Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The Mikado of Japan

The Mikado of Japan, a humane monarch who desires to let the punishment fit the crime. To steady the young men of his kingdom, he has made flirting a capital crime. Without being in the least angry, he can calmly order a lawbreaker to be boiled in oil. All cheerfully bow to his will except Katisha, his daughter-in-law elect.


Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado. Loving Yum-Yum, he flees the court disguised as a second trombone to escape from his elderly fiancée, Katisha. He is willing to sacrifice his life for a month of marriage with Yum-Yum but unhesitatingly gives her up when he finds that she will have to be buried alive after his execution. After being declared dead by affidavit—a death that imperils the lives of the executioner and his accomplices—he refuses to return to life unless Ko-Ko marries Katisha. After she is safely married, he returns to life, receives his father’s blessing, and faces a life of married bliss with Yum-Yum.


Ko-Ko, the chicken-hearted Lord High Executioner of Titipu. Appointed to his position by his fellow townsmen because he could not execute anybody else until he had executed himself, he is troubled by a command from the Mikado that an execution take place immediately. Loving himself with a tenderer passion than he loves Yum-Yum, his ward and affianced bride, he consents to let Nanki-Poo marry her for a month if he...

(The entire section is 494 words.)