Nothing is known about the life of Matsu'o Tsurayaba prior to his joining the Yakuza, the Japanese organized crime family. In that capacity, he became leader of a faction of a ninja clan called The Hand, finding himself at odds with his lover Kwannon, an assassin for a rival crime lord, Nyoirin. After almost killing Kwannon in battle, Tsurayaba attempted to use technology from the extradimentional being Spiral to save her; however, Spiral instead switched Kwannon's consciousness with that of female mutant Psylocke, a member of the mutant super-team X-Men. Believing Kwannon's consciousness lost, Tsurayaba attempted to remake Psylocke, now in Kwannon's body, into an assassin in the service of the would-be conqueror Mandarin, but Psylocke broke free of her conditioning and, together with Wolverine and the young mutant Jubilee, defeated The Hand and Mandarin.
Tsurayaba next forged an alliance with the terrorist organization Fenris and revived the Russan super-soldier Omega Red. Tsurayaba hoped to use Wolverine's memories and healing factor to stabilize the dangerous mutant, but X-Men foiled his plans. He escaped and, cybernetically augmenting members of The Hand as The Death Touch Cult, attempted a takeover of Clan Yashida, led by Wolverine's lover Mariko Yashida. Wolverine and his allies intervened, but not before Tsurayaba had Yashida fatally poisoned. Wolverine swore a prolonged vengeance, gouging out Tsurayaba's right eye and promising future disfigurement.
Tsurayaba next surfaced at a criminal summit to divide the territories of the Kingpin of crime, but the bargaining was interrupted by costumed crime fighters Daredevil, Nomad and Punisher. Returning to Japan, Tsurayaba was confronted by Kwannon, whose consciousness inhabited Psylocke's original body. How calling herself Revanche, she was dying of mutant-killing Legacy Virus and had come seeking a swift death. The grieving Tsurayaba obliged her, then threw himself back into his work. He led an alliance between The Hand and the terrorist organisation HYDRA in an attempted takeover of the island nation of Madripoor, but his plan was foiled once again by Wolverine and his allies.
Periodically disfigured by Wolverine in keeping with the X-Man's vow, Tsurayaba was last seen preparing to commit suicide upon Wolverine's next visit, which was forestalled by Logan's near-death at the hands of his arch-nemesis Sabretooth.
Matsuo has once again gained the attention of the X-man known as Psylocke. After dealing with the Sisterhood, Psylocke was placed back into her original body but later returned to the body of Kwannon. Out of respect for Kwannon, the last person in the body, she returned to Japan to give her a proper burial. Upon their arrival, a group of Hand Ninja attacked Betsy and destroyed her original body. They did this with a message of "Matsuo Tsurayaba sends his regards." At the same time Matsuo sent another group to the house of a man named Fahd, killing someone close to him with the same message. Both Betsy and Fahd set out to kill Matsuo once and for all. Matsuo appears to be timing these attacks with the timing of Wolverine's next visit. Indeed, it later turns out that these events take place around the time of Mariko's death, and Matsuo, unable to commit suicide due to Logan's maiming, provoked both Psylocke and Fahd so that one of them can end his life. Psylocke faces off Fahd, then Wolverine himself, and eventually earns the right to end Matsuo's life, which she does, telepathically restoring Matsuo's body and assuming the form of Kwannon to make the send-off more humane.