DC Animated Universe

Yoru-sensei ran a martial arts academy in Japan, and was a teacher of the young Bruce Wayne.


As a young man, Bruce enrolled himself in Yoru's dojo for an extended period to learning numerous martial arts. He rose to become one of the dojo's best students. The only other student able to consistently defeat him was Kyodai Ken. Bruce, realizing he couldn't operate like this as Batman in the future, obsessed over these defeats, turning to extreme methods to get better. Yoru was concerned that Bruce was practicing out of fanaticism, and counseled him to learn from his mistakes and turn them to his advantage, pointing out that sometimes losing can be more profitable than winning. Bruce still believed that one slip would be too many, and Yoru likely did not know the true purpose of his training. However, Yoru's lessons did have a later effect on a full-grown Bruce, who as a more mature individual did realize that as Batman, there would be some cases when the enemy does have the upper hand, but it would not always mean doom.

When Kyodai was caught trying to steal an ancient samurai sword, Bruce confronted him, to which Kyodai challenged him to a deathmatch. Bruce gladly accepted, but the forthcoming fight was broken up by Yoru, who took back the stolen sword and said the punishment was expulsion instead of trial by combat.

Several years later, Yoru's star pupil, Kairi Tanaga, was kidnapped by Kyodai, in exchange for a precious secret. Yoru summoned Bruce, asking for his "help" in contacting Batman, possibly having guessed his student's secret. Yoru explained that he was the last living direct descendant of an ancient sensei who had invented an amazingly deadly fighting art Kiba no Hoko, The Way of the Fang. However, the sensei came to realize his methods were too extreme, as well as one move that was even fatal. While the sensei discontinued this means of fighting, he transcribed it onto scrolls and hid it in a cave, with the family patriarch of each passing generation only knowing of the hiding place until it was eventually passed to Yoru. However, Yoru never sought the scroll, afraid of what he might do with such knowledge. Kyodai demanded the scroll in return for Kairi's safe return. Bruce suggested giving Kyodai a false map in the hopes of not finding the scroll and giving up. Yoru disapproved that idea on the basis of Bushido, in which samurai must be truthful and chivalrous even in a scenario such as this, and likely that Kairi's life would be jeopardized if they started playing games with Kyodai. Through Bruce, Kyodai acquired the map, and eventually the scroll.

Bruce fought Kyodai on the side of Mount Kajiiki, in which the latter was likely killed in an explosion of lava.

Before Bruce left Japan, Yoru asked him to thank Batman. Somewhat shamefacedly, Bruce said that Batman was as much a ninja as Kyodai, a man who relied on darkness and fear to terrorize his enemies. Yoru replied that Batman actually showcased all the traditional values of the samurai: resolve, honor, and mercy toward his adversary.

In later years, Kairi became a respected sensei in her own right, opening an exclusive, secret dojo behind her fishmonger's stall in Gotham City.


Exemplifying the best qualities of the martial arts — dignity, inner strength, honor, and humility — Yoru was a man built on traditional values, who put his students' welfare before his own at all times.

Yoru emphasized that martial arts was not a means of combat or killing, but a graceful art that few could conquer.

Besides his skill as a teacher and his prowess at martial arts, Yoru also imparted his deep sense of honor and values to Bruce Wayne, reinforcing his sense of fair play and his complete refusal to take a life, even an enemy's.

Background information[]

  • Though it is never stated explicitly, the clear implication is that Yoru knows Bruce's secret identity, based on his observation of the young Bruce's personality, and his study of the Batman's fighting style.
  • Although Yoru doesn't appear nor is mentioned in the feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the film's novelization written by Andrew Helfer reveals that Dick Grayson was training with Yoru at the moment in which the events of the film took place, explaining the former's absence from the plot.

See also[]


Batman: The Animated Series

Batman Beyond

Notes and references[]

  1. Perry, Steve (writer) & Altieri, Kevin (director) (October 26, 1992). "Night of the Ninja". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 28 (airdate). Episode 35 (production). FOX Kids.
  2. Bright, Laren, Perry, Steve (story) & Rogel, Randy (teleplay) & Altieri, Kevin (director) (January 24, 1993). "The Mechanic". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 48 (airdate). Episode 55 (production). FOX Kids.