Sakura is the main female protagonist of this story, as Mary has no part in Raul’s Asian tour. Nevertheless Sakura turns out to be the heart of the plot as she is the common point between all the characters of this adventure. That’s a weight she has no problem carrying. Sakura is one of the most powerful women Raul will ever meet (which includes many women) and will rise in equal parts to Raul’s respect, confusion and desire. Enough of it to try to steal her from a man who could kill him without breaking a sweat as Sakura’s husband, Ryosuke is.
Sakura is a mature woman in her late thirties to early forties, tall with an impressive presence and attractiveness. She was and is a strong martial artist who decided to stay in the shadow of Ryosuke Tazawa, (unusually, some years younger than her) since she married him more than ten years ago, all against her “master’s” will at that time, Priest Sato. However Sakura and Ryosuke haven’t been able to conceive a proper heir for Tazawa’s lineage so far, something Tazawa’s master blames on her, weakening her position inside the strictly stratified family. But even if she doesn’t realize it, Sakura’s ambitions are still alive, deep inside her, a strength just waiting to be unleashed behind a wall of conventions, respect and a love for her husband that’s becoming thinner by the day. A screen Raul is used to seeing through.
Sakura speaks conversational English, not very fluently but enough to liaise with Raul. She’s nevertheless the only coherent English speaker in Tazawa’s house.
Once best friends with him, what triggered Sato (The Priest), to put out of Tazawa’s reach the mythical artifact, was the death of their master and the ambition of his “sempai” (senior) Tazawa. This was an unprecedented act as the traditions of succession and the seniority system are strictly followed in Japan. Had they found the sword in his possession Sato could have ended up in jail, but he managed to hide it efficiently and retire as a Buddhist monk in the countryside. No solid proof could be found and he was never prosecuted, to Tazawa’s dismay. For years the powerful Tazawa family tried different methods to find the relic or obtain any clue from The Priest. This is all a story by itself that we could simplify in the results: no results.
Behind a facade of kindness that is not untrue, this wise, but somehow manipulative and still very powerful man turns out to be a tough nut too hard for Raul to crack, who finds himself dancing to The Priest’s music. It could have been a great chance for Raul to learn some spirituality if he hadn’t been so distracted with his usual materialistic concerns, mainly the money.
The Priest can speak excellent English as a result of his childhood in Okinawa, when he became a Kawashima sensei apprentice.
A top athlete of an extreme fighting style, with a body hard as a beast but not as dumb as many would make a terrible mistake in prejudging. This relentless man could do anything without hesitation to achieve his goal, basically to be acknowledged as the strongest amongst the strongest. After 10 years of marriage with Sakura they are in a crisis in their relationship, as Raul realizes quite quickly.
In her late twenties she’s The Priest’s daughter and pupil and she carries the weight of her father’s humble karate school. Ayumi is really skilled, a hidden gem in karate with an amazing technique that makes her able to face even the most powerful men. Her personality is quite introverted, adding the fact that she cannot speak English, she stays away from Raul’s business as much as she can.
He could have been a CEO of a big company, a skilled politician or the boss in any business he wanted to, but because of his family traditions he took his place as chairman of the Chinese triads. This cunning and serene man (until he meets Raul) has strict morality in his own world and does what he believes needs to be done. I picture The Host no younger than sixty, maybe reaching seventy, with an air of traditional Chinese style and a long thin bearded Eastern type.
He is a representative of the strict Japanese and Asian class system, the stiffness and extreme display of respect from everybody around him contrasts with his proud coldness of a leader who can not be easily spoken to.
Big Fat Bald Triad
A murderer dispatched to Japan from China to coordinate the chase of Raul. This huge guy is also quite agile for his weight and can speak three languages. Should not be taken lightly.
Ryosuke Tazawa’s Training Pals
These couple of athletes are the followers of the disturbing Ryosuke, way less smarter than him but quite powerful guys. They are a good representative of the Japanese “kohai” (junior followers) who are basically servants for their seniors in a shocking display of hierarchy to Westerners. They are not friendly with outsiders.