Ushiyama Tatsuma (牛山辰馬, Ushiyama Tatsuma), also known as Ushiyama the Undefeated, is one of the Abashiri Convicts.
Ushiyama is a hulking Japanese man with a thick handlebar mustache and hair slicked on the back of the hair. He has a square bump on his forefront because of his thick skull. Ushiyama is incredibly muscled because of his daily training. His torso and back are covered in Noppera-Bou's map.
Ushiyama usually wears a two pieces suit to blend in.
Ushiyama is a pragmatic and serious criminal. Aiming to steal the Ainu gold, Ushiyama is focused on his mission and always threads with prudence, regularly offering reasonable advice to Hijikata.
He is also a womanizer. Ushiyama lusts after any beautiful woman he comes across and is very direct when he solicits sex. It is his main way of distracting himself. He claims that in a relationship, a man's penis is the most important factor, but says that it has to be "gentlemanly".
As a judoka, Ushiyama relishes fights and challenges. When he met Sugimoto, he was impressed favorably by his strength and befriended him. He likes to fight and had a great time clashing with Sugimoto, being disappointed when it was interrupted. Ushiyama is confident in his fighting prowess to the point he will challenge a (weakened) bear in combat and even briefly taunts it about spreading his legend among bears when he forces it to flee.
Ushiyama practiced Judo for ten years and during that time, went unbeaten. One day, he lusted after his master's wife and slept with her. When his master found out, he was enraged and gathered ten other students to beat him, but none of them were a match for Ushiyama. He killed his own master and left the other ten students with various broken limbs including one who had his skull caved in and became bedridden for the rest of his life. As a result, Ushiyama was sent to the Abashiri Prison.
(From chapter 70 onwards)
In a cabin that Hijikita's group is staying at, Ushiyama is feeding Ienaga to help her recover from her wounds. He starts off a conversation by listing the tattooed skins that they have in their possession, and listens as the other men talks about Noppera-Bou and his motives. After hearing Hijikata's opinion on Noppera-Bou, Ushiyama states that it sounded like he never trusted the other man, and wonders if Noppera-Bou may have allies outside. (70)
Ushiyama and Ogata made their way to Yubari, but gets split up at some point. He spots Sugimoto and Shiraishi riding in a mine cart and follows them to the Yubari mines. After the dynamites in the mines explode and the mine get barricaded with wooden planks, he breaks through them and finds the two who had been suffocating from lack of oxygen in the air. He carries the both of them outside where he spots and recognizes Asirpa.
As Sugimoto and Shiraishi drinks some clean water, Sugimoto asks him why he is in Yubari. Ushiyama replied that he came to Yubari with Ogata who had wandered off and that he was looking for him. Just then, Ogata emerged from the mines and offered to take Sugimoto's group along to explain the situation. They make their way to the Edogai store, where Ogata revealed the bodies of the men who had been skinned to make fake tattoos. Upon seeing this, Ushiyama expressed disgust. Ogata asks him if he had called Hijikata to which he replied that he should be here soon. Hijikata approaches them, carrying a cat and a tattooed skin, saying that they must find a way to discern whether the skin is real or not.
Ushiyama silently stands by as Hijikata and Sugimoto talk to each other about Noppera-Bou and remained quiet even as tensions begin to flare between both parties. When Sugimoto says that they needed to meet Noppera-Bou in order to confirm something, he asks if he really wanted to see him. The mood is broken by Asirpa's stomach loudly grumbling and Ienaga suggests that they should eat. When Hijikata expresses concerns about how to distinguish the fake skins from the real ones, Ienaga says that she may know someone who could help them, a counterfeit artist named Chouan Kumagishi. Ushiyama comments that it's better than nothing and asks where they can go to meet him. She says that he is currently being held at Kabato Prison in Tsukigata. Some time later, Ushiyama heads out with Sugimoto and Asirpa in order to confirm Sergeant Tsukishima's status.
They return to the store to find it burning but they were able to find Ienaga trapped inside and Ushiyama breaks the bars off of the windows to rescue her. Once Hijikata, Ogata, and Sugimoto were able to leave the store, the group as a whole heads back into the town of Yubari and they agree to split up to remain inconspicuous. However, Ushiyama is surprised that he is being ordered along with Ogata to travel with Asirpa and Sugimoto to Tsukigata while Hijikata and Ienaga meets up with Nagakura and Shiraishi.
They take an off route path through a forest in order to avoid being spotted anyone that could alert their position to the 7th Division. Asirpa spots some woodcocks and sets up some traps to catch them, but the next day they are only able to catch two and Ushiyama says that she is in a bad mood as she violently plucks their feathers. Just then, Ogata approaches them and drops three birds that he had shot down. Ushiyama notes that he had left early in the morning and praises his skills but is annoyed by Ogata's arrogance. When Asirpa prepares some woodcock brains for them to eat, Ushiyama is visibly nervous about it and hesitates to eat it. Afterwards, he cuts up some citatap while following Asirpa's guidance and they eat some ohaw which he says tastes great. Asirpa tells them about an Ainu religious love poem to which Ushiyama and Sugimoto are deeply moved by.
They spent at least one night sleeping in the forest and makes their way to an Ainu kotan. Upon arriving at the kotan, they are greeted by an Ainu man who asks them if they have business here. Ushiyama tells him that they just need food and a place to sleep at and that they will compensate him for his hospitality. He sees a cage behind them, asking about it and Sugimoto turns around to see that the bear is too big to fit in the cage.
The man introduces himself as Ekurok and says that his "father" Retanno Ekasi is the leader of their village and that they should ask him for permission to stay. Upon arriving at his house, another Ainu man came out and immediately went back inside, which Ushiyama noted. Sugimoto tells them that they must clean the house and they wait outside for some time. The man comes back out and leads them inside, holding hands. As Retanno Ekasi is greeting them, Asirpa interrupts him which caught everyone by surprise. When Ekurok begins to introduce the rest of his "family", they are interrupted by Asirpa again who has to use the bathroom. Once Asirpa and Ekurok's Brother left the house, Ogata asks them what Asirpa's word meant, but the two Ainu men just remained silent with a grim look on their faces.
Ushiyama stayed quiet as his partners Sugimoto and Ogata began to argue about whether the men were Ainu or not. Suddenly an Ainu woman came to the window and yelled something before being carried away by another man, and Ushiyama asked what she said. Ekurok attempted to lie to them before being interrupted by Monoa. Fed up with Ogata's constant suspicions, Sugimoto takes out a kisarri that he found and hands it to Ushiyama. He stares at it nervously for a moment before putting on an awkward demonstration.
Sugimoto takes the kisarri from him and gives it to Retanno Ekasi who also does an awkward dance which ends with Ogata taking the stick from him and hitting his pinky toe with it. This causes him to scream in Japanese, which alarms Ushiyama who asks if he could speak Japanese. The ruse finally ends when Ekurok's Brother returned and lied about Asirpa's status, leading Sugimoto to hit him with the kisarri. Ekurok's Brother falls down, revealing the tattoo on his legs which Ushiyama points out. Finally realizing the truth, Sugimoto lets out an angry yell.
Sugimoto kills Ekurok's Brother with the kisarri and Ogata injures Ekurok who was attempting to reach for Sugimoto's rifle. When a couple of the convicts open the window to shoot at them, Ushiyama grabs Ekurok and throws him at them, causing them to fall over. He follows Sugimoto out of the house with a pistol in hand when he is assaulted by another convict. By flexing his muscles, he was able to protect himself and grabs the convict to throw him backwards into the bear cage. As a result, the hungry bear became free as Ushiyama curses, knowing what will happen next.
As Ushiyama emerges from the aftermath of the fighting, he hears a scream from nearby. He sees that the bear has attacked Retanno Ekasi, tearing off his his clothes to reveal tattoos on his back. Realizing that the man is one of the Abashiri Convicts, Ushiyama goes to confront the bear in order to protect the tattoo's visibility. The bear stands up and attacks Ushiyama who manages to blocks its paws and throws it down the hill. When the bear chose to go back into nature instead of fighting Ushiyama, he says to go and tell the other bears about the legend of Ushiyama.
Once the fighting had ceased, Sugimoto's Group helps the Ainu women bury the dead convicts and the women expresses their thanks by offering them food made with the year's harvest of turep. They help the women prepare the food and they enjoy it together. Afterwards, they deliberate on what to do with Kiyohiro Suzukawa with Ogata wanting to kill and skin him but Sugimoto decides to take him along since they were in a hurry. Meanwhile, the Ainu women wishes for Ushiyama to stay and help repopulate the village since he took down a bear and they want strong children as well. Ushiyama gets horny and also wants to stay but had to be carried away by Sugimoto and Suzukawa as the group as a whole said their farewells to the kotan.
They make their way back to Tsukigata where they meet up with Nagakura at the inn. Nagakura says that he has two pieces of bad news, the first of which is that Kumagishi is dead and the group is surprised that he already knew. When Asirpa asked what the other bad news is, Nagakura tells them that Shiraishi has been captured by the 7th Division.
Once Hijikata and Kiroranke returned from their mission and informed the rest of them that they had failed to rescue Shiraishi, everyone thought about what to do, with Ushiyama telling Ogata to check out Asahikawa since he belonged to the 7th Division. However, Ogata reminds him that the 7th Division has considered him a deserter. After some more thinking, they decide to leave Shiraishi to his fate since they already have a copy of his tattoo. However, Sugimoto refuses and says that he wants to save Shiraishi and pulls over Suzukawa, saying that they could use his skills as a con artist.
When Hijikata finds a certain object in a hidden room at Abashiri Prison that had once belonged to a man named Shinzou Doi, he shows it to Ushiyama and Nagakura, saying that Doi had been caught in Kushiro and that they should head to Kushiro to find him.
Hijikata's group arrives in Kushiro where Ushiyama is more than happy to help the women carry their baskets as they admire his strength. Ushiyama notices an Ainu man nearby and calls out to him, asking if he knew of any place to stay at. The Ainu man, Kirawus takes them to a hut where he prepares some shishamo smelt for them and Ushiyama praises his skills as he eats the food. When they finally get a lead on Doi's whereabouts, Nagakura tells Ushiyama to be on his guard, but Ushiyama is confused since Doi is a feeble old man that is even older than both Hijikata and Nagakura. Hijikata tells him that Doi is a fake name and that he was once a hired killer of the Bakumatsu Period known as Youichirou the Manslayer.
Kirawus takes Hijikata's group to an Ainu kotan in Nemuro where Youichirou had once lived. Ushiyama learns about Youichirou's past from Kirawus translating for the village chief who knew the former assassin. When they finally find Youichirou in a restuarant and Hijikata ends up in a shoot out with some hitmen who were after Youichirou's life, Ushiyama manages to knock over several of them long enough for Hijikata to kill them.
Afterwards, as Youichirou fled the restaurant, Ushiyama compliments Youichirou's strength and asks if they should convince him to join them but is turned down by Hijikata. Ushiyama, along with Nagakura and Kirawus were able to find Hijikata who had left to confront Youichirou, on the outskirts of Nemuro where they see that Youichirou had already died moments earlier from their duel.
Ushiyama and Hijikata decides to look for Waichirou Sekiya in the Lake Akan area but Ushiyama decides to meet a prostitute instead. The prostitute gives Ushiyama a drink which contains some pufferfish and datura plant poison that left his mind muddled and his body unable to move. Paralyzed, Ushiyama is buried in a casket by Sekiya who then leaves to deal with Hijikata. However, Ushiyama is able to regain control of his body and breaks out from the casket.
As Ushiyama wanders around, his mind still muddled by the metel, he comes across a young boy who had been bullied and tied up to a tree. The boy asks Ushiyama to help him down but Ushiyama turns to leave as his stomach starts to growl. The boy then give him some dried peaches and in return, Ushiyama breaks the branch that the boy had been tied to. Back on the ground, the boy thanks Ushiyama and introduces himself as Chiyotarou, and mistakenly thinks Ushiyama's name is "Obencho". Chiyotarou offers to give him some more dried peaches in exchange for him becoming his henchman.
Chiyotarou has Ushiyama hide out in an empty tree since he cannot take his new friend home but brings some more food for him to eat and decides to take him ice skating. Despite being under the effect of the metel poison, Ushiyama is able to quickly learn how to ice skate. Just then, some of the older children approaches them and threatens to force feed Chiyotarou some marimo, to which he introduces his henchman Ushiyama.
As one of the kids begins to throw a marimo, Ushiyama violently knocks him down, much to Chiyotarou's horror. Ushiyama continues to attack the bulllies, and Chiyotarou attempts to get Ushiyama to calm down, managing to do so by offering him some dried peaches. The bullies begins to run away and as Ushiyama eats the dried peaches, Chiyotarou wonders what to do with Ushiyama.
Chiyotarou takes out a dried peach and calls out to Ushiyama to hurry up and get it before he throws it away. The boy then throws it into a nearby hot spring spot but Ushiyama is able to perform a jump spin and catch it mid-air before falling into the lake itself. As he attempts to resurface, he hits his head on the frozen ice before emerging from another spot near to where Kadokura is chasing Sekiya. With the effect of the Datura metel having worn off, Ushiyama regains his senses and sees Sekiya skating towards him, however he is stuck in the ice to be able to confront him.
As Kadokura pulls Ushiyama out of the ice, he asks him where Sekiya had been keeping him since Hijikata may be there as well. Ushiyama says that he cannot remember, however, he is able to recall drinking something that a prostitute had given him, believing that Sekiya must've paid her to do so. Ushiyama then picks up his coat as a cocoon slips out of its pocket. The cocoon is able to give Kadokura and Kirawus a clue as to Hijikata's whereabouts as Ushiyama shivers from the cold. Ushiyama decides to returns to the nearby town, still shuddering from the cold.
Expert judoka, great physical strength.
Ushiyama likes peaches and beer.