Higashidani Kamishimoemon is a farmer living the province of Shinshū. He and his wife, Naname, had three children--Sanosuke, Uki and Ota. After Sanosuke left to join the Sekihō Army during the bakumatsu and his wife died, he continued to raise his two remaining children. When the farm began failing, his family wove and sold straw gasa hats for monetary support. When a greedy ex-wrestler schemes to steal the Higashidani farmland, Kamishimoemon begins a lengthy resistance against long odds--odds that become tipped in his favor when his firstborn wanders into town.
- Higashidani Naname: They were married since they were teenagers and become parents to their first child at a young age.
- Sanosuke: He was his first child at a young age (22). Kamishimoemon was upset when Sano left and later joined the Sekihō Army, but was relieved when he returned nearly a decade later. Kamishimoemon came to respect Sano and his high level of skill as a fighter (which exceeded even his) and respected his decision to leave once again, although he offered him a place in the family once again.
- Uki: In her mother's place, Uki takes the burden of responsibility and duty towards her family, serving as her roguish father's disciplinarian and her little brother Ōta's caretaker. Kamishimoemon plays along with Uki's uptight nature because he is well aware how afraid she is to lose more family members after Naname's death and Sanosuke's disappearance.
- Ōta: The youngest son of the Higashidani family, Ōta is always taken care of by his older sister Uki. However, Kamishimoemon often tries to involve his little boy in his debauchery, hoping to liven him up.
- Like the rest of the Higashidani family, the origin of his name comes from a direction, in his case Kami means "Up" and Shimo "Down".