How Japan Helped Logan Become Krakoa’s Best Defender


Wolverine has several qualities that make him Krakoa’s best defender, qualities that were introduced in his first trip to Japan.

Wolverine is the best there is at what he does, and recently, that’s been protecting mutantkind from its enemies. As the field leader of X-Force, Logan is faced with many threats which he ultimately handles in his own unique fashion.

Wolverine wouldn’t be the formidable warrior he is today if not for one important adventure in Japan.

This character-defining mission came in the 1982 Wolverine mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. At the start of the series, Logan had been exchanging letters with Mariko Yashida, from Japan. When the letters stopped coming in, however, Wolverine traveled to Japan to investigate. Upon arrival, Logan discovered that Mariko was being forced into a marriage by her abusive father, Shingen.

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Mariko’s father was a major Japanese crimelord with dangerous ambitions. Wolverine challenged Shingen to a duel, but he was badly beaten. Left for dead, Logan was found by Yukio, a wild assassin who shared a mutual attraction to the X-Man. Wolverine helped Yukio fight off an attack by the Hand, unaware that she was working for Shingen. Indeed, Yukio was hired by Yashida to manipulate and humiliate Wolverine.

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Logan was fooled into attacking a conference between Shingen and a rival crimelord, believing he was simply going after Yashida. Yukio assassinated Shingen’s rival, while Wolverine brutally slew a group of ninjas before Mariko’s eyes. Realizing how badly he frightened Mariko, Logan was filled with shame.

This led Wolverine into a drunken stupor, getting into bar fights and messing around with Yukio. After refusing to help his government contact, Asano Kimura, Logan was stunned to discover Asano’s corpse. Realizing that Yukio killed Kimura, Wolverine went after her, defeating Yukio along with a horde of Hand ninjas. This moment of clarity strengthened Logan’s resolve to take down Shingen once and for all and prove his honor as a man.

Wolverine began taking apart Shingen’s organization piece by piece before infiltrating his headquarters and defeating the man Mariko was supposed to marry. Finally, Logan confronted Shingen in a tense showdown. At the end of this violent duel, Wolverine killed Shingen. Mariko arrived to thank Wolverine for restoring honor to Clan Yashida. Bestowing the clan’s ceremonial sword upon Logan, Mariko agreed to marry him.

Over the years since this mini-series, Wolverine has returned to Japan often. Japan has brought out the best in Wolverine, depicting him as an honorable warrior rather than a mindless animal. It’s this controlled, human aspect of Wolverine which has made him so effective in defending Krakoa. Rather than looking out for his own base instincts, Logan chooses to watch over the people he loves.

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For example, when the Flower Cartel manipulated Logan into losing control and killing his teammates, Wolverine struck back. Teaming up with the Marauders, Wolverine showed that he derives strength from his personal connections, rather than his animal instincts. Logan has also worked closely with CIA agent Jeff Bannister, using this connection to effectively defend Krakoa. Before, Logan carelessly let his friend Asano Kimura die. Now, however, Wolverine works with people like Bannister, collaborating with his allies.

Wolverine also showed just how refined Logan’s fighting skills can be. Several times, Wolverine took out a swarm of ninjas with precision, illustrating why he’s “the muscle” of X-Force. Similarly, the final fight against Shingen demonstrated Wolverine’s unexpectedly strategic mind. Examining each blow carefully, Wolverine was able to successfully defeat Yashida. With his tactical skills and practical knowledge, Logan is better prepared to take down any threats to Krakoa.

If not for Wolverine’s first trip to Japan, he wouldn’t be the honorable warrior that he is today.

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