A Note From The Translator

Tamayuki Ifukube's Toranpu no dai Masayoshi: Saishū-tekina chi no nazo (The Great Confrontation of Trump: Mystery of Final Blood) is one of contemporary Japan's longest serial stories, being made up of eighty-nine volumes and billions of individual characters. Its length is nearly double Nakazato Nakayama's "Great Bodisatvah Pass" and almost ten times Eji Yoshikawa's influential "Musashi,” works which Ifukube’s work has so far failed to eclipse in popularity or influence. The material excerpted here as "Sword of Trump" begins midway through Ifukube's eighteenth volume, and concludes just as Volume 19, "The Way of Trump," begins. 

After the slaughter of the Kotoro Fencing School, the author finds Trump making his way to the village of Jotokura, where he embarks upon a campaign of general violence against the townsfolk. This section of the narrative is seen from the eyes of the Kotoro School's embarassed second student, Takoda Usho.

Usho spends several days in the wilderness lamenting his situation and trying, desperately, to address his shortcomings by restoring his connection to the primitive world. Ifukube depicts this personal and professional flailing through a series of comic episodes: Usho attempts to medidate beneath a waterfall, but finds that it is too cold. He attempts to mimic the motions of a graceful crane, but twists his ankle and knocks himself unconscious by falling against a tree. He runs with a pack of wolves until they discover his small, broken dick and regretable skull and crossed brass knuckles chest tattoo. These twin revelations conspire to make Usho the laughing stock of the forest. One morning he awakes to find that even the humble snails and slugs have rejected him: the kanji for "asshole bitch" is written across his chest in slime.

Defeated, Usho returns to find Jotokura in flames, its citizens slaughtered. The second student catches up with Trump in the ruins of the Hidemi Mansion, where the powerful swordsman is involved in messily dispatching the satanic old woman, Hidemi Asko. Ifukube begins his serial's twentieth volume as a confrontation between Trump and Usho, with the latter character portrayed as the Kotoro School's potential avenger. Ifukube's readers, perhaps, would have expected Usho to kill Trump and restore the honor of the Kotoro style. But Ifukube always zigs when he seems set to zag. Instead, Usho bows before Trump, begging humbly for instruction in the art of swordsmanship.

Trump laughs at this proposal, laughs as he pops open Hidemi Asko's ribcage and takes a dump on her still beating heart and keeps laughing as he takes the southern road, to Kyoto, to make his fortune supporting the wars of the Emperor Zog. Usho follows, and subsequent volumes focus almost exclusively on the master/student relationship that blossoms between the two. In the end it is Usho, not Trump, who ascends the Throne of Ivestment Banks founded by Zog and Usho alone who hears the final words of the great warrior as he lies bleeding on the bluffs of Odo Island, pierced by the golden spear of Infafune Kaji, the effeminate vassal whose technique triumphs, at last, over Trump's immortal sword.

Should reader interest or sales of this volume warrant, selections of Ifukube's remaining material may be translated and made available in subsequent releases.