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Issun, the Wandering Artist, is Amaterasu’s friend, and guide throughout Ōkami. He serves to be helpful to her as he speaks for the goddess when needed and aids her with certain tasks (mostly). He teams up with Amaterasu (who he calls "Ammy", among other things) to recover the 13 Celestial Brush techniques (blatantly stating that he wants to copy them for himself). As the adventure continues, Issun ends up aiding Amaterasu in the battle against Orochi and many other great foes, and over the course of the story, he learns the meaning of friendship and trust.
This tiny creature was taking a nap in Sakuya's shirt on his journey to master the principles of calligraphy. That journey took a detour when he decided that he liked Kamiki Village--he has resided there ever since. The villagers may consider him ill-mannered, but he is one of the top calligraphers in the land.
Issun is part of the Poncle tribe from the small city Ponctan inside a tree trunk. This is based on the Ainu* folklore about the Koropokkuru, a race of small people that were thought to have lived on their land long before them. His name and stature are based on the main character in the Japanese fairy tale of the same name, Issun-bōshi (The One-Inch Boy, though better known as "Little One Inch"). Issun shares many similarities with Issun-bōshi, such as both characters being no more than an inch tall. They both felt uncomfortable in their given surroundings, and therefore, travelled out to seek adventure which ended in great glory and fame.
Issun is set to serve as Chibiterasu's partner the same way he did for Ammy in Ōkamiden, the upcoming sequel for the Nintendo DS.
*The indigenous ethnic group to Hokkaido, Japan