Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Character Closeup: Keisuke

Keisuke Nakatomi is the adoptive father of Kiara. A Japanese transplant, Keisuke took Kiara in when she was left on his doorstep as a baby. The birthmark that Kiara bears on her eye reminded him of the daughter.  We find out more about his past later on in the book.

The best image I can give of Keisuke is refer you to Pat Morita in the Karate Kid.  Although I do try to give him a bit longer of a mustache.  I think he's pretty similar in mannerisms as well.  Kiara calls him KeiKei (pronounced like Kay-Kay) as a term of endearment.  She is well aware that she is adopted, though there is no lack of love in the small family.

Keisuke's birth name is Nakatomi Keisuke, though he adopted a westernized form of his name when he went into business.  Initially, he had run a martial arts studio, but after finding Kiara, he "retired."  From then on, he ran a smaller sushi shop.  He actually shares a lot in common with Michael, as his nature forces him toward isolation, but he still desires human contact.  He can't completely become a hermit, because it's not who he is.

I borrowed the Nakatomi name from one of the most influential clans in Classical Japan.  Since Keisuke is supposed to be the descendant of famous samurai, it fit.  Like I mentioned before, I wrote this book initially for my wife.  Since she's a big fan of Asian culture, and Japanese cartoons in particular, samurai were an easy choice.  Plus, what's not to like about samurai?  It was a research topic I could get into, as I've always enjoyed swordplay.

A lot of the legends tell how a samurai and his blade are closely linked, in a spiritual sense.  I took this idea and ran with it when conceiving the Spirit Binder.  What if they really were bound to their weapons somehow?  What would that power be like?  Why would it exist?

Keisuke is the embodiment of a hero in hiding.  A master in unassuming form.  Yet, he's also very human.  He's suffered loss in the past, and that loss colors his decisions.  At what point does one grow tired of fighting?  When do you draw the line and opt to simply save others from harm, even if it makes you more vulnerable?  What does family mean?  There are a lot of big questions in Keisuke.

I'm not going to share any of the answers here, but as always, feel free to hit me up in comments and I'll be less obtuse.  Click through at your own peril!


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