|“||Nothing worth having is easily attained. Sometimes you must fight for what is yours...and what you believe in.||”|
—The Emperor to Jack, Episode XIX: Jack Remembers the Past
The Emperor (voiced by Keone Young and Sab Shimono) was a Japanese lord, general, and the father of Samurai Jack. He was the first owner of a magical sword that was blessed by the gods, which he used to temporarily defeat and imprison, Aku.
Before Jack was born, his father was a samurai lord who ruled over a vast land and its people. One day, his land was slowly over taken by a shapeless evil, which had ravaged the land for centuries, and was in the form of a forest of black spikes. His wife pleaded with him not to go and to think about his family, but the lord insisted, and claimed that his people were his family as well. After he donned his armor, weapons, and an elixir that was provided by his shaman, the samurai lord mounted up, and set out with his army deep within the forest to locate the source of the evil and destroy it. Although many of his men were lost, the lord eventually made it to the source, which was a crater of dark ooze.
The Emperor infused his arrow with the elixir and ignited it with the heat of the Sun. He fired the arrow into the ooze, which forced the black trees that once stood to regress back to where they were spawned, and seemed to destroy the evil. However, that was proven not to be the case, as the black ooze suddenly emerged from the crater in the form of a large tree. The tree then further transformed into a demon with terrible power and sentience, and introduced itself as Aku. Aku praised the Emperor for giving him life despite his original intention to destroy him. After he was informed of Aku's plan to take over the world, the Emperor engaged Aku in battle, but was easily overpowered and chained to a large stone. Rendered helplessness and unable to fight back, the samurai lord watched and cried out in horror as Aku destroyed his home.
Just as all hope seemed lost, the Emperor was freed by a divine horse. The horse took the lord to a large mountain that reached through the clouds. Inside the mountain, the Emperor found statues of the gods Vishnu, Ra, and Odin. The three gods then appeared in front of the Emperor, and informed him of Aku and his power. After they took on the avatars of three monks, the gods used the power of the Emperor's righteousness to forge a magic sword, that was capable of harming Aku. Armed with the sword, the Emperor returned to his homeland to battle Aku and free it and his people from his wrath.
With the power of the sword, the Emperor furiously fought Aku in his many forms and army of duplicates. Despite being outmatched the lord, slew Aku's horde one by one until the real Aku was the only one left. Aku attempted to flee, but the Emperor pierced and trapped him in the sword. He sealed Aku in the battle-worn wasteland in the form of a demonic tree, but not before Aku swore his return.
The Emperor had won and was overjoyed to meet his newly born son, but he knew that Aku would return some day. He believed that they needed a plan to be prepared should the day come when Aku would rise again to resume his deed. He gathered fellow leaders from around the world, and explained about Aku and the sword. If he was unable to battle Aku or was captured, the Emperor asked them to take in his son and train him to one day fight Aku in his place.
Years later, with Jack as a young child, the Emperor explained to him about Aku and the battle that took place. The day that he feared arrived, and Aku awoke from his prison and attacked the land once again. The Emperor attempted to reach the sword, but was captured by Aku. Before he was taken away, the Emperor instructed the Empress to implement the plan and help their son become the next hero who would defeat Aku; that time forever.
After years of training, Jack soon found his father, who was a decrepit and weakened old man and was reduced to a slave. After he freed his father, Jack declared that he would defeat Aku with the sword's power. The Emperor, however, told his son that the sword that he wielded was only a tool and it was as only as powerful as the one who wielded it. He also warned his son that evil always found a way to achieve victory.
At some point after Jack was sent to the future, the Emperor passed away along with his wife. However, their spirits continued to watch over Jack from the afterlife,and were proud of the man that he became.They also appeared in Jack's psyche when he was possessed by Aku, and claimed that they were always in his heart.
50 years later, a man engulfed in flames is seen expressing his shame towards Jack. Considering his appearance and voice, this is possibly the Emperor. Also, by considering his state and the surrounding flames, he may currently be in The Pit of Hate.
Though he had little screen time, Jack's father's personality was very similar to Jack. He was a kind, modest, and wise man who was loved by his people, especially his wife and son, who were the most important people to him. He was devoted to his duty and his family, and was also very foresighted and wise. Immediately after he defeated Aku, his first priority was to devise a plan to defeat Aku again if he ever returned, and upon seeing Jack fully trained, he warned Jack that battling evil was not always as straightforward as it might appear. However, Jack failed to heed his father's wisdom, and was sent into the future by Aku.
Jack's father looked like an older version of Jack. He had Jack's rectangular head, hair style (his hair was gray, but was black in his younger years), and eyes, & he had a mustache (the color's were the same as hair that differed from age) and his nose seemed different back then, but there were subtle differences, like Jack's father had a more light hearted expression that was compared to Jack's stern look. After he lived as a slave who served Aku for years, the Emperor became a frail old man who hardly resembled his former self.
Abilities and Skills
- Master Swordsman: Jack's father was a powerful samurai, who, in his prime, was able to fight and defeat Aku with the sword that he obtained from the gods, and had a mastery of the sword that was at least on par with Jack's own.
- Enhanced Endurance: In his first battle with Aku, the Emperor defeated Aku in many different forms, including a European Dragon, a gigantic arthropod, and an army of humanoid soldiers who wielded the weapons and armor of the Emperor's own fallen warriors.
"Your evil grasp on my land and its people ends now!"- The Emperor to Aku.
- In "The Birth Of Evil", the Emperor's nose seemed completely different from his debut to minor appearances. However, his minor appearances all occurred chronologically after his initial appearance, so it was possible that his nose had simply changed as he aged.