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Osugi Hon'iden
Osugi
Information
Japanese Name: 本位田お杉
Romanized Name: Hon'iden Osugi
First Appearance:
Affiliations:
Occupations:
Status:
Strong points: Tenacity, motherly love

Osugi Hon'iden (本位田お杉) is the mother of Matahachi Hon'iden and is one of the recurring characters in Vagabond.

PersonalityEdit

Osugi, despite her age, is viewed generally as a spirited and intense character who is bold, fearless, and can be sharp tongued. Multiple characters have remarked upon her tenacious character, incuding Miyamoto villagers who calls her "The strongest woman in the village" and Takuan Soho who describes of her, "What a tenacious old lady."

She is very irrational, but deeply seated in her beliefs. When she believed Musashi is the cause of Matahachi's disappearance and that Otsu betrayed him, she goes on a journey looking to kill both and often tries to convince others to do it for her too, including cheering on Denshichiro at his battle with Musashi and convincing Matahachi to kill Musashi.

Despite her irrational and vengeful personality, she has been shown to be an intensely protective mother and dedicated to her family. Her journey with Uncle Gon was partly to avenge a perceived dishonor against her family and to look for her son, who she refused to believe is dead. Her love and belief in Matahachi is such that her brother, Gon, willingly died trying to protect Matahachi because he is "My sister's only son. Her only hope."

Eventually, all of Matahachi's deceptions and cowardice becomes unraveled, but Osugi lets Matahachi continues believing she doesn't know to save his feelings. In her final moments, she encourages him saying his actions greatly expanded his path and remarks that his kindness is such that people like Musashi and she can't hope to match.

PlotEdit

Osugi Hon'iden is the adoptive mother of Matahachi Hon'iden. Fifteen years before the start of Vagabond, it is revealed Osugi's husband had an affair with another woman who gave birth to a boy named 'Mataichi'. After the death of her husband, Osugi approaches the woman and begs for her to give the baby to her because she does not have a child of her own and the Hon'iden family needs a heir.

Osugi receives the child who she swears an oath to dedicate her life to. She proclaims the child's horizons will only expand and changes his name to 'Matahachi' to reflect that.

At the start of Vagabond, Osugi gets her major debut when Musashi heads home from the battle of Sekigahara and she becomes irrationally upset and hateful because Matahachi did not return too. Musashi reveals to her that Matahachi had ran away with Oko, but Osugi refuses to believe it. Instead, she blames Musashi for Matahachi not returning and her hatred turns murderous towards him. Later on, she expands her hates to her expected daughter-in-law, Otsū, when she refuses to wait for Matahachi after she receives a letter from Matahachi and Oko revealing the truth.

When Musashi and Otsu leaves the village, Osugi departs with Uncle Gon in order to kill Otsu and Musashi and look for Matahachi. She travels for an entire year and faces numerous perils. She has encounters with Musashi, Otsu, Matahachi, and almost drowns. Uncle Gon dies along the way without Osugi realizing thinking he had returned to Miyamoto village.

Eventually, she falls sick ending in a temple where Matahachi reunites with her. Gradually, she becomes weaker and weaker until Matahachi decides to carry her home to Miyamoto village. Midway, he confesses everything to his mother, including all his lies and about Uncle Gon's death. He makes the snap decision to commit suicide due to intense shame and she agrees to die with him, but he loses his nerve.

Here, in her last moments, Osugi encourages Matahachi for his actions though they may not be honorable. She says that while single mindedly following a path can be beautiful, moving and changing constantly like Matahachi can be wonderful too because his path expands so much and she thinks that he expands her path too and that he can be much kinder than people like her and Musashi.

The scene ends with her having a death vision in which she returns to Miyamoto village with Matahachi where the entire Hon'iden clan (including Uncle Gon) stands waiting their approach. She catch glimpses of Otsu, Musashi, and Matahachi's real mother too. Her final declaration ending her long travel is, "I'm home!"

Differences between manga and novelEdit

Osugi's relationship with Matahachi is greatly different. In Vagabond, Osugi is a doting mother who is willing to look aside Matahachi's lies and deception out of love. In the novel, Osugi and Matahachi argues frequently with Gon even trying to break up fights between them. It remains that she loves him, but is not quite the doting mother she is in the manga.

Uncle Gon's death occurs differently. In the manga, he dies trying to protect Matahachi and Osugi does not find out until Matahachi confesses to her. In the novel, he drowns while saving the life of a girl trying to commit suicide. Osugi tries to revive him with help from others, but fails.

Osugi's relationship with Musashi is different too. In the manga, she never quite gets a chance to kill him herself and eventually die while trying to return home. In the novel, she gets into multiple battles with Musashi (though he refuses to fight her seriously) and he even admits that her actions has cause him more trouble than any foe he has faced. Nonetheless, when she falls sick, it is not Matahachi who helps her like in Vagabond, but Musashi. He even goes to far as to say he misses her personality when the sickness changed her.

Her journey is greatly different. In the manga, it lasted one year and she dies from sickness after Musashi's large battle with the Yoshioka school. However, in the novel, her journey lasted an entire decade and, eventually, it reached a point where she reconciles with both Otsu and Musashi and she even goes so far as to pray for Musashi's victory against Kojiro, her previous help in trying to eliminate Musashi.

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