Hojo Akemi is a handsome young samurai, with a notorious effeminate appearance. His martial prowess and beauty dazzles his opponents, be them men or women. He is a great swordsman, being considered one of the fastest in Japan. He was a samurai of the once powerful Odawara Hojo clan. He was married with a foreign woman that adopted the name Hojo Kazumi. Akemi and his wife vanished at the Odawara castle earthquake, but he resurfaced long after rescue parties had given up finding other survivors. He was nursed to health by his wife’s page Mako, who also survived the earthquake. His wife didn’t have the same luck and died at the tragedy. After his reappearance, he renewed his loyalty vows to the Shogunate and to the Okubo family, the lords of castle Odawara, from whom he directly served.
The Shogun accepted him back but also made him renew his vow to be the last Hojo, his children, if any, would be repatriated to other clans. “Your clan must die with you, Hojo-san.” Said the Shogun.
After his comeback, he was changed. Rumors said that he wasn’t completely alive anymore, becoming sort of a gaki* or yurei**. He didn’t take public baths anymore, didn’t drink, have no visitors on late hours and didn’t take concubines for himself. These eccentricities could be easily explained for his loss of his beloved wife in the earthquake, but his reputation as a fearsome swordsman and his loyalty to the shogun kept these rumors at bay. Unknown to all, is that Hojo Akemi in fact have a secret that only him and his page know, a secret that’s far from the wildest guess anyone can make and, if he revealed, could utterly destroy the young samurai's life.
Hojo Akemi has many hobbies, one of them is the art of the Omnyodo***, and his wife had her own gift of magic and charms from her own land that amused him greatly. Today he incorporated his mystical abilities into his fighting style, only enhancing the idea that he is in fact, a spirit.
His main goal is a very strange one, to give power, position and influence to Mako. The little girl of minor birth that survived the earthquake and nursed him to health. He doesn’t desire nothing else, just that this girl to be safe and comfortable, even after his death and vowed that this will happen.
There’s a problem though, when the earthquake hit the castle it also killed Akemi’s lord, who was found of him. His new lord despise him, finding him “decrepit, obscene and lazy”, and desired to kill him, but the Shogun forbade him on doing this. His new lord conformed in restricting Akemi even more to the confines of the castle, which made the young samurai even more gloomy and bitter. Akemi avoided even more public places, trained swordplay exhaustively and embraced occultism and foreign arts and sciences. His only company was his page, Mako.
It was thought that Hojo Akemi would live the rest of his days in a gilded cage, making that fact and fiction of his legend weaved together, many even doubted his existence! But one day the Shogunate ordered him on an important secret mission and since then, there are no official information on his whereabouts, only whispered stories of "3 tempests" washing away evil on the easter coast of the Sea of Japan. They say that Hojo Akemi is one of the tempests, the one stories call the “Raijin’s Envy”****.
What happened with Hojo Akemi? What’s the secret mission he was sent to? Who are the 3 tempests? Was he successful? What is his secret? I’ll try to tell this in another time.
***Traditional Japanese Astrology.
**** Raijin is the Thunder God of Shintoism.
- Has preference for Iaijutsu – ending his duels in one strike. But he is a well rounded and unorthodox kenjutsu master.
- When he fight, it’s possible to hear a eerie flute playing classic dutch songs, like Concerto Armonici, Variations sur Mein junges Leben, Variations on Est-ce Mars, etc.
- Enjoys foreing arts and music. An interest that only increased because his late wife, Kazumi.
- Akemi has independent control over the movement of his eyes, he uses this trick to spook friends and colleagues – specially Mako. This trick has a cost, Akemi is slightly dyslexic.
- Gradually in his travels with the other two tempests and Mako, Akemi is demonstrating more disposition to informality, showing a portion of his side which gave him the fame to be an “indolent and rebel samurai” that he had before his marriage.