Jin Sakai (境井 仁; Sakai Jin) is the protagonist of Ghost of Tsushima and its expansion, Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island. He is mo-capped by Daisuke Tsuji and voiced by Tsuji (English) / Kazuya Nakai (Japanese).
Born into Clan Sakai, Jin Sakai grew up in Omi Village on Tsushima Island; the day he was born, his mother witnessed a fox chasing fireflies outside their home, thus she proclaimed the kami Inari to be Jin's guardian. Growing up in the ruling class of samurai, he was raised in a strict, disciplined environment, trained by his father, Kazumasa, and maternal uncle, Lord Shimura, to become a samurai. During his youth, he was friends with Ryuzo, and taken care of by his maid, Yuriko. He enjoyed climbing trees and high places in his hometown.
Jin's mother died from an illness when he was a child. Jin initially refused to believe his mother was gone: going to the nearby forest to search for her, he became lost for three days until being rescued in the nick of time by his father. A few years later, Kazumasa was murdered by a bandit. Jin hid out of fear rather than come to his father's aid, an action that would haunt him for the rest of his life. Upon his father's death, Jin was taken in as a ward by Lord Shimura, his only surviving family. Shimura would prove to be both a mentor and parental figure to Jin, with their bond becoming that of a father and son.
Around the year 1272, Jin also fought against Ryuzo in a tournament while becoming a samurai, defeating him in a friendly duel. This would prevent Ryuzo from becoming a samurai, instead becoming a ronin mercenary and later becoming the leader of the Straw Hat Ronin.
The Mongols under Khotun Khan invaded Tsushima in 1274, taking over most of the island, and killed or enslaved anyone who resisted their rule. Jin is one of eighty samurai who were sent in a desperate suicide attack against the Mongols at Komoda Beach. During the battle, Jin was grievously wounded and left for dead, while his uncle Lord Shimura was captured. Jin was narrowly saved by the thief Yuna, who nursed him back to health and saved him from the Mongols.
Against Yuna's warnings that the attempt would be futile, Jin attempts to attack Castle Kaneda, where Shimura was imprisoned, in order to save his uncle. Before he reaches the main keep of the castle, he is confronted in one-on-one combat with Khotun Khan; although Jin manages to wound Khotun's face, he is ultimately outmatched and thrown off a bridge. Jin narrowly survives the fall, and escapes with Yuna with the help of a pair of the Samurai horses they used to travel to the castle. Realizing that he cannot defeat the Mongols by himself or with the traditional samurai techniques, Jin opts to scour the island in search of allies and new fighting techniques in order to retake Castle Kaneda and rescue his uncle.
Jin enlists the help of Sensei Ishikawa, in exchange for aid in hunting his former student Tomoe, and Masako Adachi, who agrees in exchange for help in hunting the killers of her family. Jin also locates Ryuzo, who seeks help in finding food for his starving men; Ryuzo is increasingly frustrated when their attempts fail, but he nevertheless agrees to help. Jin helps Yuna find her brother Taka, who is an expert blacksmith that could help Jin craft a device to help him scale the walls of Castle Kandea. In the process, Jin begins to walk away from the Samurai ways, after Yuna convinces him to begin striking the shadows and killing the Mongols from stealth, which Shimura had told him was a coward's way of eliminating a foe.
After discovering that Taka is being held in Azamo Bay, Jin and Yuna mount a successful rescue mission with the help of sake merchant Kenji. In Komatsu Forge, Jin and Yuna fend off Mongols in order to buy Taka time to complete a special Grapple hook. After the battle, Taka remarks that he's never seen any samurai fight the way Jin has before. Yuna crafts a tale to explain Jin's superhuman abilities, boasting to onlookers that Jin is not human, but a vengeful ghost - a story that sticks and results in Jin becoming known as the legendary Ghost of Tsushima.
Jin calls for his allies to commence the assault on Castle Kaneda. After managing to get inside the inner keep, however, Ryuzo betrays Jin and sides with the Mongols, who have promised food for his men, and challenges Jin to a duel. Jin defeats and wounds Ryuzo, but he manages to escape. Jin presses further into Castle Kaneda, eventually finding his uncle at the top of the inner keep and rescuing him. Shimura informs Jin that Khotun has already left towards Toyotama to conquer Castle Shimura, and orders Jin to help him retake the castle. Jin and his allies are successfully able to retake the castle, defeating the remaining Mongols still inside. Afterwards, Shimura, having heard from Khotun about Jin's dishonorable tactics, reprimands his nephew and warns him not to continue down this path, before assigning him to gather up more allies to retake Castle Shimura.
In Toyotama, Jin recruits Norio and his warrior monks, and goes on to defend Yarikawa from a Mongol siege led by General Temuge, Jin fully develops into his "Ghost of Tsushima" persona after using the fearsome Ghost Stance to behead Temuge and terrify the Mongols. With the help of Lord Shimura, they hire the help of pirate Goro, who successfully gets a message to the shogun in the Japanese mainland for military assistance. With the Shogun's reinforcements on the way, Jin returns to Omi Village to reclaim his family armor and reunites with his old caretaker, Yuriko, who teaches him how to make poison. Learning that Ryuzo is in Fort Koyasan, Jin bids farewell to Yuna and Taka, who are leaving Tsushima to begin new lives, and heads off to confront his old friend.
At Fort Koyasan, Taka arrives unexpectedly to aid Jin, inspired by his actions in Yarikawa. Taka says that he wants to help the Ghost and will serve as a distraction to the Mongols at the entrance. Jin is hesitant, but agrees with the strategy. Once Taka distracts the guards, Jin makes his way through the fort, where he encounters Ryuzo. Jin prepares to duel Ryuzo, but is ambushed by a Straw Hat and is knocked out. He wakes up, tied to a pole, across from Taka, also captured. Jin asks Taka how he was captured, and Taka replies that once he realized that Jin had been gone for so long, he had to return to the camp to see what happened, resulting in his capture.
As Jin and Taka struggle to get free, Khotun personally approaches the two men and tells Jin that the war can simply be over if Jin tells his forces to surrender. Not only would the war be over, but Jin would be second-in-command to Khotun as he continues with his invasion. Jin refuses the offer. Khotun frees Taka and gives him a sword, ordering him to kill Jin. Taka instead tries to strike at Khotun, but is quickly struck down and beheaded by the Khan, much to the horror and anger of Jin.
Jin wakes up again, at 3:00 PM. Enraged at the death of Taka, Jin frees himself and obtains his armor and weaponry and fights his way to the inner courtyard, where he meets a worried Yuna. Yuna asks where her brother is, and Jin hesitates, causing Yuna to run into the courtyard and discover her brother's decapitated body. Initially, she blames Jin for Taka's death as Taka wanted to be like the Ghost, but the two hear Mongols and Straw Hats closing in on their location and prepare for battle. They kill the arriving forces in fury and escape the courtyard.
Jin, more determined than ever to kill the Khan, regroups with Shimura to plan an assault on Castle Shimura, and they are able to push the Mongols into the inner keep. However, the battle ends in disaster, with Shimura foolishly ordering a frontal charge that leaves many samurai dead. Realizing that Shimura's insistence on upholding honor will only bring unnecessary bloodshed, Jin and Yuna execute a plan to sneak inside the castle and poison the Mongols. Yuna gathers up piles of wolfsbane for Jin to use and gives him the Ghost Armor, an outfit that Taka was making for Jin before his death. After successfully poisoning the Mongols, Jin finds Ryuzo in the keep, where he learns that Khotun has again left to invade Kamiagata in the north. Rejecting a last-minute plea to lie to his people that Ryuzo was Jin's spy, Jin engages his former friend in one final duel and kills him.
As Jin and Yuna are about to leave, Lord Shimura and his forces arrive and see what Jin has done. Furious, Lord Shimura criticizes Jin for resorting to "dishonorable" tactics such as poison, but Jin is content that Shimura's ways can no longer save their people. Knowing that the Shogun will want to execute Jin for his disloyalty and for threatening the social hierarchy of the samurai, Shimura pleads Jin to renounce his "Ghost" persona and scapegoat Yuna, but Jin refuses. Before he is arrested, Jin passes on his equipment with Yuna and convinces her to continue the hunt for the Khan without him.
Later, Kenji makes his way to Jin's cell in Castle Shimura and informs him that Yuna has tracked down the Khan's location in the north. Realizing that Tsushima needs him, Jin escapes from the castle, but his horse is killed in the process. Without his equipment, Jin walks further into the Kin Sanctuary, where he discovers to his horror that Khotun had learned to recreate his poison, experimenting on the people of Kin. Jin himself is poisoned, and is barely saved by Yuna for a third time. Meanwhile, Khotun retreats to Port Izumi, where he plans to use the poison against the Japanese mainland.
Jin gathers his allies and prepares for a final assault on Port Izumi. He infiltrates the settlement and confronts Khotun Khan on his flagship. In a final battle, Jin kills Khotun Khan, avenging Taka, the people of Tsushima, and crippling the Mongol invasion.
With Tsushima restored to shogun rule, Jin is summoned by Lord Shimura. Shimura informs Jin that the shogun has dissolved Clan Sakai and branded Jin a traitor; under the shogun's orders, Shimura is forced to kill Jin. Jin and Shimura reluctantly duel each other, and Jin defeats Shimura. Jin can either choose to honor Shimura's request and kill him to give him a proper samurai's death or completely abandon his samurai ways and spare Shimura. Either way, Jin is forever branded as a traitor to the shogunate, and lives out the rest of his life as the Ghost of Tsushima.
Investigating Iki Island
Sometime after the death of Khotun Khan, Jin comes across several islanders who have been driven insane by unknown means. Suddenly, a shaman warns Jin that someone known only as The Eagle is coming for him and rallies several Mongols to attack him. After fighting them off, Jin learns from a survivor that the Mongols and their leader came from nearby Iki Island. Realizing that The Eagle may be planning something similar for Tsushima, Jin informs Yuna of what he has learned and makes plans to travel to the island. During his travel to Iki Island, Jin's boat gets caught in a storm and crashes into the beach. Jin and his horse survive and reunite shortly after their arrival. Eventually Jin encounters the Eagle and her tribe of Mongols who plan on brainwashing all of Iki into joining her tribe. After a narrow escape from The Eagle's encampment, Jin meets Tenzo, a raider who has lived on Iki Island since birth. They form an uneasy team, along with the local refuge leader Fune, and fight off the Eagle and her tribe's influence. Along the journey to defeat the Eagle, Jin is forced to consume her "special medicine" and must relive and overcome his tragic past during his time on both Tsushima and Iki.
Raised as a samurai, Jin is rather stoic, reserved and calm. Having been taught to master his emotions, Jin rarely gives into anger or raises his voice. Throughout the game, he's shown to be kind, polite, sympathetic to the inhabitants of Tsushima, and always shows appreciation to those who help him. He is humble, almost never showing signs of arrogance nor ever taking credit for deeds that are not his, though he does demand respect due to his status as a samurai. He could also be very humorous at times, often in the forms of snarky comments.
Jin initially adhered to the samurai code of honor like Shimura did, but became disillusioned by it after the samurai's crushing defeat at Komoda Beach and almost dying at the hands of Khotun Khan at Castle Kaneda. Realizing that the Mongols were using the samurai code of honor against Tsushima, Jin chose to start adopting pragmatic ways to fight the Mongols.
He was very hesitant at first to adopt 'dishonorable' methods of fighting the Mongols, but as the game progresses, he becomes firm in his resolve, especially after witnessing the terrible cruelty the Mongols inflicted on those who defied them. He becomes willing to do anything to defeat the Mongols and protect his people, though he states he will never kill nor endanger an innocent.
Jin starts becoming more open with his emotions as he starts adopting the Ghost persona created by Yuna, though he still remains calm and cordial with his allies.
Even after becoming more pragmatic and ruthless in fighting the Mongols, Jin retains a strong moral compass and frowns upon immoral acts. Several of these instances include calling the men of Sago Village 'swine' after realizing they had sold out their women to the Mongols to save themselves, threatening Kajiwara after discovering he murdered his wife and daughter, and warning Masako never to attempt to kill him again after locating Junshin.
One of his most defining characteristics is his relationship with his Uncle, Lord Shimura, who raised him after his father, Kazumasa Sakai, died. Flashbacks revealed their bond to be very close as father and son and Jin greatly aspired to live up to Shimura's expectations. Jin held great respect for his uncle, but that respect started to fade during the battle of Castle Shimura when he sent the common soldiers as fodder against Mongol explosives. After realizing how much of 'a slave' Shimura was to the samurai code of honor, blatantly refusing to change his strategies against an enemy who would outsmart them, Jin lost respect for his uncle, though he still loved him as his family.
Jin is very perceptive, showing acute deductive reasoning and a knack for investigation. This makes him hard to fool at times, though he was knocked out when he tried to confront Ryuzo after finding his location before the siege of Castle Shimura.
Despite his calmness and stoicism, Jin has been shown to give into anger several times. One of the most memorable is when he let out a yell of anger and sadness after watching Khotun Khan brutally murder Taka, followed by him slaughtering the Straw Hat ronin. Another is when he yells at Ryuzo after he tries to side with Jin again after betraying Tsushima by defecting to the Mongols.
"Samurai pride themselves on their honor code. But it also makes them rigid. Predictable. Easy to break. The Ghost has no limits. This makes him... dangerous."
― Khotun Khan
As the Ghost of Tsushima, Jin has the option of either confronting enemies with his "Samurai" skills or his "Ghost" skills. As a Samurai, Jin is able to learn new tactics and techniques that assist him in combat, such as deflecting arrows or allowing him to kill more enemies during a standoff. On the other hand, as a Ghost, Jin can engage in "dishonorable" tactics that rely on stealth and deception, using all kind of tools such as kunai or sticky bombs to his advantage. Both styles can be used during combat – Jin is never locked into either playstyle.
Jin can also enter four stances: Stone, Water, Wind, and Moon. Each one allows Jin to fight more effectively against one type of enemy, and Jin can change stances during combat to help him counter against certain enemies. Later on, Jin gains access to the Ghost Stance, which can be activated after seven kills (six with the Ghost Armor, five with the upgraded armor) without taking damage or assassinating a Mongol general in stealth. The Ghost Stance allows him to kill 3 enemies in quick succession while they are terrified.
Jin gains access to a variety of tools, such as kunai, smoke bombs and black powder bombs. Later on, Jin can also use the blowgun to poison his enemies, and outside of combat, he can use the grappling hook to navigate across impassable terrain. Jin may also gain the ability to use certain special attacks through the completion of side quests.
- By completing tasks you can increase the Legend of the Ghost meter. Once all of Jin's skills are unlocked, Jin can reach the highest title of "Ghost of Tsushima".
- Takeshi Tsunami from the classic fighting game Mace The Dark Age, has many similarities to Jin Sakai, in terms of appearance, fighting prowess and traits. Takeshi is the son of the Japanese Emperor, and, like Jin, is of nobility.
- Most citizens of Tsushima address him as Lord Sakai.
- Jin Sakai is the sole survivor of the defunct Clan Sakai. Tsushima was formerly ruled by six clans: Clan Shimura, Clan Sakai, Clan Nagao, Clan Adachi, Clan Kikuchi, and Clan Yarikawa.
- Jin's name means "is strong" or "is benevolence", but there are around 11 variations of the name in the Kanji writing system.
- Manga artist Takashi Okazaki (creator of Afro Samurai) made four original posters that showcase a different part of Jin's story: the wind that guides him, the flames that destroy his home around him, the mask he wears as he becomes the Ghost, and his wrath as he fights back against the Mongols.
References and Notes
- Shimura's status is determined by the player.