"Your halfbreed nature is showing." - Miharu
"I am not a halfbreed. Both of my parents were American." - Tengoku
Kamigari Hayato (family name first) is a Japanese-American superhero operating under the aegis of Japan's Bureau 17, a former burgeoning rock star whose six months in the spotlight were cut short by a supernatural accident which found him possessed by an oni.
Kamigari Hayato was a second-generation Japanese-American from Los Angeles. Both sides of his family were immigrants after World War II, but his father's kept many ties with their homeland. His family moved to Japan for good shortly before Hayato turned ten, with his mother's extended family still living in California. Hayato's time in America made him an outsider in Japan, but his household had spoken Japanese as or more often than English so the language didn't trouble him. He rapidly adopted the culture of his new home country, retaining just enough of an American twist on his behavior to make him stand out in school. Hayato found that he enjoyed being the center of attention, whether good or bad, and made the most of his odd upbringing. He also discovered that he had a talent for singing which drew the attention of musicians around his high school.
Hayato put off college and the tiresome exams they would to concentrate on singing and writing music. By the time he was twenty, he was the the lead singer of the Shivers, an on-the-rise band in the late 2000's Japanese rock music scene. Like many bands aimed at young people in both Japan and the U.S., they were almost entirely manufactured, the four-man-band version of the idol singers which came and went so quickly in Japan. Though talented enough on their own, the individual artists were selected, promoted, and managed to within an inch of their lives directly by Kabisu Entertainment. The Shivers skirted the edge of the flamboyant 'visual kei' style with highly stylized outfits and colorful, outrageous hairdos, enough to catch the eye but never enough to offend. Hayato lived it up all along, enjoying his status and the prerogatives which came with it.
Hayato's life of fame and dissolution was derailed only half a year after the band released their first album, however. During a promotional photo shoot at an ancient Shinto shrine on Mt. Katsuragi, Hayato noticed a woman who kept out of the way of the production crew and the shrine's attendant priests, a beautiful woman with jet-black hair, neotraditional garb, and a seductive air, who seemed (so he thought) to find him just as intriguing as he found her. Too distracted by this vision to pay attention to the priests' brief lecture on the history and purpose of the shrine, Hayato finished only about half of the photoshoot before calling a break. Slipping away from the camera crew, he wandered through the grounds, catching a glimpse of the woman here and there before following her through a rusty gate and into the basement of the main shrine.
If Hayato had listened to the priests, he might have suspected what was going to happen. Beneath the shrine was a rocky, shallow cave sealed at the end with ancient double doors of heavy wood. He saw the woman smile enticingly at him and slip through the doors, closing them behind her. In his eagerness to catch her, he barely registered that the doors were still sealed, both with a heavy latch and with ancient rope hung with prayer scrolls that practically shivered with power. Whether because he was an irreverent American-born lout, or because he was beguiled, Hayato thought little of the crumbling ropes and scrolls as he snapped them, one by one, and lifted the latch which was all which stood between him and an amorous encounter.
Bound beneath the shrine for more than six centuries was a terrible oni, its spirit form sealed between life and death within a rough pillar carved from the mountain's bedrock and sealed into the rock hollow with prayer and magic. As the seals snapped and the door opened, lightning leapt from the stone and the oni's spirit dove into the young man with a roar like a thunderbolt. The priests and camera crew found him simultaneously, curled in a fetal position, horns sprouting from his head, his skin darkening. Knowing instantly what had happened, the priests ushered out the shocked camera crew and began desperately trying to bind the oni into its new vessel. In this, they were mostly successful, and soon the transformation was halted, if not reversed.
Once he came to, the priests laid out the reality of his situation bluntly: the oni within him was still there, still capable of consuming his soul. It was a spirit of storm, passion, and chaos, a thunderstorm given form and voice. The priests claimed that it was the soul of a former ascetic who had spent many years purifying his spirit, only to fall from the path of grace and turn all his hard-earned mystical power over to violent passion and impurity. Defeated long ago after wreaking havoc in the Emperor's court itself, it was sealed in the very hermitage it had once meditated at and the shrine built over its remains.
Hayato's transformation was only arrested by the intervention of the shrine's priests, who temporarily sealed the oni away, but not before Hayato had been left permanently marked - horned, tailed, and possessed of a fraction of the power of the beast inside him. The more he acted like it - the more impure he acted and the more he let his own base nature control him - the closer the beast would come to the surface, until it would rise and devour him. With some effort, and a great many angry recriminations, they taught him meditative techniques, purification rites, and ascetic practices which could keep the demon-spirit in check. At first, Hayato did not take their instruction gracefully. A monk is the last thing that Hayato ever wanted to be - he was very fond of money, fame, loose women, and the occasional round of recreational chemicals. He eventually resigned himself to the necessity, and even learned to find some measure of peace in the rituals. It was discovered that Hayato had access to certain of the oni's supernatural abilities - incredible strength and resilience, control over thunder and lightning, and flight, among others. He worked diligently to master these abilities, though he never ceased being bitter about the opportunities he'd lost.
Of course, after Hayato's 'accident' it was all but impossible for him to remain a public figure, let alone an idol singer, and his contract was quickly dissolved. The Japanese metahuman regulatory agency, 'Bureau 17', snapped him up him into their ranks, both to gain a useful operative and to keep track of him more thoroughly. They gave him a codename, Tengoku, which translates as 'Warden'. The priests gave him a more ominous name, roughly translated as 'He Whose Soul Is Food For The Beast.' In a fit of optimism, Hayato decided to use the government's suggestion instead.
The newly-named 'Tengoku' was sent to Millennium City as a small part of an elaborate international superhuman defense initiative, though he is technically still under the jurisdiction of the Japanese government as well as any local and U.S. national authorities. Hayato expects that in addition to the advantages of his dual citizenship, the exchange was meant to get him out of Japan and nearer to other, more experienced heroes should he slip too far and let the oni wrest control from him. So far, it hasn't happened, but it has been a near thing on at least one occasion, and he's concerned that at least one of the other Japanese heroes sent with him has orders to dispose of him should he prove dangerous. Even now he remains frustrated in more ways than one by the situation, but between bouts of cynicism and resentment, he takes some pleasure in the good he is capable of doing - he just wishes it were more personally rewarding.
- Looking for other Japanese or mythological-oriented heroes, or anyone with a storyline or group Tengoku would fit into. Anyone is welcome to open up RP at any time, or contact me OOC to set up story ideas or character relationships.