The Kunai-Taifu was a real person. “Kunai-Taifu” was the title of the 2nd in command to the Kunai-Kyo (the head of the Imperial Household). In The Accidental Samurai, the Kunai-Taifu works closely with the Kunai-Kyo, and is exceptionally diligent in doing his job. He is also a person of deep conscience in the novel. The Kunai-Taifu’s depth of conscience is best revealed in Chapter Thirteen, if you compare his initial reaction to the the guard who attempted to assassinate the Kunai-Kyo, and his reaction once the guard was physically restrained and threatened with torture if he did not reveal who sent him.
There are no known paintings of Emperor Murakami’s Kunai-Taifu. The above image is a representation of a Heian era nobleman. Despite a good deal of research I was unable to determine the proper name of Emperor Murakami’s Kunai-Taifu. Like the Kunai-Kyo, he is a likeable and complex person, who is quite serious about his duties, so as I did with Kunai-Kyo I used his title as his name in the book. This is also consistent with the way in which people in the court would have referred to him.