Minobu Tetsuhara

Minobu Tetsuhara
Minobu Tetsuhara
Also known asThe Iron Man
Died27 May 3028[3][2]
AffiliationHouse Tetsuhara
ParentsMinoru Tetsuhara (father)[2]
SiblingsFuhito Tetsuhara[4]
Yoshi Tetsuhara
SpouseTomiko Tetsuhara
ChildrenIto Tetsuhara
Tomoe Tetsuhara
Kiyomasa Tetsuhara

Minobu Tetsuhara was a MechWarrior in service to the Draconis Combine. He was the first liaison officer to Wolf's Dragoons when they entered Kurita employ, and became a close friend of Jaime Wolf. He later commanded the Ryuken up until the climactic Battle of Misery, after which he took his own life.


Early life[edit]

Little is known about the early life of Minobu Tetsuhara. As the son of Minoru Tetsuhara, he was a descendant of a line of MechWarriors in service to the Draconis Combine. He was a graduate of the renowned Sun Zhang MechWarrior Academy. He seemed destined to serve out his career as a skilled but otherwise unremarkable warrior.[5]

Dromini VI[edit]

When Wolf's Dragoons, a mercenary unit under contract to the Lyran Commonwealth at the time, invaded the Combine world of Dromini VI in September 3021, Tetsuhara was the commanding officer of Reconnaissance Company Gold, Second Sword of Light regiment, and held the rank of Tai-i. Besides his own family 'Mech, Katana Kat, his command lance at the time included two other Panthers – one piloted by MechWarrior Jerry Akuma, the other by one MechWarrior Kemsai) – and an Ostscout, piloted by MechWarrior Gibbs. On September 14th, they encountered an enemy Archer during the fighting that had shut down from excess heat. Although it would have been easy prey, Tetsuhara, following his own interpretation of bushido, decided to spare the unknown enemy pilot despite protests from his subordinate Jerry Akuma that bordered on mutiny. Tetsuhara was unaware that the enemy whose life he had just spared was none other than the enemy commander, Jaime Wolf, himself.[6]

Overall, the defense of Dromini VI was a costly debacle for the Draconis Combine and the officers involved were shamed. Jerry Akuma in particular framed and bad-mouthed others including Tetsuhara and Gibbs.[7] For Minobu Tetsuhara, this meant being relieved of his command, and denied the right to pilot a BattleMech forthwith. Subsequently, his younger brother Fuhito Tetsuhara was trained on and eventually received Katana Kat, the family Panther.[8]

Dragoon liaison officer[edit]

Wolf's Dragoons entered the service of House Kurita in 3023 and Minobu Tetsuhara was assigned as their liaison officer, service with the Professional Soldiery Liaison being considered a shameful assignment in the DCMS; he still did not get to pilot a BattleMech. During this time he forged a fast friendship with Jaime Wolf, and learned of his identity as the Archer pilot on Dromini VI only after saving his life a second time (piloting a borrowed 'Mech at the time). Ironically, he rose to prominence thanks to the Dragoons, as he regained his sense of honor, both in his own eyes and the eyes of his superiors.[9]

By November 3024, Michi Noketsuna, then a Tai-i, was assigned to Tetsuhara as his aide. They would work together literally until Tetsuhara's death. The younger man came to regard Tetsuhara as his sensei, and they became friends.[10]

Warlord Grieg Samsonov, in whose district Wolf's Dragoons were assigned, tried to bring the mercenary unit under his personal command before long, but the mercenaries rebuffed the attempt with the help of Minobu Tetsuhara. This earned them the Warlord's wrath.[11]

Training the Ryuken[edit]

Coordinator Takashi Kurita was well impressed with the performance of Wolf's Dragoons. On December 16th, 3025, he decreed that the Dragoons should assist in the creation of the Ryuken ("Sword of the Dragon"), a Draconis Combine 'Mech unit trained in the fashion of the successful Dragoons instead of traditional DCMS doctrine. Minobu Tetsuhara was made the Ryuken commander and finally received a new 'Mech, a DRG-1N Dragon. In his stead, Jerry Akuma was installed as liaison officer to the Dragoons by Warlord Samsonov. Although the relationship between the Dragoons and the Draconis Combine was rapidly deteriorating due to the machinations of Akuma and his master, Warlord Samsonov, Tetsuhara continued his friendship with Jaime Wolf.[12]

Barlow's End Campaign[edit]

Within less than a year, a first Ryuken battalion was trained ready. As a trial-by-fire, they embarked on a campaign against Barlow's End together with Wolf's Dragoons and other units that began in September 3026. However, Draconis Combine intelligence had underestimated the defenders (which included the White Witches and, as it turned out, also the elite Eridani Light Horse mercenary commands) and the operation turned sour. Worse, Akuma used his position as liaison officer to purposefully hamper the mercenaries under his command to the best of his abilities, which in turn sapped their support from the Ryuken.

During the Barlow's End campaign Tetsuhara was severely injured in a hovercraft crash, secretly arranged by Jerry Akuma through sabotage,[13] and he was lifted from the contested world. Although he survived, he lost his left arm and leg which had to be replaced by prosthetics.[14][1] Michi Noketsuna would later hold one agent Panati responsible for planting the bomb that maimed Tetsuhara, and kill him as part of his vendetta.[15]

Commanding the Ryuken[edit]

After his recuperation, Tetsuhara was informed on December 1, 3026, that the Ryuken training cadre would be expanded into several independent regiments which were then to be stationed alongside the Dragoons on their garrison worlds. With great concern Tetsuhara learned that the supreme commander of this new Ryuken brigade was Warlord Samsonov himself, while Jerry Akuma was installed as commander of the Ryuken-ichi, the first regiment, on An Ting. In an apparent attempt to dishonor him, Minobu Tetsuhara merely received command of the Ryuken-ni, the second regiment, on Misery.[16]

Despite his best efforts to help Jaime Wolf and Wolf's Dragoons, Minobu Tetsuhara could not prevent the tensions between the Dragoons and their employer from being escalated by the vengeful Samsonov and his right-hand man Akuma. When it became clear in January 3028 that the situation was rapidly spinning out of control, Tetsuhara ordered his family to move from An Ting to the family estate on Awano. Only a day later the first shots were fired and the Ryuken were ordered into battle against their former teachers. The Dragoons held their ground and then retreated to the ice world of Misery. Jerry Akuma was killed in the fighting.[17]


See also: Battle of Misery

On February 1st, 3028, Warlord Grieg Samsonov promoted Minobu Tetsuhara to the rank of Tai-sho (General) and ordered him to destroy Wolf's Dragoons on Misery. To this end, Tetsuhara received command of all Ryuken regiments, augmented by several line regiments. Additional regiments under Samsonov's direct orders were supposedly stationed on DropShips hidden on the far side of the moon with orders to drop behind the enemy lines if and when Tetsuhara managed to draw the entire Dragoon force into battle. Samsonov disliked Tetsuhara with a vengeance and was fully aware that he pitted friend against friend and students against their former teachers.[18]

Torn between friendship and duty, Tetsuhara did his best to carry out his orders. When he noticed that the Dragoons concentrated their BattleMechs in one location on Misery but did not deploy conventional or aerospace units, he assumed that Jaime Wolf wanted a ritual 'Mech battle and felt compelled to comply. In fact, however, Jaime Wolf knew how to use the bushido code of honor against him so that the Dragoons could dictate the terms of the engagement.

Both armies set up camp far away from each other. It was not until midnight some days later that Wolf's Dragoons finally moved out. Tetsuhara's aide and friend Michi Noketsuna reported this to him and observed that the Dragoons were obviously moving out under the cover of the darkness. Tetsuhara could not help but note that there was perhaps another reason: It was just past midnight, and the formal contract between Wolf's Dragoons and the Draconis Combine had now run out - they were free agents.[19]

The two forces met at an ice field where, much to the surprise of the Kurita forces, the Dragoon MechWarriors began to challenge their counterparts to single combat one after another. After a while, a Kurita 'Mech that had just destroyed his Dragoon opponent was suddenly destroyed by renegade fire from the Dragoon lines. Enraged, the Kurita forces charged across the ice field while the Dragoons retreated. Tetsuhara could not stop his troops even when he realized the trap for what it was. Demolition charges broke up the ice and swallowed many Draconis Combine 'Mechs. The Dragoons then turned around to pick off their remaining pursuers who suddenly found themselves on breaking ground. Only the timely arrival of heavy reinforcements allowed the Kurita troops to withdraw.[20]

The losses from this first encounter already reduced the numerical superiority of Tetsuhara's forces on Misery. Worse, it quickly became apparent that Warlord Samsonov had betrayed Tetsuhara and his troops. Twice, Tetsuhara called in his reinforcements when he had the Dragoons ready to be crushed between hammer and anvil. Twice, the reinforcements failed to appear and Tetsuhara barely managed to disengage in good order. In the weeks of vicious fighting that followed, much of the best blood of both Wolf's Dragoons and House Kurita was spilled in the icy wastes of aptly named Misery. While both sides suffered from an equally high rate of attrition from the harsh climate, the Dragoons continually outmaneuvered the Kurita troops and rapidly wore them down. Tetsuhara did not know that the snowstorms only blinded his own units. The Dragoons had deployed recon satellites in orbit and by avoiding aerospace combat, had prevented Tetsuhara from noticing them.[21]

The fighting ended when the Draconis Combine command post was overrun. Both Minobu Tetsuhara and Michi Noketsuna were captured following the destruction of their 'Mechs. Tetsuhara had been running from the damaged communication truck to his own BattleMech when he had suddenly found himself standing before Jaime Wolf's blue-and-gold Archer. Wolf did not kill him, and the appearance of Kurita reinforcements led by Michi Noketsuna in his red Ostroc 'Mech drove the attackers away for the moment. With his command post destroyed, Tetsuhara mounted his 'Mech and tried to regroup his forces, who were hopelessly scattered in the snowstorm, but his makeshift command lance was soon brought to battle and destroyed by a Dragoon force led by Dechan Fraser.[22]

Death and afterward[edit]

In the aftermath of the Misery debacle, Tetsuhara saw no other way than to commit seppuku on May 27th, 3028, for having failed to carry out his orders to destroy the Dragoons. Jaime Wolf desperately tried to dissuade his friend, explaining how he had been betrayed by his own superiors. Tetsuhara remained adamant, however, and asked Wolf to fulfill a certain role in the ceremony. Only after Wolf had accepted this request he learned that his role would be to kill Tetsuhara before he could show a sign of pain. Although at first shocked, Wolf did as he was asked and shot Tetsuhara with a laser pistol at the conclusion of the ceremony as a last gesture of mutual respect and friendship, in the presence of all Dragoon regiment and battalion commanders who had assembled to show their respect.[23]

Michi Noketsuna sought revenge for his master and friend. The legacy of the Bounty Hunter was passed to him during this quest, and as the Bounty Hunter (together with Dechan Fraser) he finally presented the head of Grieg Samsonov to Minobu Tetsuhara's widow on January 10th, 3030. However, Tomiko Tetsuhara had retreated into a monastic refuge on Awano seeking peace, and revenge did nothing to ease her pain. She refused to accept the gift and told the men to present it to Minobu's father instead, who she said would appreciate the gesture. (He did not.)

Jaime Wolf later went so far as to declare war between Wolf's Dragoons and House Kurita over the events. On the eve of the wedding of Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner on Terra on August 27th, 3028, he publicly scorned Takashi Kurita in fluent Japanese for betraying and ruining a worthy and loyal underling and threw the ritual swords of the late Minobu Tetsuhara at his feet. By design or chance, this channeled the efforts of the irate House Kurita in a predictable fashion in the Fourth Succession War that Hanse Davion had scheduled to begin on that very day. However, the resentment of Jaime Wolf against the Kuritan state, and especially Takashi Kurita, endured for ten years more. Even during the Clan Invasion, when Hanse Davion, who had them under contract, ordered Wolf's Dragoons help defend the Draconis Combine of Luthien against the Clans, Jaime kept his vendetta alive.[24]

Only after Takashi committed seppuku in 3054, after a hard discussion with the new Coordinator, Theodore Kurita, reluctantly, Jaime agreed to end his personal war.

Marriage and children[edit]

With his wife Tomiko Tetsuhara, whom he married in 3012,[25] Minobu Tetsuhara had three children. The eldest and youngest were his sons Ito and Kiyomasa, while the middle child was his daughter Tomoe Tetsuhara. Like his father before him, Ito Tetsuhara was also accepted into the Sun Zhang Academy.

After her husband's death, Tomiko joined a nunnery on Awano, taking the name Anshin.[26]

Kiyomasa Tetsuhara and other children of the original Ryuken eventually joined Wolf's Dragoons in 3054, where they were instrumental during the Dragoon Civil War. At the IlClan Era, their descendants still formed part of the Dragoons.[27][28]

Philosophical and/or political views[edit]

Minobu Tetsuhara was a strong follower of the code of bushido and a dutiful samurai of House Kurita. He diligently carried out his orders and fulfilled his duty to the bitter end, even when pitted against his best friend.


Minobu Tetsuhara originally piloted the family's 'Mech Katana Kat, a Panther,[29] but he was denied the right to pilot a 'Mech following the events on Dromini VI and Katana Kat was passed on to his brother Fuhito Tetsuhara. The 'Mech would later serve in the 9th Sword of Light and the Dragon's Fury. It was still owned by the Tetsuhara members at the IlClan Era.[30]

When Tetsuhara was appointed liaison officer to Wolf's Dragoons he remained dispossessed, but the Dragoons provided him with a borrowed 'Mech (a Vindicator) in at least one instance.

As commander of the Ryuken-ni regiment he received a DRG-1N Dragon that he piloted through his last battle on Misery. The 'Mech was downed and presumably destroyed in that battle.


  • Wolf's Dragoons greatly respected Tetsuhara even after the events on Misery. When they later permanently settled on Outreach, they named their vast training area the "Tetsuhara Training Grounds" in his honor.
  • The Ryuken dubbed Tetsuhara "the Iron Man", which was not only a signal of respect for his strong character, but a play on words as well; tetsu means "iron" in Japanese. The Dragoons also used this nickname for him.
  • Author Robert N. Charrette said in an interview[31] that the character of Minobu Tetsuhara was inspired by the image of a black samurai in the House Kurita (The Draconis Combine) sourcebook. In the same interview, he said that Minobu Tetsuhara goes through a very specific step during his seppuku that is not elaborated on or explained in the novel (Wolves on the Border, chapter 56): When the wakizashi sword is brought wrapped in rice paper, a bit of the blade is left visible. That is done, Charrette explained, by someone committing seppuku when they feel that even seppuku will not sufficiently atone.

Portrait Gallery[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Historical Turning Points: Misery, p. 8
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 BattleTech: Legends, p. 42
  3. Wolves on the Border, p. 331
  4. BattleTech: Legends, p. 43
  5. Battletech Legends p.42
  6. Wolves on the Border Prologue
  7. Feather versus Mountain
  8. Wolves on the Border ch. 1
  9. Battletech Legends p.42
  10. Wolves on the Border ch. 14
  11. Wolves on the Border ch. 35
  12. Wolves on the Border ch. 35
  13. Wolves on the Border, p. 172
  14. Wolves on the Border, pp. 182, 229, 233
  15. Heir to the Dragon, ch. 39
  16. Wolves on the Border ch. 37
  17. Wolves on the Border ch. 47
  18. Wolves on the Border ch. 49
  19. Wolves on the Border ch. 50
  20. Wolves on the Border ch. 52
  21. Wolves on the Border ch. 55
  22. Wolves on the Border ch. 54
  23. Wolves on the Border ch. 56
  24. Wolves on the Border Epilogue
  25. Wolves on the Border, p. 230
  26. Heir to the Dragon, p. 215
  27. Wolf Pack
  28. Redemption Rites ch.2
  29. Technical Readout: 3039, p. 114
  30. Battletech Legends p.43
  31. Shown on the CharretteCollection Facebook site