Tenba - Son
|Manga Debut||Sai R. Blast Vol 1, ch. 06|
Tenjin--aka "Birdman"--is the caretaker of the buzzards, part of the Sky Burial tradition once held in his villages. Unlike most youkai, he managed to retain his sense of self and not succumb to Minus Wave. He valued the village's old tradition, "Chou-sou". For some time before the arrival of the Sanzo ikkou, the villager suspected that he was behind the disappearances of at least 10 local missing people.
Like most youkai, Tenjin has the trademark long elf-like ears and craw-like nails. He has a tall, muscular build and is always smiling. He wears a turban messily around his head, with his hair sticking out at odd ends from underneath. He also has a very unkempt appearance because of his stubble facial hair. While handling the birds outside, besides his turban, he wears a coat, scarf, pants and black gloves. When inside, he takes off his scarf and coat as well his gloves, seen wearing a polo and vest.
Tenjin once lived in the village at the bottom of the hill. The village use to be a peaceful community of Youkai and humans. Before the minus wave, Tenjin's wife die in child birth. His son was also born with a heart condition. He died and the villagers took his corpse to the Sky Burial sight and ripped it up for the birds to eat, as is tradition. Tenjin refused to stay in the village, he wanted to see for himself. He reached the site in time to see the birds picking the flesh off his son's bones.
"It was a beautiful sight. Tenba's soul returned to the great Mother Nature."
After this, he became rather obsessed with the Chou-sou tradition and took the job of care taking for the birds, moving up into the hills and becoming something of a hermit.
StoryHakkai elaborates of Chou-sou, “Return all life to mother nature”. Tenjin, ecstatic that Hakkai understand the tradition, invites the ikkou to come into his home and have some tea, but the ikkou explains that in they're in a hurry and decline.
Down in the village, when the villagers hear that Sanzo is a priest they ask hear his sutra. While Sanzo appears busy, the remaining members of the ikkou hear from the villagers that in the past few day several villagers have gone missing. From adults to children, there are at least 10 people missing. One of the villagers suspected that it was the “Birdman’s” doing. Although Tenjin hasn't harm anyone yet, knowing his presence is so closed by, the villagers can’t help to be anxious. Goku claims that Tenjin doesn't seem like the type who would do such thing. The villagers requested the Sanzo ikkou ask Tenjin to leave the mountain.
In Tenjin's home, Tenjin was surprised to hear the accusations and tells the ikkou that he has nothing to do with the kidnapping since he used to live in the village, so he's kind of in their debt. And besides all that, he's a vegetarian. Even though he speaks the truth, the villagers won't stop blaming him. Gojyo asked why he doesn't he just leave, since the birds doesn't need him anymore. Tenjin states that "Chou-sou" is a very valuable tradition, "Allowing lifeforms to return to nature and the acts of those who use up their lives, offer their bodies to feed others". He believes that peace will return to Shangri-la. As Sanzo asks if that's the only reason why he wants to stay, One of the birds, that was fondly named Tenba, steals Goku's plate. He has an injured wing and is staying inside Tenjin's home.
While Goku had gone to see Tenjin, Sanzo and the others had settled down to eat breakfast before heading out, surprised that Goku is missing a meal. A woman walks by and picks up a mitten that fell out of Gojyo's pocket. She asks were he got it. He says he found it on the hill (where the birds were), but as the woman looks it over more she states that it's the mitten that she made for her son who died from a disease six months ago. She was sure that she buried the mitten with her son in the cemetery on the outskirt of town. The villagers and the remaining Sanzo ikkou conduct their own little investigation and found that all the bodies buried in the cemetery over the last week have disappeared. There's no mistaking that Tenjin has something to do with this. Gojyo was the one sent to see if the "little Monkey" was still okay.Gojyo had cut into Tenjin with his Shakujo from behind. He grabbed Goku, unable to move on his own, and they left Tenjin. At the end of the chapter, Tenjin was last seen outside, lying on the ground and injured. He was smiling as he watched Tenba and the other birds swoop down towards him. He reached out his hands to the sky while watching the birds flying. He was happy that he would return to the earth.
Tenba - One of the younger birds that Tenjin looked after, and the closest to him, even allowing the bird to live inside his home. Tenba won’t approach anyone except for Tenjin, that is until the bird met Goku. Tenba's wings are injured so he couldn't fly. Because of the mutation, brought on by the sky burial ceremony, the birds could not find for themselves. Tenjin would bring Tenba a raw meat from domestic animals from time to time. Tenba was named after Tenjin's dead son.
- Sanzo states that "Tenjin" and "Tenba" both mean "Teaching of Buddha".