|DC/Marvel: Age of Infinite Heroes|
Mr. Unknown is one of Japan's greatest mystery men. He's helped to apply his detective skills to such a point that he's been compared to the great Japanese detective Kosuke Kindaichi, and he's appeared out of nowhere to disrupt Yakuza plots. Some of his battles verge on the fantastic, as it's rumored he's fought aliens from outer space, talking gorillas, and deathless skeletons. How much of it is sensationalism and how much of it is true remains uncertain.
Jiro Osamu is generally unknown, and does his best to remain so. Most college classmates asked about him might remember him as a quiet, solemn student. Closer acquaintances might remember him as a friendly polite man with a dry wit. It is his closest friends who see him as an intense man, who tries his hardest, and of whom, whom it might be said would be loyal even unto death.
Very little is known of Mr. Unknown, save that he is one of Japan's greatest masked vigilantes. He is spoken of in whispers, looming out of the darkness in his black costume, cape bellowing behind him as he dispenses justice to crime-doers, with dynamic martial arts. Criminals marvel at his detective skills.
This is not that Mr. Unknown.
Jiro Osamu was a young failed college student working in an emporium who first encountered an elderly man one day being accosted by a small Yakuza gang. His skills in martial arts stood him in good steed as he fended off the gangsters, only to get him berated by the old man for interfering. Angered by this, Jiro questioned the old man's ability to defend himself, only to quickly find himself staring up at the clear Japanese sky and a scowling old man. The old man regarded him with a sniff, and then left.
His second encounter, and the fateful moment, came when Mr. Unknown came crashing through an alley fence near his parents' home the next day. Jiro had never seen the man in the black costume before, but was aware of the whispers about the man who was Unknown. Accosted by men dressed in black wearing skull masks, Jiro made relatively quick work of them, and then made off with Mr. Unknown.
Being directed to a place of safety, Mr. Unknown revealed himself to be the elderly man he'd rescued the other day. With an apology, Jiro began to depart, but the elderly man stopped him.
"Take my place. Be a kagemusha," Mr. Unknown said. A body double, as it were, for Mr. Unknown's physical capabilities had slowed down, but not his mental skills.
With nothing better to do in life, Jiro took over the physical role of Mr. Unknown, while the original Mr. Unknown shifted his focus towards purely detective work.
Still, after a few months, Mr. Unknown called to his protege. "The best way to learn," he said, "is to learn to from life experience. You have too little. Complete your schooling," Mr. Unknown said to Jiro. "And take the costume as well. Perhaps the American vigilantes will have something to teach you, as well."
And so the young man left, so that both Jiro Osamu, and the kagemusha that would be Mr. Unknown could learn.
Jiro Osamu at heart is a good, dedicated young man whose relative stability, confidence, and calmness has been recently shakened up by his failing the Japanese college exams. In Japanese society, there is 'wa', which can be described as a state of harmony. Harmony with society, could be defined, where one blends in. Because Jiro has failed his college exams, he has become a 'ronin', and his 'honne', or true feelings, is at odds with his 'tatemai', the face he wears in public. And in Japan, when your honne is at odds with the 'wa' of society, a mature, virtuous person is expected to rise above his own selfish feelings. Jiro has never really quite accepted this, something his mentor is aware of. It is only, apparent when Jiro masquerades as Mr. Unknown's body double that he is able to find his 'honne' at harmony with his 'tatemai', and that he shows his confidence in self and who he can really be, rather than the somewhat obsessive young man determined to fulfill what he thinks society expects of him as a Japanese college student.
It is his mentor's hope that being outside, in a different society with different more, that Jiro might find that who he is as Mr. Unknown, and who he is as Jiro Osamu is not all that different, after all.
- 2011-07-23 - Slobocop - Slobo decides to get to San Francisco to meet the Titans pronto. By ripping off car thieves. Mr. Unknown decides to make a splash. And Hawkgirl and Lady Blackhawk breaks up a fight between boys.
- 2011-07-24 - Taken Under Wing - Hawkgirl does a little impromptu mentoring for Mr. Unknown.
- 2011-07-26 - The Bat, the Bastich, His Friends, and Those Legs - Batman monitors gun runners. People show up.
- (SFH: 2011-07-28 - Sea Monster Attacks)
- 2011-07-31 - Clash of the Titans - Kara meets the Teen Titans - Robin and Kara spar.
- 2011-08-07 - Soup Kitchen Heroics - Nightwing has Arsenal, Supergirl and Solarflare at soup kitchen as bait for Ninjaz.
- 2011-08-08 - Training Exercises: Testing Limits - Hawkgirl begins Mr. Unknown's training.
- (SFH: 2011-08-23 - A New Hero in San Francisco)