Iwatooshi & Imanotsurugi from Touken Ranbu! They're the humanized forms of 2 real Japanese swords from the Heian era Do take some time to read their tragic but beautiful story
(written by Lorelei at himeutsugi.org/post/1177817662…
Iwatooshi (the tall Naginata) belonged to this warrior monk named Musashibou Benkei. Benkei, throughout fiction and history, was said to be this huge ogre of a man. Even his nickname as a child was apparently “Oniwaka” or demon/ogre child. He was famous for being a very powerful warrior.
At some point later in Benkei’s life, after he’d gotten booted from the monastery and started making a name for himself, he started hanging around this bridge in Kyoto called Gojou Bridge. He would challenge passing samurai to duels, but naturally defeated every one of them. Each time, Benkei took their sword as a prize and he ended up with 999 swords in this way. And then the 1000th person to come by the bridge was the young Minamoto no Yoshitsune, then known as Ushiwakamaru (his childhood name). Imanotsuguri (the short tantou) was Yoshitsune’s sword.
Just imagine this scene: two warriors on a moonlit bridge at night, one huge and strong and the other lithe and small. And yet Yoshitsune came out on top. Impressed, Benkei swore absolute loyalty to Yoshitsune and accompanied him for the rest of their days.
Sadly, the rest of their days ended up not being very long. Yoshitsune, despite his military prowess, just got caught in a bad situation politically. Perhaps he was doomed from the start–a youngest son who began to outshine his older brother. He’s famous as a tragic figure because of his untimely demise despite his brightness and strength. Cornered during the Battle of Koromo River, Yoshitsune decided to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) to die with honor. Of course, the sword he used to commit seppuku was Imanotsurugi.
Benkei stood–with his trusty naginata Iwatooshi in hand–to protect his lord from the pursuing forces by positioning himself on a bridge between the enemy and Yoshitsune. The opposing army was so afraid of Benkei that they didn’t dare fight him head on. Some came at him anyway, but were quickly dispatched and ultimately Benkei died after they riddled him with arrows. It still took him a long time to die, however, and it’s said that he died standing up and for some time the opposition didn’t even realize he was dead. His loyalty was so strong that even in death it would not waver. In the end, Benkei served Yoshitsune in the ultimate way: he gave Yoshitsune the time and space to commit seppuku successfully and so defended his lord to the death. If Yoshitsune is famous as a tragic figure, Benkei is famous as a symbol of absolute loyalty.
Artists always draw these two swords by bridges because their fates are linked to bridges, to arrows, and to loyalty.
All credit to Lorelei for writing this story, I simply copied all the text over. Her blog can be found in the link above