Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Who's Who: Sensei

by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Toshiaki White Crane (Shiratsuru)
Super-Power(s): None; an expert in martial arts
Planet of Origin: Earth
Relationship to Legion: Mentor; father figure to Val Armorr (Karate Kid)

Legion Log
Shiratsuru from a young age showed mastery of karate and zen philosophy. Although nothing is known of his ancestors, Shiratsuru showed such skill in the martial arts that teachers in Japan sought him out for the honor of working with him.

When Shiratsuru felt he was ready, he named himself White Crane and began patrolling Tokyo, ridding it of its yakuza (Japanese gangsters) and crime bosses.

This activity brought White Crane into direct conflict with the Black Dragon, who became his arch-enemy. Eventually, the rivals met for a final showdown, and White Crane made the morally ambivalent decision to kill Black Dragon.

Unfortunately, this left Black Dragon's son, Val, an orphan, as his mother had already been killed. White Crane did not know of Val at the time of the mortal combat, and felt bad about leaving Val an orphan. He decided to bring Val up to atone for the evil that Black Dragon had committed, and also to atone for his being the agent responsible for making him an orphan. White Crane adopted the boy and changed his name to Armorr (his mother's maiden name) so that he would remain hidden from the Black Dragon's gang. He kept Val's true heritage a secret as he trained the boy to eventually become  Karate Kid. Young Val called him Sensei, the Japanese word for teacher or tutor.

Years later, Karate Kid met the Black Dragon's apprentice, Sadaharu (aka Sadowara), who told Karate Kid the true story of his father. Even after knowing the facts, Karate Kid accepted Sensei as his true father, disavowing the Black Dragon.

After Karate Kid was killed, Sensei joined Timber Wolf to fulfill one of the provisions of Karate Kid's last will and testament. They traveled to the planet of inequity, Lythyl, on an errand of mercy. There, Sensei found another young martial artist who he decided to try to train as he had previously trained Karate Kid. He brought Myg back to Earth to teach him virtue as well as skill.

Myg eventually joined the Legion Academy and  during the so-called Five-Year Gap, became a member of the Legion as Karate Kid II.

Sensei never reappeared, in any continuity.

After Infinite Crisis, Sensei's original history has presumably been more or less restored.

Note: The writer of this Who's Who in the Legion profile clearly has no knowledge of Japanese language or customs. "Sensei" is not a super-hero name; it is the word in Japanese for "teacher." Being incredibly humble, White Crane would never call himself by this name. Karate Kid undoubtedly called him Sensei in lieu of a different title, Father. When Timber Wolf met the older gentleman, he used the honorific as well. Secondly, there is no such thing as a "White Toshi." This is clearly a mis-print for "White Crane;" the Japanese word for that animal being Shiratsuru.

Important Sensei stories:

Adventure Comics #367
(reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7
and Showcase Presents: The Legion Vol. 3)
Karate Kid visits his Sensei in Tokyo just before the Dark Circle invasion

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #210
(reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11
and Showcase Presents: The Legion Vol. 5)
Karate Kid learns that his Sensei killed his biological father

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #10
(reprinted in The Legion: The More Things Change TPB)
Sensei offers to assist Timber Wolf to fulfill Karate Kid's last request

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #13
(reprinted in The Legion: The More Things Change TPB)
Sensei travels to Lythyl with Timber Wolf

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #15
Sensei takes it upon himself to train Myg from Lythyl

Secret Origins (v3) #47
Karate Kid's secret origin is all wrapped up in his Sensei's

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