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Goemon Ishikawa
Samurai Warriors 4 artwork
Character Information
Clan(s)/Alliance(s): Iga
unknown (Thirties)
195 cm (6'5")
Weapon(s): Flail mace and cannon
Chidori Kōro
Moveset Type:
Playable Debut: Samurai Warriors
Historical Information
Real name:
Ishikawa Goemon
Japanese name:
August 24, 1558
October 8, 1594
Warriors Orochi Info
Character Type:
Power (WO1~2)
Technique (WO3~4)
Personal Item:
Ivory Incense Burner
Sacred Treasure:

Goemon Ishikawa is a bandit of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. Historically, not much is known about his activities beyond his execution. In plays and literature, Goemon is heralded as a devilishly clever and lovable thief who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. He is also fabled to be a renegade Iga ninja.

His Samurai Warriors counterpart is last place in the Samurai Warriors 4 poll.

The Nobunaga no Yabou 201X poll for 4-star officers puts him in twenty-ninth place together with Ujisato Gamō.

Role in Games[]

"Way to roll, big guy."
~~Huang Gai; Warriors Orochi 2

Samurai Warriors[]

Goemon is the self-proclaimed King of Thieves who usually spends his days pillaging the country's castles for land's greatest treasure, the Plover Urn. He first searches Gifu castle for the urn, but after defeating Mitsuhide and Kunoichi, he finds out the one there is a fake. On his off days, he defends "his turf" from any local rough-housing. During such an occasion, Keiji and the local thugs are brawling. Their fight is briefly interrupted by Okuni, whom Goemon instantly became infatuated with. In his lower path ending, he follows the priestess as her bodyguard. In Saika territory, he competes with Magoichi for Okuni's affections. After they are separated from one another at Ise, by Mitsuhide's army, ordering pursuit, due to Nobunaga's army losing at Osaka, Goemon hears a rumor that she was held captive at Azuchi Castle and goes to rescue her. When he reaches the top floor, he finds Keiji and her together and beats the ruffian for taking her away from him. He continues to follow Okuni in his ending.

In his upper path scenario, he will travel back to his homeland, Iga, and join Mitsuhide's army to claim the reward for a bounty placed on Ieyasu's head. As he corners the general, Ieyasu pleads to spare his life and tells Goemon the Plover Urn's location. Learning the treasure was kept by the land's strongest ruler, Hideyoshi, Goemon infiltrates Osaka Castle to claim it. Waiting for him there is Hanzo who threatens to silence him. If Goemon quietly defeats him, the thief can claim his prize without waking Hideyoshi. Since the famed urn failed to live up to its rumored expectation to sing, Goemon loses interest in it and says he'll just make it his goal to find more loot.

Should Goemon use his cannon while fighting the ninja, Hideyoshi will awaken and Goemon will be apprehended. He is ordered to be executed by being boiled alive at Kyoto. During his execution, however, the thief bursts through the hot iron pot and defies Hideyoshi. He plunders the conqueror's treasures while gaining Keiji and Okuni's support. Once he defeats his executioner, Goemon prides himself as the man who stole the entire land.

Goemon returns as a unique NPC throughout the series. Samurai Warriors 2 has him appear in the Sugoroku mini-game. He randomly swipes someone's gold and gives it to the person with the lowest amount. He appears in Samurai Warriors: Katana as a sub-enemy on the map, usually trying to flee with treasure; stopping him is optional. If the necessary requirements are met, a palette-swapped Goemon may appear and drop rare weapons if defeated. In the game's Trial Mode, he is featured in four of the five available stages as a reliable ally, helping the player find more gold along the way. Sengoku Musou Chronicle 2nd has Goemon pop in during special missions in Multiplayer Mode.

His playable Samurai Warriors 4 counterpart resumes his wandering thieving adventures to help the poor. His origins are established as a rogue Iga shinobi who was once taught by Sandayū Momochi. Goemon is attracted to Koshōshō's charms and mainly fights for her sake. He opposes the Oda forces during their march towards the capital and Kannonji Castle and reinforces the woman at Asan. Goemon sides with the instigators at Kii Province, evading capture and disappearing from the main narrative when he is beaten. His personal events in Chronicle Mode roughly summarizes his story and character relationships from the first title. After failing to steal the Plover Urn, Goemon and the player character are ordered to be executed. The boiling pot of oil is replaced by Keiji in advance and he arrives to their rescue. The duo use the chance to run away hand-in-hand.

The 4-II Rebellion Story has Goemon reprise his actions from the previous title except he is not enchanted by Koshōshō to fight. Goemon is a member of Magoichi's posse in the fifth downloadable scenario. He is confident in his looks but can't figure out why the ladies don't want to be with him. As the group defeats their handsome opponents, he believes he is learning tips for wooing women and is proud of their victory.

In Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada, he makes a very unexpected appearance at Kanagawa, escaping from the battlefield having plundered Kazumasu Takigawa for his teapot. If Kunoichi manages to stop him however, he gets captured and in return has to serve the Sanada army, actually helping them repel the Uesugi army during a night raid in order to earn his freedom.

Warriors Orochi[]

He appears in two different scenarios in Warriors Orochi. During the Shu storyline, he steals treasure from Wei Yan and tries to flee from him. Since the stolen goods were gifts from Liu Bei, the general pursues him. Before being caught, he manages to dupe passing swordsman Musashi Miyamoto into attacking the "thugs" pursuing him. He slows down if the player retrieves the treasure boxes he leaves around the field. If all the treasure is reclaimed, Goemon can be recruited.

During the Wei storyline, Goemon apparently tried to steal from Nene's ninja army and was locked in a cage. If the player frees Goemon, he'll agree to help Dong Zhuo's army undo Nene's ninja magic.

In the sequel, he joins another thieving and similarly-weighted character, Dong Zhuo. He briefly terrorizes with his new ally during the first stage of the Samurai story mode. In Wu's scenario, he is confronted by Okuni, whom he tries his best to resist listening to. He is eventually beaten and is persuaded by the priestess to join Sun Jian's army. He later helps Huang Gai carry out his plan to steal the Date cavalry for themselves at Okehazama. During the Ueda Castle dream mode, he is seen trying to beg Ling Tong for his freedom. If he's saved by the player, he'll join the sneak attack as a third party member.

In dream mode, he along with Okuni and Meng Huo work together at Chang Sha to raise the money for donation from Hideyoshi's army. When its done, he smell all the treasures inside Chang Sha castle. Until Hideyoshi demands that they will never need money anymore, he began to attack Goemon and allies. But Nene appears with anger to her beloved.

Goemon appears with the other ninjas in the Edo Castle dream stage in Musou OROCHI Z. He helps the main party open the eastern gate of the castle, which allows his allies to infiltrate the castle unnoticed.

The self-proclaimed King of Thieves travels the dimensional realm in Warriors Orochi 3 seeking to obtain treasure. His journey has left him empty-handed and, by the time he reaches Kyūshū, he is starving. Once he sees the coalition fighting the serpent army, Goemon makes a dynamic entrance to impress and support them. As he meets them, he humbly asks if they can feed him for his services. Goemon later sneaks away to Taoshui to hunt for treasure and begrudgingly drags Hideyoshi with him. Although the rumors regarding the rare treasures are busted, his efforts are enough to earn Sanzang and Ling Tong's allegiance to the coalition. He later helps 's plan at Jieting and supports Sima Yi and his party at Guangzong.

In the downloadable stage, "Stop Thief!", Goemon assists Sima Shi and Masamune Date in their search for their "treasure." Upon learning that they are looking for meat buns, he is disappointed it wasn't real treasure. The mirror version of him aligns with Kyūbi in Ultimate during her imprisonment in the mirror realm. He creates confusion at Mt. Xingshi between the Wei and Yuan armies, leading to Yuan Shao and Okuni's allegiance. He later aids her in attacking the mirror realm's mystics, being the only one able to break through mystic palace's gates.

Content to wander the land beside Okuni in Warriors Orochi 4, they make a trip to Jing Province to find Himiko's forces fighting against the Coalition's. Under Himiko's request, they aid her escape, but Okuni is smitten by all the handsome men in the enemy army and ends up joining them instead, forcing Goemon to submit as well.

Goemon later learns of a massive treasure hoard at Odani Castle and lies to Zhang Fei and Hanbei of a secret weapon in Ares's army in order to get their aid. After he is beaten up by Zhang Fei when his deceit is revealed, the trio make their escape, where Zhang Fei is humiliated in front of his family and the other Shu officers. After the battle, Zhang Fei proceeds to beat up Goemon again.


Goemon appears as a recruitable unit for Nobunaga's army in the third Kessen. He appears during the escape from Akechi Castle in Chapter 7. Midway during the battle, the screen will cut away for a moment to display his entrance and the player will need to defeat him. He is an above-average ninja commander who does not work well when he's paired with Hideyoshi.

Nobunaga's Ambition[]

Nobunyaga no Yabou has Goemon co-star in the Ninja no Gunzo scenario. He is one of Sandayu Momochi's disciples and one of Hanzō's childhood friends. Early within the narrative, Momochi orders his students to leave Iga and challenge famous ninja hidden throughout the land. Goemon tags along with Hanzō during their early encounters yet soon tires of his rigid obligation to duty. He chooses to desert the village to become a masterful thief in the north and west. Hanzō, while disapproving his friend's behavior, allows his departure. To honor their ties, Goemon discretely helps Hanzō escape the Fūma ninja and sabotages the Tokugawa's northern rivals. The runaway shinobi resumes his carefree life of thievery and ninja showdowns until he is caught and executed years later by Hideyoshi.

Nobunaga no Yabou 201X has him appear in the Tensho Iga War event. Kashinkoji tricks the runaway Goemon into returning to Iga, enticing him to discreetly save his home by working within the Oda ranks. He is first seen arguing with Genba Karasawa over pyrotechnics. Goemon promotes a flashier finish for Takeshima Castle; Genba wants one of ruthless efficiency. Their argument unintentionally saves the rocky Iga-Oda alliance; the order to destroy Takeshima Castle was another hoax concocted by Kashinkoji, and Goemon stalled Genba long enough for Matsuri to clear the confusion.

Yogiri and Goemon instantly recognize one another which causes him to bolt. When the protagonist's party catch up to him within the castle, Goemon tries to plead his case. Matsuri propositions for Goemon to help them defeat the UMA lingering within the castle for their silence. Although she feels duty bound to execute the deserter, Yogiri stays her hand due to her respect for Matsuri. Goemon keeps his word and promises to defend the castle with Genba in the SLO agents' absence.

Character Information[]

Goemon's artwork in Samurai Warriors.


Goemon was made to be the off-the-wall yet multi-talented character. Designers remark that his final design is actually toned down from his even more bizarre concepts and joke that his cannon was literally pasted onto his back. Though they recognize that his particular character archetype may not be conventional, Goemon's actions and motions were kept to bring a funny and interesting contrast to the cast. Overall, they strove to make him the powerful yet chubby and charming action character.

When asked about the reasons behind his cut, the director said that it was simply too difficult to devise a "what-if?" story for him based on the sequel's new timeline.


Goemon acts in a standard kabukimono fashion. He strikes exaggerated poses, speaks in a loud and sing-song manner, and often mentions his full name and self-proclaimed title with pride. On the other hand, he can also be cowardly when faced with a greater danger, putting a dent in his theatrical bravado. He is bashful while in Okuni's company and considers Keiji his rival for her affections.

As an allusion of his previous ninja life, Hanzō calls him a runaway. Since ninja conduct dictates that deserters should be executed, Goemon strives to never be caught by the Iga ninja and is usually fearful when Hanzō spots him. He also considers Kunoichi his protege though it is a one-sided acknowledgment.

Despite their historical odds, Hideyoshi and him seem to get along quite well in the Warriors Orochi series. Another unique trait of Goemon is that in the Japanese script, he makes use of gratuitous English phrases that would normally be outside of the time period; an example of this is him saying "ouch!" whenever he is defeated as an enemy general in the fourth installment.

Character Symbolism[]

In Samurai Warriors, Goemon is symbolized by the kanji for "ruin" (壊) and "bomb" (爆).

The god named in his fourth weapon is Basara (known as Vajra in Sanskrit). In Japan, the god is symbolized by several different animals such as various canines or oxes. Known for his fearsome looking visage, he is best known for acting as a fossilized guardian. When an evil spirit attempts to pass him, his flesh changes to once again become skin. With the treasured sword in his right hand, he takes a single swipe to instantly eradicate these evil presences and performs a battle cry to return to his guarding position. Basara is also known to be a highly praised general and is famed for wielding several swords simultaneously. Since the imagery was considered odd and outlandish, "basara" was a colloquial term during the Kamakura period for people who stood out for their colorful dress or gaiety. It was a saying coined long before the similar "Datemono". The "kai" character found in Goemon's weapon means to invoke the monstrous qualities of the deity. It could also be interpreted as Goemon being the best "basara" in the land.

His fifth weapon is originally named after Takemikazuchi. After Izanagi killed Kagutsuchi, he cut the air with the blade to clean it. As the Kagutsuchi's blood splattered onto stone, Takemikazuchi was one of the three gods born. From this account, it's argued that he is a type of thunder or lightning god. He went to Kuniyuzuri with Ame-no-Torifune to subjugate the gods in the area. He fought one of Ōkuninushi's children, Takeminakata-no-kami. During the fight, Takemikazuchi changed his hands to become sharp blades and frightened his opponent to surrender.

Goemon's sixth weapon is named "Ruining Castle Dance Lion", which is the reason for the lion face for his club. The particular lion mentioned in the weapon's name is the same used for the festive lion dance found in China and Japan.

In the Asian ports of Warriors Orochi and Samurai Warriors 4, Goemon's personal item is Chidori Kōro otherwise known as Plover Urn in the games. It's a legendary porcelain censer adorned with several birds and alleged to have been owned by Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. Goemon was said to have tried to rob Fushimi Castle in order to see the famed object himself. Whether the incense burner exists or not is not quite known, but it is so far only known to be mentioned in fables.

Voice Actors[]

  • Bob Papenbrook - Samurai Warriors (English-uncredited)
  • Torsten Münchow - Samurai Warriors (German-uncredited)
  • Lee Jang-won - Samurai Warriors (Korean)
  • Dan Lorge - Warriors Orochi series; first and second games only (English-uncredited)
  • Hisao Egawa - Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi series (Japanese)
  • Kentarō Itō - Kessen III (Japanese)


See also: Goemon Ishikawa/Quotes
  • "I'm Goemon Ishikawa, King of Thieves! Clearly you've heard the name before."
  • "Hanzo... Hattori... The Iga ninja?! Oh no!"
  • "Fast-talking pretty boy!"
  • "I can't fight Okuni, she's too pretty!"
  • "You're that ninja girl's master, right? That girl's got a sassy mouth, you know that!"
"Such honest emotion from a thief is refreshing. You must mend your ways first, and never steal again."
"I suppose I'm not a role model myself... But I still say politeness is important! Don't you think so?"
~~Goemon and Yukimura; Samurai Warriors
  • "And here's Goemon, bursting onto the scene! I'm taking all of Kai's treasures!"
"Such force. Well, Kai's greatest treasure is its people. Do you intend to kidnap all of my retainers?"
"Enough with the bad jokes. Kai is know for its gold mine! Come on, out with the gold!"
"Are you going to take the whole mountain? I can't imagine the land's greatest thief satisfied with a mere handful of gold."
"How about having a nice bath before you go instead? Kai's got a lot of wonderful springs. Here, I'll take you to one."
"...I'll pass."
"Oh? And why's that?"
"Hearing the word bath makes me feel something bad's gonna happen... Well, I'll let you off the hook for today!"
~~Goemon and Shingen; Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3
  • "Body and mind, ah I'm totally worn out!"
"Cheer up, Lord Goemon. I love how kind you are!"
"Having someone who says they love me, that's all I need to be able to carry on."
~~Goemon and Okuni; Samurai Warriors 4-II
  • "Hey, you pretty boy! Don't think I'll let you near my Okuni!"
"Goodness me, that's out of the blue. I don't stand a chance against the King of Thieves, do I?"
"That's right, I am the king! There's nothing that I can't steal! Not even Okuni's heart..."
"That reminds me. I promised I'd meet up with her."
"If you would excuse me. Can't keep my kitten waiting now."
"Hey, get back here!"
~~Goemon and Sansaburō Nagoya; 100man-nin no Sengoku Musou
  • "Oh! Hey, you! Help me out here, will ya?"
"This is what comes of evil deeds."
"Okay, so I've made a mistake or three... but I've got a good heart, I swear!"
~~Goemon and Xu Huang; Warriors Orochi
  • "Goemon Ishikawa, the world's greatest thief, at your service. Or at least, ready to flatten you."
"Hey, I like that contraption you've got there. How 'bout letting me have a look?"
~~Goemon and Huang Gai; Warriors Orochi 2
  • "Let me guess, you're here to talk about the ladies and need somebody that you can relate to."
"Pfft! If that was the case, then why would I be talking to you?"
"Well, because we're both got looks to kill for! Why else?!"
~~Goemon Ishikawa and Ling Tong; Warriors Orochi 3
  • "Ah, Master Goemon! What a criminal waste you are! A waste, I say!"
"H-Hey, what do you mean, I'm a waste?! A man could get really hurt hearing things like that..."
"I sense great things within you... The same greatness I see in General Xiahou Yuan. A purity of spirit... A beauty, as it were. I hear that you are a noble bandit, who helps the weak and downtrodden. Why do you not take more pride in that? Why do you hide your goodness away?"
"Well, compared to the rest of you, nobody really likes me, especially women... I mean, look at my face. I'm not a handsome man-- not like you..."
"That's what I'm talking about! Beauty is not comparative! It does not matter whether you feel you are more or less beautiful than anyone else! Your soul is beautiful. That is a fact. Have confidence, improve yourself, and you will shine brighter than ever before! Farewell!"
"H-Hey! Wait! Tell me more! Please! Hey...!"
~~Zhang He and Goemon; Warriors Orochi 4


Samurai Warriors[]

Keys: Square Normal Attack • Triangle Charge Attack Circle Musou X Jump/Mount

Ground Attacks[]

Triangle, (Triangle), (Triangle): Poses three times while firing upward shots from cannon. Each shot gradually lands further away from him.
Square, Triangle, (Triangle), (Triangle), (Triangle): Uppercut swing. If it connects, Goemon extends his flail's chain and swings it around himself in a circular motion twice. He poses for a damaging aura when he finishes.
Square, Square, Triangle, (Triangle), (Triangle), (Triangle): Downwards bash with flail to smash the ground. He poses for a damaging shockwave before hunching forward to shoot from his cannon. A few seconds later, a colorful firework explodes to stun foes.
Square, Square, Square, Triangle, (Triangle), (Triangle), (Triangle): Swings flail around himself multiple times, extending its chain to its limits. As he ends the sequence, he balances himself on one foot with a theatrical stagger.
Square, Square, Square, Square, Square, Square, Square, Square: Left and right swing before performing an overhead chop. Continues with a quick chain of left and right swings from his flail.
X, Triangle: Plummets to smash the ground with his flail.
X, Square, (Square), (Square): Plummets to have his buttocks smash the ground below. Somehow has enough momentum to continue bouncing in this position. Quicker recovery than his jumping charge.
Dashing Square: Overhead bash with flail causing Goemon to stumble on one foot.
Circle: Hunches over to dramatically fire from his cannon. Goemon will not shoot too many shots from his cannon, but each shot will be devastating if they hit. In his True Musou version, he ends the sequence with three swings from his flail.

Mounted Attacks[]

Square, Triangle: Upwards swing. Launches opponents hit by the attack.
Square, Square, Triangle: Downwards smash with flail, extending to the tip of its chain. Hits some distance away from Goemon's saddle so it needs some adjusting for it to hit. Breaks through guard and stuns opponents.
Square, Square, Square, Triangle: Goemon balances himself on the left edge of his saddle to fire his cannon.
Square, Square, Square, Square, Square, Square, Square, Square: Four bashes from his flail. He then extends its chain to swing it in a circular motion five times.
Circle: Extends flail from its chain and swings it in a circular motion. Final pose emits a shockwave and causes the horse to break their gait.
Warriors Orochi

Omissions for his C2 and C3 to fit with the Charge type. Horse musou changes to a powerful stampede. Gains a single R1 ability.

R1: Sumo slaps opponents multiple times.
Warriors Orochi 2
Triple Attack 1: Shoots a stream of air currents forward.
Triple Attack 2: Uses melee weapon to pound the floor severely.
Triple Attack 3: Fires three cannonballs in a row at a short distance.
Warriors Orochi 3
R1: Shoots two bombshells from cannon via leaning in a kabuki-style dance first to the left, then to the right.
X, R1 (Ultimate only): Scoops weapon below himself to launch enemies up, before shooting fireworks in mid-air at said launched targets.

Samurai Warriors 4[]

Mighty strike is the same as Deadlock attack. Charge moveset remains relatively the same with alterations.

Square, Square, Square, Square, Triangle, (Triangle), (Triangle):
Circle: Fires three cannonballs in timed intervals. Finishes by firing a cascade of fireworks.
Circle (Ultimate/Kaidan):
Rage Attack/Musou Gokui effect: Activates Ultimate/Kaidan Musou if Circle is used. Performs ending pose for previous Circle if the effect ends without activating Ultimate/Kaidan Musou.
R1: Poses to start effect. Goemon will rob gold when he damages foes for as long as the effect lasts.
Awakened Skill effect (4-II only):

Hyper Moveset[]

Triangle, Square:
Triangle, Triangle, Square:
Triangle, Triangle, Triangle, Square:
Triangle, Triangle, Triangle, Triangle, Square:
Triangle, Triangle, Triangle, Triangle, Triangle, Square:
Triangle, Triangle, Triangle, Triangle, Triangle, Triangle:

Fighting Style[]

Samurai Warriors[]

Goemon fits the archetype of a slow yet powerful character. It may take time to get used to his flamboyant attacks, but the tricky kinks for his attacks are useful when mastered. His attacks don't require him to move towards his opponent and are relatively long ranged. Judge distances carefully to make the best of his cannon and flail strikes. The poses during his charges do not grant him frames of invincibility so don't carelessly rush into crowds with these attacks. His C4 should be used with caution on harder difficulty levels since it leaves him open to counterattacks. If used sparingly and with good timing, it can be a reliable crowd clearer.

If all else fails, it may be within the player's best interest to retreat a few steps and fire from Goemon's cannon. Either version of his cannon's shots (R1 + Square or R1 + Triangle) are powerful against crowds and opponents. Beware of the loading times between each shot, and it can be a useful tool to defeat enemies. When used against opponents who play keep away, the cannon can also be used to lure opponents closer to Goemon's flail. Keep in mind that the cannon can also be used to break down walls marked with Goemon's wanted poster. Use these rooms to refill on lost health.

Statistically, Goemon is the character with the most life and strongest ranged attack. He has the second strongest attack (or third with Tadakatsu's introduction) amongst the playable cast. Goemon loses to Keiji and Tadakatsu in terms of defense and maneuverability.

Warriors Orochi[]

Even without any weapon attributes equipped, Goemon's remodeled attacks are quicker to execute than before and changed for efficiency. His theatrical poses have been knocked down and the sluggish sections of his charges have been shortened. Gone is his destructive first-person cannon mode so players can't try to play distance games with foes. In spite of the loss, the omissions of his older animations and his character type help Goemon significantly with close ranged encounters. Players can use his C4 without worrying too much over the consequences.

Within this series, Goemon's jumping normal attack chain can be used to defeat nearly any opponent. It's simple to perform, damaging enough to continue using, hits downed opponents, and doesn't leave Goemon too open to retaliation. A proper set up of weapon attributes may literally have Goemon's rear win the day in either game. It will lose when faced with other jumping attacks, however, so it can't save him from every plausible threat.

His R1 hits multiple times and is a good combo dealer. It's a quick alternative for stunning foes if used properly in duels. Its narrow range, low power and odd execution speed might make it more trouble than its worth against crowds.


See also: Goemon Ishikawa/Weapons

Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada[]

Mountain Crusher
Default Weapon - Goemon Ishikawa (SW4).png Base Attack:
Basara's Wrath
Rare Weapon - Goemon Ishikawa (SW4).png Base Attack: 260 Earth: 84 Fire: 79
Attack Up: 84 Attack Range: 75 Indirect Attack: 86
Courage: 83 Insight: 88 Clarity: 83
Blood God Cannon
DLC Weapon - Goemon Ishikawa (SW4).png Base Attack: 267 Lightning: 87 Ice: 82
Attack Up: 87 Attack Speed: 84 Indirect Attack: 89
Fury: 88 Verity: 85 Momentum: 87

Rare Weapon Acquisition[]

  • Stage: Conquest of Odawara - Battle of Matsuida Castle

Historical Information[]

An old fashioned bathing pot in which the pot was placed under a direct flame. Since the iron sides could easily burn the bather with its intense heat, it was sometimes enjoyed by lightly placing one's feet or desired body part in the center and away from the bottom of the pot. It was originally known as Chōshū Buro (長州風呂) but, after Goemon's infamous execution, it became known as Goemon Buro (五右衛門風呂).

Ishikawa Goemon was a bandit during the Warring States period. Little is known about Goemon's origins and he is meagerly mentioned in historical writings. He is generally believed to have been born in Iga, Kawachi Province. Other stories say that he came from Tango or Kawachi Province and wasn't one of the fabled nukenin (or runaway) Iga ninja. According to legend, his reputation as a bandit began when he successfully stole three swords from Ishikawa Akashi when he was 16. He then sold the swords for profit.

Various theories and stories surround Goemon's life. One tale depicts that his possible childhood name was Gorokizu or Gorokichi (五郎吉) and he lost his parents when he was in his mid teens. From there, he was briefly taught by an Iga ninja before he ran away with the wife of a servant. Another says that he is related to Momochi Tamba who taught him Iga ninjutsu. After Goemon committed adultery with the wives of three political heads, he fled for his life after he killed one of their concubines. During his flight, he gained several companions who despised Hideyoshi and was heralded as a hero. Kimura Shigekore stated that Goemon was trying to sneak into Hideyoshi's chambers but was apprehended when the sensors in the room were triggered. Goemon was apparently requested to assassinate Hideyoshi and one of his subordinates revealed his other crimes when he was being interrogated. When he was being broiled, he also brought a child in with him though some stories suggest that it was a human shaped flotation device.

Goemon's mention in historical records, however, is limited to his execution. Even so, each one says a different circumstance and location regarding his death.

Avila Giron wrote that fifteen bandit leaders who were living along Sanjo River were captured and boiled alive in a cauldron in Kyoto. Petro Morejon wrote "Ixicava goyemon" was put into a boiling pot of oil during the summer of 1594 and was executed when ten or twenty other people were crucified. Yamashina Tokitsune, an aristocrat at the time, wrote a slightly different account. He stated that the thief, ten pickpockets, and one other person were boiled alive. Nineteen people facing a similar crime were crucified. The execution took place between Kawahara and Sanjo bridges on October 8, 1594. Hayashi Razan wrote that Goemon was labeled a burglar, criminal, and villain of the country after he was caught by Maeda Gen'i. His twenty accomplices -one of which is said to be Goemon's mother- named their leader and they suffered the same punishment near the Maeda household in Kyoto.

Due to the room of error between these accounts, some speculation regarding his possible survival exists.

Japanese Fiction[]

Since little is written regarding his actual behavior, he is an open book for several artistic adaptions.

In various fictional mediums, Goemon is acknowledged as a famous thief who commonly acts as the "Robin Hood" of the era. He is highly romanticized in Joururi and Kabuki plays, in which he is usually a man who wants to take down Hideyoshi and place Ieyasu as ruler. He is the star of the Kabuki play, Sanmon Gozan no Kiri (jp), in which he becomes a charismatic thief of adventure with high hopes in life. His line, "The spring view is worth a thousand gold pieces, or so they say, but 'tis too little, too little. These eyes of Goemon rate it worth ten thousand!" is particularly famous. In the play, he meets his end in 1628 at Nanzen-ji, Kyoto and was given a posthumous Buddhist name.



  • In Sengoku Angelique, Heuye acts as the Goemon of the cast. His full name is "Ishikawa Heuye Goemon".