Splinter (TMNT)

Splinter (TMNT)


caption= Splinter as he appears in the 2003 cartoon series
comic_color= red

character_name= Splinter
publisher= Mirage Studios
debut= "Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" #1(May, 1984)
creators= Kevin Eastman
Peter Laird
full_name= Hamato Yoshi (in some versions)
affiliations= Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
aliases= Master Splinter
powers= Highly skilled in Ninjutsu.|

Master Splinter, or simply Splinter is a fictional character in the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" universe. Splinter is a giant anthropomorphic rat who is the Sensei and paternal figure to the Turtles.

Origin Story

Splinter has two origin stories, and which one is used depends on the media. In the older version of the tale, he was Hamato Yoshi's pet, and in the other, he "is" Hamato Yoshi.

Mirage Comics, 2003 Cartoon, and Movies

In the original comics, Splinter was the pet rat of a ninja named Hamato Yoshi in Japan. Exceptionally intelligent for his species, Splinter was able to learn his master's art by mimicking his movements while he practiced. Yoshi became embroiled in a dispute with a fellow ninja by the name of Oroku Nagi, and was eventually slain by Nagi's brother Oroku Saki.

Without a home, Splinter was reduced to living in New York City's sewers. Due to a traffic accident, four baby turtles and a green ooze were sent down into the sewer, where they mutated both Splinter and the turtles. Splinter named the four turtles Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo (after a book on Renaissance artists that he found in the sewers) and trained them in the arts of ninjutsu, while still raising them as his own sons. Sadly, Splinter died of age in TMNT volume 4, #10

In the 2003 TMNT cartoon, he possesses a significant reputation as a ninja master; in a multi-part episode, he was revealed to be a champion of the Battle Nexus, a multi-dimensional-spanning contest where the greatest combatants of various dimensions come together to fight each other for the title of Battle Nexus Champion. When the Turtles first learn of the Battle Nexus, they participate as well, resulting in Splinter forfeiting when called upon to fight Michaelangelo as he wishes to allow his sons the opportunity to triumph where he has succeeded in the past.

In the 2003 cartoon during the Battle Nexus, Splinter is referred to as 'Hamato Splinter' indicating either that he regards himself as a member of the Hamato clan, or that he took the name in honor of his dead owner.

1987 Series and Archie TMNT Adventures comics

In the 1987 TMNT cartoon, Splinter was changed to be Yoshi himself, and was framed by his rival, Oroku Saki (who would eventually turn into his future arch-enemy, the Shredder), for trying to murder their common dojo master in Japan. Being unable to prove his innocence, he moved away to New York City, where he lived as a hermit in its sewers and befriended the rats. One day, he came across four baby turtles which were accidentally dropped by a boy through a grate of the sewers. He kept them as pets and treated them like his children. But later, he found the turtles venturing near broken barrels that were oozing glowing pink chemical liquid. As he tried to recover them from danger and attempted to clean them with his bare hands, they were all affected by the chemical which was a special mutagen. This mutagen transformed any living being into a mutant whose body became mixed with the DNA of any other living being it was last in contact with. The turtles, being touched by Yoshi, turned into young anthropomorphic humanoid turtles. Hamato himself, having more recently been in contact with sewer rats than his own pet turtles, became a humanoid rat.

Since then, Yoshi brought the turtles up, and gave them the names of his favorite Renaissance artists: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo, who were to be distinguished by their personality and headband color. He also taught them the art of ninjutsu in order to protect themselves, since the "world above" would consider them freaks.

Hamato was given the nickname of "Splinter" by his adoptive sons, due to his proficiency at breaking wooden boards.

The "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures" from Archie Comics uses the same background, since the first issues are identical.


In the original live-action movies, he was portrayed as an elderly rat in tattered grey robes, commonly meditating and remaining behind while the Turtles fight, but nevertheless an efficient combatant. He also lacks at least part of his right ear, Saki having cut off the rest of the ear when Splinter was still a normal rat with the same blow that killed Yoshi due to Splinter attempting to attack Oroku Saki, leaving the latter with distinctive scars on his face.

In the 2003 animated series, he is portrayed as a dark grey rat in monks robes. Splinter also had an opponent named Drako, who would prove to be a dangerous adversary of the Turtles. In the upcoming series "TMNT: Back to the Sewers" his look is slightly changed to resemble the 2007 movie.


Splinter is portrayed as a wise and intelligent skilled martial arts teacher. He is nearly always calm and even when angry he refrains from raising his voice. He seems to be an example of the cliched calm, all-knowing wise master of all martial arts; he may have even helped to create that image.

Voice actors

In the 1987 series, he was voiced by Peter Renaday in the American version and by Hideyuki Umezu (TV), Yuzuru Fujimoto (NHK-BS2) and Kiyoshi Kobayashi (VHS) in the Japanese versions.

In the 2003 and Fast Forward versions, Splinter is voiced by Darren Dunstan. In Poland, Adam Baumam provides Splinter's voice.

In the Japanese Version he is voiced by Shoto Kashii.

In the first two movies, he is voiced by Kevin Clash, and in the third he was voiced by James Murray. In the 2007 animated film, Mako voiced him.

See also

* Hamato Yoshi
* Elderly martial arts master

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