Arai Iori is the infant son of Arai Seikū and Azusa and grandson of Arai Shakkū.

Living peacefully on the outskirts of Kyoto with his family, Iori was a happy and friendly child who knew nothing of suffering and seemed to enjoy the presence of everyone he met, often immediately identifying them by some physical or personality trait they displayed. When Himura Kenshin, Okina and Makimachi Misao arrive at his father's shop requesting one of his grandfather's swords, Iori takes quickly to Kenshin, nicknaming the rurouni "Gojaru" (after the "de gozaru yo" suffix which Kenshin uses constantly in his speech). The next day, however, Iori makes the acquaintance of Sawagejō Chō (whom he nicknames "broom" for the man's tall shock of light-colored hair), who threatens the baby's life in an attempt to acquire the last of Arai Shakkū's swords from Seikū and Azusa. At first, Iori is thrilled by the attention, but he quickly reads his parents' expressions and discerns that something is wrong as Chō whisks him away to Hakusan Shrine, where Azusa has revealed that the sword is located. Crying all the way to the shrine, Iori brightens when he sees "Gojaru" waiting there for him. While the two swordsmen do battle, Iori watches gleefully from up a tree--where Chō has placed him for safekeeping--and cheers on Kenshin until his own parents arrive on the scene. After Kenshin defeats Chō, Iori is returned to his parents, seemingly unharmed by his adventure.

Development & ReceptionEdit

  • Watsuki states that his intent with Iori was to represent the peaceful new era of Meiji; indeed, during his fight with Chō, Kenshin refers to the infant as a child who knows nothing of battles and bloodshed and, therefore, is a very important symbol of hope for the new age. As for his design, Watsuki says that Iori was influenced by a certain "fairly famous women's manga involving babies" and that he ended up being very "popular with female readers because he's so cute--especially during the sling-part, where he was hung up on the tree by Chō."
  • Iori appears during the Kyoto arc of the anime, but also in the Shin Kyoto Hen OVA. However, between the two media, his appearance is changed; he is given a slightly older appearance and a different hair color/style in the OVA than he'd had in the anime series.


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