Tsurugi Higashikata (東方 つるぎ Higashikata Tsurugi) is a primary ally featured in the eighth part of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series, JoJolion. Tsurugi cooperates with different factions during the course of the story.
He is the child of Jobin and Mitsuba Higashikata, and the youngest member of the Higashikata family. Raised as a girl, Tsurugi's fear of the Rock Disease drives him to cooperate with Josuke Higashikata and Yasuho Hirose to find a possible cure. Tsurugi is a Stand User whose Paper Moon King allows him to transform objects into origami which can manipulate his opponents' sensory abilities with illusions.
Tsurugi is a short chubby child with a slightly muscular build. He has dark neck-length hair styled in a bob cut. Since the firstborn child of each generation of the Higashikata family has to be raised as a girl in an attempt to ward off the Rock Disease, Tsurugi crossdresses by wearing a sleeveless polka dot dress and a pair of flats. The bottom of his dress has a horizontal pattern of large origami samurai hats all around it as well as frills below that. The front of his shoes also have origami samurai hats and on top of his head in the middle of his parted bangs is a large origami frog.
On Tsurugi's right shoulder is a tattoo with the kanji for life (命 inochi) and on his left shoulder a tattoo with the kanji for princess (姫 hime).
In his first appearance, he also wore a scarf and sunglasses.
Tsurugi's personality is a strange mix of typical childishness and precocious sinisterness.
Tsurugi is introduced as a playful yet creepy kid. During his introductory arc, he plays a mean prank on both Yasuho and Josuke by making them unable to differentiate between people through his power Paper Moon King. He eventually apologizes to Yasuho for the distress he's caused to her. Other similar traits are his quick friendship with the dog Iwasuke and his love of making puns. Tsurugi is also quite libidinous and he shows a disturbing attraction toward Yasuho, frequently improperly fondling or licking her. That said, Tsurugi also sees her as a valuable ally, if not a friend. As the time of the Locacaca harvest approached, he tried to tell her to go away for her own safety, knowing that his father would kill any tresspassers.
However, he also shows a measure of threat. For instance he didn't hesitate to deliver Josuke to Yotsuyu Yagiyama to be killed, stating that Josuke's life was a sacrifice to save himself. When he was chased by Aisho, Tsurugi didn't hesitate to trick his foe into confusing a bus with his father, killing him. It is also shown that Tsurugi is somewhat of a black sheep in school, being the target of bullies and having no shown friends thus far.
Due to his lonely and isolated upbringing, Tsurugi can be quite introspective, often thinking about the ways his impending disease makes him different from other kids, as well as about the general nature of his family's curse. He is also a surprisingly good judge of character for his age. For example, he fully admits that his father Jobin's manchild tendencies and obsessions with hobbies make him easy to manipulate, and accurately calls Yasuho out on slightly projecting her own self-esteem issues onto Josuke. As it seems, Tsurugi realises that his level of maturity is fairly unusual, which can sometimes get to his head, as he acts very dismissive and bossy when trying to help Yasuho consciously summon her Stand for the first time, and disrespectfully deflects his mother Mitsuba's questions about hiding something important by implying that she too is keeping many secrets from the family.
Tsurugi demonstrates a very deep-seated fear of dying from the Rock Disease and his will to survive this illness drives most of his actions during the story. As such he is quick to switch sides to whoever may grant him the best chances of finding a cure, even when it's to the detriment of his closest family members, such as becoming an unwitting pawn for Yotsuyu Yagiyama when promised with the Locacaca, then allying with Josuke and Yasuho to find it and then siding with his father to get hold of the fruit. Tsurugi is attached to his parents and his grandfather Norisuke the most but is more indifferent towards the other members of the Higashikata Family.
As a child, Tsurugi is quite prone to bouts of panic and nervousness in front of incoming danger, his Stand lacking offensive ability and being of little help in such occasions.
- Main article: Paper Moon King
Tsurugi's Stand is Paper Moon King, enabling him to give a degree of life to origami of his creation. These origami display different capabilities depending on the type of animal or object they are shaped into, similar to Tubular Bells. After they touch his target, the target is subjected to the illusion that all people and/or symbols and text appear the same. He can also subject the illusion that an object is something else, used during the fight 'Doobie Wah!' where Tsurugi used his stand to trick Aisho Dainenjiyama and give the illusion that the buses were Jobin Higashikata.
Tsurugi is born from the union between Jobin Higashikata and Mitsuba. As Jobin's eldest son, Tsurugi has been fated to be struck by the Rock Disease and was raised as a girl all his life. He appears to fit in quite well in the Higashikata family. He was present during the family photo and was introduced by Norisuke Higashikata IV.
Aware of his family's curse, Tsurugi is worried by his eventual fate. Soon before his introduction, Tsurugi meets the architect Yotsuyu Yagiyama, who shows him a possible cure in the form of an unknown food. Yotsuyu then persuades Tsurugi to help him kill Josuke in exchange for the cure.
Prank on Yasuho
- Main article: Paper Moon Deception
Tsurugi comes to the forefront when Yasuho encounters him after being taken to the Higashikata family's underground storeroom. After attempting to play with her and having taken her phone, she discovers that Tsurugi is male after some struggle, at which point he reveals that his family's first born always cross-dresses in order to ward off the "curse" that strikes them at age 11 where their bodies stiffen and turn to stone, similar to what happened to Rina Higashikata. Daunted, Yasuho leaves the storeroom, though not before Tsurugi activates his Stand ability on her after having touched her phone, which he transformed into an origami frog.
Tsurugi continues his prank by also affecting Josuke but eventually cancels it and apologizes to Yasuho, leaving her to rest in the bunker.
Josuke later spots him bringing food to the bunker and follows him.
When Josuke and Norisuke are attacked by Yotsuyu Yagiyama's I Am a Rock, Tsurugi begs his grandfather to leave Josuke for dead, as he is cooperating with Yotsuyu. Tsurugi eventually tells them that he is afraid of the Rock Disease which will affect him, and that Yotsuyu showed him a cure in the form of a mysterious fruit, testing it on a dog.
After Yotsuyu is defeated and killed, Josuke confirms the existence of the fruit and Tsurugi adopts the dog Yotsuyu fed the fruit to, naming it Iwasuke.
Cooperation with Josuke and Yasuho
- Main article: Every Day Is a Summer Vacation (story arc)
- Main article: Doobie Wah (story arc)
While Tsurugi is playing with his new dog, Josuke approaches him to enlist his help in interrogating Jobin, Tsurugi's father. Initially reluctant to go against a family member, Tsurugi is eventually swayed to Josuke's side by urgency and reveals to him that his father is obsessed with stag beetles, which will allow Josuke to uncover a weakness. While Josuke confronts Jobin, Tsurugi goes to Yasuho's house and asks her to help with her new Stand Paisley Park.
After Josuke wins Jobin's Lamborghini in a beetle fight and gives the key to Tsurugi, he and Yasuho secretly investigate the Lamborghini in order to discover Jobin's previous whereabouts. Paisley Park subsequently discovers that Jobin exchanged the fruit with a certain Aisho Dainenjiyama.
Yasuho proceeds to investigate Aisho. Observing the place where Jobin met the man from a rooftop, Yasuho and Tsurugi uncover a link between Aisho, who is a security guard at the stadium, and Yotsuyu, who oversaw the renovation of the stadium. They see Aisho at the same place heading to a nearby park and decide to tail him with Yasuho's phone folded into a frog. They witness a man who, after eating the fruit, regrows his missing legs while his eyes shatter into stone. As the phone is sent investigating the remains of the fruit, it is spotted by Aisho who crushes it under his feet. Affected by the damage, Yasuho and Tsurugi are nearly killed, but Aisho stops his attack when he kicks the phone away and attempts to phone Yotsuyu. Startled by the lack of answer, Aisho attempts to crush the phone again, but is distracted by a banana peel Paisley Park placed under his feet, allowing Tsurugi to use his Paper Moon King. Aisho is unable to recognize the phone and it subsequently escapes.
Having checked Aisho's access card, Yasuho determines that the fruit comes from inside the stadium. As they both go down the stairs, they are assailed by Aisho's Stand Doobie Wah! hiding in a deadly wind vortex. Escaping the building by a window, they realize that Doobie Wah! is materializing via their breath, forcing them not to breathe as they try to flee. The two try to take a bus away from the enemy Stand but it still materialized out of their breath and attacks them. Yasuho and Tsurugi leave the bus near the Motoyagura train station, and Tsurugi releases a car origami. Soon after both meet a cornered Yasuho and Tsurugi. Recognizing Jobin's son, Aisho demands that Jobin allows him to kill him, but Jobin remains silent. The car origami Tsurugi released comes back to his hand, and Tsurugi explains that he made Aisho confuse any bus with his father. When the bus starts up, it runs over the confused Aisho who is killed and breaks down into dust.
The next day, Tsurugi and Yasuho meet with Josuke, but Tsurugi decides to leave the two alone. Although he is seen at Yasuho's home, Tsurugi lays low for a while
- Main article: Poor Tom and Ozon Baby (story arc)
Tsurugi decides to confronts his father Jobin about the latter's involvement with the Rock Humans. Before long, Tsurugi, Jobin and Iwasuke feel the attack of Ozon Baby, an enemy Stand Jobin has planted inside the family orchard. Trying to escape out of the shed they were in, Tsurugi meets Ozon Baby itself and bears the full brunt of its power, suffering a debilitating decompression sickness. He almost dies but Jobin manages to take him to safety and revive him.
Tsurugi later uses Paper Moon King to make Poor Tom see a pear-tree branch as the Locacaca branch. After Poor Tom is killed, Norisuke talks with Tsurugi about them losing the branch, but unbeknownst to Norisuke, Tsurugi had used Paper Moon King on him to disguise Jobin. It is then revealed that Jobin and Tsurugi had taken the Locacaca branch.
- Main article: JJL Chapter 87
- Main article: The Wonder of You (The Miracle of Your Love) (story arc)
Before the fruit can be harvested, Ojiro Sasame confronts Tsurugi and tells him that he knows about the Locacaca Organization and his father Jobin Higashikata's involvement in their operation. Threatening to denounce Jobin unless Tsurugi lets him meet the father, Ojiro also stealthily puts Tsurugi's hand under his control. Fleeing from Ojiro, Tsurugi inadvertently leaks the location of the Locacaca because he's forced to hold a phone and send photos and videos to Ojiro. Ojiro manages to place his mark on Jobin's hands, cornering him. Jobin is forced to relinquish the Locacaca but Tsurugi tricks Ojiro with Paper Moon King into thinking the glasses shards on the frame of a broken windows are bigger than they really are; Ojiro makes Jobin close the broken window on himself and Tsurugi, but the little shards only hurt a bit while Ojiro thinks that the Higashikata are dead. Ojiro does steal the Locacaca but is baited into taking bank notes charged with heat from Speed King and dies. Jobin subsequently retrieves the Locacaca and also kills Makorin.
Tsurugi's disease eventually sets in and half of his body is turned into an origami. Bedridden, Tsurugi is eventually contacted by Yasuho Hirose's Paisley Park, hiding in a mobile phone near him. He tells her to leave but can only witness Jobin taking the phone and tossing it into the toilets in an attempt to drown Yasuho alongside her Stand. His condition worsens by the minute and by the time Jobin attacks his father Norisuke, Tsurugi's body is almost taken over by the Rock Disease. The head doctor seemingly openly manifests himself and causes Jobin to succumb to a dramatic blood loss, letting the potted Locacaca roll towards the door to the garage.
Soon, Tooru infiltrates the Higashikata residence to retrieve the Locacaca plant from Yasuho. While unconscious, Tsurugi, along with his mother Mitsuba, Hato, and Daiya, are caught along Wonder of U's calamity as the plane door flying towards Yasuho lands inside the house. When Kaato arrives in the Higashikata household, she stores Tsurugi's body in between her cards and uses him to perform an equivalent exchange with Tooru. Kaato reveals that a branch of the Locacaca plant had been grafted and kept in between Space Trucking's cards. The sap of the branch drops on Tooru and Tsurugi, initiating the exchange, while Wonder of U attacks Kaato. The exchange is successful - Tooru completely disintegrates into the air and Tsurugi recovers, although Kaato is revealed to have been stabbed during when she crushed the branch due to Wonder of U's ability. With the curse broken, a recovered Tsurugi attends to Norisuke. He notes that Jobin ensured that his burns from Speed King were minor. Meanwhile, an ambulance arrives in the estate.
- “Okay, let's see... hair! Could you give me some? It's your turn now, Yasuho-san. This... *sniff sniff* just a little's fine... It smells nice... I'll take good care of it... so please.”
- “*sniff sniff* Personally I wouldn't mind being touched a bit more, but.... I think it's kind bad for a stranger to be touching a kid's body... even if you are a girl.”
- “The Higashikata Family has believed in charms against evil spirits for generations... when the first son is born, he is dressed as a girl until he is 12 years old to trick the demons that cause disease. That happened to my dad, and grandpa, and his grandpa too.”
- “The Higashikata Family's goal...? The prosperity of descendants. That is happiness.”
- “My ability is origami. My ability is that when my origami touches a person, that person loses the ability to tell faces and designs and things like that apart... I named my Stand ability Paper Moon King. It's made of origami. And the power of my heart and mind.”
- “Those fruits are power!! (あのフルーツは『パワー』だ！！Ano furūtsu wa "pawā" da!!)”
- “I don't know what Aisho and my dad are doing, but I swear I'll get my hands on that fruit!”
- “This Stand... we have to find the main body again and attack him!! We need to beat him and move forward!”
- “Now I've won! Paper Moon. It's a forbidden move, but it was kill or be killed... Once he's lit up by the light... I'll move forward into it! Paper Moon's origami made you interpret the appearance of evey bus in this town the same way. I made the bus look like my dad.”
- “The land is the curse... and it's the place I was born. The location you're born and the name you're given are not things you can choose. But I was born here.”
- “Stand abilities. They are a reflection of the shape and state of one's heart. It is the power of the heart that controls it. And they are normally kept deep within the heart. Like hiding the underwear you have on, even if you know about them, their existence never appears on the surface. They are implicit and are never brought up in conversation. Even among families that live together. Even in front of those you love. But occasionally, there are changes in the heart. The heart, along with a Stand ability, feels things like fatigue and age as time goes on. Sometimes, when once accidentally steps in the wrong place, something that one had meant to keep shut deep inside them will boil over like lave from a volcano. A Stand is a form of energy. When that happens, no matter how desperately you try to stop it, you won't be able to. You won't be able to control it until it stops at its destination.”
- “11 years old... when I'm that age, will I be happier or less happy than other kids...? Or maybe about the same amount? What do you need to be happy?”
- “Mommy... please, don't cry or worry about me. It's okay. We'll always have enemies out there somewhere, but... we'll always win. The Higashikata Family always wins.”
Tsurugi appears in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven as a stage gimmick on the Higashikata House stage. He opens up the underground storeroom occasionally, which allows a single player to restore some of their health.
- Tsurugi's name possibly refers to the 'Sword' suit in playing cards, which is sometimes used instead of the 'Spades' or 'Pikes'. This continues the naming convention of the Higashikata family, in which the female members are named after playing card suits. Tsurugi, despite being male, was raised as a female, and as such is named using the tradition. As well as this, him being named after 'Sword' instead of 'Spade' may be in reference to him not fitting the tradition properly, with him being male; as such, his name doesn't follow the French suits as the others do.
- Tsurugi's age is notably inconsistent, changing three times during the run of JoJolion. He initially appears as a two-year old in the Ultra Jump release of JJL Chapter 7, but was corrected to nine years old in the volume release. By the Wonder Of You arc, he has turned 10, leading to the onset of the Rock Disease. However, in Chapter 107, Jobin states in a flashback that Tsurugi is now 11, despite the scene occurring at some point prior to the Wonder of You arc.