- "Combat is the best judge of intent."
- —Tsuruko Aoyama
Possessing a somewhat eccentric personality, Tsuruko is ethical and tolerant, to a point. She was brought up to follow traditional Japanese morals of the warrior class; meaning to follow obligation, politeness and duty. As a result she seems to be somewhat naive to the “ways of the modern world”, even more so than her sister and is relatively easy to fool.
Her righteous temper is perhaps what makes her dangerous, able to intimidate that strongest of individuals while still appearing pleasant. Her appearance and clothing resembles that of traditional Japan, often only seen wearing her hakuma during Shinmeiryu affairs, though she does sometimes wear more modern clothing. Her hair, too, is usually just worn straight in a traditional Japanese cut.
Tsuruko is strong willed and difficult to sway when she has made up her mind. Her knowledge and skills with the Shinmeiryu arts are unparalleled; being one of the most powerful swordswomen in the style’s history.
Despite possessing a “tough love” outlook where her sister is concerned, Tsuruko has Motoko's best interests at heart and her only real wish is for her sister to be happy on whatever path she chooses to walk.
Born into a family of legendary demon-slayers, Tsuruko, like Motoko, was brought up to one day take over the business and became one of the most powerful practitioners in the school’s history. She would raise and train Motoko and Seno Nakakami as youngster, and also Setsuna Sakurazaki when the young hanyou joined the dojo. When Tsuruko began leaving for missions she gave her favorite sword, the Shisui, to Motoko as a parting gift. Years later Tsuruko would become engaged to a fellow warrior and Motoko, upset with her sister’s decision, left the dojo to live elsewhere during her days at school.
Tsuruko at Hinata-SouEdit
Just over a month later, while Seno was away on a circuit of convention tours across Japan, Motoko’s sister arrived to bring her back to Kyoto to take over the family dojo. However, Motoko didn’t feel that she was capable of leading the dojo yet and attempted to lie, telling her sister that she was engaged to Keitaro Urashima, in order to avoid leaving. Though she would never admit it to anyone, she mused at the time that she would have rather had Seno around to be the one for her to concoct the lie with, on the presumption that his swordsmanship would make the lie more believable.
It didn't take long for Tsuruko to learn the truth, however, and, in retaliation for lying, engaged Motoko in combat, soundly defeating her and breaking her sword in half. Now disowned from her family, Motoko stole Kitsune Konno’s maid outfit and attempts to work as the maid, however her over enthusiasm for the work would eventually lead to complaints from the other dorm residents and, out of frustrated hopelessness, she ran away.
Tsuruko convinced Keitaro to help Motoko defeat her, thus reclaiming her right as part of the Aoyama family, but under the condition that if they were unable to defeat her she would force Keitaro to marry Motoko to make up for his part in lying about their engagement. Giving her the Youto Hina to replace Shisui, Keitaro accompanied Motoko to Kyoto to challenge Tsuruko.
When Naru became involved in the incident, she became possessed by the Hina blade during Motoko and Tsuruko’s final bout. When Motoko managed to seal the blade without harming anyone involved, she redeemed herself in Tsuruko’s eyes and was allowed to continue studying and living in the Hinata. She began to use the Youto Hina as her primary weapon without incident following this event.
Duel at KyotoEdit
- Main article: Duel at Kyoto
Only the morning after the return of Kawakami Gensai, Seno had left for Kyoto to seek Tsuruko. There, he swiftly explained the situation and requested Motoko's hand in marriage. Tsuruko declined at first, stating it was much too short a time for him to even begin thinking about that... but then she recanted after seeing how true Seno's affections were and demanded one condition; a duel.
The ensuing duel at Kyoto would find Seno and Tsuruko locked in battle. Motoko, Keitaro and Naru eventually arrived as well, having followed after Seno for fear that he might take the blame for Motoko being raped and fear that Tsuruko might take it out on him, rather than the true culprit, Gensai. In the end, it would be Motoko who emerged victorious from the duel, finding her true feelings and stance, standing against Tsuruko to protect the man she loved. In result, Tsuruko granted Seno and Motoko permission to marry, with the ceremony and announcement to the rest of the Hinata residents taking place in the days to follow.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Shinmeiryu: As the once-heiress to the Shinmeiryu dojo and the Aoyama clan, Motoko is skilled in numerous techniques of the school, to include secretive and high-ranked technique.