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Toda Buntaro

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Toda Buntaro is a minor villain from the Shōgun novel and television mini-series by James Clavell.

Buntaro was a samurai in service to Lord Yoshi Toranaga and was quite loyal to his liege lord, fighting in a number of battles on behalf of Toranaga.

He was married to a young Japanese woman named Mariko. Their duties kept them apart most of the time, and he had little if any actual love for his wife. He was emotionally unavailable to his wife and was abusive towards her.

Several months after John Blackthrone arrived in Japan Buntaro visited the home where Blackthorne was living, with his wife Mariko accompanying him. Later that night Blackthorne was awakened by the sound of Buntaro yelling at and striking his wife. Rushing into the room where the Buntaro and his wife were staying and was visibly shaken to see a battered and bruised Mariko, who tearfully explained that she was trapped in a loveless marriage.

Furious over how Buntaro had treated Mariko, Blackthorne grabbed one of the pistols that had been given to him by Lord Toranaga. Blackthorne soon found Buntaro. Pointing the pistol at him he angrily demanded that Buntaro apologize for the offense he had caused Blackthorne as Buntaro was a guest in Blackthorne's home. Realizing that he was in the wrong, Buntaro got on his knees and apologized for his behavior.

As the love between Blackthorne and Mariko grew deeper, Blackthorne approached Lord Toranaga and asked that she be allowed to divorce Buntaro so that she would be free to marry him. Toranaga however would have none of it and forbade Blackthorne from asking again. A short time later Mariko died during a ninja attack. In her will she left her assets to Blackthorne, not Buntaro.


As with many of the other characters in Shōgun the character of Toda Buntaro was based on an actual person. Clavell based Buntaro on Hosokawa Tadaoki (1563 – 1646), a friend of Tokugawa Ieyasu - the man Clavell based Toranaga on. Like Buntaro, Tadaoki's wife was a Christian convert who also died in an attack on Osaka castle. The incident served to drive Tadaoki firmly into Tokugawa's camp.

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