Ukyo Tachibana (橘 右京, Tachibana Ukyō) is a character introduced in Samurai Shodown who continues to appear in most titles of the series.
He is originally based on the famed swordsman, Sasaki Kojirō, one of Miyamoto Musashi's most famous rivals. Parallel to their historical counterparts, Ukyo was Haohmaru's rival in the first game but this idea is dropped upon Genjuro's introduction in Samurai Shodown II. He later took inspiration from anime character Goemon Ishikawa the 13th, from the Lupin the III series.
In Gamest's 1997 Heroes Collection, Ukyo was tied with Haohmaru for 29th (out of 50) the staff's favorite characters. He was also a highly fan requested character for Neo Geo Battle Coliseum. Developers, however, decided to not place him in as Haohmaru already had his rival, Genjuro, present.
Ukyo is an expert iaijutsu swordsman with a body stricken with tuberculosis. Despite having several women chasing for his affections, he treasures only his lone confidante, Kei Odagiri. He avoids developing further feelings for her due to his limited lifespan and her noble status, but continues to fight for her as a show of love for her. In Samurai Shodown, he hears news that the ultimate flower resides in Makai and decides to present it to Kei in gratitude. In Samurai Shodown II, it's revealed that Ukyo successfully obtains the flower but then realizes it was not the "ultimate blossom" he sought. Having heard of this "ultimate blossom" from an ancient scholar of Musashi-no-Kuni, he once again sets out for the Demon World to find this bud that blossoms at the heart of Hades.
In Samurai Shodown III, Ukyo decides to visit his old training dojo that teaches Shinmusou Ittou Ryu. Upon entering the dojo he finds a sea of blood and the remains of disciples scattered about the floor. His barely breathing master tells him of "The Demon" and dies shortly after. Ukyo vows revenge and looks for the demon. He continues to fight for Kei throughout the series until she marries another man.
Beginning in Samurai Shodown 64-2, Ukyo moves on to another woman named Saki who also suffers from the same disease. In his ending, he finds a cure for both of their illnesses but chooses to give it to Saki rather than take it for himself. He dies shortly after.
Like Genjuro, his death is believed to be retconned in the newer sequel. In this game, he hears that Kei's husband had taken part in an off-the-record inspection of an American ship. However, the shogunate lost contact with the party, causing Kei to become very worried. Since he knew of the mysterious foreign ship, Ukyo decided to ensure Kei's husband's safety and alleviate her stress. In his ending, he succeeds in his goals. After seeing Kei's thankful smile, Ukyo leaves and laments the longevity of his life.
He is the embodiment of a Japanese gentleman of the 1700s. As an archaic show of romanticism, he often composes haiku to best describe his thoughts during and after fights to avoid sounding brash. His poetry, however, is often omitted in most of the English translations, save for his ending in Samurai Shodown IV and Samurai Shodown 64.
- Quick Draw - Ukyo can draw and sheath his sword at quicker rate than other characters.
- Multiple Attacks - Ukyo can deliver several slashes at once.
- Fire Projectile - Ukyo has the ability to project a fiery image of a swallow.
- Reflector - Ukyo can reflect a projectile back to its sender.
- Energy Attacks - Ukyo can fuel his sword with ki energy.
- Afterimage - Ukyo can give off afterimages of himself via illusions.
Ukyo is relatively defensive, relying on his quick sword strikes to punish his opponents' mistakes. Much of it focuses on quick draws of both battōjutsu and iaijutsu; in older games, Ukyo's stance was rather unique since it faced towards the background, while in later games it has been developed more into being akin to a battōjutsu-styled stance; both examples were stances that had him somewhat facing away from his foe (most likely due to his tuberculosis) which was a unique thing at the time in fighting games.
One of his moves, Hiken: Tsubame Gaeshi (Secret Sword: Swallow Return), is a direct reference to his historical inspiration. Players may use this move whilst in the air to counter most aerial or ground assaults, but it is only airborne-based despite this. His version of the famed technique is also often written in either hiragana or katakana instead of kanji.
His unique move is the Hiken: Sasameyuki (Secret Sword: Small Snowflakes), a move where he tosses an apple out of many he eats (as a diversion) only to rapidly slice up his target as it falls down. The fake version makes him throw up the apple with no followup (which also follows a pun-styled prefix akin to Haohmaru's fake Senpuu Retsu Zan). He also tosses up an apple for one of his stronger techniques, the Tsubame Rokuren (Swallow Six Links). Other techniques are named via a mist/fog-motif.
He was perceived by some players to be overpowered in Samurai Shodown II, but he has been toned down since then. In VI, he also gains more iaijutsu techniques in his arsenal that are named after different breezes.
- Otoko Michi - Moon - Samurai Shodown
- Moon Flower - Samurai Shodown II
- River - Samurai Shodown III, IV
- Hazy Moon - Samurai Shodown (2019)
- Flower of The Moon - Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidou Retsuden
- Reverie - Samurai Shodown 64
- Eiji Yano - since his debut
- Kazutaka Ishii - Samurai Shodown VI
- Shinjiro Sakurai - Samurai Shodown (2019), The King of Fighters: All Star
- Sho Hayami - Samurai Shodown Dengeki drama CD series
- Samurai Shodown
- Samurai Shodown II
- Samurai Shodown III
- Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushidou Retsuden
- Samurai Shodown IV
- Samurai Shodown!
- Samurai Shodown 64
- Samurai Shodown! 2
- Samurai Shodown 64-2
- Samurai Shodown V
- Samurai Shodown V Special
- Samurai Shodown VI
- Samurai Shodown Sen
- Samurai Spirits ~Kengou Hachi-ban Shoubu~
- Samurai Shodown (2019)
- Days of Memories (third and ninth title) - unplayable
- King of Glory - Guest Character
- Kingdom Story
- Samurai Shodown Online
- KOF98 Ultimate Match Online
- Kimi wa Hero
- Samurai Shodown: Oborozuki Densetsu
- Samurai Shodown Tenkadaiichi Kenkakuden
- The King of Fighters: Destiny (Game)
- Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians
- SNK All Star
- Clash of Kings
- The King of Fighters: All Star
- SNK Fighting Age
- Puzzle & Dragons
- Maid by Iroha
- Samurai Spirits (pachinko)
- Samurai Spirits Gaiden: Cham Cham
- Samurai Spirits Oni
- Samurai Shodown: The Motion Picture (only appeared at the credits)
- High Score Girl: Extra Stage Episode 2
- During one of his victory poses, Ukyo is chased by a group of fangirls. In the first game, their names are Sanae (dressed in blue), En (white), Yuki (red). In the second game, their names are Sae (dressed in red), Yayoi (pink), Nene (green), and Ayame (purple). The three other girls in this game are unnamed. Developers later note that he is followed by several other young women, some as young as six years old.
- Although he could slice up other fruit, Ukyo chooses to use apples because he likes their taste and seem better when cut. The fruit is also believed to be beneficial for those stricken with tuberculosis.