- "I am called Gakusha. As you have said, I am a monk who preaches the path of the enlightened one, and journeys to find my own answers."
Gakusha, born Gakuga Octo, was a traveling monk from Jakoku and the husband of Kayo Sudou. Disowned by his family, the youth eventually married his cousin Kayo, living with her in Enbizaka. Losing his memory after a great fire struck the neighborhood, the man was rescued by the traveling monk Giyara. Inspired, Gakusha became a trainee monk and joined Giyara in his travels.
- "This humble monk was–I was originally the son of a samurai clan. Though I’ll say it myself, I was a brat. …Ultimately I was disinherited by my parents and cast out of the family."
- ―Gakusha regarding his past[src]
Born sometime during the 9th century EC as a member of the Octo Family, Gakuga was the son of a samurai. Growing up in Onigashima, Jakoku, Gakuga began committing numerous debaucheries as a teenager. At the age of fifteen, he made a pass at a blacksmith's wife, getting his hand burned by the blacksmith as a result. Sometime after, he was disowned by his family.
In EC 838, Gakuga met local tailor Kayo Sudou and the two fell in love, despite later learning they were cousins. After their marriage, Gakuga lived with her at her family's tailor shop at Enbizaka and they sired a son, naming him Ren. Gakuga then continued to be a drunkard, spending long hours away from home. He also began bragging to his wife that he could sprout wings and fly.
- "The man reached Mount Inasa, and started to climb. I followed after him, but I was already growing dizzy. I had been burned all over my body by the fire. At my limit, I lost the energy to fly, and crashed down in the middle of the mountain—and then, when I next awoke, I had lost all of my memories."
- ―Gakusha recounting the night of the fire[src]
Later that year, while Gakuga was out he spotted Kai Miroku attempting to start a fire at the Freezis trade house on the hill. Startling him, he watched as the bush beside the man was set alight and he rushed home. There he told Kayo of the fire and urged her to flee with him and their son to the bridge on the other side of the hill.
Reaching the bridge, Gakuga and his family attempted to cross, but were held back by the number of people evacuating. As the fire raged behind them, Gakuga and Kayo bantered back and forth about their predicament until they were separated by a burning house. Transforming into a winged monster, Gakuga escaped the flames and, spotting Kai, pursued him to Mount Inasa. Having been injured by burns, Gakuga's endurance ran out and he collapsed, unconscious, on the mountain.
After regaining consciousness, and having lost all of his memories, Gakuga crawled until he was discovered by the monk Giyara, who was initially afraid from his monstrous appearance. After successfully pleading for help, Gakuga was taken by Giyara to an abandoned temple on the mountain, where his burns were treated. Overnight, Gakuga transformed back into a man, to Giyara's further astonishment. From there, the amnesiac Gakuga stayed with the monk in the temple while his burns healed; he was given Buddhist clothes to wear and the name "Gakusha", as he had forgotten his original name.
A New Life
Staying with Giyara in the temple, "Gakusha" watched him perform the Buddhist sutra chants and became interested in performing them himself, receiving Giyara's instruction in them before long. Later on, as his burns dwindled to just the scars on his hands and face, Gakusha found people with weapons assembling on the mountain and alerted Giyara; the monk decided that it was time to leave and the two descended down the mountain for magistrate Gato Octo's house. On the way, as Gakusha became self-conscious over his burn scars, Giyara bought him a fukaamigasa hat to cover his face with.
Reaching Gato Octo's home, Gakusha stood by as Giyara reported what they found in the mountains and learned that the men may have been from the extremist group the Crimson Robed Masses, learning that they were a violent anti-foreign group who Gato refused to act upon due to there being no evidence of their wrongdoing. Afterwards, Gakusha spoke with Giyara outside the mansion and decided to continue to accompany the monk as his student. Over the next four years, Gakusha and Giyara journeyed all over Jakoku, Gakusha learning about Buddhism and eventually becoming a full-fledged monk.
While the two visited the village of Momogengou in EC 842, Giyara fell ill; he soon passed away with the distraught Gakusha at his bedside. During this time, he stayed for a night with the couple Kinouna and Kurookina. With his master gone, Gakusha returned to Mount Inasa to try and investigate his past; reaching the mountain, he found what appeared to be the Crimson Robed Masses still using it as a stronghold and headed back down. When he sought lodging for the night after reaching the mountain's base, Gakusha was directed to Enbizaka and he set out for the town, wearing his fukaamigasa.
- "—Woman. Why did you kill those people?"
- ―Gakusha to Kayo's head[src]
Gakusha soon entered Enbizaka; traversing the town, he came upon its execution grounds and found the head of an executed woman hung there on display. While he chanted sutras before the head, Gakusha noticed a lady who had come to pay her respects, having been friends with the executed woman. Talking with her, Gakusha learned that the executed woman had killed the owner of the dry goods store and his family. Puzzled on why the beautiful woman committed this crime, Gakusha left the grounds and spent the night in an inn.
The next day, Gakusha returned to perform a memorial service for the murderess and he found a boy already there, who claimed to be a relative of the head. After introducing himself, Gakusha learned that the boy was Kokutan-douji, a boy famed for helping various people in Jakoku. Gakusha listened to Kokutan's lament that he couldn't help Kayo, and he learned to his shock that the young boy had been the one to carry out her execution of his own choosing. Questioning him further, Gakusha learned that the woman had been like a mother to him, and therefore he resolved to pray that she reach Sukhavati. After chatting a little longer, Gakusha chanted the sutras with Kokutan.
Suddenly, Gakusha was agonized as, in accordance with the dead Giyara's wish to the Master of the Hellish Yard, he received all of his memories of his past and remembered his true identity as Gakuga. Immediately, the overwhelmed monk rushed to explain everything to Kokutan-douji, from his marriage to the day he lost everything in the fire. He finished by telling Kokutan that his real name was Gakuga Sudou, and he learned that Kokutan knew his wife Kayo.
When he asked for Kayo's whereabouts, however, Kokutan tried to explain that she was the woman who had been executed. Not knowing that Kayo had swapped bodies with Ma, Gakuga failed to recognize the head as being Kayo's and scolded Kokutan for his "joke". He then decided to head back into Enbizaka to look for his long-lost wife; saying his farewells to Kokutan-douji, Gakuga departed, unaware of the truth.
Following his death, Gakusha's soul was sent to the Heavenly Yard and remained there. In EC 999, he and the other souls were pulled back to the Third Period as the ground world merged with the Hellish Yard. When all the souls of the Third Period started singing the Clockwork Lullaby to restrain Ma, Gakusha eventually joined in their singing.
Personality and Traits
- "While he was a deplorable sort of man, at least in his defense he did not fool around after he married Kayo; he was dutiful to their bond. That was the only rational practice that he followed."
- ―Kagura's commentary on Gakusha[src]
Gakusha was an unscrupulous but faithful man. As a youth, he was aggressive and womanizing, getting himself into a lot of trouble as a result. He continued in his loutish behavior to some extent even after his marriage to Kayo, although due to his love for her he ultimately remained faithful to his wife. After losing his memories, Gakusha became more docile and humble, taking up Buddhism under Giyara's teachings and eventually becoming quite pious, although he still retained his direct nature.
At heart Gakusha cared deeply for his family and sought to help other people as well, both in his duties as a monk and in seeking justice from people like the arsonist Kai or the Crimson Robed Masses. He was also persistent and dedicated to his goals, not easily swayed from giving up. This led to him also being cool under pressure, bantering with Kayo during the fire of Enbizaka. His delinquent nature also made him prone to boasting about his abilities, however, while conversely he became ashamed of his appearance after obtaining his burns.
Skills and Abilities
As a descendant of Sateriasis Venomania, Gakusha inherited the ability to transform into a demonic form and fly. Despite this power, he was unable to carry a large amount of weight with him while flying. The man was also particularly alert even when drunk, able to call out to and memorize Kai after noticing he was about to set fire to the Freezis trade house. Aside from this, Gakusha could think on his feet in times of emergency, rushing to evacuate Kayo and Ren once the fire struck Enbizaka. After becoming a full-fledged monk, Gakusha was able to perform all of his expected duties under Giyara's teachings.
Kayo Sudou: Gakusha's cousin and later wife. The man shared a close relationship with the tailor due to their similar temperaments, and fell in love with her despite the obstacles to their marriage. As a result of this love, Gakusha remained faithful to Kayo despite his womanizing and was devoted to protecting her and their son. This love for her was rekindled after regaining his memories, although he refused to believe that her appearance had changed.
Ren Sudou: Gakusha's son. Gakusha cherished the child that had been borne of himself and Kayo and sought to protect him, even at cost to his own life.
Giyara: Gakusha's master. Gakusha became greatly indebted to Giyara for saving him and, over the course of their travels together, came to care greatly for him while also following his philosophies of Buddhism. He was greatly saddened by Giyara's death.
Conceptualization and Origin
- Gakusha's name is derived from Japanese, meaning "discarding human pleasure", a popular concept in Buddhism; fittingly, Gakusha's profession is as a Buddhist monk and is in contrast to his pleasure-seeking life as Gakuga.
- His different names are partially inspired by that of his representative Vocaloid, Gackpo, with both names containing "Gaku" in the romanization.
- The description of Gakusha's monster form, being a winged ram with bird legs, matches the appearance of the Demon of Lust his ancestor contracted with.
- The Weathered Head at Onigashima (first appearance)
- Deadly Sins of Evil: The Tailor of Enbizaka
- Seven Crimes and Punishments (album)
- Master of the Heavenly Yard (album) (mentioned only)