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Date Akiko
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Debut

The Way of the Warrior

Age

16 (as of 1615)

Nationality

Japanese

Physical Appearance

Black hair, skin as smooth as silk

Appearances

The Way of the Warrior

The Way of the Sword

The Way of Fire

The Way of the Dragon

The Ring of Earth

The Ring of Sky

Family Dāte Kenshin (Father) Date Hiroko

(Mother)

Date Kiyoshi (Brother) Date Jiro (Brother)
Masamoto Takeshi (Uncle) Masamoto Yamato (Cousin) Masamoto Tenno (Cousin) Jack Fletcher (Adopted Cousin)
Occupation Samurai Ninja
Affiliations Niten Ichi Ryu Osaka Castle

Date Akiko is a female Samurai warrior who appears in almost all of the books. She is considered one of the main protagonists, Jack's closest friend, and love interest later on.

History

She, like a few women, is a warrior at heart, and was offended when Jack was surprised at her fighting skill. She had then proceeded to tell him that not only men fought on the battlefield. Women also fight in Japan, unlike in England.

She has defended and encouraged Jack when Kazuki or some other person was insulting him, telling him that they had no right to call him a gaijin. She also is quite close to her cousin, Yamato, an example of this being when she instantly changed the subject during a conversation at the mention of Tenno, Yamato's older brother, by Saburo.

She is also spying on the ninja forces, revealed in the Way of the Dragon. Masamoto's reason for her to train in the Way of The Ninja - "In order to know the enemy, you must become the enemy." Also revealed mainly at the end of the Way of the Dragon, Akiko shows much affection for Jack; that affection may have changed into love later on.

The Way of the Warrior

Akiko is first seen by Jack when he was aboard the Alexandria, later, after the wakou, ninja pirates, attacked the ship and everyone apart from him was killed. He was nursed through a fever by her and another maid. Afterward, she taught Jack the Japanese language and the ways of her people. She was also taking care of Jack's wounds after his spars with Yamato, who was at the time still hostile towards Jack.

Later on, she accompanies Jack and Yamato to Kyoto, again to Jack's immense surprise, to enroll in the Niten Ichi-Ryū (One School of Two Heavens), a school for Samurai. Later on she is seen warding off Dokugan Ryu's attempts to steal the Rutter.

After Yamato's later(temporary) defection to the Yagyu Ryū, she trains along side Jack and Saburo in preparation for the Taryu-Jiai, a competition between two schools, in this case, the Yagyu Ryu and the Niten Ichi Ryu.

In the contest itself, she loses to Moriko in the taijutsu segment owing to the latter's illegal moves which were unseen, but she gains revenge in the kenjutsu and kyujutsu segments by beating her soundly.

In the post-celebrations, she, Jack and Yamato confront Dragon Eye again when he attempts to poison Daimyo Takatomi, forcing him to retreat.

The Way of the Sword

Wayofswordakiko
In book two Akiko signs up to participate in the Circle of Three, a test designed to push the body, mind and spirit to its limits to see who is worthy of place learning the Two Heavens under Masamoto. She would pass the selection trials successfully, in particular passing the Trial by Fire with her first attempt.

When the Circle of Three officially starts, she is one of the canidates to pass the Trial of Body by staying in the waterfall for three hours. She witnesses Jack and Yori, both exhausted, making it to the temple. As Yori is taken away for medical treatment, she tries helping Jack to the Buddha Statue, but is stopped. As she watched, Jack would eventually make it to the Buddha by sheer force of will.

In the Mind Trial, she managed to survive twice the required duration to pass, having been taught mind control as part of her lessons in the Way of the Ninja. When one of the monks praises Sensei Yamada for his teachings, he remarks that this is not a skill he had taught his class, eyeing her with curiosity.

In the Spirit Trial, Akiko overcomes her inner fears, a host of vampire bats, with her guardian spirit, a pure white falcon, and afterwards is delighted upon learning of Jack's spirit being a lion.

The Way of the Dragon

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Akiko as shown on the Way of the Dragon cover

Following their expulsion from the Niten Ichi Ryu for endangering daimyo Takatomi's life, Akiko, along with Jack and Yamato, have been sent back to Hiroko's house to await the sensei's decisions on that matter. They would learn from a merchant that someone called Orochi had bragged about knowing Dragon Eye himself. They decided to track down Orochi to try and redeem themselves.

However, Orochi tricks them and flees upon sensing that Dragon Eye's ninja have come for him. The trio would briefly split up, before Akiko, dressed in a black shinobi shozuku, saves Jack from being killed by another ninja, and returns later discreetly.

Afterwards, the trio rest at a tea house and discuss about their further plans, before the propriteor queries them about the tanto in Jack's possession, saying that it was forged by Kunitome, a swordsmith, who's traits of violence and madness are passed onto the very blades he forges. Akiko appears to brush off his comments, saying that they are too old to be superstitious.

The propriteor then goes on to tell the trio about Kunitome's past, particularly his rivalry with his master Shizu, and concludes by advising them to lose the tanto in the forest where they found it.

They then visit Shindo, Kunitome's hometown, and would encounter Dragon Eye's mother, who reveals Dragon Eye's true past as a fallen samurai lord, and her own gruesome fate suffered at the hands of her own son. Having gotten whatever information they could, they then return to Hiroko's.

After Masamoto reinstates their right to bear arms, and their status as samurai, he decides that it is the right time to teach her and Jack the Two Heavens. 

The Ring of Earth

Akiko briefly returns after receiving Jack's coded message that Hanzo could be her long lost brother. She would make her appearance in the middle of the battle between daimyo Akechi's forces and Shonin's ninja clan. Just as a samurai is about to bear down on Miyuki and Jack, she knocks him unconscious with Fall Down Fist, and reveals her identity.

Initially distrusting of Akiko, Miyuki grudgingly acknowledges her as an ally and she is introduced to the clan. She would take part in the operation to liberate the captured members of the ninja clan. Jack and Miyuki would successfully take the key to the captives' cage from Gemnan, but Miyuki had made an error when crossing the Nightingale floor, and alerted enemy forces to their presence. After another huge fight, the clan make their escape.

In the aftermath of damiyo Akechi's death, Akiko explains her presence to Grandmaster Soke and Hanzo, and the latter is delighted at the prospect of having a samurai sister. Akiko would have to bid him farewell soon as the ninja clan are evacuating to another base deep within the mountains, and they can't risk any outsider knowing about the location. She makes the decision to inform her mother about Hanzo, turning down Jack's offer to follow him, and gives him a kiss before departing for Toba, whispering in his ear 'forever bound to one another'.

The Ring of Sky

Akiko appears again in this book, saving Jack, Benkei and Junjun from a group of bandits. She rides into the forest clearing where the three are being held, the bandit is about to kill them with Jack's katana when Akiko rides in on her stallion, she is dressed in her armour so Jack doesn't know who she is. Akiko fires arrows at the bandits with devestating acuracy taking the majority of them out within moments and when attacked, fends off the attempts using her martial arts skills. When Akiko reveals who she is she and Jack embrace, delighted to see one another again.

At the end of the book, Jack asked Akiko if she would come with him to England. She surprised him by boarding the boat and telling him that her mother had already gave her her blessings. 

In the last scene of the book, Akiko boards the ship for England with Jack and Yori, and sets sail.

Skills

Akiko has a variety of skills, all of which prove useful at sometime or another.

  • Enhanced Stamina - She had trained as a pearl diver and therefore was an excellant swimmer and could hold her breath for a long time, longer than most people.
  • Kenjutsu Expert - Akiko is proficient with the sword, and also in the Two Heavens as she passed the Circle of Three.
  • Taijutsu Expert -Akiko is also very agile and a great fighter, mainly in unarmed combat.
  • Kyujutsu Expert - Akiko has demonstrated a natural affinity for the bow, and has pinpoint accuracy when targeting her enemies.
  • Ninjutsu Expert -Having been trained in the Way of The Ninja, Akiko also knows ninjutsu to a certain extent, using its techniques to surprise her fellow students in taijutsu practice, for example. However, her true proficiency with it has yet to be fully revealed.
  • Dokujutsu Expert - From her lessons in ninjutsu, Akiko has learnt to built up her body's natural resistance to poisons.

Relationships

  • Jack  - Akiko was Jack's first friend. Their friendship soon blossomed into romance.
  • Yamato - Being her cousin, he was like a brother to Akiko and she was very upset at his apparent death.
  • Miyuki - At first she shares a prickly relationship with her as Miyuki is a ninja; eventually both gain a sense of mutual respect for each other. Akiko may sense Miyuki 'likes' Jack, causing her to be hostile and somewhat jealous.

Trivia

  • She owns a horse named Snowball.

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