In a Grove

In a Grove Character List

The Woodcutter

The first character to give testimony to the magistrate, the unnamed woodcutter is the person who found Takehiro's body in the bamboo grove. The woodcutter details how the dead body looked.

Kanazawa no Takehiro

Kanazawa no Takehiro is a twenty-six-year-old samurai whose body is found in the bamboo grove after he dies of a chest wound. He wears a pale blue robe and is described by Masago's mother as a kind man without enemies. Though the woodcutter says Takehiro wears a Kyoto-style hat, Masago's mother says Takehiro is in fact in the service of Wakasa Province.

The Magistrate

Translated in some versions as the police commissioner, the magistrate is a figure of police and judicial authority in Kyoto. He is never directly quoted or described in the story, but his questioning is inferred through the answers that characters deliver in their testimony.


Masago is Takehiro's nineteen-year-old bride. She is described by many characters as beautiful, and by her mother as having a man's boldness. After Masago is raped by Tajōmaru, she flees the grove and confesses her version of events at a temple.

Traveling Priest

The second character to give testimony, the traveling priest confirms that he saw Takehiro and Masago before they entered the grove the day before. He also gives specific details about their appearances and laments Takehiro's death.


The third character to give testimony, the policeman—translated in some versions as a bounty hunter working for the police—captures Tajōmaru and tells the magistrate of the bandit's infamy as a rapist. He recommends that the magistrate question Tajōmaru.


A notorious bandit and rapist who roams the area around Kyoto, Tajōmaru admits to raping Masago and killing Takehiro. Tajōmaru delivers his confession without remorse and suggests that the magistrate's sins are no different from his.

Old Woman (Masago's Mother)

The fourth character to give testimony to the magistrate, Masago's mother details Masago and Takehiro's personalities and grieves over her son-in-law's death. Before breaking down in grief, she urges the magistrate to find Masago.

Spiritual Medium

Takehiro's spirit gives his account of events through a nameless, undescribed medium.