Like Jin, Ukon was born into the samurai bloodline. He studied under a man named Zuikou and became one of his most prized disciples. Ukon was sent on a voyage by the province's daimyo, but his ship met with disaster and capsized. Somehow, he ended up washed ashore in China. There, he encountered a 'mysterious martial art' known as Hakkei, and studied it vigorously under the tutelage of Shaolin monks. He returned to Japan a different man under the name "Shōryū". His newfound desire for showing "true" martial arts lead to him killing a fellow student in simple sparing.
Zuikou expelled him, but Shōryū refused to see his mistake, rather used it to fool his mindless quest. Shōryū wandered the continent searching for a new master, but no one would have him, labeling him a heretic. He became embittered as he felt his greatness deserved acknowledgement. He began murdering renowned samurai for sport, at the same time hoping to find a worthy opponent.
The 'street killer' myth was built around him. His latest victim would have been Mugen, who despite being far superior to most of Shōryū's opponents and having trained intensively for the fight, had little chance of winning outright. It is noted that during the fight Mugen was the first opponent Shoryu gained respect for, as well as Shoryu being the first opponent Mugen was scared of.
Shoryu challenged Mugen for a fight in the next full moon, and left before he could be arrested. In the second fight, Mugen is noticeably more skilled, but Shoryu starts wearing him down thanks to his knowledge in ki. As Shoryu struck again with his ki blade, Mugen caught Shoryu by surprise from mimicking the basics of Shoryu's ki blade, resulting in both fighters having their swords knock out of each other's hands. When Shoryu attempts to engage Mugen in hand-to-hand combat, Mugen defeats Shōryū by pulling out a tanto at the end of his scabbard as a trump card, and kills Shoryu with it.
Shoryu was initially a good person until he went on a ship and crashed into China. He learned under Shaolin monks, and learned Hakkei (which he learned about ki). After mastering this different style, Shoryu become corrupted and arrogant. Viewing martial arts as a battle of death or dominance, he ruthlessly and sadistically striking down his opponents, even in a simple spar. This caused his master to banish him, and while traveling other Japanese masters refused him, calling him a heretic.
Coming to view Japanese martial arts as soft and bitter toward the masters who rejected him, Shoryu started hunting skilled samurai for sport. However, when he meets a worthy opponent, he will acknowledge their skills. This is shown in his first fight against Mugen, when he praises Mugen's fighting skills although he later overpowers him. He also tells Mugen to finish their fight in the next full moon.
Shoryu is also shown to not be emotionless, as he was surprised on how Mugen used ki in their fight. His arrogance would be his downfall, as when he saw Mugen lying seemingly defenseless, Shoryu rushed in without thinking, thinking that his opponent is weakened and does not pose a threat.
Next to Kariya Kagetoki and Sara, Shoryu is easily one of the most powerful fighters in the "Champloo" universe. His stance and fighting style are markedly Shaolin. His discipline, Hakkei, makes use of ki. It is unknown if Shouryuu employs ki to strengthen his defenses, but he certainly uses it to greatly augment his offensive prowess. Already as quick as Mugen, if not quicker, he is able to project ki at a distance or even channel it through his sword. Furthermore, one blow from his palm is a fatal death touch.
One of the possible reasons why Shoryu is a powerful opponent because his fighting style is more similar to Chinse martial arts, while Mugen and Jin are used to fighting individuals who use Japanese martial arts.
- Shoryu is the first individual to use Ki.
- Shoryu is the first opponent that Mugen was afraid of.
- He is the only Japanese individual who's fighting style is predominantly Chinese.