Haru In ‘House Of Ninjas,’ Explained: Did Haru Kill Tsujioka In The End?

House of Ninjas, an action-thriller centered around a modern-day shinobi family, supposedly the last of their kind, offers a refreshing take on Sengoku Japan’s enigmatic group of warriors. Despite its myriad twists and turns, the show captivates audiences with its no-nonsense portrayal of the shinobi lifestyle. Set against the backdrop of the information age, it skillfully explores the challenges they face in maintaining secrecy while also yearning for normalcy in their lives. In an era where their traditional roles of assassination and espionage are at odds with modern morality, the family wrestles with moral dilemmas. Among them, Haru Tawara emerges as a compelling character, torn between his desire for a normal existence and the constraints imposed upon him by his lineage and the political authorities. His struggle resonates deeply, serving as a reflection of the clash between tradition and personal freedom. 


Spoilers Ahead

What Is Haru Tawara’s Story?

After the presumed demise of his elder brother Gaku, Haru Tawara, the second child of the Tawara family and direct descendant of Hattori Hanzo, assumes the role of eldest son. However, the tragic loss casts a shadow over Haru, leaving him emotionally distant from his family. Raised with the strict code of conduct inherent to the shinobi tradition, Haru finds himself disillusioned in the aftermath of the incident, abandoning the rules that once governed his life—a sentiment echoed by his family members. Instead of tending to the affairs of the Tawara family’s sake breweries, Haru toils away at a menial job, restocking vending machines during the late hours. Despite his father’s requests, Haru maintains a deliberate distance, spending his evenings binging on tamago gyuudon (beef bowls with eggs) at a local eatery—a small act of rebellion against the expectations placed upon him.


Why Has Haru Become So Distant?

Haru, like every member of the Tawara family, is deeply affected by his brother’s death. Yet the depths of his grief and self-doubt set him apart. He sees himself as unworthy of his family’s legacy and the tenets of the shinobi code. Despite practically being groomed from a young age to be a killing machine, Haru finds himself unable to fulfill the most fundamental aspect of his training: taking a life. This failure, even though driven by his own rationality and moral reasoning, haunts him, as it was his reluctance to kill an enemy operative that ultimately led to Gaku’s demise at the hands of the same man—a burden he bears alone as the details of the incident are known only to him. Bound by the rigid rules of the shinobi tradition, Haru is deprived of the solace of companionship and unable to form meaningful connections with others. His acts of rebellion against these rules, such as consuming meat or contemplating romantic relationships, also serve as manifestations of his self-loathing. 

How Do Haru And Karen Meet?

Part of Haru’s daily routine involves restocking vending machines and visiting the same eatery for a bowl of gyuudon, a ritual he cherishes as it provides him a brief escape from his burdens. It’s during these visits that he encounters Karen Ito, a girl whose presence brightens his otherwise mundane routine. Their coincidental schedules lead to casual conversations, though Haru’s reluctance to pursue a romantic relationship due to his family’s strict background keeps him from acting on his growing fondness for Karen. Despite his colleague’s encouragement to ask her out, Haru hesitates, mindful of the potential repercussions. 


However, when Karen takes the initiative to exchange numbers and plan a date, only to cancel at the last minute, Haru’s disappointment is overshadowed by Hama from the Bureau of Ninja Management’s (BNM) warning about the dangers of dating someone outside their organization. Hama reveals Karen’s true identity as a reporter investigating a series of murders. Haru follows her to a nightclub, where she seeks crucial information. They are both ensnared in a deadly fight when a masked killer targets Karen. Haru’s protective instincts kick in as he intervenes, engaging in a life-threatening struggle to protect Karen from harm. 

How Does Karen Find Out About Haru’s Secret?

Despite his efforts to conceal his identity, Karen recognizes Haru following their violent encounter at the nightclub. She deliberately involves him in her investigation, and as they uncover further evidence together, Karen finds herself increasingly drawn to Haru. When they witness Sawabe, a Fuma operative, commit a murder, Haru’s interest in the case intensifies, revealing a deeper involvement than initially anticipated. His confidence and composed demeanor in dangerous situations confirm Karen’s suspicions about his true identity as the masked savior from the club.


Following their confrontation with Tsujioka Yosuke, the enigmatic leader of the cult Gentenkai, Karen discloses that she has been monitoring the Tawara family for some time. The family’s secretive behavior, particularly surrounding Gaku’s supposed suicide on the day Mukai was kidnapped, initially caught her attention. Revealing the calculated nature of their meeting, Karen admits to having observed Haru for an extended period. After informing Hama about their encounter at Gentenkai’s office, Haru is ordered to distance himself from Karen for her safety. Reluctantly, he complies by confiscating every piece of evidence Karen had at her apartment. However, when Fuma operatives attempt to take Karen’s life, Haru disregards BNM orders, rescuing her and offering her sanctuary in his own home. Despite the risks, Haru reveals the Tawara family’s long-held secrets to Karen. 

Why Does Tsujioka Spare Haru’s Life At The Gentenkai Centre?

After Haru and Karen infiltrate the Gentenkai center undercover, they finally confront Tsujioka as per a deal they made with Sawabe. In a tense exchange, Tsujioka manipulates Haru into a morally challenging situation, coercing him to kill Sawabe. Despite the pressure, Haru chooses mercy, freeing Sawabe instead. Tsujioka offers the yellow flower to Karen, allowing her to leave unharmed.

With only Haru and Tsujioka remaining in the vicinity, Tsujioka reveals his true identity as the same man whose life Haru previously spared—the man responsible for his brother’s death. Tsujioka’s revelation casts Haru into a state of shock and disbelief. Believing that he has reincarnated as a god, Tsujioka credits Haru for being responsible for Fuma’s current achievements, asserting that Haru is, in fact, his creator. Despite Haru’s attempts to retaliate, his attacks prove futile against Tsujioka’s seemingly invincible demeanor. In a surprising turn of events, Tsujioka lets Haru go, leaving him to deal with the weight of his past actions.

Why Does Haru Refrain From Taking A Life?

Haru epitomizes the modern youth challenging the age-old traditions of ancient Japan and embodies a detachment from the rigid norms of his lineage. Unlike his predecessors, Haru did not choose the path of a shinobi; rather, it was imposed upon him by his family and ultimately the BNM. 


Even though this is a work of fiction, one might indeed question the relevance of a shinobi organization in modern Japan, especially when real-world counterparts like the CIA or KGB have historically carried out covert operations in the name of national security. Even Japan’s own intelligence agency, Naikaku Jouhou Chousashitsu, operates similarly to the CIA. However, imposing the weight of the draconian norms on people specifically groomed for the dirty work reflects the authoritarian tendencies of feudal Japan. 

Haru, with his independent thinking, recognizes this aspect of his life. He somewhere understands that being coerced into taking lives for someone else’s hidden agendas is a burden he cannot bear. In his refusal to take a life lies a rejection of unjust practices and a recognition of the importance of individual autonomy and moral integrity in the modern world. I think this sets him apart from Gaku, who was a blind follower in his adherence to these codes and had to be shown the consequences of his actions. 


However, when the Bureau of Ninja Management (BNM) discovers that Karen is aware of his secrets, they abduct her with the intention of eliminating both of them. Faced with this dire threat, Haru is compelled to succumb to the BNM’s demands, becoming a pawn on their agenda. This harrowing turn of events forces Haru into a position of powerlessness, where his autonomy is stripped away and he is coerced into compliance with the BNM’s operations. 

Does Haru Kill Tsujioka In The End?

After the climactic battle with his brother at the Fuma HQ, Haru succeeds in incapacitating Gaku. He then proceeds to face Tsujioka, now known as the 19th Fuma Kotaro. Despite his desire for revenge against Kotaro for what the Fuma did to his brother, Haru finds himself unable to muster the resolve to take his life. Though he manages to overpower Kotaro, he hesitates at the critical moment when he is required to deliver the fatal blow. Gaku unexpectedly intervenes, appearing out of nowhere to deliver the decisive strike that kills Kotaro on the spot. Gaku had previously shown little regard for their family, but in this moment, he shows his empathy for his brother. Recognizing that Haru should not bear the burden of taking a life against his will, Gaku willingly shoulders the responsibility, ensuring that Haru is spared from the moral dilemma that had haunted him. 


What To Expect From Haru In Season 2?

Now that Gaku has ascended to the position of the 20th Fuma Kotaro, he has become the eternal rival of the Hanzou clan, raising the stakes for Haru considerably. Depending on Gaku’s actions in his new role, Haru may find himself forced to confront his brother once again, potentially with dire consequences. As the Fuma tighten their grip on the authoritarian BNM, Haru might be able to find a way to gain the upper hand against them. His determination to outsmart the BNM is fueled not only by his desire for justice but also by his longing to be reunited with his lover, Karen, whom he has been forbidden from seeing. 

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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