Gakuto was the headman of Hitori Mura, an isolated mining village in the Taru Mountains. A former miner and father to seven children, his family had run the village for centuries, descendants of the original leaders of the Yamataru tribe. He inspired obedience through both his experience and his physical presence. Gakuto was worried by the influence of easier life in other villages of Naishou Province could exert upon the younger folk. His eldest son had taken a taste for sake and gambling after he visited the province's capital, Toshi no Naishou.