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Mariko Yashida in
Uncanny X-Men #173.
Art by Paul Smith.
|First appearance||Uncanny X-Men #118 (February, 1979)|
Chris Claremont (Writer)|
John Byrne (Artist)
|Alter ego||Mariko Yashida|
|Notable aliases||Scarlet Samurai|
Fictional character biography
Mariko was the daughter of Shingen Yashida, the half-sister of Kenuichio Harada/Silver Samurai, and cousin of Sunfire and Sunpyre and the aunt of Shingen "Shin" Harada. Upon her father's death, she became head (Oyabun) of his Yakuza crime family, Clan Yashida.
She first met the X-Men when they returned from a sojourn in the Savage Land and were asked to help Japan, which was being blackmailed by the terrorist Moses Magnum. At that time, she encountered Wolverine in a private moment, which developed into a mutual attraction. Afterward, Mariko would frequently visit the United States to see Wolverine.
Some time later, however, Mariko was married by her father, Shingen Yashida, to the leader of a Yakuza gang named Noburu-Hideki to solidify his connections to the Japanese underworld, and was subjected to brutal domestic abuse by her husband. She was later used by him to maneuver Wolverine into participating in an assassination of a rival by having the superhero inadvertently provide a distraction while protecting his true love/girlfriend from the rival's own assassins. This also had the intended effect of deepening Mariko's disgust for Logan upon witnessing him going berserk in battle. However, Mariko soon realized that her father was evil and was shaming her family with his sinister schemes. To stop him, Mariko planned to kill her father and then commit seppuku in recompense, but Logan, learning the truth about his manipulation and inspired by a personal epiphany about his humanity, attacked her father and slew him in a fair battle of honor before she could act. In doing so, Logan was convinced that Mariko would be honorbound to kill him for that and was prepared to die at her hands rather than harm her in self-defense. However, Mariko explained her opinion of her father and presented the family katana to him as a token of her approval of him as an honorable warrior who is properly entitled to it.
At this, Mariko happily became Logan's fiancée, but their wedding was halted by the supervillain Mastermind, who used a mind control device to change Mariko's mind. When the control was lifted, Wolverine and Mariko resumed their romantic relationship after a period of separation, but have not reconsidered marriage. Mariko also refused any closer engagement with him until she had dealt with her father's criminal legacy, which she felt honor-bound to rectify.
The X-Men returned from the first Secret Wars and, accidentally ending up in Japan, fighting a dragon their companion Lockheed had brought along. During the chaos, a young girl named Amiko Kobayashi loses her mother when a collapsing building crushes her. Dying, the woman begs Wolverine to take care of her daughter. Since Wolverine could not take care of her himself, he chose to place Amiko in Mariko's care, whom the girl soon adopted as a surrogate mother. Amiko and Mariko were at one point targeted by Ogun, one of Wolverine's old enemies, but the attack was averted by Wolverine and Kitty Pryde.
Mariko was poisoned with tetrodotoxin from a blowfish by an assassin named Reiko, in the employ of her rival Matsu'o Tsurayaba. She asked Wolverine to kill her to avoid a painful death and preserve her honor. Wolverine killed her and vowed to avenge Mariko by yearly severing parts of Matsu'o's body on the anniversary of her death.
Phaedra, an agent of the Hand, resurrected Shingen and stole a piece of Wolverine's soul to torture him. Wolverine made a deal with Azrael, the Angel of Death, where he would kill Phaedra to stop her resurrecting the dead if Azrael would heal his soul. Phaedra attempted to convince Wolverine to spare her life by offering to resurrect Mariko, but Wolverine refused. He stated he would pay any price to bring Mariko back, but he deeply loved Mariko because she was a better person than him in every way, and she would never accept life if it meant that someone as evil as Phaedra was allowed to live as well.
Many years later, Wolverine was captured by the Devil and taken to Hell. In order to have Wolverine comply with his demands, the lord of Hell had Mariko's soul (who had been condemned to Hell for her leadership of the Yashida clan's criminal activities) brought to him to torture Wolverine into submission. Wolverine, however, was eventually rescued by his old friend from Alpha Flight, Puck, and his own father. When Logan finally prepared to flee Hell, he intended to take Mariko with him, but, with nothing to return to in this life, she asked him to leave her behind and return to Earth and reclaim his own life, a request Logan reluctantly acquiesced to.
When Old Man Logan faced off against the Hand, he faced their latest member, called the Scarlet Samurai. Logan later discovered that Scarlet Samurai is Mariko Yashida, who was resurrected by the Hand to serve them.
Age of Apocalypse
In the "Age of Apocalypse" timeline, Mariko was a member of the Human High Council, a group of humans that opposed Apocalypse's tyrannical rule. While not engaged to Logan, Mariko was his former lover and she birthed him a daughter, Kirika, who is an amalgam of X-23 and her 616 daughter Amiko Kobayashi. Mariko participates in an attempt to bomb forces of Apocalypse based in North America, though she knows this would mean extensive civilian deaths.
In an alternate universe (Earth-2109), Mariko was Sunfire and became a member of the Exiles from issue #2 (September, 2001) until her death in issue #37 (January, 2004) of their ongoing series. In the 2109 alternate universe, Mariko had the same powers as her 616 Marvel Universe counterpart Sunfire and his sister Sunpyre. This version was created by Judd Winick and Mike McKone. A Japanese citizen and a member of the X-Men in her reality, she was one of Marvel's few openly homosexual characters. She has a relationship with one reality's version of Spider-Woman, Mary Jane Watson.
Sunfire's open homosexuality has attracted some interest after coming out in issue #11. Her death has also garnered some attention. Perry Moore includes her as an example of the poor treatment of gay superheroes, paralleling the earlier Women in Refrigerators.
Judd Winick has been accused[by whom?] of pursuing some broader social agenda, making Sunfire gay being one of his ideas used to support this notion, as he explains in an interview with Comic Book Resources:
I've done a smattering of stories that are socially relevant and I'm considered the soap-box guy. I've done one story arc in Green Lantern featuring a gay character who was a survivor of a hate crime. Sunfire was gay in Exiles. And there's other stuff sort of there that people like to hang their hat on, saying I'm just this big commie out there pushing an agenda. It's only a handful of stories.
In the What If story "If Wolverine Had Married Mariko", their marriage is not hindered by Mastermind, and Wolverine becomes head of the Shingen clan. However, they soon have to contend with the Yakuza, all united by the Kingpin. Although they appear to prevail with the aid of the Silver Samurai and Sunfire, Mariko is eventually assassinated by the Samurai himself, who had turned traitor, leaving a devastated Wolverine to return to the X-Men.
Mariko appears in Wolverine MAX as a member of the Yashida clan during the early 1900s. She met and fell in love with Logan, but their relationship ended after he killed her father. In the present, Logan is shown in a relationship with a woman named Yami Yashida, until she is killed in a plane crash.
In other media
- Mariko appears in the Wolverine and the X-Men episode "Code of Conduct" voiced by Gwendoline Yeo. She's depicted as Logan's former, lost sweetheart, girlfriend, lover, and the reluctant wife of the Silver Samurai. A memory flashback showed how she strongly fell romantically in love with Wolverine, but her father wanted her to marry Silver Samurai due to his connections with the Yakuza. The Yakuza clan had him duel the Silver Samurai for her. When Silver Samurai had abducted the X-Men years later, Mariko arrived at the Japanese Embassy looking for her power-hungry husband. She was present at the recent duel with Silver Samurai and Wolverine. After Silver Samurai acted dishonorably by using his mutant abilities when it was not allowed, the Yakuza Leader annulled the duel and had his men take Silver Samurai away as he had disgraced and dishonored the Yakuza clan. When the Yakuza leader agreed to release the captive X-Men, she told Wolverine that Silver Samurai will be driven from the Yakuza in shame and that they will not admit him again. When Wolverine asks her why she had chosen the Silver Samurai over him, she said that her father and the Yakuza would have killed them both had she not chosen the Silver Samurai, as they awaited her decision with drawn swords. She said that marrying the Silver Samurai was the only honorable thing she could do, even if it meant keeping her and Logan forever apart from one another. Mariko and Wolverine then went their separate ways.
- Mariko appears in twelve-episode miniseries Marvel Anime: Wolverine voiced by Fumiko Orikasa in the Japanese dub and reprised by Gwendoline Yeo in the English dub. In this series which is not continuous with the Marvel franchises, Mariko is arranged by her father Shingen to be married to Hideki Kurohagi who is the current leader of Madripoor. Logan spends the entire series on a quest to free her from this engagement so they can be together again. In the twelfth and last episode, Mariko is accidentally shot in the chest by Hideki, but not before confessing the strong and enduring romantic feelings she has always had for Logan, assuring him that she will always be with him in spirit as she peacefully dies in his arms.
Mariko Yashida appeared as a major character and Wolverine's love interest in the 2013 film, The Wolverine, in which she is portrayed by Tao Okamoto. In this version Mariko was the granddaughter of Ichirō Yashida, the man whom Wolverine saves during the Nagasaki bombing, and daughter of Shingen Yashida. At her grandfather's funeral, she was kidnapped by the Yakuza (the generic name for an organized crime syndicate originating from Japan), but saved by Wolverine. Then they hide in Yashida's house and as they start to fall for each other, Mariko is kidnapped and taken to her father Shingen at Yashida Corporation's headquarters. He reveals that he was the one who ordered the Yakuza to kidnap and ultimately assassinate her because her grandfather Ichirō had left her the empire instead of him. Kenuichio Harada comes to save her with a Black Ninja clan and take Mariko to a research center based where Ichirō was born. There, it is revealed that Ichirō is alive and planned to use Mariko as bait to capture Wolverine and extract his immortality using a robotic armor made of adamantium (which resembles the Silver Samurai armor). However, she manages to free Wolverine by directing the machine Logan is in into the Silver Samurai's sword strike, breaking it and freeing him. Mariko then kills Yashida with Wolverine's discarded claws, allowing him to finish him off.[clarification needed] Mariko becomes the new CEO of Yashida Corporation and says goodbye to Wolverine, hoping to see him again.
- Uncanny X-Men #118
- Uncanny X-Men #143
- Wolverine (1982 miniseries) #1-4
- Uncanny X-Men #173
- "Uncanny X-Men" #181 (May, 1984)
- Wolverine vol. 2 #57 (July, 1992)
- Wolverine vol. 3 #61
- Wolverine v4 #2
- Wolverine vol. 4 #4
- Old Man Logan Vol. 2 #31-32. Marvel Comics.
- Gay League profile Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine.
- Perry Moore (2007) Hero (432 pages, Hyperion, ISBN 1-4231-0195-2) extract: "Who Cares About the Death of a Gay Superhero Anyway?"
- Winick on "Green Arrow", Mia's HIV Status and More, Comic Book Resources, October 14, 2004
- What If? vol. 2 #43 (1992)
- "Wolverine Noir" 2009
- Wolverine MAX #4
- Wolverine MAX #1
- De Semlyen, Nick. "The Future Of The X-Men Franchise: Wolverine 2". Empire. Retrieved 2009-10-25.