Every Naruto fan knows about Itachi Uchiha's first partner in the Akatsuki, Kisame Hoshigaki. But Itachi actually had another partner before he ever met Kisame, one who had been with the Akatsuki long before Itachi joined. That partner is Jūzō Biwa, a former member of Kirigakure's Seven Swordsmen of the Mist.
What are some things you didn't know about Jūzō Biwa? If you're like a lot of Naruto fans, the answer is not much. But you're about to learn everything there is to know about the man, from his feelings about his powerful sword to his defeat at the hands of the Mizukage.
While he's just one of many interesting Naruto characters, knowing about him can help broaden your understanding of the series as a whole. Which fact surprised you the most?
It takes a powerful ninja to be able to survive Might Duy's Eight Gates Released Formation, but Jūzō Biwa was strong enough to do just that. After a confrontation between the Seven Swordsmen and a young team of ninja consisting of Might Guy, Genma Shiranui, and Ebisu, Might Duy entered the fray. Though Duy was still a genin, he decided to take on the swordsmen in the hopes that his son and the other children would be able to escape.
Duy unleashed his attack, resulting in his own demise, but taking out four of the Swordsmen with him. Jūzō escaped, leaving Kirigakure for good soon afterward.
Despite being a minor character who only showed up briefly, Jūzō still managed to display a fairly complicated personality. He was a practical person who valued working efficiently with his teammates, but who didn't get close to anyone, and viewed his sword as the only ally he truly possessed.
However, he could also be a genuinely kind person - he patiently helped a young Itachi get used to being in the Akatsuki, and he insisted that Itachi protect himself during a battle. He could occasionally make jokes with his colleagues, exhibiting a more relaxed side of his usually taciturn personality.
Though Jūzō hoped to never return to the Land of Water, he was forced to do so when he and Itachi were sent there on an Akatsuki mission. Upon arrival, they were pursued by a group of hunter ninja led by the Mizukage himself.
After a tough battle, Jūzō ultimately lost his life when the Mizukage attacked him with a tailed beast. Itachi was able to defeat the Mizukage, but it was too late for Jūzō. As he was fading out, he lamented that his life had to end in the country he hated and reached for his sword, which he considered to be his only friend. Itachi placed the sword in his hand for him, but the sword was later taken back by the Kirigakure government.
Most characters in Naruto have names that were carefully chosen for their meaning, and Jūzō Biwa is no exception.
The name Jūzō was chosen because of Kakei Jūzō, a member of the Sanada Ten Braves. This was a group of fabled ninja who served during Japan's Warring States period. Kishimoto also wholly or partially referenced other characters from this legend, such as Sarutobi Sasuke and Kirigakure Saizou.
The name Biwa (枇杷) means loquat, a type of orange fruit that originated in China. This was chosen because every member of the Seven Swordsmen have some form of produce in their names.