Eiko Hasigawa is a young woman, apparently in her mid twenties, and an only child. Her story is told throughout a 13 issue arc comprising Catwoman #36 – 46m (2011) and the second annual. She is the daughter of Tatsuo Hasigawa, head of a Gotham crime family bearing his name. Eiko’s mother is mentioned twice. Based on the box labelled “Memories of Mother” into which Eiko puts her Catwoman mask, her mother has died. Eiko has a close relationship with her cousin Ken, whom Tatsuo named, along with Eiko, as a potential heir to the syndicate. Despite several attempts by the elder Hasigawa to pit his daughter against Ken to see who comes out on top, Eiko has remained loyal to Ken. This loyalty to Ken has made her question whether she could put Ken’s life in danger or send him to prison if circumstances warranted it and so the tattoo across her back remains unfinished, its state a sore point with her father though he’s ignorant of the reasoning.
Writer Genevieve Valentine reveals much of Eiko’s story and character in Catwoman annual #2. A facet of Eiko’s personality is reflected in the fact that Eiko and her father have been playing the strategy based game Go together since she was five years old. In all this time she hasn’t won a single game, nor has anyone in the past thirty years beat her father. Her cunning and secretive nature is made clear in interior monolog which reveals her losing is part of her long term strategy to craft a certain persona, to deflect attention, and in a way to hide in her father’s and everyone’s sight. Valentine has two books play influential roles on Eiko when she is younger. Sun tzu’s The Art of War is a gift from her father while her mother gave a copy of The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon. The latter being a diary record during the author’s time as court lady to Empress Consort Teishi during Japan’s Heian period. Eiko finds it to be a “psychological primer as revealing as any book of war” and learns “to write things down is to explain yourself…to make lists betrays how you think.” Rather than betray herself to her father Eiko refuses to write in a journal given to her by her mother, electing in a way to become her own diary; a choice that sharpens her thought process and memories.
An order from her father to track down a party who interfered in a operation (who just happens to be Catwoman) is one with which Eiko is eager to comply, initially enlisting Ken’s help. Drawing upon determination and will power, one night Eiko spies Catwoman and decides to follow, chasing after her aross rooftops. It is the first of many rooftop encounters and one that will be mirrored at the end of the story arc when the two women part ways. Through keen discernment Eiko notices a correlation between Catwoman’s disappearance and Selina Kyle’s increasing presence in Gotham as Kyle becomes the head of the Calabrese family and is astute enough to figure out the connection between Catwoman and Kyle. Eiko decides to become Catwoman in the original’s void partly out of fascination and to undo some of what her father does. One of her first actions is to warn a member of the Forster Lane family (who recently aided Eiko) that the Hasigawas intend to take over the territory, snatching it from her father by ensuring that the rival family ally itself with Kyle’s Calabrese house. While observing Selina at an upscale restaurant and in between her first couple outings as Catwoman Eiko begins to wonder her motivation for still following Selina. Her thoughts reveal that she’s started to fall in love with Selina, and this may be the first time she’s fallen in love with another person, given how guarded her life is.
An encounter with Batman shows Eiko has bravado as she tries to impress him before being warned off her masquerade. She might have taken the advice except her father’s elimination of Ken. This surprise development greatly upsets Eiko but she contains her emotions and decides to continue her efforts to indirectly oppose her father. Being Catwoman gives her a measure of freedom to do this that she otherwise doesn’t have as well as the opportunity to interact with Selina.
As the story progresses Eiko becomes more aware of her father’s morally questionable position as he allies the Hasigawa family with Black Mask (Roman Sionis) and uses his order to get close to Selina to her advantage, though building to a place of mutual trust is difficult given a Hasigawa assassination attempt on Selina and Eiko’s disappointment that Selina agrees the Calabreses will help distribute a heroin shipment for Hasigawa. Matters become much more complicated when Hasigawa himself declares war on Selina and the Calabreses on the assumption that it was she who turned Black Mask in to the cops. Later that night after a sexually tense private meeting between the two women at the Calabrese mansion in which Selina rebuffs Eiko’s concern, Eiko dons the Catwoman garb and meets Selina on her penthouse balcony. What follows is a declaration of love and a mutual kiss.
With matters between the Hasigawa, Selina’s Calabreses, and other families like the Sons of Forster Lane escalating, Eiko becomes more active in her covert operations, offering help to Selina. Selina’s response (“Go back to your father. Be my enemy and live.”) reveals that she genuinely cares for Eiko. Neither can stay apart for long as the news of Batman’s (apparent) death finds Eiko making another secret late night trip to comfort Selina. The panels in this sequence reflect a color change indicating night turning to morning, and that Eiko has spent several hours alone with Selina, and then sneaking home before her father discovers her absence.
Balancing family obligations and a secret life should is demanding enough but circumstances lead Eiko to become Spoiler’s trainer. The added responsibilty may cause her to careless in rushing to Selina’s penthouse only to be ambushed and shot by Roman Sionis who’s decided to eliminate Selina on his own. Happy in thinking he’s killed Catwoman, Sionis to reconsider his alliance with the Hasigawa while an unobserved Killer Croc rescues an injured Eiko. Sionis acts on a hunch and with a small number of loyal men storms the Hasigawa complex, killing bodyguards before executing Hasigawa himself, and in doing so takes over the family himself.
In the wake of her father’s death and burial, Eiko quietly schemes a grand plan of revenge and is both angry and touched when Selina sneaks into her bedroom to check on her. In turning her back, exposed by her clothing’s design, Selina notices that Eiko’s tattoo is now completed. This signifies an emotional transition for Eiko and may have ritual symbolism among real world Yakuza members. Selina returns the debt of Eiko’s help by getting Sionis out of the picture, allowing Eiko the opportunity to assert herself as head of the crime family in a manner that would certainly make her father proud. The final chapter of the story sees Eiko enacting her grand plan to burn down many of Gotham’s crime families. Without her father to hold her in check she becomes a whirlwind of violence and death. Just as a fight brought them together for a kiss a fight with a knife to the throat breaks them apart.
Eiko Hasigawa first appeared in Catwoman #35 (vol 4). Whether Eiko is lesbian, bisexual, or pansexual is uncertain. Writer Genevieve Valentine seems to have commented only on the matter of Selina being bisexual. We here at Gay League hope that Eiko will return to the series or appear in another Batman related title.
Eiko Hasigawa created by Genevieve Valentine and Garry Brown. Art by Brown and Lee Loughridge from Catwoman #39.
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