Tsukuyo (月詠, Tsukuyo), also known as the Death God Courtesan (死神太夫, shinigami tayuu), is a highly skilled ninja, specializing in the usage of kunai, having trained under the infamous assassin and then-Leader of the Hyakka, Jiraia. She is the current leader of the Hyakka, Yoshiwara's guardians (吉原自警団「百華」の頭), an all-female law enforcement squad formerly deployed by Housen.
Sold to Yoshiwara at a very young age, Tsukuyo became the apprentice of courtesan Kamekichi, under whose supervision she suffered due to her distinct lack of obedience. Tsukuyo quickly grew up to hate Yoshiwara and the women who lived there, as she opposed the idea of simply accepting the life of a courtesan. This changed once upon her witnessing Hinowa's positive influence on the other courtesans, awaking Tsukuyo's desire to protect both Hinowa and Yoshiwara.
With that wish in mind, she approached Jiraia, who agreed to take her under his wing and teach her the ninja arts. It was then that Tsukuyo scarred her own face, thus throwing away her life as a woman in order to walk the same path as her disfigured master. Four years prior to meeting the Yorozuya, during a fire in Yoshiwara, Jiraia sacrificed himself to protect Tsukuyo, seemingly burning to death and leaving her to take over the leadership of Yoshiwara's paramilitary force, the Hyakka.
As the new protector of Yoshiwara, it was her duty to assassinate prostitutes going against the law of Yoshiwara, which stated that prostitutes attempting to escape or not managing to bring in customers due to carrying unsightly scars or due to their old age had to be killed. Unwilling to kill them, Tsukuyo decided to fake the deaths of prosecuted prostitutes and hide them among the Hyakka.
Tsukuyo is an attractive blonde woman of average height and slender figure. She has a scar running horizontally across the left side of her forehead and another vertically down her left cheek.
Her shoulder-length hair is normally tied up at the back of her head, while her parted fringe is done up in a bun, held by two miniature kunai, both with red thread at the end on each side. The part of her hair that isn’t tied is left to run down her cheeks, reaching past her chin.
Tsukuyo’s preferred attire is a black kimono, without a right sleeve and exposing her right leg, decorated with autumn leaves, held by a red obi. On her right arm, she sports a detached sleeve that goes from her mid-bicep to her wrist. She also wears fishnet stockings and black high-heel boots that reach just below the knee. She’s often seen smoking a kiseru, a trait she shares with fellow characters, Takasugi Shinsuke, Doromizu Jirochou and Terada Tatsugorou.
During the events of the Dekoboko Arc, she, along with the majority of characters who appeared in this arc, switched genders due to a curse and was seen in her male form. In that form, she had slightly shorter hair and wore a black kimono around her shoulders, that, just like her original kimono, was decorated with autumn leaves.
As someone who gave up everything that means to be a woman to protect Hinowa, Tsukuyo is serious at all times, even when making jokes or finding herself in comedic situations. She is usually not very talkative and counteracts all kinds of provocations and threats with a relentless offensive physical reactions, especially when such threats are directed towards Hinowa or her son Seita. An example of this severity can be seen in very first scene Tsukuyo appears in, where she mercilessly cuts off a man's arm and kills him for insulting and physically abusing a prostitute on her watch. As a consequence of this character trait, Tsukuyo doesn't hesitate for a moment to throw her kunai (most of the time directed at Sakata Gintoki). Gintoki is the only person she seems to be able to open up to.
Beyond her tough and stoic exterior, however, Tsukuyo is kind at heart. When she stumbles into a situation where somebody needs her help, she does not hesitate to give it, though her facial expressions do not change even then. For example, in Episode 140, she tries to mend Gintoki's pride by taking the blame. In her first meeting with Shimura Tae, Yagyuu Kyuubei and Sarutobi Ayame in Episode 183, she is willing to go so far as to physically wound herself when she listens to their complaints.
Tsukuyo claims to have killed the woman inside of her a long time ago so that she could protect Yoshiwara. To ensure she could never go back to living as a woman, she scarred her own face at a very young age, leaving two clearly visible scars on her face for the rest of her life. But despite asserting to have entirely abandoned herself as a woman, she admits that being near Gintoki strongly weakens her resolve to do so. This could be due to her romantic feelings for him, which are often implied and hinted by various characters.
A different side of Tsukuyo can be seen when she comes in contact with alcoholic substances. She has a very low alcohol tolerance, needing only a small amount to get drunk. As seen in Episode 204, a single whiskey bonbon contained enough for her to enter an inebriated state. While drunk, she tends to display an extremely aggressive nature, mercilessly beating whoever is near her, with Gintoki normally being on the receiving end. Tsukuyo also tends to reveal a sadistic nature after consuming alcohol. However, after resting, she strangely shows no visible signs of a hangover.
Despite living in Yoshiwara her whole life, Tsukuyo was also shown to have great intellect, a vital requirement and typical for a highly skilled ninja like herself. As seen in Lesson 417, she possesses extensive knowledge about the history of Japan and was, therefore, able to tutor Seita.
Strength & Abilities
Tsukuyo was trained by the infamous assassin Jiraia, who taught her a fighting style very similar to that of a ninja. She mastered the Iga arts and possesses lethal assassination skills, making her an extremely powerful combatant. Her talent in throwing kunai is matched equally by her perfect aim, which allows her to throw several kunai in many different directions without missing her targets. As seen during her fight against her own subordinates in Episode 144, she even handles kunai well enough to block other kunai thrown at her with immense speed. During her fight against Abuto, she has also shown to be able to fight with kunai in close combat and also block direct attacks with them. Aside from her skill with kunai, she also has two tantamount attached to the back of her waist belt and is capable of fighting with those as well.
Tsukuyo possesses incredible speed and reflexes, which allowed her to sneak up behind Abuto just moments after the kunai she threw reached him. She also reacts to her opponents' actions immediately, giving them no chance to find an opening. In addition to this, Tsukuyo is very proficient in hand to hand combat and knows where to land critical blows.
- Jiraia: Tsukuyo asked Jiraia to take her under his wing and train her to be able to protect Hinowa and Yoshiwara at a very young age. Impressed by her determination to carry such heavy burdens on her small back as a child, he was drawn to her and became her master. Jiraia taught her everything he knew in absolute social isolation until he supposedly died in a fire to protect Tsukuyo several years later. While being presumed deceased, Jiraia continued illegal drug deals in Yoshiwara and soon appeared before Tsukuyo's eyes again, attempting to kill Gintoki, who he believed Tsukuyo had romantic feelings for. Subsequently, he kidnapped Tsukuyo and tortured her, revealing he raised her so he could murder her in her prime. Additionally, despite raising her in social isolation, Tsukuyo unexpectedly found a home, allies and friends, and Jiraia felt that Tsukuyo was driven away from his path. As a consequence, he forced Tsukuyo to watch as he attempted to kill everyone and everything she ever loved by burning Yoshiwara to the ground. When Gintoki finally managed to find the two, Jiraia attempted to land a final blow on Gintoki to kill him off for good, causing Tsukuyo to finally kill Jiraia. In his last moments. Jiraia eventually admitted that the real point of raising Tsukuyo was to plan his own painful death by making the student he loved and raised eventually become his enemy and kill him. Jiraia saw this as self-punishment for failing to protect his sister. He also revealed his fear of Tsukuyo being driven away from him, and therefore being yet another person he would've lost. As he took his last breaths, Tsukuyo carried him on her shoulders, showing her master the moon for the last time as he died in her arms.
Friends & Allies
- Hinowa: Tsukuyo had known Hinowa since she was a child and always thought of her as a big sister. She served under Hinowa until she scarred her own face, which separated the two. Though even after she started serving Housen as the leader of the Hyakka, Tsukuyo secretly took orders from Hinowa and willingly betrayed Housen and her own subordinates for Hinowa's sake.
- Sarutobi Ayame: Sarutobi sees Tsukuyo as a love rival standing between her and Sakata Gintoki. Sarutobi regularly complains about the character popularity poll ranking as Sarutobi 25th, while Tsukuyo is ranked 10th. Interestingly, Tsukuyo stopped Sarutobi from scoring a kiss with Gintoki in the movie.
- Seita: Tsukuyo considers Seita a son, just like many other prostitutes in Yoshiwara do. The reason why the prostitutes of Yoshiwara and especially Hinowa were able to endure the pain that came with being a caged prostitute, was because they knew that Seita could, unlike them, live freely and become happy. Tsukuyo guards Seita with her life and even went as far as to betray Housen and the Hyakka to protect him.
- Kagura: Kagura was the first to nickname her "Tsukki." While the two are not often seen interacting with each other, Tsukuyo nonetheless treats her nicely.
- Sakata Gintoki: Although Tsukuyo claimed she gave up her womanhood to protect Yoshiwara, she stated(Episode 177/Lesson 255) that her resolve to do so weakens when she is with Gintoki with Jiraia hinting at her romantic feelings for him. Further evidence was given by Hinowa and Seita who commented on Tsukuyo being noticeably upset about Gintoki's and Sarutobi's supposed marriage (Lesson 294). This evidence was supported when Tsukuyo crossed out their statements, replacing them with passive-aggressive congratulations of her own and thus accidentally revealing her anger. She reacted equally when Sarutobi attempted to score a final kiss with Gintoki in Gintama The Final Chapter: Be Forever Yorozuya. During the Valentine's Day event, she blushed when she thought it was awkward to give Gintoki chocolates for Valentine's Day. In the Host Club Arc, Tsukuyo declared that she claimed Gintoki first to entertain her. In the Courtesan of A Nation arc, the moment Gintoki was shot by Isaburo, Tsukuyo killed several Naraku agents in her state of anger to rush to Gintoki's aid. She also learned a little about Gintoki's past and seemed to relate to him losing his master as she did. In Lesson 443, Hinowa casually suggested (joked) that it would be beneficial for Tsukuyo to learn how to cook a meal or two so Gintoki would appreciate her, much to Tsukuyo's evident frustration. During the events of the Love Potion Arc, the titular incense amplifies her feelings for him, causing her to constantly stay near him, blush and stutter. In the Silver Soul Arc, she will be asked by Hinowa to go help Gintoki in this time of crisis, and she complies in so that she would be able to fight by the side of the man she loves.
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Tsukuyo was, like the majority of her fellow prostitutes, sold to the red-light district Yoshiwara as a child. Due to constantly showing resistance towards her senior courtesan Kamekichi and disobeying orders at that time, Tsukuyo was very often physically abused, tied up and locked in a dark room. At that point, Tsukuyo met the highest ranking courtesan Hinowa, who motivated Tsukuyo to free her own soul from its cage instead of just waiting for death. Tsukuyo and Hinowa soon bonded and considered each other sisters. This strong bond between them awakened Tsukuyo's desire to protect Hinowa with her life. To do so, she came in contact with the psychopathic and infamous assassin Jiraia, who agreed to take her under his wing and teach her everything he knew. Tsukuyo decided to abandon her womanhood entirely to become strong enough to protect Hinowa, and her determination lead her to disfigure her own face, just like her master did, resulting in Tsukuyo carrying two large scars on her face ever since. Being raised by a legendary ninja in complete social isolation since she was a child, Tsukuyo soon became a lethal assassin herself.
After several years, Jiraia sacrificed himself for Tsukuyo in a huge fire that broke out in Yoshiwara. At some point after this incident, Tsukuyo, as Jiraia's successor, took over her master's position as the leader of a paramilitary force named "Hyakka" and served under Housen, being Yoshiwara's guardian ever since.
Immediately after Housen learned about Seita's appearance near Hinowa, he ordered Tsukuyo to assassinate him. After locating Seita and the other intruders, Tsukuyo feigned killing him and the Yorozuya members by using mostly fake kunai to fool her subordinates. Unbeknownst to the rest of the Hyakka, she then led them to an escape route, revealing that Hinowa ordered her to fake Seita's death to let him escape safely. However, before Seita and the Yorozuya could escape, Abuto, who was identified as a powerful Yato by Kagura, stood before them, demanding Tsukuyo to hand over Seita. The moment Abuto charged at the group, Tsukuyo immediately fought back, trying to buy Seita time so he can escape safely. However, as Tsukuyo fought Abuto, Ungyou joined in and attacked Gintoki, leaving the group no escape route. As Kagura tried to free Seita from Ungyou, Abuto's and Ungyou's leader Kamui appeared, hitting his sister Kagura with the intent to kill her. His attack caused the pipe, which was supposed to serve as an escape route, to finally collapse. Tsukuyo managed to save the Yorozuya from a deadly fall. Knowing that Seita was kidnapped by Kamui and would be used as a bargaining chip against Housen, Gintoki, Shinpachi, Kagura and Tsukuyo teamed up to save Seita and free Yoshiwara from Housen's terror once and for all.
The Yorozuya members dressed like Hyakka members so Tsukuyo could get them into Housen's palace. However, their farce was quickly discovered. For the sake of Hinowa, Tsukuyo decided to hold back her own subordinates to buy the Yorozuya time. Gintoki asked Tsukuyo to lend him over her smoking pipe as he promised that he will return it if they all survive at the end.
While under her subordinates' attack, she refused to fight back, claiming she has no right to do so as she's become a traitor. As she was severely injured in the process, Tsukuyo closed her eyes and prepared for the final blow that would eventually kill her. However, her subordinates found themselves unable to attack her any further, as they were all prostitutes that Tsukuyo hid in the Hyakka to avoid having to assassinate them.
Tsukuyo and the Hyakka later assisted Gintoki in defeating the Night King to free Yoshiwara from his reign and to save Hinowa and her son. At one point, Gintoki pushed away Tsukuyo to protect her from kunai that got repelled back by Housen, making Gintoki unable to keep fighting. He was also willing to sacrifice himself during the fight, hoping Housen would spare Tsukuyo's and her subordinates' lives. However, as Housen made clear that he'd kill every single one of them, Yoshiwara's ceiling finally crashed, exposing Housen's skin to the sun, which eventually killed him.
Some time after that, the Yorozuya were called in to help deal with a strain of illegal drugs that have been going around Yoshiwara. She and Gintoki join the Red Spiders (Benigumoto), searching for a lead. They eventually made it to a shipping dock where they were easily discovered Benigumoto's leader and surrounded. There, she learns the person responsible for a major part of the crime in Yoshiwara is her master, Jiraia. He easily overwhelms Tsukuyo and Gintoki, appearing to kill the latter. She is then taken to an unknown tower in Yoshiwara and learns she was meant to abandon her sense of self and not rely on others so that she would become a copy of her master and ultimately die by his hand. To experience this pain, she was forced to watch the city burn down. This doesn't go as planned as the Yorozuya, Hattori Zenzou and the citizens of Yoshiwara prevent the fire from spreading and Sakata Gintoki arrives at the tower to save Tsukuyo and fight Jiraia. After the battle, Tsukuyo delivers the finishing blow and lears of Jiraia's past and true motives from Zenzou. Having heard the truth, she reconciles with her teacher as they watch the moon, before the Spider breaths his last breath.While making Hinowa think she's recovering from the stress caused by meeting her master, she was secretely going out and continuing her duties as a Hyakka. To help relieve her, Hinowa asks her to be the courtesan of a special guest, who turns out to be Gintoki. She gets drunk only after only a small amount of sake and begins to act violently towards her guest and threatens to kill her observers (Seita, Hinowa, Kagura and Shinpachi, unless they join her. She wakes up later that night to go on with her job, but not before lamenting on the paths her life could have taken and being reassured by Gintoki
She is later dragged in the fight over the 2nd popularity poll results by Shimura Tae, Sarutobi Ayame and Yagyuu Kyuubei who all disapprove of her higher ranking. She shows no interest in the ordeal and willingly offers her rank. After a short talk, the four of them join forces to take over the 1st position of the poll, although even then, Tsukuyo still shows disinterest in the poll and simply wishes for it to end as soon as possible. She's confronted by Sarutobi about her view but Sadaharu and Elizabeth interrupt their skirmish. At the end, she assists in throwing Shinpachi and Yamazaki Sagaru from the roof.
Arriving drunk to the Tagamagahara along with her Hyakka. She cause much trouble to the hosts along with other known female characters.
She was one of the many manipulated to hunt down Gintoki after Sakata Kintoki destroyed Tama and framed Gintoki as the killer. She was the first, along with Kyuubei and Sarutobi to stand against Kintoki.
She, along with the Yorozuya and Nobume, helped the famous courtesan Suzuran to be reunited with the man whom she promised to escape Yoshiwara when the next moon comes out.
Tsukuyo encounters a courtesan named Hotaru attempting to elope with a customer to find that Hotaru had been drugged with a special incense known as Aizen Kou. It causes one to become infatuated with the first person they see upon smelling it. Tsukuyo accidentally smells the incense and looks up to see a drunk Gintoki about to take a piss. Subsequently, Tsukuyo is affected by the love potion and becomes infatuated with him. Gintoki and Tsukuyo are sent to find the source of the drug because it is illegal in Yoshiwara and had been banned for its potency.
- She is loosely based on Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto, the moon god in Shinto and Japanese mythology.
- She speaks with a classic prostitute accent.
- She placed 10th in the Second Popularity Poll.
- Kagura and Sa-chan call her "Tsukki", a nickname Hinowa likes.
- Tsukuyo, whose name contains tsuki, meaning "Moon", is referred to as Yoshiwara's Moon, just as Hinowa is referred to as its Sun.
- As seen in Lesson 262, Tsukuyo offered commercial sexual services to Gintoki when he was her suitor
|Fight||Outcome||Time it Occurred|
|Tsukuyo vs. Yorozuya||Win||Lesson 211|
|Tsukuyo and Yorozuya vs. Kamui, Abuto and Ungyo||Loss||Lesson 212|
|Tsukuyo, Hyakka and Sakata Gintoki vs. Housen||Win||Lesson 224|
|Tsukuyo and Sakata Gintoki vs. Jiraia||Loss||Lesson 255|
|Tsukuyo and Imai Nobume vs. Naraku Agents||Interrupted||Lesson 392|
- (over being sold in Yoshiwara) "If they want to kill me, they can go ahead and kill me. If I stay here in this prison, I'll have the same dead look on my faces as the rest of you. If I'm going to end up being merchandise, I'd rather be killed."
- "If you don't hold a rose carefully, you'll get pierced by its thorns."
- "I am the guardian of Yoshiwara. I eliminate anyone who makes trouble in Yoshiwara."
- "I only learned this after I was sold here. That for us, a morning filled with hope would never come. That we would have to live in eternal despair, in a never-ending night. But amidst that despair, among all the women with the same look in their eyes, there was one woman who had a different look."
- "The reason I scarred my face and forsook my womanhood wasn't because I despised becoming a courtesan or because I wanted to protect Yoshiwara as a Hyakka. I did it to protect Hinowa."
- (To Seita) "In Yoshiwara, once a woman bears a child, that child and its mother are eliminated. Despite that, you were born into this world. If a woman escapes from Yoshiwara she is tracked down to the ends of this Earth and is killed. Despite that, you were taken to the world above."
- (To Seita) "Just as Hinowa was to us the sun that shined on the eternal night, you, Seita, were also special to her. As your name states, a sun can't shine unless the sky is clear. I can't let you die."
- (To Seita) "That sounds quite encouraging, doesn't it? In that case, can you carry everyone here? Your mothers... all 49 of us! We're very proud to have such a nice son."
- (To Hyakka) "I have no right to kill any of you. To this day, we've executed those who broke the law in order to protect Yoshiwara. Whether they were women attempting to escape Yoshiwara or women who could no longer bring in customers. After everything I've done, I don't expect to be the only one allowed to live after breaking the law."
- (To herself) "This town isn't worth protecting... Believing that, I still became Housen's puppet, upholding the law of Yoshiwara. Nothing can be changed. Nothing will be changed. I gave up and decided that protecting this town Hinowa lived in would lead to protecting Hinowa. That was my belief as I fought. But in the end, I didn't protect anything. Neither Hinowa, nor this town... only my own cage."
- (To Hyakka) "The ones who caged in Yoshiwara was none other than us."
- "Hinowa, I will no longer run. I will fight to break this cage. I will stand up straight and look right towards the sun 'till the very end!"
- (over Hinowa) "She was a tiny sun in my eternal night."
- (over Hinowa) "Her eyes weren't dead."
- (To Hinowa) "The sun and the moon. Hinowa, I always thought I was protecting you by your side, but you always felt so far away. Now for the first time, I feel like I'm standing next to you."
- (To Sakata Gintoki) "Please go, I beg you. I wish to stay as your equal. When I'm with you, my resolve weakens. Don't shake up my feelings any further."
- (To Jiraia) "I wish you had told me this sooner. I wish you had allowed me to share your burden. Then we would have been able to arrive at a different answer. If the master's duty is to shoulder the student along with their pain, what is the student's duty? To grow strong enough to shoulder the master. You're light. So light, Shishou...I never knew you were so light..."
- (To Sakata Gintoki, Kagura, Shimura Shinpachi) "Promise me this. We will all return alive."
- (To Sakata Gintoki) "I suppose you won't listen if I tell you that your body can't take any more. Then I'm coming with you. I won't let you break your promise. That goes for you and Maizou."
- (To Tokugawa Sada Sada) "If we can't judge you on the surface, we'll judge you underground. The woman's tears shed in Yoshiwara in your favor... The man's blood you've spilled... The heavens may forgive you, but I, the law of Yoshiwara, Shinigami Tayū, won't!"
- (To Shige Shige's guards) "Show that you can stop the women you sneer at. Show that you can defend this castle, built upon those women's tears. Since you've forgotten about them, I'll have to remind you! These women have come to topple a nation!"
- (To Sakata Gintoki) "Whether it's winter or spring, once in a while, I just like being next to you like this and blowing poisonous smoke in your face. That's enough to make me happy."
- (To Sakata Gintoki) "The world doesn't matter...
I just want to die by your side..."
Gintama The Final Chapter: Be Forever Yorozuya
- (To Sakata Gintoki) "Whether you are the demon that destroyed our world, or the Messiah who saved it... From this moment on, we rise and fall together."