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Top 10 Main Characters in Vagabond, 2024

Vagabond is a Japanese epic martial arts manga series based on Eiji Yoshikawa’s Novel “Musashi.” This manga revolves around the late 16th century of the Sengoku era in Japan; it dives into the self-discovery, morality, and the pursuit of mastery as a swordsman of our protagonist, “Miyamoto Musashi.

But when it comes to an antagonist, this series is nuanced and takes a different turn, as the very concept of an antagonist doesn’t exist. This manga portrays historical events and the samurai way of life, which is showcased using stunning art and storytelling.

Top 10 Main Characters in Vagabond

10) Yoshioka Denshichiro


Denshichiro is Yoshioko Seijuro’s younger brother and is the one who manages and takes care of Yoshioka Swords School despite his elder brother being the head.

He is a man who never abandons his samurai honor. Denshichiro fights Musashi at the Rengeion temple, where the former is slain, following which Ueda and 70 other pupils from the school attack Musashi.

09) Baiken Shishido/Tsujikaze Kohei


Kohei is a very skilled and mysterious swordsman. He is the younger brother of Tsujikaze Tenma, who had a tragic past, which helps him shape his journey and contribute more to the broader themes of loss and the consequences of a warrior’s life, due to which he has a nihilistic outlook on life.

Kohei is motivated by a desire for revenge, which further adds depth to his actions and his interaction with Musashi, contributing more to the story’s intensity.

08) Ito Ittosai


Ittosai is a legendary swordsman with the ability to cut a firearm in half; he was the head disciple of Kanemaki Jisai and later went on to defeat Jisai himself.

He was also a mentor to Sasaki Kojiro, though he wasn’t accustomed to teaching the ways of the sword and would often place his disciples in dangerous situations. Ittosai’s main drive was recognition and acknowledgment of his skills; this ambition led to many rivalries, Musashi being one of them.

07) Yagyu Sekishusai


Sekishusai is an incredible swordsman who is a master in the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu style and the head of the Yagyu clan. His martial prowess was so high that he could fend off Musashi’s attack even when he was sick and sleeping.

This intimidated Musashi. He later became Musashi’s mentor to guide him in becoming a better swordsman, imparting philosophical and martial wisdom.

06) Inshun Hozoin


Hozoin is a monk who is a descendant of a goshi (country samurai) in Yamashiro Province; he is proficient with the Hozoin spear style, characterized by its unique techniques and emphasis on precision, making him a formidable opponent in combat.

His association with the Hozoin temple and disciplined and focused mannerisms can be seen in Hozoin’s training and philosophy of the temple. Hozoin’s interactions with Musashi and other characters include discussions on the nature of combat, the pursuit of mastery, and the philosophical foundation of martial arts.

05) Takuan Soho


Takuan is a Zen Buddhist monk currently serving at the Shippoji Buddhist temple in Miyamoto village, who serves as a mentor and a friend to Musashi and acts as a big brother to Otsu. Takuan mentors Musashi in martial arts and matters of mind and spirit.

He plays a vital role in Musashi’s transformation from a bride and impulsive swordsman to a more enlightened and disciplined warrior. His beliefs revolve around a peaceful society, and the way of the sword can only be achieved if people commit to virtue and humility.

04) Otsu

Otsu is introduced as a childhood friend and Musashi’s love interest. She is betrothed to Matahachi Honiden but still bears feelings for Musashi. This complex triangle involving her, Musashi, and Honiden adds complexity to the relationships, leading to better character dynamics.

Otsu acts as a ground of emotional stability and peace in the chaotic journey of both Musashi and Honiden, providing continuity and emotional connection to the story.

03) Matahachi Honiden

Matahachi Honiden

Honiden is Musashi’s childhood friend, who, in his childhood days, admired Musashi as he was cowardly and spineless. Honiden follows Musashi throughout his journey, but their paths diverge after the battle of Seigakhara.

In the manga, Honiden signifies the story’s more human, flawed aspects, the one with consequences who struggles with love and loyalty, as opposed to Musashi, who is self-disciplined, earning him the third spot.

02) Sasaki Kojiro


Kojiro, who is deaf, is a renowned swordsman who masters the technique called” Tsubame Gaeshi.” In the manga, he’s Miyamoto Musashi’s most prominent rival, but unlike Musashi, who is serious, Kojiro is playful.

Thus, the contrasting personalities and approaches to life help create a compelling dynamic. Kojiro serves as a symbolic counterpart to Musashi, and he’s dedicated to fighting only those who dedicate their lives to the sword, so he earns second place on the list.

01) Miyamoto Musashi


Musashi was very rebellious and impulsive in his young days; his ambitions mainly centered around wanting to surpass his father, “Shinmen Takazo,” who played an essential role in shaping Musashi’s outlook on life initially.

But as he grew older and fought many opponents, his understanding of life completely changed; Musashi understood that killing others was not the solution. Although he cannot escape death and killing, he tries hard to stop fighting duels to the death.

This outlook on life, philosophical exploration, and Musashi’s personal growth make him stand out and earn him the first place.


Vagabond is a historical manga where every character is accurate and based on the main character’s perspective. In Vagabond, most of the interactions between characters make each of them more accurate and bigger than life, where legendary characters seem like God.

In contrast, other characters are more human and relatable. Every character that Musashi, our Protagonist, comes through or faces guides him more to self-discovery, morality, and the pursuit of mastery as a swordsman.

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