Byakuya Matou (間桐 鶴野, Matō Byakuya?) is the older brother of Kariya Matou and father of Shinji Matou. He has a small role in Fate/Zero, and he is not mentioned in Fate/stay night, having died three years prior.

Profile[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Byakuya was born into the Matou family during Zouken Matou's long patronage, and while he is listed in the registry as Byakuya and Kariya's father, there are records of him dating back to their great-grandfather due to Zouken being five hundred years old. Byakuya possessed some form of ability as a magus, but only his younger brother, Kariya, was suitable as the proper heir to the family in Zouken's eyes. Neglected throughout his childhood, Byakuya grew to resent his younger and more magic-capable brother. Kariya refused to be the heir and a pawn for Zouken's plans, leaving Byakuya with no choice but to become the next Matou family head.

He later met and wed a woman, noted for having an "inheritor" sorcery trait, and fathered a son, Shinji, with her. Shinji turned out to be void of Magic Circuits, causing the pure-blooded Matou line to finally collapse as of their generation. Due to Shinji being incapable of magecraft, he was an unworthy heir that only served to deepen Byakuya's disgraces. Due to their failure, his wife was thrown into the worms storage where she later died. Ultimately, Zouken elected to adopt Sakura Tohsaka as the new heir to the family. Byakuya was completely aware that he was not really the head of the family since everything was orchestrated by Zouken, but decided to try and live a comfortable and carefree life. However, the strain of living under Zouken's authority proved to be too taxing, and Byakuya took to drowning his stresses in alcohol.[1]

As the Fourth Holy Grail War began, Shinji was sent overseas in the name of studying, but Byakuya had no legitimate reason to leave Fuyuki no matter how strongly he was against staying. He was occupied with the task of acclimating Sakura to the worms and training her to be worthy of becoming the next head of the Matou house.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Byakuya has curly blue hair like his son, Shinji. However, unlike Shinji, his bangs are longer and reach his eyes. His clothing consists of a white shirt and a black suit.

Personality[edit | edit source]

Considered a disgrace to the Matou family, Byakuya is a depressed, broken man who has turned to drowning himself in alcohol night after night. It can be said that his soul has been ruined since long ago, having forced himself onto a road of no return. He should be regarded as the eldest son and inheritor of the prestigious Matou house, the final remnants of a mighty bloodline that had begun a pilgrimage to seek the traces of the Holy Grail in the distant past. His true nature is that of a puppet of Zouken, allowing him to control everything from behind the scenes. He originally thought becoming the family head was not quite as much of a disaster because Zouken gave up on him long ago, so it was fine even if he was head in name only and that he hated magecraft. Zouken only let him take charge of low-importance, miscellaneous tasks, and the actual matter of succession was completely placed onto Sakura. The Matou assets being traded for a comfortable and carefree life was agreeable to him, but the stress he suffered caused him to use drinking to run from it.[1]

He believes himself to have completed his task as the current head to near perfection. He thinks Zouken, originally planning only to observe the Fourth War, is simply playing around with Kariya as a toy, so he thinks of himself as the only one in the family walking on the right path. The state of his abilities does not matter, so he firmly believes that his is the only one that could truly connect to the future of the Matou house. This thought is accompanied by even more heavy drinking. He is disturbed by the fighting in Fuyuki, so alcohol is his crutch to keep living there while remaining calm. He is terrified of Berserker, thinking him to be black like a vengeful spirit, and uses more alcohol to numb himself to the terror. He normally drinks himself to sleep, so his remedy for being sleepless is to drink even more. He simply wants to forget anything happening outside and skip through the night as quickly as possible.

Byakuya blames Kariya for all the pressure he must face as the head of the Matou family, having pushed the cursed destiny carried by generations of the Matou onto him, but he is actually happy that Kariya took his place in the Holy Grail War. As the inheritor, it should have been his "duty" to act as a participant, forced by Zouken, but he feels that he has made the correct and logical attitude in comparison to Kariya, allowing him to say such a thing with his chest thrust out in pride. He cannot understand why someone who was disowned would return, and he does not want to understand. He holds no sympathy towards the pain and suffering Kariya is undergoing, as he willingly left and returned to such a fate. He never held much familial love for him in the first place due to his actions.

Role[edit | edit source]

Fate/Zero[edit | edit source]

Kiritsugu interrogating Byakuya

Byakyua spends the nights of the week of the Fourth Holy Grail War peacefully in the mansion, all while terrified of the events going on outside. If a night is peaceful, he resents it because no dangerous events the previous night means that dangerous events are more likely for the next night. Once again drinking himself to sleep on the night Berserker kidnaps Irisviel von Einzbern while disguised as Rider, he is assaulted by Kiritsugu Emiya, having seen through Kirei Kotomine's plan due to Waver Velvet's ineptitude making it unlikely that he would find the location of their hideout.

He is immediately sobered by Kiritsugu pouring ice water all over his head, but the man's mere presence terrifies him to the point of extreme, voiceless panic. Seeing his eyes is enough to make Byakuya surrender any will to resist or uncover Kiritsugu's origins, as Kiritsugu is the very horror he was trying to forget with alcohol. Kiritsugu asks about Irisviel's location, and Byakuya is crushed with despair upon realizing that he cannot answer. Kiritsugu calmly takes out a gun and shoots off Byakuya's right hand, and upon there being no answer, determines that Byakuya knows nothing. In the anime, he asks about Kariya's location, to which Byakuya answers that he knows nothing about where Kariya is other than that he left the house with a man who claimed to be the overseer of the church. This little bit of information is enough for Kiritsugu to pinpoint Irisviel as having been kidnapped by Kirei Koromine.

Due to his broken nature, Kiritsugu believes he was the final straw that broke the camel's back. Byakuya will do anything to remove his present pain because he has reached a point where even betraying Zouken is acceptable, meaning that everything he says is a guaranteed truth. Kiritsugu was certain that only the Matou family could have kidnapped her, so he muses over the possibilities of where they could have taken her and the possible emergence of another force that could have taken her, all while not even bothering to look at Byakuya sobbing with pain and terror, before leaving the mansion.

Fate/stay night[edit | edit source]

Byakuya (with Sakura) in the manga

Byakuya goes unnamed in Fate/stay night. Learning of magecraft early on during his life, Shinji was led to believe that there was no heir to the Matou magecraft and that Sakura was just a normal girl, simply adopted by Byakuya. Shinji had a good impression of Byakuya up until learning the truth about the basement and Sakura, causing Byakuya to glare at him as if he were a nuisance with an attitude he had never before seen. Byakuya started to spend more time with Sakura afterward, and he took a defiant attitude towards Shinji due to no longer having to hide anything from his son. Byakuya died three years later, causing Shinji to "take possession" of Sakura.

Shinji briefly reminisces about him and his mother while staring at the worm pit in the Unlimited Blade Works scenario. He believes that Byakuya decided to willingly kill off their bloodline by not choosing him. He was told nothing of the truth of their lineage by him, and he believes that Zouken truly wishes for him to be the heir after having been later told the truth. He has no feelings towards his father because of that, believing that all his father taught him was existence and failure. He does not think of what his mother gave him, only that what is left of her is likely to be at the bottom of the room.

Byakuya takes the role of Zouken in the Fate/stay night manga. He remains nameless, but he is the one who masterminded Sakura's adoption and training. Shinji was kept from the truth of magecraft entirely, and he only learns of it after following his father into his study. He learns the truth of Sakura after overhearing a conversation between her and his father, causing him to start abusing her. Byakuya's fate is unknown.

Fate/hollow ataraxia[edit | edit source]

Shinji mentions Byakuya, along with Kariya and Zouken in Fate/hollow ataraxia, claiming that they spent their lives sulking around because they were Matous.

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Byakuya has negligible ability as a magus, being inferior to his younger brother, and Zouken does not even consider him worthwhile at all. He does not have the mana level to sustain a Servant, and he was not deemed worthy by the Grail to receive Command Spells. He has a low amount of Magic Circuits, and his abilities are only good enough to defeat a small child due to Zouken teaching him barely anything.

Development[edit | edit source]

Creation and Conception[edit | edit source]

Byakuya was originally not meant to appear within the story of Fate/Zero, and his only role is a brief appearance and quick exit. During the original draft of the scene in the fourth volume, it would have ended with “Kiritsugu visited the Matou house while searching for Irisviel, but it was useless.” Gen Urobuchi thought that “there isn’t enough violence today”, so Byakuya was sacrificed by being put on the stage.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2
    [v] Fate/Zero material - Encyclopedia: Matou Byakuya [Person's name], p.104-105

    Byakuya Matou [Person's name]
    The father of Matou Shinji, our glorious wakame.
    As a magus, he was inferior to his little brother Kariya, but because Kariya refused to continue learning magecraft and ran away, he had no choice but to become the next Matou family head.
    But for Byakuya that was not necessarily a disaster, as Zouken had long ago given up on Byakuya and had taught him barely anything, and at most let him take charge of low-importance, miscellaneous tasks. Instead, the matter of succession was completely placed onto his adoptive daughter, Sakura.
    Regardless of the fact that he was head in name only, or of his hatred towards magecraft, the Matou assets as a trade for a comfortable and carefree life was not too bad of a deal – or so Byakuya thought, as in the end he suffered much stress, and spent his days drinking to run from it.
    During the fourth volume, he finally made his appearance & exited in a flash. Originally, the scene should have ended with “Kiritsugu visited the Matou house while searching for Irisviel, but it was useless.”. But because the author thought that “there isn’t enough violence today”, Byakuya, who would never have appeared in the first place, was sacrificed by going on stage. What a sorrow


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Fate/stay night Main characters: Shirou EmiyaSaberRin TohsakaSakura MatouIllyasviel von EinzbernArcherKirei Kotomine
Secondary characters: AssassinBerserkerCasterGilgameshLancerRiderShinji MatouSouichirou KuzukiTrue AssassinZouken Matou
Minor characters: Atram GaliastAyako MitsuduriBedivereClaudia HortensiaGai GotouIssei RyuudouKaede MakideraKane HimuroLeysrittJusteaze Lizrich von EinzbernOtoko HotaruzukaSellaTaiga FujimuraVivianYukika Saegusa
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Secondary characters: AssassinDiloEdelfelt sistersLuviagelita EdelfeltMinori Mitsuzuri Master of AssassinPerseusReikan RyuudouSaberScáthachSthenoEuryale
Fate/Zero Main characters: Kiritsugu EmiyaIrisviel von EinzbernSaberKirei KotomineWaver VelvetRiderTokiomi TohsakaArcher
Secondary characters: Aoi TohsakaAssassinBerserkerCasterKariya MatouKayneth El-Melloi ArchibaldLancerMaiya HisauRisei KotomineRyuunosuke UryuuSola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri
Minor characters: Byakuya MatouFionn mac CumhaillGlen and Martha MackenzieGrainneJubstacheit von EinzbernNatalia KaminskiNorikata EmiyaShirley
Fate/Extra Main characters: Hakuno KishinamiSaberArcherCasterGilgameshRin TohsakaRani VIIISakura MatouBB
Secondary characters: AliceArcherAssassinBerserkerBerserkerCasterCasterDan BlackmoreJinako CarigiriJulius B. HarweyLauncherKiara SessyoinLancerLancerLancerRun RuLeonardo B. HarweyMeltryllisMonji GatouPassionlipRiderSaberSaverShinji MatouTwice H. Pieceman
Minor characters: AmaterasuAoko Aozaki Chishiki MabiIkuyo YuutouIssei RyuudouKirei KotomineShiki RyougiSialim Eltnam Re-AtlasiaTaiga FujimuraTouko Aozaki
Fate/Apocrypha Black characters: Caules Forvedge YggdmillenniaDarnic Prestone YggdmillenniaFiore Forvedge YggdmillenniaGordes Musik YggdmillenniaReika RikudouRoche Flyn YggdmillenniaCelenike Icecolle YggdmillenniaArcher of BlackAssassin of BlackBerserker of BlackCaster of BlackLancer of BlackRider of BlackSaber of Black
Red characters: Kairi SisigouShirou KotomineRottweil BerzinskyJean RumPentel brothersFeend vor SembrenArcher of RedAssassin of RedBerserker of RedCaster of RedLancer of RedRider of RedSaber of Red
other characters: SiegRuler
Minor characters: AiasAlma PetresiaAlzirBram Nuada-Re Sophia-RiFafnirHectorLord El-Melloi IIReines El-Melloi ArchisorteRocco BelfebanSergeTooleTouki SisigouTrimmauVictor Frankenstein
Fate/Prototypee Main characters: Ayaka SajyouSaberMisaya ReiroukanLancerArcherRiderManaka Sajyou

Secondary characters: Archer's MasterAssassinBeastBerserkerCasterAro IsemiHiroki SajyouSancraid Phahn

Fate/Prototype: Fragmentse Manaka SajyouSaberElza SaijoArcherNigel SawardLancerShizuri Isemi‎RiderMisaya's fatherCasterTatsumi KitanoBerserkerSeiji JingaAssassin
Fate/Labyrinth Manaka SajyouNorma GoodfellowSaberArcherCasterAssassinGrayLord El-Melloi IIWolfgang Faustus
Fate/strange fake Ayaka SajyouPlayerSaberFalse LancerFalse ArcherFalse RiderFalse CasterFalse AssassinFalse BerserkerTiné ChelcTsubaki KuruokaOrlando ReeveJester KartureFlat EscardosWolfSigmaWatcherBazdilot CordelionTrue ArcherFrancescaTrue CasterTrue RiderTrue AssassinFilliaShamhat
Fate/Grand Order Characters in Fate/Grand Order
Lord El-Melloi II Case Files Main characters: Lord El-Melloi IIGrayReines El-Melloi Archisorte

Secondary characters: ClownFlat EscardosFluegerHeine IstariHishiri AdashinoJiroubou Seigen TokitouLuviagelita EdelfeltOrlocke CaesarmundRosalind IstariGeryon AshbornAtrum GalliastaTouko Aozaki

Garden of Avalon AgravainArtoriaGalahadGawainGuinevereKayLancelotMerlinMorgan le FayTristanVortigern
Fate/kaleid liner Main characters: |Illyasviel von EinzbernMiyu EdelfeltChloe von EinzbernRin TohsakaLuviagelita EdelfeltMagical RubyMagical Sapphire

Secondary characters: Shirou EmiyaSella (Fate/kaleid)Leysritt (Fate/kaleid)Kiritsugu EmiyaIrisviel von EinzbernCaren HortensiaBazett Fraga McRemitzTanakaBeatrice FlowerchildAngelicaDarius AinsworthErika AinsworthShirou Emiya (Miyu's brother)Julian AinsworthKischur Zelretch SchweinorgLord El-Melloi IIMimi KatsuraTatsuko GakumazawaSuzuka KuriharaNanaki MoriyamaTaiga FujimuraShinji MatouSakura Matou

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Other characters: SaberDevil SaberSun Wukong
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Fate/stay night Shirou EmiyaRin TohsakaIllyasviel von EinzbernShinji MatouSouichirou KuzukiCasterKirei KotomineZouken MatouSakura MatouAtram Galiast
Fate/hollow ataraxia Bazett Fraga McRemitzCaren HortensiaEdelfelt sistersMaster of AssassinEinzbern Master
Fate/Zero Kiritsugu EmiyaKirei KotomineTokiomi TohsakaRyuunosuke UryuuWaver VelvetKariya MatouKayneth El-Melloi ArchibaldSola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri
Fate/Extra Hakuno KishinamiRin TohsakaRani VIIILeonardo B. HarweyRun RuDan BlackmoreShinji MatouAliceJulius B. HarweyMonji GatouTwice H. PiecemanJinako CarigiriKiara SessyoinMeltryllisBBKazuhito Sakagami
Fate/Apocrypha Kairi SisigouShirou KotomineRottweil BerzinskyJean RumPentel brothersFeend vor SembrenGordes Musik YggdmillenniaFiore Forvedge YggdmillenniaDarnic Prestone YggdmillenniaCelenike Icecolle YggdmillenniaRoche Frain YggdmillenniaCaules Forvedge YggdmillenniaCaster of BlackReika RikudouSagara HyoumaSieg
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Fate/Labyrinth Manaka SajyouNorma Goodfellow
Fate/strange fake PlayerTiné ChelcTsubaki KuruokaOrlando ReeveJester KartureFlat EscardosWolfAyaka SajyouSigmaFaldeus DiolandCashuraFrancescaDoris LusendraHaruriBazdilot Cordelion
Fate/Grand Order ProtagonistKirschtaria WodimeOphelia PhamrsoloneKadoc ZemlupusScandinavia PeperoncinoHinako AkutaBeryl GutDaybit Sem Void
Koha-Ace KohakuArtoriaMajor MatouCaren Kotomine
Fate/kaleid liner Class Card users: Illyasviel von EinzbernMiyu EdelfeltAngelicaBeatrice FlowerchildJulian AinsworthRin TohsakaLuviagelita EdelfeltShinji Matou
Classes SaberLancerArcherRiderCasterAssassinBerserker
RulerAvengerAlter EgoMoonCancerShielderBeastGrand Servant (Grand Caster) • SaverGunnerGatekeeperFunny VampFakerWatcherNon-classed Servants
Fate/stay night SaberLancerArcherRiderCasterAssassinBerserker
Fate/hollow ataraxia AvengerSaberAssassin
Fate/Zero SaberLancerArcherRiderCasterAssassinBerserker
Fate/Extra Playable Servants: SaberArcherCasterGilgameshSaberCasterSaberRuler
Non-Playable Servants: SaberLancerLancerArcherRiderCasterAssassinBerserkerBerserkerSaverRider
Non-Playable CCC Servants: SaberLancerCasterLauncherBB
Alter Ego: PassionlipMeltryllisVioletKingproteaKazuradrop
Fate/Apocrypha Black Faction: Saber of Black (Sieg) • Lancer of BlackArcher of BlackRider of BlackCaster of BlackAssassin of BlackBerserker of Black
Red Faction: Saber of RedLancer of RedArcher of RedRider of RedCaster of RedAssassin of RedBerserker of Red
Others: RulerRuler
Discarded designs: DavidMusashibo BenkeiSaint GeorgeSakata Kintoki
Fate/Prototype SaberLancerArcherRiderCasterAssassinBerserker
Fate/strange fake SaberFalse LancerFalse ArcherFalse RiderFalse CasterFalse AssassinFalse Berserker
True ArcherTrue RiderTrue CasterTrue AssassinTrue BerserkerWatcher
Fate/Grand Order Saber: Artoria PendragonBedivereBenienmaAttila the HunDiarmuid Ua DuibhneFergus mac RóichGaius Julius CaesarGilles de RaisLancelotLe Chevalier d'EonMiyamoto MusashiMordredNeroNero BrideSaber AlterSaber LilyPrince of LanlingRamaSenji MuramasaShiki RyougiSiegfriedSigurdSuzuka GozenYagyū Munenori
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Archer: ArashArjunaArtemisAtalantaBilly the KidCalamity JaneChild-GilChironChloe von EinzbernDavidEMIYAEMIYA AlterEuryaleFujino AsagamiGilgameshIshtarJames MoriartyNapoleonRobin HoodTawara TōtaTomoe GozenTristan
Rider: AchillesAlexanderArtoria Pendragon (Santa Alter)AstolfoBonny and ReadBoudicaChristopher ColumbusEdward TeachFrancis DrakeIvan the TerribleMarie AntoinetteMedbMedusaOzymandiasQuetzalcoatlRed HareSaint GeorgeSaint MarthaSakamoto RyōmaSakata KintokiUshiwakamaru
Caster: Anastasia Nikolaevna RomanovaAvicebronCharles BabbageCirceCú ChulainnGeronimoGilgameshGilles de RaisHans Christian AndersenHelena BlavatskyIllyasviel von EinzbernIrisviel von Einzbern (Dress of Heaven)Leonardo da VinciMedeaMedea LilyMephistophelesMerlinMurasaki ShikibuNitocrisNursery RhymeQueen of ShebaScáthach SkadiScheherazadeSiegSolomonTamamo-no-MaeThomas EdisonWilliam ShakespeareVon Hohenheim ParacelsusWolfgang Amadeus MozartXuanzang SanzangZhuge Liang (Lord El-Melloi II)
Berserker: AsteriosAtalanta AlterBeowulfCaligulaChachaCú Chulainn AlterDarius IIIEric BloodaxeFlorence NightingaleFrankenstein's MonsterHeraclesHijikata ToshizoIbaraki-doujiKiyohimeLancelotLu BuMinamoto no RaikouMr. HydeMysterious Heroine X AlterPenthesileaPaul BunyanSakata KintokiSpartacusTamamo CatVlad IIIXiang Yu
Assassin: CarmillaCharles-Henri SansonCleopatraConsort YuDr. JekyllEMIYA (Kiritsugu)Fūma KotarōHassan of the Cursed ArmHassan of the Hundred FacesHassan of SerenityJack the RipperJing KeKatō DanzōKing HassanMata HariMochizuki ChiyomeMysterious Heroine XOkada IzōOsakabehimePhantom of the OperaSasaki KojirouSemiramisShiki RyougiShuten-doujiSthenoWu ZetianYan Qing
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Avenger: Amakusa Shirou TokisadaAngra MainyuAntonio SalieriBlack IriEdmond DantèsGorgonHessian LoboJeanne Alter
Alter Ego: Ashiya DōmanKiara SessyoinMecha Eli-chanMecha Eli-chan MkIIMeltryllisOkita AlterPassionlipSitonai
MoonCancer: BB
Foreigner: Abigail WilliamsKatsuhika Hokusai
Beast: GoetiaTiamatKiara Sessyoin
Fate/kaleid liner Fifth Holy Grail War Class Cards: Archer (Gilgamesh) • Assassin (AssassinAssassin) • SaberLancerArcherRiderCasterBerserker
Unknown Holy Grail War Class Cards: AssassinBerserkerBerserker
Koha-Ace Sakura SaberMusashiLancerDemon ArcherDevil SaberRiderCasterAssassinBerserkerSun WukongLancer
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