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Kenshiro

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Kenshiro
Hokutonokenkenshiro

First appearance

Fist of the North Star manga chapter 1

Created by

Tetsuo Hara, Buronson

born

197X

nickname

Ken

alias

The Man with the Seven Scars, The Savior of the Century's End

title

64th Successor of Hokuto Shinken

Known relatives

Hyou (biological older brother)
Raoh (adoptive older brother)
Toki (adoptive older brother)
Jagi (adoptive older brother)
Yuria (fiancee/wife in Kenshiro Den movie)
Ryuken (adoptive father and sifu)
Ryu (nephew)
Kenshiro Kasumi (uncle)

Kenshirō is the main protagonist of the Hokuto no Ken series.

OriginEdit

In the 1970's, Kenshirō was born in Land of Asura] to the Hokuto Sōke family. Ryūken named Kenshirō after his older brother, Kenshirō Kasumi, because both had a Big Dipper-shaped birthmark on their heads. The identity of his parents has never been made clear, but he has an older brother named Hyoh. Hyoh and Kenshirō were caught in a fire and were rescued by Kaioh's Mother, at the cost of her life. With the Land of Asura in political turmoil, Jūkei send the baby Kenshiro away to Japan with Raoh and Toki to be raised by Ryūken.

Character overviewEdit

Kenshiromanga

Kenshirō is characterized as the youngest of four adopted sons trained by the previous Hokuto Shinken successor, Ryuken. His origin is revealed during the latter half of the Fist of the North Star manga, in which he was sent to Japan, along with his future nemesis Raoh and Raoh's brother Toki, to escape from their homeland, the war-torn Land of Asura. A different origin is depicted in the first chapter of Fist of the Blue Sky: a newly-born child is brought to Ryuken's dojo in Japan, who names the infant after his older brother (Kenshiro Kasumi, the protagonist of Blue Sky), due to the Big Dipper-shaped birthmark on his head, although later chapters of the manga makes references to Kenshiro's escape from Asura with Raoh and Toki.

Kenshiro is trained in the art of Hokuto Shinken along with Raoh, Toki and a fourth student named Jagi, and is eventually named successor by Ryuken. After surviving the nuclear war, he tries to live in peace with his fiancee Yuria, until Jagi instigates Shin, a jealous rival from the Nanto Seiken school, to challenge, then defeat Kenshiro. Shin then engraves the iconic seven scars on Kenshiro's chest and leaves him for dead. Prior to this event he was more forgiving of his enemies, as shown in a flashback of Jagi's failed assassination attempt against him, in which Kenshiro chooses to spare Jagi's life after defeating him rather than end it. When Kenshiro later fights his old rivals in the present, particularly Shin, Jagi, and Raoh, they all remark on Kenshiro's acquired mercilessness.

The initial story arc centers around Kenshiro's quest to reclaim Yuria from Shin. In the very first chapter, he meets a pair of orphans who follows him in his journey: Bat, a thief; and Lin, a young girl rescued by Ken. Thorough the course of the series, Kenshiro protects the weak and innocent from the numerous gangs roaming the post-apocalyptic wasteland, eventually gaining his reputation as the "Savior of the Century's End". Kenshiro's skills improve through his encounters with members of the Nanto Roku Seiken and his Hokuto Brothers. At the end of the first part, he eventually confronts and defeats his eldest brother Raoh and is reunited with Yuria, and lives with her until she eventually dies from a terminal illness.

The later half of the manga (and the corresponding Hokuto no Ken 2 anime adaptation) sees Kenshiro joining forces with the now grown Bat and Lin, who have formed the Hokuto Army to fight off the now-corrupt Gento Kōken warriors. The story eventually takes Ken to the Land of Asura, where he learns of his Hokuto Sōke heritage and fights against the Warlords who controls the Land of Asura: his estranged blood brother Hyoh; and Kaioh, Raoh's other blood brother. The final story arcs of the manga (which were not adapted for the TV series) sees Kenshiro taking Raoh's orphaned son, Ryu, under his wing, before continuing on his own.

Although still emotionally repressed and stoic like most male heroes in 1980's media, Kenshiro is notable in anime culture for being a sensitive and kind-hearted man who broke the then-ironclad "men don't cry" cultural expectation. He is famous for openly shedding tears, if not outright weeping for the suffering of innocents and the deaths of his few noble enemies. This trait is unfortunately downplayed in the 1980's anime adaptations, but comes back into the franchise in the adaptaions of the 1990's and onwards.

Voice actorsEdit

Kenshiro was voiced by Akira Kamiya in the TV series and 1986 movie, Ryō Horikawa voiced the child-aged Kenshiro in flashbacks. The role of Kenshiro was recasted to Takehito Koyasu in the 2003 OVA series New Fist of the North Star and then given to Kunihiro Kawamoto in the 2005 Fist of the North Star arcade game and the 2006 CG animated short film Hokuto no Ken: Legend of Heroes. In the Shin Kyūseishu Densetsu movie series, Kenshiro is voiced by Hiroshi Abe and by Eiji Hanawa as a child. For the Ten no Haō PSP game, Kenshiro is voiced by Hideo Ishikawa.

English voice actors that had voiced Kenshiro includes John Vickery in the Streamline Pictures dub of the 1986 movie, Lex Lang in the Manga Entertainment dub of the TV series and Robert Kraft (voice actor) in the ADV Films dub of New Fist of the North Star. Gary Daniels played Kenshiro in the 1995 live action film.


ReceptionEdit

In a survey conducted by the Oricon in 2007 between 1,000 people, Kenshiro ranked third place as the "strongest manga character of all time".

Gallery Edit

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