Publication Date: 25th Jul 2013
Written By: sixhoursoflucy.
Image Work: sixhoursoflucy.


Mariko Yashida was born in Agarashima, in the northern Japanese prefecture of Miyago, the ancestral seat of her family, Clan Yashida. A noble Japanese family that could trace its lineage back thousands of years, Clan Yashida was headed by Mariko’s father, Lord Shingen Yashida. When Mariko was young, however, Lord Shingen disappeared, leading the world to believe him dead. With her father gone, Mariko, as the oldest trueborn heir, was appointed head of Clan Yashida. This angered her half-brother Kenuichio Harada, also known as the Silver Samurai, who believed he deserved the title. This remained an enduring point of contention between them.

As an adult, Mariko was home the night the villain Moses Magnum unleashed a devastating earthquake in the northern region of Japan that set Agarashima ablaze. Incidentally, at this time,  the X-Men found themselves in Japan, and sought aid from their old ally—and Mariko’s cousin—Sunfire. Mariko was alone in her manor’s garden when she caught sight of the X-Man Wolverine. She introduced herself when Wolverine approached her and complimented him on his excellent Japanese. Just as they were getting to know each other better, however, a second earthquake struck, causing a large tree to fall in Mariko's direction. Wolverine destroyed the tree before it crushed Mariko, and then shielded her body with his own as they fled the grounds, undoubtedly saving her life. [X-Men (1st series) #118]

When it came time for the X-Men to leave Japan, Mariko was disappointed that Wolverine had to leave her life as abruptly as he had entered it. To her surprise, however, he personally said goodbye to her, and gave her a white chrysanthemum as a parting gift. Mariko had the special privilege of learning Wolverine's real name, Logan, before he left. [X-Men (1st series) #119-120]

Because she spent a fair amount of time in New York City, Mariko’s path crossed with Logan’s again. The two of them began seeing each other whenever possible after their chance encounter in New York. When they could not see each other, they wrote each other letters. [X-Men (1st series) #122-123, 143]

Sometime later, while she was home in Japan, Mariko’s estranged father, long thought dead, returned home. To his family’s shame, he had gotten Clan Yashida involved with Japan’s criminal underworld. Worse, he had some shocking news for Mariko: to pay off a debt he had incurred, he promised her hand in marriage to someone from his debtor's clan. Because her duty to her family required her to honor the arrangement her father had made, Mariko obliged to marry her betrothed, Noburu-Hideki. A violent man, Noburu often beat Mariko, but she accepted his abuse as a proper use of his power over her in accordance with her culture's tradition. Because she did not want to dishonor her new husband, Mariko also stopped writing letters to Logan, as her relationship with him was no longer proper now that she had married. She returned the letters he sent to her unread.

Mariko was praying beneath a Buddha statue in her garden when Logan arrived to ask her why she ceased communicating with him. She informed him they could no longer see each other, and that his presence in her home shamed her.  When she turned to face Logan, he saw the bruises Noburu had given her. Enraged, Logan threatened to kill her husband, but Mariko begged him to  stop and asked him to leave. Logan complied. Mariko’s father, however, refused to let him go that easily. When Logan tried to leave, Lord Shingen poisoned him, kidnapped him and prepared to shame him before Mariko’s eyes. Mariko had to watch as Lord Shingen challenged the addled mutant to a duel using wooden sparring swords. She failed to notice that her father used the sparring swords in a lethal manner, employing his samurai knowledge to strike at Logan's nerves and organs. When Logan finally drew his claws to fend off his would-be killer, Mariko mistakenly believed it was Logan who had initiated the use of lethal force in the duel. This led her to agree with her father that Logan was a dishonorable savage unworthy of being called a man. [Wolverine (1st series) #1]

With Logan seemingly out of the picture, Lord Shingen deployed Mariko and her husband as ambassadors to meet with Katsuyoro, a rival crime lord. They met at a playhouse to talk business, but first sat to enjoy some Kabuki theater. Unbeknownst to Mariko, both sides were plotting against each other: Lord Shingen arranged for his best assassin Yukio to eliminate Katsuyoro, whereas Katsuyoro intended to slay both Mariko and her husband using his ninjas, who were masquerading as actors onstage. When the ninjas revealed themselves and moved to assassinate Mariko, Logan intervened, once again saving Mariko's life. He went berserk during the fight that ensued, though, and ruthlessly slaughtered the troupe of ninjas. Mariko had glimpsed her love’s animalistic side before, but never to this extent. Horrified to behold his berserker rage firsthand, she left in shock. [Wolverine (1st series) #2]

Further upsetting Mariko was her newfound proximity to her father, which allowed her to see how corrupt he had become. It pained her to see him dishonor their noble family name by involving the clan in dealings with Japan’s criminal underworld. Upon praying for guidance, Mariko realized what she had to do: slay her father with the Yashida Clan's Honor Sword, and then commit seppuku for her crime.  Around this same time, Logan was learning of the attempts Lord  Shingen had made on his life, and the extent to which the man had manipulated him. Mariko was with her father when Logan arrived to challenge him to a fight to the death. Noburu, terrified for his own life, tried to escape when Logan arrived, and used Mariko as a human shield to make his getaway. Fortunately for Mariko, a rogue assassin slew him as he fled, effectively ending their marriage. Meanwhile, Logan defeated the corrupt Lord Shingen in their duel, and took his life with his claws. He then laid down his defenses, knowing that Mariko was now honor bound to take his life as vengeance for her father. To Logan's surprise, Mariko yielded, telling him that Lord Shingen had shamed their family name and therefore needed to die to preserve their clan’s honor. By preventing her from having to perform the act herself, Logan had actually saved Mariko’s life. With his honor now evident, Mariko took a vacation in the mountains with Logan so he could heal. While there, they got engaged, and began making arrangements for their wedding. [Wolverine (1st series) #3-4]

Meanwhile, because of her father's death, leadership of Clan Yashida once again passed to Mariko. In addition to inheriting her father’s opulent lifestyle, she also inherited all of his dishonorable business affairs, including the connections he had made with the criminal underworld of Japan. She also failed to realize just how severely her position atop Clan Yashida angered her half-brother, the Silver Samurai, who considered himself Shingen’s true heir. When the X-Men arrived in Japan for her wedding, Harada and his associate Viper poisoned them and took Mariko hostage. Harada’s actions made it clear that he was willing to kill Mariko to seize control of Clan Yashida. Fortunately for Mariko, the X-Men who eluded the effects of the poison intervened and saved Mariko from Viper and the Silver Samurai. Harada was not ready to give up so easily, however. He and Viper ambushed Mariko and the X-Men in the hospital, where they were recovering from the poison. Wolverine and Rogue arrived in time to save them, and Rogue even took a bullet for Mariko that surely would have ended her life.

A week later, Mariko prepared to marry Logan as planned. The day before the wedding, she was spending some time by herself in her garden, meditating on how much she loved Logan. The villainous Mastermind, who bore a deep grudge against the X-Men, approached her while she was alone and tampered with her mind. After forcing her to believe Logan was unworthy of her hand in marriage, Mastermind left without a trace. Under Mastermind’s influence, Mariko called off the wedding and abandoned Logan at the altar. When asked to explain her actions, she simply said he was not worthy. She repeated this mantra when he approached her later for an explanation. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #172-174]

While under Mastermind’s influence, Mariko deepened her family’s ties to Japan’s criminal underworld. Eventually the X-Men defeated Mastermind and dispelled his illusions, but by the time Mariko regained control of her mind, it was too late: she was now honor-bound by her own word to the criminal underworld of Japan. Logan confronted Mariko in Japan and asked why they couldn't be married now that Mastermind’s illusions had dissipated. Mariko said she had to repair the damage she had done to her family name by severing Clan Yashida's ties to the criminal underworld, and insisted she had to do this alone, without Wolverine's help or interference. Her honor, which she held in highest regard, depended on it. Despite the rift between them, Mariko promised Logan that she would marry him once she had successfully divested her family business of its criminal ties. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #176]

Both Mariko and Wolverine were in Japan when a giant dragon attacked the island, although Mariko refrained from contacting him. During the attack, however, Wolverine rescued a young girl named Amiko from the rubble of a collapsed building, and promised the girl’s dying mother he would take responsibility for her. When Wolverine's search for Amiko's family revealed she had no living relatives, Mariko agreed to adopt the girl. She raised Amiko as her own, and got along quite well with the new addition to her family. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #181]

Although her relationship with Wolverine brought blessings like Amiko into her life, it also exposed her to the occasional danger, like when Logan's old master, Ogun, decided to punish his former protégé by killing Mariko. Ogun sneaked into her home and attempted to execute her, but she  and Amiko were both saved by the X-Man Kitty Pryde.  After defeating Ogun, Mariko, Amiko and Logan went out to celebrate, behaving as a happy family. Despite them now effectively having a child together, however, Mariko still refused to take Logan's hand in marriage until she had restored her honor. [Kitty Pryde & Wolverine #5-6]

Sometime later, an archer who claimed to be loyal to Clan Yashida sought an audience with Mariko. Dressed in ancient samurai garb, he claimed that his people were involved in a scuffle at the Tangkor Marat in Thailand that involved summoning an extra-dimensional creature called the Doombringer to bring about the apocalypse, but that another group had cast a spell over the region that put all of its subjects in stasis for a millennium. Assuming he was crazy, Mariko dismissed the man. However, when she investigated his story, she discovered that it matched up quite well with the ancient lore of Clan Yashida—eerily so, in fact. Disturbed, she called in a favor from Logan and asked him to investigate the matter in order to see if it truly involved her Yashida ancestors. Logan agreed to the job, and enlisted the Silver Samurai’s help in stopping the Doombringer from destroying the world. Afterward, when Mariko asked Logan if any members of Clan Yashida had indeed shamed their legacy, Logan lied to her, telling her the Yashida Clan were the good guys in the affair. Mariko concealed her true reaction—but she could tell he was lying. She understood that Logan didn't want to reveal to her additional sins for which she would have to atone, and therefore prolong their estrangement. Although Logan’s lie did not anger her, the fact remained that she now had additional ancestral crimes for which she felt guilty. [Wolverine: Doombringer]

In addition to having to contend with rival families in Japan, Mariko also had to fend off attempts by the Hand to wrest control of her contacts in the criminal underworld. Hand jonin Matsu'o Tsurayaba, an old enemy of Wolverine’s, rightly feared Mariko would liquidate her clan’s criminal contacts before he could acquire them. Because of this, Clan Yashida found themselves under untenable pressure from the nefarious ninja assassin group. Deeming the Hand’s threat too grave to defy, Mariko wanted to work with Matsu'o, ceding some of her family’s criminal assets over to them. This infuriated the heads of Clan Yashida, who naively thought they were strong enough to stand against them. It especially angered her brother Harada. He accused her of wanting to sign away their criminal assets in order to expedite her reunion with Wolverine, and once more petitioned to be leader of Clan Yashida. Mariko held firm in her position. [Wolverine (2nd series) #55-56]

Amidst the negotiations between the Hand and Clan Yashida, Matsu’o ordered his ninjas to invade the Yashida home, incidentally while Wolverine was visiting. With the manor under siege, Matsu’o and his associates sent in a courier to deliver a message. When the courier arrived at the inner sanctuary, she presented Matsuo’s offer to Mariko: he would purchase all of Clan Yashida's underworld holdings at fair market value and then divest them on her behalf, in exchange for one of her fingers. Mariko considered this a good deal, as it would both restore her family’s honor and complete the long task that separated her from her true love, Wolverine. The courier presented Mariko with the blade Matsu’o wanted her to use to sever her finger. Naturally, Mariko asked if it were poisoned, but the messenger assured them it was clean by cutting her own hand with it. Believing the blade to be safe, Mariko prepared to remove one of her fingers. However, as soon as the blade pierced her flesh, lethal tetrodotoxin entered her bloodstream and began ending her life. Matsu’o, in his attempt to get vengeance on Wolverine, had indeed poisoned the blade; he had simply used a poison to which this assassin was immune. As the poison spread through her body, Mariko cried out for Logan and asked him to carry her into the chapel so she could die in peace. With her dying wish, she begged Logan to spare her the misery of a painful death by killing her with his claws. Heartbroken, Wolverine agreed. Just as the two of them had finally reached a point at which they could finally marry, Wolverine had to plunge his claws through his true love’s chest, ending her life as peacefully as possible. [Wolverine (2nd series) #57]

For the crimes she committed as the leader of Clan Yashida, Mariko was condemned to Hell. Logan encountered her there years later, when some of his more twisted enemies forced his soul from his body and shunted it to that same realm. There, the Devil summoned Mariko to torture the captive Logan, forcing her to lash him in order to break his spirit. Afterward, she was returned to her cell. When Logan made his escape from Hell, he went to Mariko's cell and offered to break her out. Mariko, however, chose to remain behind, claiming there was nothing for her left on Earth. She bid Logan farewell, and asked him one favor as he left: that he remember her as she was on Earth, and not as he saw her in the afterlife. [Wolverine (4th series) #1-5]