Tenza was a young man with neatly combed hair along with a single strand. He wore the standard attire of a Asaemon, which was a white robe with a bell tied on the left collar along with a hakama held together with a waist cord that held his two swords, and sandals. Unlike the other Asaemon, Tenza had his hakama tucked into a pair of gaiters strapped around his lower legs. He also wore a metal headband with two cross scratches.
Tenza was energetic and confident. He was a practitioner of bushido, taking in the lesson of continuing on forward no matter what was blocking his way. Tenza was also righteous and did not let his duties as an Asaemon get in the way of doing what was right. He believed that Nurugai was innocent and did not deserve to die on the island, later attempting to escape on a boat. Although righteous he was, Tenza did not think things through, believing that without the elixir he would be able to convince his superiors to turn a blind eye.
Tenza had a strong will to protect the people he cared about. After being badly injured, including having his throat and stomach punctured from Zhu Jin's attacks, Tenza refused to give up and mustered up the strength to fight back, not allowing him to kill Nurugai and Shion even if it cost him his life.
From a young age, Tenza started off on the streets but was eventually picked up by Shion and made him into his apprentice in the Yamada Clan. He then earned his name as a Yamada Asaemon and became the 10th ranked. After meeting and learning how Nurugai was sentenced to prison, he believed that she was wronged and invited her to partake in the mission to acquire the Elixir of Life for the shogun and be pardon.
At Edo, the death sentence crimes gathered for the mission were told to reduce the numbers before departing. After the massacre, Tenza was assigned to be Nurugai's Asaemon and leaves for the island.
Once they landed on the island, the two encountered a Sōshin but Tenza cuts it down. He believes that Nurugai did not deserve the dangers that the island had to offer and departs with her to the shogun's ship. Nurugai felt that it was pointless since she didn't complete her mission but he said that he would talk to his superiors, which she doubted it would work. Once the fog cleared, the two found wreckage of the boats that tried to depart from the island and sees two shadows. Tenza draws his sword but Nurugai warns him not to and are attack from behind by a large tentacle. They dodge the oncoming attack and Tenza suggests finding a boat to escape. While fending off the creatures attacks, Tenza and Nurugai finds the deceased body of Yamada Asaemon Kishō blooming with flowers. Tenza tries to get a word from him to know that he is still alive but to no avail. He sees his corpse is split in two by one tentacle and sees that they are surrounded by many more. Nurugai gives up on trying to survive after feeling guilty for having her people killed. He refuses to allow her to die and asked her if she really wanted to make the decision to die. After responding that she wanted to live and return home, Tenza gives her a sword and tells her to fight alongside him to get to Kishō's boat.
After surviving the ordeal, they returned to the island and wash off the blood. Nurugai undresses and Tenza notices that Nurugai's body is a lot feminine for a male. Nurugai corrects him by exposing her body and says that she is female. Tenza is shocked and shrugs off her statement of making him her groom. After cleaning themselves, Tenza suggests finding a way to escape and finding his fellow Asaemon for help.
Lord Tensen Arc
While wandering aimlessly around the beach to find a current away from the island, Tenza and Nurugai are spotted by a mysterious woman who transforms herself into a man and violently attacks them. Tenza gets up from his injure and cuts him across his eyes. Tenza yells out to Nurugai to run on his signal. Tenza quickly slashes the man and runs off with Nurugai but the man catches up to them while regenerating. However, the man is then beheaded by a surprise sword attack. Tenza and Nurugai looks behind them and see Yamada Asaemon Shion who yells out to Tenza to run.
The three managed to relocate to a safe area in the forest. After Tenza introduces his master Shion to Nurugai, Shion berates him for only using his speed against his opponent. Shion reveals to them a current they could use to escape the island but draws his sword toward Nurugai and asked Tenza why he was covering for his criminal. Despite telling Shion that she is innocent, Shion found this as no reason for Tenza to overlook his duties as a Yamada Asaemon. Tenza reminds him of the time Shion saved him from the streets because he saw potential in him and that he saw the same thing in Nurugai. Tenza convinces Shion that Nurugai is worth protecting and sheaths his sword. When Shion says he will allow her to live, Tenza and Nurugai are astonished that he could tell Nurugai's gender despite his blindness. Before they could go to the current they decided to come up with a strategy in order to with the mysterious immortal being. However, it appears behind Tenza and Nurugai in its female form and attacks Shion after he pulls the two out of the way. Tenza is furious and attacks her but is unable to land a cut due to her already being used to his movements. She gets in close to Tenza and lands a devastating blow with her finger.
Tenza starts to feel himself slowly dying but continues to fight. After receiving another blow to his stomach, Tenza tries desperately to tell Shion and Nurugai to escape but is unable to communicate properly with his throat injured. However, Shion senses his plead and takes Nurugai away from the scene. In his final moments, Tenza wonders how his life could have turned out in the future and is killed by the woman.
Abilities and Powers
Previously being ranked the 10th ranked Asaemon, Tenza was recognized by the Yamada Clan as one of its strongest members.
Tenza possessed impressive physical speed. Using his speed in conjunction with his swordsmanship, Tenza can instantly make quick slashes to cut down his opponents before they have the time to react. His speed even impressed the likes of Zhu Jin. Tenza also had impressive endurance and stamina, being able to last long to fight against the undersea monster tentacles and recovered quickly to dash over to Zhu Jin to cut his eyes after being knocked out from one of his Tao-enhanced attacks.
- Further information: Tameshi Ittō-ryū
Tenza was known for his fast swordsmanship and proclaimed that it could not be matched. He was able to fight off the Wadatsumi's large tentacles and managed to escape with Nurugai. During his fight with Zhu Jin, Tenza managed to quickly cut down their body in an instance before they had time to react. Even though his speed in his swordsmanship had been proven effective against his opponents, Shion noted that his technique needed improvement. Like every Asaemon, Tenza was capable of decapitating a person with a single cut.
- Tameshi Ittō-ryū Ōgi: Shinotsukuame (試一刀流奥技 篠突く雨, Literal meaning: One Sword School Test Cutting Secret Technique: Roaring Rain): Taking Shion's criticism into account, Tenza rapidly slashes his opponent with proper movements. This is called Ittō-ryū Ultimate: Pounding Torrent in the Viz Manga.
Creation and Conception
Early concept art of Tenza and Nurugai were included in Jigokuraku Kaitai Shinsho.
- Tenza's rankings in the Popularity Polls:
- In the first popularity poll, Tenza ranked 5th place with 1257 votes.
- In the second popularity poll, Tenza ranked 7th place with 1216 votes.
- In the Jigokuraku Fashion Review of Volume 2, Tenza's attire received 1 out of 3 stars.
- Tenza first met Shion at the age of 12.
- Top 8 popular male characters according to the Jigokuraku Kaitai Shinsho Q&A: Shugen > Tōma > Jikka > Eizen > Tenza > Fuchi > Shion > Kishō
- Jigokuraku Kaitai Shinsho, page 182