Ginko (ギンコ), whose real name is Yoki (ヨキ), is the main character who is followed throughout the Mushishi series solving Mushi cases. He rarely comes back to the same show location more than once, to reinforce his 'wanderer' status.
AppearanceEditGinko has white hair, pale skin, and an unearthly-green right eye. He has been like this since an incident involving the Ginko mushi when he was a child (before the incident, he had black hair, dark eyes, and a darker skin tone).
His clothes (button-up shirts, slacks, coats, sweaters, etc.) are more modern than what is normally seen in the time-period the series takes place in.
Ginko comes off as a rather laid-back type, but he can be serious when the need arises (such as in a situation involving mushi). He has also been shown to be caring for both people and mushi, as he constantly stresses that mushi are not evil, but just merely trying to survive like everyone else. Despite having no recollection of his life before the age of 10, Ginko is content with how his life has turned out. Often he is clever in tight situations, relying on his knowledge of mushi to escape otherwise fatal occurrences, or to help others. He is also seen to be clearly excited about finding new species of mushi, being visibly upset when a situation more pressing demands his attention, such as in the Path of Thorns special.
He has also shown a sense of honor, multiple times taking responsibility for mistakes in his cases, offering to do everything in his power to help out the person affected, no matter the cost, or how long it will take. Although he rarely sees anyone more than once as a result of his travels, he is shown to be very coy and joking, especially when he is around his close friend, Adashino, and friendly to those he meets who wish to hear his tales or news from beyond remote areas he is visiting.
He expressed conflicted feelings about being unable to stay in one place for long as a child in Cushion of Grass, a sentiment he would later repeat in The Sleeping Mountain as an adult. Still, Ginko tries to make the best of any situation, living a simple, quiet life (if he can help it), while travelling in-between cases or new towns and areas.
Early lifeEditWhen Ginko was a child, he was found by Nui, a Mushishi who had the same white hair and a green left eye. Before his mushi incident, Ginko's name was Yoki, and even as a child he could see the mushi.
While walking through the mountains with his mother, a wrong turn was taken, and on the strange road they continued down, a landslide injured his leg and killed his mother. This is when Nui found him, brought him to her home, and looked after him. For many days Nui took care of Yoki as his leg healed, showing him the different types of mushi that lived in the area around her home in the mountain. After some time passed, he found out that the cause for Nui's transformation was from observing mushi called "Ginko" for too long.
After he and Nui were consumed by the Tokoyami, Nui was swallowed by the Ginko, and Yoki escaped by sacrificing his left eye and memories. The only thing he remembered upon awakening was the name "Ginko", so he gave that name to himself. After wandering the forest for a few days, he came upon a road, where he was discovered by a man who housed him for a small time. But soon after, Ginko ran away because he knew that if he stayed in one place too long, he would attract more mushi, which in return will cause trouble for the people living there. In a later episode, it is discovered that he wandered around the country living with several different people, all of which were Mushishi in some way, which is how he learned how to become a Mushishi himself.
Eventually he found himself the apprentice of a Mushishi who lived on a mountain in the episode "Cushion of Grass". After accidentally dropping the egg of the mountain god, Ginko found himself unwelcome there from that point on. Before he was dismissed, he was told that even though he questioned his worth, the natural order allowed him back, so he belonged in this world.
- Mushi-Shi had been designed for a more modern setting (explaining Ginko's somewhat modern outfits), but Yuki Urushibara, the author, changed the setting to a time between the Edo and Meiji periods, while keeping Ginko's design.