Matahachi Honiden is one of the main characters in the series Vagabond. He looks like Tazeko when his hair is tied back, and he has very little facial hair, which he shaved at the end of the manga arcs. Matahachi Honiden was the childhood friend of the main character of the series.
In the series, he is shown as an individual who can easily get influenced by something or someone; this leads to a change in opinion, which can lead him to make questionable decisions, which makes him a pretty unreliable individual in the series.
We have also seen him lying often throughout the series, which usually leads to even more trouble. We can see him struggling throughout the series with his weakness and desire, which leads him into complex, challenging, or tricky circumstances that are hard to navigate.
He often drinks too much and also likes spending time with women, making him a womanizer. Despite being such an unreliable man, he plays a vital role in the series, directly impacting Musashi’s (the series’s main character’s) past.
As the story progresses, we can see him undergoing incredible character development. Matahachi Honiden’s journey in the series shows us moments of self-discovery and personal growth. Overall, Matahachi Honiden is a composite character who struggles with inner strife.
Unlike other swords, Matahachi Honiden had a tough beginning; he was the son of the father and a lady who wasn’t his father’s real wife. Sadly, his father passed away when Matahachi Honiden was just a little immature.
Luckily, he had a loving grandmother named Osugi Honiden, who cared for him and treated him as his child, never letting him feel alone or like an orphan. The Honiden family had no children, so his grandmother treated him like a diamond.
Later, Matahachi Honiden got a friend, Shinmen Takezo, later known as Musashi Miyamoto. He became super close with Shinmen Takezo. They used to spend their time together, playing with swords against each other.
Matahachi used to enjoy a lot of time with Shinmen Takezo. Late in the series, we learn that Matahachi’s mom set things up for him to marry Otsu when she was just a baby without parents.
When Matahachi Honiden reached the teenage age of 17, he joined the Toyotomi army to fight against the Tokugawa clan in the battle of Sekigahara. Unfortunately, the Toyotomi army lost the battle, and that’s where the real story begins.
After the battle, we can see Matahachi and Takezo lying down, and then both flee the battlefield and eventually walk and look for shelter. They find a house with a woman named Oko and her daughter Akemi through a different connection. Oko’s house was filled with swords and armor they collected from the battlefield to sell.
Later, a bandit named Tenma threatened them, and Matachi and Tazeko had to fight Tenma and his gang. Tenma’s brother sought revenge, so they had to flee to Kyoto. Matahachi, after leaving behind Takezo, marries Oko and moves to Kyoto. Here is where Matahachi Honiden starts his new life.
After learning about the business run by Oko, things started to get worse between them, and finally, Oko told Matahachi Honiden to leave her and never come back.
This saddened Matahachi, and he regretted his decision to marry Oko and leave behind Takezo. He walked around the streets of Kyoto, thinking about what had happened.
While walking around, he heard news about the fight that was about to take place at Yoshioka School. According to rumors, the fight was between two strong opponents from Yoshioka School.
He didn’t know one of his opponents, his old friend Tazeko (who later changed his name to Miyamoto Musashi); he didn’t even recognize Tazeko at first sight. During this time, Matahachi met Denshichiro Yoshioka, the younger brother of Seijuro, the leader of Yoshioka School.
This meeting is considered one of the significant events in the Vagabond series manga, as his meeting adds even more complications to Matahachi’s life. So, after marrying Oko Matahachi, he faced even more unexpected challenges in his life.
Matahachi requests that Musashi marry Otsu, and then he goes to Kokura with his wife and child to pray for Muasashi’s victory over Kojiro. In the novel, we see Matahachi regret his decision and path, and then he starts a family. In the novel, his wife is not Oko but her daughter Akemi. Their relationship seems to have solidified.
Lesson from Matahachi Honiden:
⦁ Thinking before acting: Matahachi often acts impulsively when making any important life decision, which can affect his whole life later on. As we can see in the manga, his careless decision ended him in big trouble. His story teaches us to carefully consider the situation and surroundings before deciding.
⦁ How important people and friends around us can be: Matahachi’s relationship with Oko and Akemi significantly impacted his life. This relationship had both a positive and negative impact on his life.
⦁ The complex nature of the relationship: Matahachi’s relationship with Oko, Akemi, and others brought ups and downs in his life. He showed us that relationships can be filled with love, conflict, and complexities that require understanding and compromise.
⦁ The struggles of self-discovery: In the story, Matahachi struggles with what he wants, who he is, and his flaws. His journey depicts how hard it can be to figure it out yourself and face the problems inside you.
⦁ The power of redemption: Even though Matahachi makes mistakes in his story, people can learn from their mistakes, improve themselves, and become a better version of themselves. It shows we can change and discover our path, even facing difficulties.
⦁ Adapting to change: Matahachi’s story shows how he goes through different places and situations and has to learn to adjust. It teaches us how important it is to be solid and able to handle unexpected life changes.
Matahachi Honiden is one of the most inspiring characters you can come across. He has always been a coward and runs away when things get difficult while also being jealous of his friends who outclass him in every aspect.
However, he decides to become a man of respect and dignity and moves forward without looking back. Even though many other people would have given up, he decided to go against his fate and proved that if a failure like him can do it, you can.
Do small things with great love.
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I am a first-year student pursuing Data Science and Artificial intelligence and have always been mesmerised by AI and wish to build one for my own in future. In my free time, I like to watch Romance Anime or read Seinen Manga.