|“||You have forgotten your purpose!||”|
—The Emperor to Jack in one of his hallucinations Episode XCII
|“||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 is a Japanese monarch, general, and the father of Samurai Jack. He is the original owner of a magical katana that was blessed by the three deities, Odin, Ra and Rama, which he used to temporarily defeat and imprison Aku. He could be considered the tritagonist of the series among others, as he is the protagonist of the prequel arc and his character is an important influence on Jack.
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 not afraid of putting his life in danger for them and his land, a sign of his selflessness. He was also very foresighted and wise, which is why he appeared to have a more realistic point of view on subjects than Jack did in his early years of becoming a samurai.
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), eyes, and he had a mustache (the colors were the same as his 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.
In Episode XXXVII, The Emperor look identical to his son, He wears his green, orange and gold full samurai armor until they were destroy after Aku's held him captive, leaving him with a tattered rag. In Episode XXXVIII, He wears a light blue and white full samurai armor identical to his original after he was armored with his newly-forged magic katana.
In Episode CI, he regained his former appearance after Jack successfully destroyed Aku when he managed to return to the past.
Before Jack was born, his father was a samurai lord who ruled over a vast land and its people. One day, his kingdom was slowly overtaken 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 cavalry deep within the forest to locate the source of the evil and destroy it. Although many of his men were lost, he 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 helpless and unable to fight back, the samurai lord watched and cried out in horror as Aku attacked his home.
Just as all hope seemed lost, the Emperor was freed by Sleipnir (a divine eight legged horse). The horse took the lord to a large mountain. Inside the mountain, the Emperor found statues of the deities Vishnu, Ra, and Odin. The three deities 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 deities 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 his people from the demon's wrath.
With the power of the sword, the Emperor furiously fought Aku in his many forms along with an army of duplicates. Despite being outnumbered the lord slew Aku's horde one by one until only one was 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 continue his atrocity. He gathered his fellow leaders from around the world, and told them about Aku and the sword. Should he ever fail to stop Aku in the future, the Emperor asked that they task their best warriors and scholars to train him physically, mentally and spiritually so that he would one day be able to vanquish Aku for good.
Years later, whilst the Emperor was on a ride with his family, they were stopped by a band of outlaws who killed their guards and threatened to do the same to them. Jack, as a child, had to watch his father cut down the outlaws in order to protect his family. The Emperor later admitted to Jack that he didn't want to kill the outlaws, but did so out of necessity.
A few months later, the Emperor explained to Jack about Aku and the battle that took place. Immediately afterwards, the moment that they both had long feared finally came; 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 once and for all.
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 finds 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, in Jack's hallucination, the Emperor was seen surrounded in flames, expressing his disappointment to Jack for forgetting his purpose. Later on when Jack finally returned to the past, via a time portal from Ashi, Jack was able to defeat Aku and fulfill his mission. Thus, his kingdom was freed and he was able to return home.
He became the Emperor of Japan once more and restored his empire to its former glory. Smiling proudly, he accompanied Jack as he was being dressed in his wedding attire. However, his happiness was short-lived as Ashi vanished before she reached Jack during the wedding, as the past Aku's destruction had undone her existence. He was last seen with Robin Hood beside him, both speechless with shock at the scene.
- Master Swordsmanship: 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.
- Endurance/Stamina: The Emperor has remarkable stamina and endurance. He was able to fight Aku for many hours, and kept fighting with little signs of fatigue despite numerous injuries.
- Wise Ruler: The Emperor demonstrated himself to be a just and fair leader of his people. He was wholly determined to defeat Aku to save the citizens of his land from Aku's violence and control. After defeating Aku, the Emperor motivated his nation to rebuild and enter a new age of prosperity and self-fulfillment. He remained ever vigilant to the possibility of Aku's return. The Emperor, however, was not a pacifist as he slay a gang of bandits who threatened him and his family, while giving the bandits an option to leave in peace. The Emperor bestowed his leadership style upon his son to ensure a purposeful legacy.
- Expert Diplomat: In the aftermath of Aku's first attack, the Emperor recognized the necessity for mankind to unite against the existential threat. Thanks to his empire's proficient navy to communicate across three continents, the Emperor created an alliance with nine other nations across the world. He was able to convince wise teachers in these nations to train his son to become a warrior powerful enough to defeat Aku. After Jack successfully destroy Aku when he returned to the past, the Emperor graciously invited these leaders and their families to Jack and Ashi's wedding, considering it to be a global celebration in liberation from the tyranny of Aku.
- Magic Katana: After the emperor was rescued from his captivity, The three Deities, Odin, Ra and Rama forged a Katana with the emperor's righteous spirit from his heart fully capable of destroying Aku.
- "Yes, Aku. Your evil cannot abolish the power of righteousness. Your evil grasp on my land and its people ends now!"
- "This sword was forged from the strength and power of the human spirit. It represents all that is good. Its purpose is to destroy you!"
- "You will not escape!"
- "Now let the sword forever banish this evil abomination!"
- "We must learn from this day. We must be prepared should this evil ever return. We must have a plan."
- "When the evil shape-shifting wizard, Aku, arose from the bowels of hate to ravage our homeland, I was a young emperor at the time and was helpless against his powers. But I remembered our grandfather's grandfather's story of three monks who were gifted with mystical powers."
- "I rode to the highest peak of the mountainside where the monks agreed to forge me an enchanted sword with great magic."
- "Armed with the sword and the hope of my people, I plunged into battle against Aku. His evil was no match for the power of righteousness. And with the sword's magic, Aku's demon forces were implanted into the earth, forever petrifying him into the wasteland that he created. Through years of hard work, we have rebuilt our glorious past with hopes never to encounter such an evil as Aku again. Always be alert, my son. For the presence of evil is sometimes right behind you."
- "No. It cannot be."
- "The sword!"
- "Mother, Aku has returned! Do as we planned our future depends on it!"
- "My son, it has been many years since that fateful day that Aku returned from his imprisonment. Enslaved, we have become, to unearth the riches of our land so that Aku can strengthen his powers and begin to take over the world."
- "No! I thought once like you, but the sword is only a tool. What power has it compared to the hand that wields it? Evil is clever, and deception is its most powerful weapon. Let the sword guide you to your fate but let your mind set free the path to your destiny."
- "Be wary, my son, for evil finds a way."
- "Nothing worth having is easily attained. Sometimes you must fight for what is yours -- and what you believe in. It is not one's outward brawn, but rather one's inner strength, that makes them mighty."
- "Nonsense, Aku's victories are not your failures. The struggle against Aku is arduous and none have fought more bravely than you, my son."
- "He destroyed everything! Everything is burning! You've forgotten your purpose!" (distorted) "You've forsaken us!"
- "Your choices have clearly led you here, as have mine. I will give you a new choice. Leave now and live, or stay and face your destiny."
- "The decisions you make and the actions that follow are a reflection of who you are. You cannot hide from yourself."
- 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.
- He does however retain the nose in his later Season 5 appearances.