is only a mere shadow of his former self.
Majima was traveling around the country trying to improve his skills before Musashi signed him up for the army of Tokugawa. By challenging many swordsmen, he had overcome any doubts he had about killing people. As he killed more people, his name became well known and he thought he was improving. However, after killing opponents including a man that had his young daughter present, he soon gained the moniker of Gorohachi the Killer.
Majima warns Musashi that if he stays like he is now, he will become like that as well. Majima accepted Marume's invitation simply because he needed money. After he wins in battle, he intends to move to Omi where he can support his sister Ukiyo. He believes that, for his sister, he will have no problem giving up being a swordsman. He realizes now that he has ruined the lives of the people that he had killed in his pursuit to become a master swordsman.
Majima tells Musashi to give up the way of the sword before he becomes a killer. Musashi states that it was his lifelong ambition to become a swordsman, so he couldn't give that up and return home. Musashi tells Majima that he just wants to continue fighting opponents stronger than him. He is willing to fulfill his dream even if it takes him many years.
Soon after their discussion, Marume enters the temple telling them that he was surprised they survived. Because that was not part of his plan, Marume tries to have his small band of warriors kill the two men. Majima and Musashi succeed in defeating the warriors but are no match for Marume. Kojirō Sasaki arrives with more warriors. Musashi tells Sasaki that he killed Yūki and has the warriors move in to kill Musashi and a passed-out Majima.
Surrounded, Musaki takes out another blade to fight dual-handed to the surprise of both Marume and Sasaki. He successfully defeats the warriors but Sasaki wants to test if he is really as skilled at the Style of Two Swords as he appears. Sasaki is about to slay Musaki, but he is saved by Majima. However, Sasaki slices Majima's left eye. Musaki manages to hold off Sasake long enough to grab Majima, taking Marume's advice to run away and survive.
On October 21, 1600, the largest battle of the aforementioned civil war took place in Sekigahara between the coalition of Toyotomi loyalists of Eastern Japan led by Ieyasu Tokugawa against the forces of Western Japan led by Mitsunariin Ishida. The Tokugawa army successfully fought their way to victory.
Majima knew he would not his injury, so before they reached Omi he gave Musaki his sword to give to his sister so that she could earn money by selling it. As they were crossing the bridge into Omi, the Tokugawa army appeared on the other side. Musashi set Majima down on the bridge so that he could fight them off. He succeeded, but Majima was attacked by more army warriors from the back. Knowing that he didn't have the strength to fight, Majima sacrificed himself by cutting the ropes of the bridge, managing to take the warriors down with him.
Musaki tracked down Majima's sister Ukiyo in Omi, gave her the sword, and told her what happened to her brother. However, she wouldn't take the sword as she claimed it didn't mean anything to her as he was not her real brother. She was taken in by him when she had lost everything. She prepares a hot bath for Masuki and tells him to leave the village after he cleans himself up and eats a hot meal. As Ukiyo is about to serve him food, he tries again to give her the sword, but she gets angry and says that she will kick him out if he doesn't stop.
She tells him that she is relieved Majima is dead because, although she doesn't blame him for doing so as it was due to the outcome of a duel, he was the man who killed her father. Her father was a swordsman who used to be a famous samurai. He taught in a dojo in a town called Kiryu in Kōzuke Province. Her mother died when she was young, so it was just her father, herself, and her sister Ageha living together. Her father told her that he could not escape from his duel with Majima, but neither she nor her sister knew what he meant.
When he tells him that her father died in front of her eyes, Musashi realizes that she is the young girl about whom Majima is talking. After her father died, she and her sister left Kiryu. In 1591, to save her sister from poverty, Ageha sold herself to a brothel. Ukiyo supported herself with the money her sister gave her until she ran into Majima. In an effort to redeem himself, he took Ukiyo in and treated her as a sister. She had to live with the man who killed her father, but when he told her Majima had died, she felt as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. However, at the same time, she still felt lonely.
She left to get some saki, only to be confronted by officials looking for Majima. She tells them that Musashi is a young man from a neighboring village, but the men push her aside to confront him. Knowing that he is too young to be Majima, they ask for his name. He tells them to ask Marume his name, surprising them enough to allow him to knock them down. This causes them to realize he's Musashi Miyamoto. Musashi takes up Majima's sword. He defeats them but refuses to kill them with Majima's sword since Majima had tried to get away from a life of killing. To his horror, they commit seppuku since he wouldn't kill them for losing.
This only strengthens his resolve to leave the way of the warrior behind, plunging Majima's sword into the ground, praying, and remembering his lost ally. He vows to stop killing and stay with Ukiyo to protect her from the men pursuing Majima and himself.
One year later, in 1601, Musashi harvests plants from the field of rice while Ukiyo prepares a meal. When he comes inside to eat, he finds her tying mementos of her mother to his swords. She wants him to become a swordsman again and ties charms onto his swords as a little something she could do for him once he takes up his swords again.
Refusing to use his swords, he goes back to the fields to let off steam. However, Ukiyo is soon approached by an old man named Gen who, panicking, lets her know that the town has been approached by men dressed as bandits. They have a paper with Majima's face on it and are looking for him.
They ask Musashi if he knows a man named Majima because they are there to collect the one-hundred ryo bounty that Takagawa has placed on his head. Gen and Ukiyo scramble to get away. He tells the bandits that Majima died the previous winter, however, they don't believe him. Before they can wreck the house looking for a man who isn't there, Musashi tells them that he is also wanted by Takagawa.
Ukiyo tries to give him his swords, but Musashi tells her he can defeat them and protect her without them. He defeats them with just his fists, but one of the bandits throws a small sword into his leg. Ukiyo stabs him with her sword and refuses to run which allows the bandit to grab the sword and stab her in the stomach with it. He dies from her wounds, and she lies dying. With her dying words, she tells Musashi to not abandon the sword. She wants him to save people with his sword as her father told her that a truly strong swordsman is one who can save people with a sword.
Unfortunately, Gen sees him holding Ukiyo and taking the dagger out of her stomach, making the old man believe that Musashi has killed her. Gen becomes even more sure of it when he sees the bandit's bounty letter with Musashi's face on it. Musashi takes his sword and leaves town.
After walking for a while, another group of bandits approaches Musashi looking to collect the ransom and he draws his sword without hesitation. He angrily kills most of them, but in his rage he lets another sneak behind him and slice his shoulder. He killed that one as well, only to be confronted by more. They boast that they will be able to take him down due to his injury, but they are interrupted by an old monk who tells them to leave.
The monk asks Masashi if he is injured and a bandit tells him to mind his own business and leave. The monk simply uses a mere two fingers to take the bandit's sword and flip him backward. The monk holds out the sword asking them if they want to fight and they simply run away.
The monk takes Musashi down the road to a shrine and treats his wound. After he is treated, Musashi notices that the monk has a sword wound on his chest. Musashi asks why he was saved and the monk tells him that it's not in his nature to sit by idly when a man is about to be killed.
The monk tells him that he got his sword wound messing around as a child and that he is simply a wandering monk. He tells Musashi that he knows self-defense techniques because it is dangerous to wander from town to town. Musashi Miyamoto gives his name and the monk won't give his name in return. The monk also states that he can't be the man from the bounty because the bounty stated Miyamoto fights with two swords and Musashi only fought using one. After that, the two men lay down and slept for the night.
When Miyamoto woke the next day, the mysterious monk was gone. He reads a note the monk left that said to meet him at the front gate of Gion if he wished to start a new life where he would no longer be on the run. He also left a map that told Musashi how to get there and left clothes into which he could change.
Musashi met the monk at the gate and the two men walked into Gion, the home of the Imperial Capital. Miyamoto discovers that Japan is in the midst of a period of peace and prosperity due to the Takagawa victory at the Battle of Sekigahara. It is largely due to the money held by the influential in this neighborhood. Because Gion was now a red light district, it signified the end of the era of rule by the sword to one ruled by money. In Gion, men were being forced to be sold as slave labor while women and girls were being sold voluntarily and involuntarily to work as sex slaves.
Inside Gion, Miyamoto notices a woman named Yoshino who looks like Ukiyo. She is a Tenjin, which is the second highest rank of courtesan after Tayuu. Yoshino worked at the biggest brothel in Gion, Tsuruya. The girls following her are her apprentice courtesans, or Kamuro, who are in service to her.
The gatekeepers stop them from entering further as they note that Musashi appears to be a rōnin, or a samurai without a master. They feel that the pair look shady and won't let them in without money. When the monk holds up several ryo to the surprise of everyone, including Musashi, the gatekeepers let them in.
The monk wants to take Musashi to Tsuruya to have some fun. A man named Ittōsai Itō works as a kakemawarai, a mix of an errand man and a mercenary, for Tsuruya. He takes the two there once he learns that the monk has money. Inside Tsuruya, the two drink sake and watch a geisha performance by Yoshino. However, Musashi is feeling depressed as she resembles Ukiyo and is feeling guilty because of everything the monk has done for him so far.
The monk gets up to relieve himself and tells Yoshino to take care of Musashi while he's gone. Musashi tells her he doesn't want to be called sensei because it sounds too formal. When she asks for his name, he gives her the name of the town where Ukiyo grew up, Kiryu. She likes the name and tells him that Kiryu is the name of a town known as the Kyoto of the East. She tells him that all of the women know of the place as it is popular for its fabrics known as Kiryu Textiles.
He asks if she is from Kōzuke Province because he knew a woman from Kiryu who looked like her. She tells him that the women of Gion don't talk about their past and that it is rude to try to find out about a stranger's past. She tells him that she will tell him the truth if he buys her freedom. She tells him that it would cost 500 ryu, but he doesn't have nearly enough money.
Kiryu and the monk who is waiting outside the room hear a woman scream and a man who works for Tsuruya asks them to help because a courtesan is being attacked by a drunk samurai in one of the tatami rooms. Itō is collecting money for the brothel, so there is no security at that moment.
Kiryu hands Yoshino his katana as he doesn't want to kill the drunk samurai and she sees the charm representing her mother on the sword's hilt. Kiryu defeats the man with his bare hands and sees Yoshino become flustered over the charm. He asks if she is alright, but she deflects. At that moment the employee of Tsuruya gives him several ryu as a reward, and Yoshino quickly leaves with him to clean up the tatami room.
Kiryu decides to live in Gion. He gambled with the money he was given as a reward at Tsuruya, won big, and purchased a shop. Two days later, it opened as the House of the Dragon and served as a shop for his business as a kakemawari.
The same day, the mysterious monk gives Kiryu an outfit with a dragon design as a gift and bids him farewell as he is planning to go back to his hometown. However, before leaving the monk asked Kiryu why he was staying in Gion. He responds that he wants to start a new life as well as to wait for the man who framed him and killed his friend. He wants to fight him again as a swordsman. The monk tells him to make use of his talents with the sword or he will lose his touch. He also tells him to use his imagination to take a broader perspective than one obsessed with the sword, and to have fun with learning and improving in Gion.
The mysterious monk then left and said that he knew he was a criminal but pretended that he didn't know who he was so that he could find out what kind of man he was. He then tells him that he promises he won't tell anyone. He then slipped up by saying Kiryu would work as a family name, revealing that he only pretended to relieve himself so he could listen in on his conversation with the courtesan. The monk laughs it off and tells him that he should use Kazumanosuke as a given name. He thinks that such a name would be like a horse shooting off in a straight line and would suit a straightforward person such as him. Kiryu tells him he likes it and will use that as his given name. The monk then finally departs Gion.
Four years later, in 1605, Kazumanosuke Kiryu is well-known as a rōnin who lives at the House of the Dragon and earns a living by working as a bodyguard through Ittōsai Itō for various business owners as well as a money collector. He spends most of his time sleeping, smoking opium, drinking, or flirting with Yoshino, who is now a Tayuu.
After a collection job, Kiryu is told that someone is at the front gate of Gion looking for him. He arrives at the gate but is surprised that the person looking for him is a beaten and bruised young girl named Haruka. He tries to ignore her but she hears him being called Kiryu. She tells him that she was saved by a man who she didn't know and that he told her to go to Gion, see Kiryu, and that then she'd be alright. He tries to leave as he thinks he won't get paid for his services, but Haruka tells him that she has money. Kiryu becomes surprised when he notices the crest on the katana she is carrying. Kiryu's slave tries to punish her for carrying a weapon that she could use to hurt his master. However, Kiryu lies and tells him she could be his illegitimate child from a courtesan and takes her back to his house.
At the House of the Dragon, Haruka tells Kiryu that she will pay him to kill the man who murdered her entire family and tells him the murderer went by the name Musashi Miyamoto. The only thing she can tell Kiryu about the man who told her to seek him out was that he had a huge wound on his chest.
She learned that the man who killed her family went by Miyamoto because she went to a small village in the Omi Province where someone told her that the katana belonged to Musashi Miyamoto. Kiryu refuses her request and tells her that he doesn't know Miyamoto and that he doesn't kill people indiscriminately. She asks him again if he will do it if she can pay him, and Kiryu confirms that. When the mama-san of Tsuruya tells Haruka not to put her trust in Kiryu, she asks her to buy her as a courtesan. As she leaves to her new role as a courtesan, she looks back sadly at Kiryu.
People who pre-ordered the original Japanese version of the game received a physical magazine with articles based on the world of the game titled Kamutai Magazine.