Gaku Tawara In ‘House Of Ninjas,’ Explained: Did Gaku Join The Fuma Clan?

House of Ninjas is Netflix’s latest series delving into one of feudal Japan’s most enigmatic elements: the shinobi. Set in modern-day Japan, the show offers a refreshingly realistic portrayal of these secretive mercenaries. Drawing on historical accuracy, House of Ninjas follows the story of a modern-day Shinobi family as they navigate the complexities of their ancient traditions in a modern world while concealing their identities. Each member of the Tawara family is riddled with their own conflicts in modern society. The Tawara are direct descendants of Hattori Hanzo, a famous shinobi who served under Tokugawa Ieyasu of Sengoku-era Japan. 


Spoilers Ahead

Who Is Gaku Tawara?

In the opening episodes of the series, Gaku Tawara, the eldest son of the Tawara family, tragically meets his end during a daring rescue mission. Six years prior to the events in the series, while attempting to rescue a candidate for Tokyo’s Governor, he is killed by enemy operatives. Gaku’s presumed death leaves a profound void within the family, impacting them on multiple fronts. As the eldest son, Gaku bore significant responsibilities within the Tawara family, particularly in overseeing the family’s sake business. His absence weighs heavily on his father, Souichi Tawara, who struggles to run the faltering business without any support from his family, as Gaku was the heir to the business. The once-flourishing enterprise begins to stumble, with employees seeking other opportunities, intensifying Souichi’s woes. Meanwhile, Gaku’s younger brother, Haru, deals with overwhelming guilt over his brother’s fate. Haru blames himself for Gaku’s demise, haunted by the fact that his decision to spare an enemy ultimately led to his brother’s tragic end. Distraught and disillusioned, Haru finds solace in working odd jobs to sustain himself, disengaged from the family’s business affairs. Amidst the turmoil, Gaku’s absence leaves an impact on their younger sister, Nagi. Fondly remembering him as a responsible elder brother, Nagi mourns his loss deeply. Gaku served not only as a sibling but also as a mentor to Nagi, overseeing her training to become a shinobi through unconventional challenges. 


How Is Gaku Still Alive?

Gaku’s true fate comes to light when he miraculously escapes from the captivity of the Famu clan, six years after his presumed death. He is apprehended by the Bureau of Ninja Management (BNM), the governmental body responsible for overseeing shinobi affairs. Found in a severely battered state, Gaku’s return raises suspicions within the BNM, leading to an interrogation regarding his potential collaboration with the Fuma clan. During the intense questioning, Gaku discloses the truth about his captivity at the hands of the Fuma clan. He recounts the traumatic events of that fateful night, revealing how he was captured by Fuma Kotaro, the ruthless leader of the clan. Gaku even lost his leg after getting caught in the ship’s propeller. Over the course of six grueling years, Gaku endured unimaginable suffering at the hands of his captors. He describes the torture inflicted upon him by Fuma Kotaro and his men, often kept in darkness and subjected to brutal labor in the fields, harvesting a mysterious yellow flower laden with neurotoxins. 

What Was The Actual Reason For Gaku’s Survival?

Despite the narrative Gaku initially presents to both the Bureau of Ninja Management (BNM) and his family regarding his whereabouts over the past six years, the truth of his experiences diverges significantly from what he reveals. In reality, Gaku has been indoctrinated by Kotaro Fuma, the enigmatic leader of the Fuma clan. Following the events six years ago, Gaku awakened within the confines of the Fuma clan’s base camp. Contrary to expectations, he was not met with brutality but rather with a calculated strategy of psychological manipulation. Despite his desperate attempts to flee, because of his injuries, particularly the loss of his leg, Gaku found it impossible to leave. Even his efforts to end his own life, seeking to evade becoming a pawn in the Fuma’s schemes, were thwarted by them. To Gaku’s astonishment, Kotaro Fuma presented a perspective that challenged his preconceived notions. Rather than intending to use Gaku as a bargaining chip, Kotaro initiated a thoughtful dialogue, confronting Gaku with the truth about his past actions. In a pivotal moment, Gaku was shown the grave of an individual he was complicit in eliminating, sacrificed to prevent a political scandal because of adultery. In a shrewd move, Kotaro exposed the hypocrisy in Gaku’s blind allegiance to the corrupt Japanese authority, highlighting his role as a mere pawn in the hands of those in power. He implored Gaku to reconsider his loyalties, emphasizing that he is a human before he is a shinobi and asking him to think independently. Kotaro’s persuasive rhetoric struck a chord within Gaku, ultimately making him align with the Fuma cause, driven by a desire to overturn the current political order in Japan. As he joined the Fuma Clan as Kotaro’s deputy, he was dubbed Karasu, meaning crow, which is an auspicious symbol for the Fuma. 


Why Did Gaku Decide To Return To His Family?

After aligning himself with the Fuma cause as their deputy, Gaku’s priorities shift drastically. With no inclination to reveal his survival to his loved ones, Gaku becomes detached from familial ties. When Ayame’s efforts to procure the scroll containing the Fuma family records through Nagi are thwarted by her grandmother’s cunning deception, Gaku finds an opportunity to rectify the situation. Taking matters into his own hands, he devises a meticulous plan to retrieve the real scroll. Gaku chooses to make contact with his estranged family, but with ulterior motives. While pretending to spend time with his family, he is actually looking for the scroll. 

Why Does Gaku Kill Sawabe?

Sawabe, operating under the guise of a police officer in public, was actually an operative of the Fuma clan. During a meticulously staged murder designed to resemble death by hanging, Sawabe retrieves a yellow flower from his victim’s residence. However, this act is captured on camera by Haru Tawara and Karen Ito, who subsequently blackmail him into delivering the flower instead. Upon learning of the blackmail scheme, Sawabe confides in Kotaro Fuma, the leader of the Fuma clan. In a dramatic confrontation with Haru, Fuma opts to release Sawabe but retaliates by ordering the execution of Haru’s family. In response to the act against his family, Sawabe reaches out to Haru, offering vital information regarding the inner workings of the Fuma clan. However, Gaku becomes aware of Sawabe’s intentions and intercepts him before Haru, murdering him in cold blood. Unbeknownst to Gaku, his sister Nagi grows suspicious of his behavior and covertly follows him, witnessing his lethal encounter with Sawabe. 


Why Does Gaku Kill Kotaro Fuma?

As the true identity of the eldest son is unveiled to the Tawara family, the Fuma clan has already initiated their nefarious plan to disperse the nerve agent derived from the yellow flower during the solar eclipse. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Tawara family braces themselves for the battle at the Fuma headquarters. Upon arrival, the family collectively decides to spare Gaku’s life, preferring his wellbeing over their orders from the Bureau of Ninja Management. Inside the Fuma HQ, as Souichi, Yoko, and Nagi confront the onslaught of enemies, they dispatch Haru to confront his brother. 

A fierce battle ensues between the two brothers, with Gaku revealing his detachment from familial ties and taunting Haru for his perceived weakness due to his reluctance to take a life. Despite Gaku’s disdain, Haru manages to overcome him, incapacitating his brother. As Haru faces off against Kotaro Fuma, he gains the upper hand, severing Fuma’s hand. However, when about to deliver the final blow, Haru hesitates momentarily, calculating the weight of taking a life. Suddenly, Gaku intervenes, delivering the fatal blow to Fuma. Gaku acknowledges the impact of taking a life. He knows that Haru has always been a kind person and decides to take on his burden. At this moment, Gaku expresses concern for his brother, advising him to hold on to his kindness despite the harsh realities of their secret lives as he walks away. 

What Happens To Gaku At The End?

Despite experiencing a moment of reformed conscience towards his brother, Gaku remains steadfast in his allegiance to the ideologies of the Fuma clan. Following his act of killing Kotaro, who had elevated himself to the delusional status of a god, Gaku takes the opportunity to appoint himself as the 20th head of the clan. Meanwhile, the Fuma’s sinister plan involving the nerve agent during the eclipse remains in motion, as they deceive the Bureau of Ninja Management into believing that the threat has been neutralized. However, in reality, it’s far from subdued. 

As the New Democratic Party convenes for a celebratory gathering ahead of their presidential election, the Fuma clan infiltrates the event, orchestrating a deadly scheme to spike the drinks with the nerve agent. The resulting casualties claim the lives of every party member present, except for Mukai Toko, the sole descendant of the Hojo clan and an election candidate. With the deaths of her fellow candidates, Mukai Toko finds herself thrust into the spotlight, expected to ascend to the presidency as a puppet manipulated by the Fuma clan. 


What Can We Expect From Gaku In Season 2?

With Gaku’s ascension to the leadership of the Fuma clan and Mukai Toko’s unwitting rise to power as a pawn in their schemes, the stakes have never been higher. The Bureau of Ninja Management is now being controlled by the Fuma as well; however, the Tawara family is still a capable group of shinobis. They might change their opinion about their eldest son if the moment arrives, as he has taken a lot of innocent lives. However, Gaku is still a figure of secrecy. Personally, he reminds me a lot of Itachi Uchiha from Naruto. It is possible that he is using drastic measures to find a better solution for the future of his country, which is neither influenced by corrupt officials nor the Fuma. 

Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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