Bakuto

Let’s see now Iron Fist episode 7, and meet one of the recurring antagonists. In Felling Tree with Roots, Colleen Wing is visited by an old friend who just came back to town: that’s Bakuto, portrayed by Ramon Rodriguez. In the show, he turns out to be much more than a casual old friend, as he’s the leader of a faction of The Hand, who has quite an interest in Colleen’s new boyfriend, Danny Rand, and who tries to manipulate him in going against the faction ruled by Madame Gao. In the comics, Bakuto is a less than secondary foe, who only appeared in a couple of issues: he’s indeed a Hand leader, and he steps on a hero’s toes, albeit Iron Fist is not his target. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Bakuto’s early life, apart from the fact that he was recruited when he was still a boy by the shadowy organization known as The Hand, a secret sect of ninjas that served the mythical Beast and aimed to control the entire world. Bakuto made quite some career in The Hand, rising within the ranks until he became the right-hand man of Izanagi, his mentor, friend and Daimyo (a regional governor). Izanagi was one of the Five Fingers of the Hand, the rulers that controlled the branches all over the world: he was assigned South America, while Takashi ruled in Japan, Makoto controlled Eurasia and Yukata reigned in Africa; the fifth Finger was a normally vacant position, as his/her residence was in North America, a place in which many mystical forces gathered, but where The Hand was opposed by powerful foes. Above them all there was the Shōgun, supreme leader of The Hand, who controlled each and every one of them…or so it was supposed to be, as every Daimyo was pretty much independent from each other. Bakuto was a man of his generation, who didn’t respect The Hand’s traditions and who let himself be contaminated by the modern world, to the point that he started using guns and firearms instead of the usual swords, bows and traditional Japanese weapons. He also didn’t like the chain of command as much as the other warriors, something that Izanagi underestimated. When Elektra, the current Shōgun, died (actually, she had been replaced by Pagon, a Skrull), the Daimyos met to chose a replacement, and for the first time in centuries they chose a gaijin, an American, as the new Shōgun, a warrior of proven worth who had actually opposed and defeated The Hand many times: Matt Murdock, Daredevil. This was the last drop for Bakuto, who believed that the old Daimyos had lost their minds: he organized a rebellion, and supported by a group of men loyal to him who embraced his vision he killed Izanagi, taking his place as Daimyo of South America. Then, as the very first act as Daimyo, he denied his support to the new Shōgun, refusing to accept a gaijin as a leader, and dragging The Hand into a chrisis.

Bakuto’s opposition forced Murdock to call for a summit in The Hand’s historical headquarters, Jigoku-Chu Castle, where all the Daimyos (including the most recently appointed one, Angela “White Tiger” Del Toro from North America) gathered to discuss the problem. Bakuto immediately offended all the others with his attitude and his disrespect for traditions and his elders, and publicly denounced Daredevil for his activities, since he was making The Hand a force for good in New York. It was clear, however, that the other Daimyos were against Bakuto, as they supported the new Shōgun…but this wasn’t something that could make the young man lose his confidence. The Daimyo, however, was stepping in a plan much wider than what he could see, and this became clear the night of the banquet, when he started allucinating about the ghost of his dead master Izanagi and some demons hunting for him. Bakuto was brought back to his quarters, where Daredevil, who wanted to earn his trust, met him that same night. The Daimyo, however, was still allucinating, and not smelling any poison, the hero realised he had been targeted by magic. Plus, some warriors of The Hand broke in, with the clear intent of killing the delirious Bakuto. The two rivals teamed up and repelled the attack, and Daredevil even directly saved Bakuto’s life…but when the Daimyo came back to his senses, he believed that Murdock had staged the entire attack in a complex charade aimed to earn his gratitude and make him support his leadership. Obviously, he didn’t avoid to speak out his suspicions in presence of the other Daimyos, thus rekindling the fire of division within The Hand. Believing the others to be blind to Murdock’s true nature, he resolved to take more incisive measures. He sent his best men to kill Daredevil while he was brooding alone on a roof, while he sat comfortable with his two lieutenants drinking tea. His (premature) celebration was cut short as White Tiger appeared: working for the other three Daimyos, she snapped the neck of the two lieutenants, and she easily overpowered Bakuto in a katana duel, later stabbing him with a tanto; when Daredevil appeared, it seemed that, following his failed attempt to Murdock’s life, Bakuto had executed his men and taken his own life in seppuku. If his life and death had had no honor at all, the fake story told about him granted him some, at least.

Bakuto is an arrogant and ambitious man, a modernist who seeks to modernize The Hand with contaminations from the contemporary world. With no loyalty whatsoever, Bakuto is able to betray anyone, even his own master and mentor Izanagi, whom he even denied the ritual suicide to when defeated. As a Hand Daimyo, Bakuto is a skilled warrior and martial artist, able to use traditional weapons such as the katana or the kusarigama, who however prefers a much more modern Uzi Pistol. Little more than a glorified Yakuza gangster, Bakuto is a disgrace to The Hand’s ancient traditions, a man who walks a solitary path that leads him to play with forces he doesn’t even come close to understand.

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1 Comment

  1. […] character from Iron Fist appears in episode 10, Black Tiger Steals Heart. A welcomed guest of Bakuto, Danny is shown a video the Chinese People’s Liberation Army shot in 1948, in which a […]


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