The Most Famous Ronin: Ranking the Legends of the Samurai

Choose the Ronin you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 17, 2024 07:18
Welcome to StrawPoll, your prime destination for settling debates, ranking your favorites, and discovering new perspectives! Today, we invite you to embark on a thrilling journey through the world of Ronin, those masterless samurai who captured our imagination with their incredible skills, unwavering resolve, and enigmatic allure. Join us as we rank the most famous Ronin of all time, from legendary warriors like Miyamoto Musashi and Yagyū Jūbei, to iconic fictional characters such as Kenshin Himura and Ogami Itto. Unleash your inner samurai and have your say in this epic showdown by voting for your top pick, or even suggest a missing contender. As the sword of destiny hangs in the balance, your participation will help determine who truly deserves the coveted title of the Greatest Ronin Ever. So unsheathe your pen, let your opinion cut through the competition, and may the most illustrious Ronin reign supreme!

Who Is the Most Famous Ronin?

  1. 1
    Miyamoto Musashi
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain

    Miyamoto Musashi

    Miyamoto Musashi
    Miyamoto Musashi - considered one of the greatest swordsmen in Japanese history, Musashi is known for his undefeated record and his book The Book of Five Rings.
    Miyamoto Musashi is a legendary samurai warrior and one of the most famous swordsmen in Japanese history. He is often referred to as Japan's greatest swordsman and has become a symbol of the samurai culture. Musashi is renowned for his exceptional skill in swordsmanship and his unorthodox fighting style.
    • Birthdate: 1584
    • Deathdate: 1645
    • Famous Battles: Battle of Sekigahara, Battle of Osaka
    • Fighting Style: Niten Ichi-ryū (Two-Sword Style)
    • Written Works: The Book of Five Rings
    Miyamoto Musashi in other rankings
  2. 2
    Oda Nobunaga is a powerful daimyo and military leader during the Sengoku period, Nobunaga is known for his ruthless tactics and unification of Japan. He was also famously betrayed by one of his loyal vassals and committed seppuku.
    Oda Nobunaga in other rankings
  3. 3
    Sakamoto Ryoma
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    Sakamoto Ryoma is a prominent figure in the Bakumatsu period, Ryoma is credited with helping to bring about the end of the Tokugawa shogunate and the start of the Meiji Restoration. He was assassinated at a young age and became a symbol of the struggle for modernization in Japan.
  4. 4
    Sasaki Kojiro is a skilled swordsman and rival to Miyamoto Musashi, Kojiro is known for his signature technique, the "swallow cut." He was ultimately defeated by Musashi in a duel on the island of Ganryujima.
    Sasaki Kojiro in other rankings
  5. 5
    Akechi Mitsuhide is a samurai and general under Oda Nobunaga, Mitsuhide famously betrayed his lord and master by attacking him at Honnoji temple. He briefly became the ruler of Japan before being defeated and killed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
  6. 6
    Kusunoki Masashige is a loyal vassal to the emperor and defender of the Southern Court during the Nanboku-cho period, Kusunoki is known for his bravery and military prowess. He is still revered as a national hero in Japan.
  7. 7
    Date Masamune
    Tosa Mitsusada · Public domain
    Date Masamune is a powerful daimyo during the Sengoku period, Masamune is known for his distinctive eyepatch and his patronage of arts and culture. He was also a skilled warrior and played a key role in the Battle of Sekigahara.
    Date Masamune in other rankings
  8. 8
    Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi is a legendary swordsman and master of the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū school, Jūbei is known for his exceptional skill and his role in protecting the Tokugawa shogunate. He is also a popular figure in Japanese folklore and fiction.
  9. 9
    Takeda Shingen
    Unknown · Public domain
    Takeda Shingen is a powerful daimyo and military leader during the Sengoku period, Shingen is known for his strategic genius and his rivalry with Uesugi Kenshin. He was also a patron of the arts and helped to spread culture throughout his domain.
    Takeda Shingen in other rankings
  10. 10
    Ishikawa Goemon
    恵比須屋庄七 / Shōshichi Ebisuya · Public domain
    Ishikawa Goemon is a legendary thief and folk hero, Goemon is known for his daring heists and his Robin Hood-like exploits. He is said to have attempted to assassinate Oda Nobunaga and was eventually captured and executed by being boiled alive in oil.

Missing your favorite Ronin?


Ranking factors for famous Ronin

  1. Historical significance
    Consider the impact and recognition of the Ronin's actions or involvement in historical events. Did they play a significant role in a famous battle, rebellion, or important period in history?
  2. Popularity and recognition
    Evaluate the Ronin's fame and how well-known they are among both historians and the general public. Have they been featured in popular culture, literature, or movies? Are they often referenced or discussed in historical narratives?
  3. Legendary status and folklore
    Assess whether the Ronin has achieved legendary status or is revered as a figure of folklore. Are there myths, legends, or stories associated with their name? Have they become symbols of certain virtues or values?
  4. Cultural impact and influence
    Consider how the Ronin has influenced and shaped Japanese culture or even had an impact on global perceptions of Ronin. Have they inspired artistic works, such as literature, paintings, or films? Are they a recurring theme in Japanese folklore or theater?

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous Ronin. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Ronin is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 171 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Ronin once every 24 hours. The rank of each Ronin is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous ronin

Ronin, which means “masterless samurai” in Japanese, were samurai warriors who had lost their masters or were abandoned by them. They were left to fend for themselves and often became mercenaries or outlaws. The most famous Ronin in history is undoubtedly Miyamoto Musashi, a legendary swordsman who lived in the 17th century. Musashi is known for his undefeated record in duels, his development of the two-sword fighting style, and his teachings on strategy and philosophy, which continue to influence martial artists today. Other notable Ronin include Sasaki Kojiro, who famously dueled Musashi with a longsword, and Takuan Soho, a Zen master who advised both samurai and Ronin on the importance of mental preparation in battle. Today, the Ronin archetype continues to inspire popular culture, appearing in films, comics, and video games as a symbol of honor, strength, and independence.

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