On this date in 1594, legendary Japanese outlaw and folk hero Ishikawa Goemon was boiled to death in oil for attempting to assassinate Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
And he’s supposed to have had his son thrown into the kettle* with him, and, boiling to death himself, to have held the boy aloft out of harm’s way.
Ishikawa is a sort of Japanese Robin Hood figure, and the (very much) that isn’t offered by the documentary record is helpfully expanded in folklore.
Trained in forbidden ninja ways? Check.
Or maybe a samurai? Why not?
Henchman named “rat boy”? Oh, yes.
Just what his beef with national unifier Toyotomi Hideyoshi might have been is also subject to the exigencies of the story at hand. Let it be oppression or something, good enough for one of those classic outlaw-with-a-heart-of-gold retorts against condemnation for his thieving career.
It is you who are the robber who stole the whole country!
He gets to be the title character of the 2009 film Goemon:
Thanks to the inevitable marketing tie-ins, the world also has a Goemon action figure.
Personally, and especially because I would lose all these nifty accessories, I much prefer the adorable Goemon Cosbaby series.
* As a result of this famous exit, a Goeomon-buro (Goemon bath) in Japanese refers to a large iron kettle-shaped bathtub.