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Asakura Hao (麻倉ハオ , Zeke Asakura in the English version of the 2001 anime and games) is the main antagonist in the manga and anime series of Shaman King. He was born Asaha Doji (麻葉童子 Asaha Dōji) in Japan during the Heian era and, after rising to prominence as an Onmyōji, was renamed Asakura Hao (麻倉葉王). During his third life, he was reborn as the twin brother of his descendant Asakura Yoh. He is the most powerful shaman in the entirety of the series and the current Shaman King.
Being Yoh's older twin brother and ancestor, Hao is very identical to Yoh in many ways physically, as they both have dark brown hair and brown eyes. Differing from his younger twin, Hao's hair is much longer in length, reaching past his waist. He often wears a pale yellow poncho cloak that covers only his upper body, while wearing nothing beneath.
He wears a pair of black with red lining fingerless gloves with four small protrusions where the knuckles are imprinted with his own name on them and as well as a pair of dark red baggy pants with two sections each with a set of three straps on each leg and shoes with two studs protruding from the toes. He also wears a belt embedded with the Five Point Star and the straps are lined with it as well. A five-pointed star pattern is also found in the medium-sized gauge stud earrings he wears. When Hao uses the Over Soul or his Yin Yang Jutsu, his hair folds up in several spikes.
While in public Hao wears a pair of dark blue jeans and a half-buttoned white shirt with oversized collars and cuffs.
Hao is a complex and multilayered individual molded by a series of harsh circumstances during his life. In the Heian period he lived under the uncertainty of corrupted and uncaring nobility which drove the country into chaos and poverty. He saw the world as a grim and dark place until he met a small demon named Ohachiyo, who taught him all the positive aspects of life. However, after an accident involving Hao's first Over Soul, Ohachiyo became a permanent part of Hao and cursed him with a dangerous ability of Reishi. In his teen years, having witnessed the corruption and greed in the capital, Hao was aloof to those around him, but as he grew into an adult, he became a relatively peaceful man who sought to help the people around him, and thanks to him the Asakura Family prospered. It was because of this gentle and kind nature that he took in the cat Matamune, whom he considered his only friend.
Hao grew misanthropic over time, as his Reishi abilities became too strong and eventually went beyond his control. The negative emotions and thoughts of others were constantly overwhelming him and, since he was unable to turn his Reishi off, the deluge of negativity eventually created an "Oni" inside his own heart. The internal confusion and disorder that was created eventually led to his desire of creating the Shaman Kingdom on Earth and drove him to become the Shaman King in order to reach this main goal. Nonetheless it was the unjust death of his mother that caused that caused the initial spark on his hatred for humanity.
In his third and most current incarnation, Hao is usually calm, cruel, and always smiles. The occasions when he is really angry is very rare and when he is angry with someone, that person is usually killed off and burned to death down to their soul by The Spirit Of Fire. He also likes to watch the Shaman Fights, particularly those that involve strong Shamans, and Asakura Yoh. He is not only interested in that, but he also proclaims that when Yoh reaches his limits, he will become one with him to become the strongest Shaman.
Hao regards money as a primary reason behind the corruption in society. He refuses to use it and has his group follow the philosophy of being completely self-sufficient - even if it means stealing something to obtain it. When treating Yoh for coffee, Hao menacingly glared at the Patch in charge when asking about the bill, until the Patch relented out of fear of being killed.
Hao is shown to be rather duplicitous as well. While generally polite and respectful towards his followers who all venerate him due to in large part because he saved many of their lives, Hao in fact cares very little for them and views them purely as a tool to achieve his goals. He has no qualms about even devouring their souls if it means getting more power as he once tried to with Hana-Gumi. Hao in fact, scorns the vast majority of his followers, knowing from his Reishi that they secretly fear him, an experience he has long endured even during his origins as the people around him were both afraid and hateful to him, which fuels his disgust. True enough, their faith on Hao collapsed once they learned that he could read their minds the entire time and never told them. The sole exception to this are Luchist and Opacho whom Hao views favorably. The former because of his tremendous mental fortitude as he stays by Hao's side despite knowing of his mind reading abilities. The latter because she is pure of heart and follows him out of genuine loyalty.
This somewhat extends to the first anime series in which Hao is portrayed differently. In this continuity the majority of Hao's background (like his Reishi) is not explained, with his misanthropy being attributed to people fearing him like a monster, due to his Shamanic strength. Hao believes this to be caused by humanity's fragile willed nature, and thus scorns on humanity due to their mental and spiritual weakness, thinking it the source of conflict and discord and thus wishes to purge humanity and create his Shaman Kingdom to achieve his vision of peace. It is as a result of this that Hao is obsessed over Shamans he consider to be strong, even engaging in purging acts as he had the Spirit of Fire melt ice from atop a mountain to cause a flood to cull the strong from the weak. Nearing the end of this series, Hao bestowed a power up to his followers, and revealed to Manta that he cared very little over those that died as a result of the overload, as it would prove they were weak and thus useless to his vision. He even scorned on Opacho herself when his usually calm demeanor fell apart, exposing his hatred causing her to be afraid of him.
In both the original manga and 2021 anime, Hao is portrayed in a far more sympathetic light, as it is revealed that despite his cruelty and his destructive acts, that he is in fact a deeply vulnerable person unable to move onwards due to his obsessions. Using an analogy, Anna described Hao as a "Princess who was caught by the Demon Lord of hatred" with the only means to defeat him being to save him from himself. Hao in fact, mourns his mother to this day and laments her loss and the lack of her company, something he keeps entirely to himself. When seen crying by X-Laws who attempted an attack on him, Hao erupted in a murderous fit of rage as it was a side of his that he did not want exposed. It was, ultimately thanks to his mother's spirit intervention that he ultimately desisted from his darker impulses.
Hao has been to somewhat dislike of being given family titles, as he coldly glared at Yoh when he addressed him as "Nii-chan"(Big brother) and asked his nephew Hana to stop calling him "Uncle", though he would later address both in the same way.
Abilities and Powers
As an ancient shamanic master who has died and reincarnated two times Hao has a tremendously overwhelming level of Furyoku, 1,250,000 in total, as for his current life. During his first life, according to Asakura Yohmei, he was so strong that even the strongest Shikigamis swore their loyalty to him.
Because Hao has lived as both an Onmyouji and also a Patch priest of the Patch tribe and was reborn with all the knowledge of his previous two lives, he has a wide arsenal of shamanic techniques and spells.
- Onmyōdō (陰陽道): Hao's original abilities of a taijutsu master from his first life have given him full control over the elements and divination powers. He is not only able to manipulate the five elements of nature (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water) materially but also spiritually as shown when he converts the Spirit of Fire into the Spirit of Water, albeit temporarily. Even without the Spirit of Fire, Hao possesses great elemental and divination abilities and can easily bend oni and demigods to his will. However, with the addition of the Spirit of Fire, one can only assume that he can greatly amplify the circular properties of his art by using it as a power source. However, the Spirit of Fire uses mostly physical attacks, and on occasion, its fire attributes have been used in combat. Since Hao is quite fond of the element fire, he is rarely seen using his taijutsu arts in both the manga series and the anime series. Nevertheless, the combination that his Onmyōdō abilities and the Spirit of Fire forms definitely gives him an Over Soul second in power only to one with the Great Spirit.
- Reishi: With this ability he inherited from Ohachiyo, Hao can read the hearts of others and retains the ability in each of his reincarnations. Though he initially used it to help humans from suffering, he began to see the darker side of human nature, which filled him with contempt for humanity and drove his desire to create a world with only shamans. During the final battle, he loses this ability when he is confronted by the multitude of spirits and is surrounded by kindness.
- Taizan Fukun no Sai (泰山府君の祭): The technique requires the shaman to have mastered all five elements of the pentagram and they must defeat the seventy-five lords of Hell in order to reach Taizan Fukun to bargain with him. Through this technique, Hao was able to be reborn five hundred years later as a member of the Patch Tribe, and then again five hundred years later.
- Curse Reversal (呪詛返し Juso-gaeshi): This technique allows Hao to send the effects of a Furyoku attack back at the caster. Hao is skilled enough to use this as a newborn and without seeming to acknowledge the opponent.
- Ring of Fire (炎の輪, "Honō no Wa"): An attack similar to that of Yoh's Shockwave Buddha Giri
As he grew into an adult during his first life, Hao used his Onmyōdō magic to turn the two pair of Shikigamis Zenki and Goki into demi-god spirits, who he would later use to protect his book of teachings called the Chō-Senjiryakketsu. It was also during that time that he gave a cat he had saved, Matamune, a portion of his Furyoku to keep with him after Hao had passed away.
When he reincarnated into the Patch Tribe, Hao stole the Spirit of Fire, which was one of five elemental spirits created from the Great Spirit itself. However, as he was reincarnated again, so did the Spirit of Fire, and Hao had his third life, been constantly feeding it the souls of those he has killed off to make it much stronger.
After winning the Shaman Fight, Hao has become the new Shaman King and has assimilated with the Great Spirit. This grants him both omniscience and omnipotence. He is now able to absorb other souls simply by glaring at them.
Born in Japan by Asanoha, he was named Douji Asaha by his mother. However, a group of humans killed his mother Asanoha, because they thought that she was a demon. Having his house burnt down to the ground, Asaha wandered and lived aimlessly by himself, while believing himself to be a boy with strange demonic powers and thought of exterminating all mankind. One day while sitting by a gate, he met a spirit by the name of Ohachiyo and they quickly became friends. Ohachiyo gave him the nickname "Douji Mappa" after noting the similarity between Asaha's and Asanoha's names. The demon persuaded Asaha to forget his own vengeance and rather enjoy the aspects of new life. Ohachiyo taught him many things such as fishing, writing, and most importantly the dangerous ability Reishi.
Asaha followed his word and lived life with a smile on his face, for a moment at least. However, when a guard apparently heard him conversing with himself at night, he immediately suspected him of being a demon and reported to Monk Densen Hoshi. Densen confronted Hao but proved to be a fraud and was easily overpowered by him. As he recognized the man to be the one who killed his mother and performed his first murder. By over depleting his Furyoku, Asaha was unable to maintain control of his Over Soul and unintentionally consumed Ohachiyo's power.
Asaha would end up in the streets of Kyoto where he was found lying unconscious by an Onmyōji Hamo Tadatomo and his apprentice Daitaro Hoshi. Hamo was searching out Asaha as the source of many Onis being summoned in the area. After clearing out all the Onis and seeing Asaha's potential, Tadatomo took him in as his apprentice.
At a yearly ceremony for exorcising the capital of Onis, Asaha's fellow apprentice, Daitaro was used as a test subject by Tadatomo, who intended to create a human Shikigami hybrid that regular humans were able to see. Asaha tried to intervene but was restricted by Tadatomo's Shikigami until Tadatomo was killed by Daitaro, making them disappear. Despite their aides claim that they should flee, Asaha decided to surpass Tadatomo by defeating Daitaro, using the Onis within his own body to gain control over him. In the five years that followed, his skills had him named the guardian of Kyoto and inspired by his office, he was given the name Asakura Hao.
With the experience of his childhood, Hao became a talented Onmyōji and founded the Asakura Family in Kyoto. Due to his loneliness, Hao created Onis all the time, but that was not a problem for him because he had the ability to control Onis. During that time, Hao met a sickly stray cat whom he named Matamune. Hao stated that Matamune was his only friend, and gave Matamune some of his spiritual energy in the hoping that Matamune would stay with him forever.
Nevertheless, the curse implanted on Hao from Ohachiyo was permanent and eventually drove Hao completely crazy. Hao would eventually learn of the Shaman King. Because of his plans to destroy all of humanity, the Asakura family ousted him, though he remained in Kyoto where he founded a branch of the Asakura Family. He was eventually killed by one of his own relatives during the Shaman Fights.
Hao's Yin-Yang Jutsu, the mastery of the five elements, prevented his permanent death as he could now control the circumstances of his own reincarnation. He was able to gain the ability to control his soul using the ritual of Taizan Kuzun. Though Taizan Kuzun could only be reached by getting past the seventy-five Lords of Hell, succeeding in making a contract with him gives one the ability to resurrect the dead or reincarnate themselves at will.
Hao then chose to be reincarnated 500 years later as a member of the Patch Tribe, the ones that organized the Shaman King Tournament, and then he later stole the Spirit of Fire from the Patch tribe. During this time as a Patch, he had a wife and a child. With his new guardian ghost, Hao conquered many great enemies with such ease, including the four Seminoa Warriors, who heard his goals decided to stop him.
He once again projected his idea of a Shaman world but was rejected by the shamans he was trying to promote. He had the same plans of ruling the world and killing all of mankind, but he was stopped by Asakura Yohken and Matamune. Despite the fact that he died before becoming Shaman King, he achieved his goal of capturing the legendary Spirit of Fire for using as his guardian ghost in his next life. His wife and child that he left behind were about to be killed, when the Patch Tribe realized that they were now missing a priest, they allowed both of them to live in order to keep the line of Patch Priests. As a result, several generations later Silva of the Ten Patch Officiants was born from the same lineage of Hao.
After being killed off as a member of the Patch 500 years earlier, he chooses to be reborn into his original bloodline to become stronger. His late actions were foreseen by Asakura Yohmei and it was decided that Hao should be killed upon his rebirth. However, when Yohmei was about to strike the infant he quickly hesitated, and that was enough for Hao to summon the Spirit of Fire. Mikihisa placed himself in the way after Hao tried to kill Yohmei with a punch, and got badly burned in the process. Hao then told Keiko to stay still as he did not wish his important "Other Half" to not to die before being born. With these words, as he laughed and while disappeared.
After escaping the Asakura family he was apparently raised by Brocken Meyer. When he was at the age of five, he and Brocken left while looking for new henchmen. Wherever Hao went, he left a path of destruction in his wake. He killed Lyserg's parents when they recognized him as a great evil and tried to stop him, meanwhile, he maimed Cebin Mendel for unknown reasons, then he killed a military unit when he was looking for Mohamed Tabarsi. then He also destroyed the church-orphanage home of Marco Lasso and killed everyone within the church. At the age of eight, Hao had gathered himself an incredible amount of henchmen that he would teach many of his own personal techniques, such as the Shamanic Oracle.
Shaman Fights in Tokyo
Hao is first seen as an unidentified person amongst the other contestants watching Yoh and Ren's battle, smirking and commenting that both of their shamanic powers were slowly growing and said the winner will definitely be a great obstacle in the near future.
Travel Through America
Hao is first formally introduced when the Shamans gather together to leave for America on the Patch plane. He arrives in front of Yoh and his group, announcing he is the future Shaman King and decides to play around with them and test their strength. However, he is later interrupted by his own followers telling him they might miss the plane if he continues to play around to which he agrees, but before telling Yoh that he was impressed by his determination and that he would make a useful ally before leaving with his allies.
Shaman Fights Second Round
As Hao watches Yoh's progress in his first match he is impressed by Yoh's first Over Soul "Spirit of the Sword" and especially how quickly he was able to master it in a mere month. He then leaves to follow Ren out of the stadium. Ren notices and told Hao to stop following him. Hao then offers Ren a first chance to join his own group but he declines and promptly attacks Hao. but Hao blocks his attack so easily and quickly, reducing it into ash. As Hao leaves for his own match while Ren is shocked by Hao's powerful strength and returns to the stadium to learn more about Hao.
Hao's own team - Hoshi-Gumi consists of himself, Luchist and Opacho. Hoshi-Gumi is to fight one of the X-law teams. Before the match begins, Hao told both Opacho and Luchist to leave the area so he can face them all at once by himself. Knowing that they will lose, the X-laws decide to fight Hao one-on-one so that the other shamans can learn more about him. In a single attack, Hao quickly summons the Spirit of Fire and kills off two of the X-laws members. The third member is being crushed by the Spirit of Fire. Hao then later reveals that his shamanic medium is the air itself; he admits this to be the case as what else would be a better medium of fire. Marco is furious as this shows that Hao does not care if anyone knows his secret and he is shown mocking the sacrifices of the X-laws whom he killed off. However, Chris Venstar surprises Hao with a special grenade that can extinguish all oxygen in the area.
Fortunately, the force field around the ring takes the full blast of the explosion and it appears that Hao was not killed. As the smoke clears, Hao is still unprotected but the Spirit of Fire has now changed into water. With his knowledge of the five elements, Hao then converted the Spirit of Fire into Water to shield himself. As a reward for their wise bravery, Hao gives the X-laws the honor of being Eaten by the Spirit of Fire to enable it to become more stronger.
Meanwhile When Hao learns that Yoh is about to leave the Shaman Fight, he then soon threatens to kill the Golem and the children unless Yoh returns to the shaman competition. Hao then instructs Luchist to help Yoh take down the X-laws. soon After that, Hao watches Team "The Ren" fight one of the Gandhara teams and realizes that Horohoro's real name was revealed was Usui Horokeu. As Hao leaves at his lair and begins the Star Festival. He then orders his henchmen to foil Gandhara's plan to create the Five Warriors on his own. Meanwhile, John of the X-laws uses a secret satellite to fire a beam to destroy him. This later fails when Hao reveals his armored Over Soul which protects him. The Spirit of Fire then completely destroys John's soul.
Hao goes to the area where Marco and Jeanne are and he meets Anna there. Anna attacks with Zenki and Goki, to which he responds with the Spirit of Fire, Anna uses Furyoku Nullification to completely undo his attack. Anna then uses a curse reflection to hurt Hao, prompting Hao to unleash his Armored Over Soul: the Raven. As Team Hana-Gumi arrives in the battle as spirits and asked if Hao is just using them. later Hao reveals the truth and attempts to absorb their souls but Anna uses one of Hao's old guardian ghosts to save them. Hao is impressed by Anna and does not wish to fight with her nor hurt her and asks her and himself why he cannot read her mind and that she has yet to use her full power. Yoh arrives and convinces Hao to have coffee with him. The two talk. He then leaves after he senses Yohken's presence in Yoh's mind.
During the fight between Team The Ren and Funbari Onsen, Hao is seen relaxing in a hot spring listening to the match over the radio. When Hao hears that he apparently has no friends, shocking everyone, he reveals that this thought was only in Yoh's head the entire time. He soon learns that Yoh has a new technique that he learned in Hell.
Invading the Plants
After the end of the Second Rounds of the Shaman Fights the Patch brought Team "Hoshi-Gumi", Team "The Ren", Team "Funbari Onsen", and Team "X-I" to the Continent of Mu, where the third and final rounds were would be held off at. But instead of continuing the competition, the other three teams forfeited, thus making Hao the new Shaman King. Lip and Rap then proceeded to lead him through the Plants to the Kings Sanctuary where Hao would sleep a pseudo like death while being united with Great Spirit. When he finally awakens he sends a message on the Oracle Bells: "So small."
He then effortlessly kills everyone with a simple glance, excluding Rutherfor, Opacho and Yoh. Opacho commented that the Hao she knew was not here anymore and Yoh was able to deduce that Hao was controlling his body even though his spirit had already moved on as the Shaman King. Yoh then states that this Hao is nothing but a walking corpse and decapitates it. Hao, however, does not die most likely due to being omnipotent after his merge with the Great Spirit.
After he smirks, Yoh's soul and Amidamaru's are seen being absorbed by Hao. When Yoh wakes up, he realizes he must be inside the Great Spirit. Hao appears, revealing to Yoh that he is actually inside himself and in the highest society of the Great Spirit, the society of the Shaman King where only people Hao wishes to enter may come. The two start a conversation during which Yoh reveals that he too dislikes humans because they really are destroying the Earth. But he also admits that he could never go as far as to kill them, so Hao orders him to leave. Somehow Yoh is not banished and Tao Ren, Lyserg Diethel, Chocolove McDonell, and Usui Horokeu appear too. Then a fierce battle between the Five Elemental Warriors and the Shaman King begins.
The battle is so evenly matched that the fight ends in a complete stalemate until Hao reveals that the fight was merely his preparations for their defeat and creates a supernova that turns into a black hole. As the five are being dragged in, the Soul Train appears out of nowhere, anchoring the five. Onboard are all the people that Hao Has killed off when he became Shaman king, as well as the dead family members and friends of the Five Elemental Warriors. Yoh finally manages to calm down Hao by letting Opacho jump into the black hole, which Hao stops immediately because of the bond between those two.
Hao realized that his quest was not for what he has become but for something else that he could not remember. The Asakura family says that his quest started because of his late mother. Yoh finally knows what Hao is after and tells him that his late mother was always beside him as a spirit. Hao realizes that his mother could have been his guardian ghost and Over Soul but he was so blinded by his own quest that he could not see the real truth. As his mother arrives on the scene, Hao appears overjoyed to see her again, even though she slapped him for all that he had done and embarrasses him in front of everyone. Afterward, he lets everyone return to Earth but then tells Yoh that he still hates mankind, but will let them sort out their problems before he passes judgment, and not to be so impertinent.
Funbari no Uta
After Yoh, Anna, and their infant son, Asakura Hana are killed in the Middle East, they enter Hao's realm in the Great Spirit. There Anna forces him to revive all three of them through blackmail. Hao does so while implanting onis into Hana to act as a fail-safe to prevent him from dying.
At the end of the series, it shows Hao watching over Yoh and his friends happily alongside Matamune, implying that he finally let go of his hatred and accepted his role as Shaman King.
After his ascendancy to become the Shaman King, the G8 convened a meeting and with a vote of no confidence against Hao, initiated the Flower of Maize to decide the fate of the world. Several years later, after Hana dies while intentionally summoning Onis to fight Tao Men, he appears to Hana and even lectures him on his misuse of the Onis, before offering to resurrect him one last time if he can defeat Yoh, who appears to be himself from 13 years ago.
After Hana is defeated, Hao decides to bring Yoh up to speed as they watch over Hana. At the same time, he gives clear instructions to Thalim and the other former Patch officials that while they may observe Hana's progress, they cannot interfere in any way. At the same time, he notes that Yosuke's kidnapping of Amidamaru was convenient as he pampered Hana too much. He also states his intention of having Sakurai as Hana's guardian ghost while telling the confused priests that they will eventually understand his decision to have a mere human ghost as his nephew's guardian. Later, as Hao states his determination to change the world with the Flower of Maize to Yoh, YVS appears and states his intention to maintain the status quo at any cost.
Very little is told of his early past in the 2001 anime series, only how he was reincarnated twice while he has stolen the Spirit of Fire. Because Asakura Yohken and Matamune were manga characters only it is never mentioned who killed him, only that it was an unnamed Asakura and was done while his powers were sealed within the 1080 Prayer Beads. Hao also shows a lot more interest in watching Yoh's progress in the anime series
Hao's role was played straight as the main antagonist throughout the 2001 anime series, he was shown being cruel, uncaring, and deceitful, and was shown to be smiling when maiming enemies and he has no problem killing his own followers in his own group of henchman. But in the manga series, he starts out this way, but he is eventually revealed to be more of a tragic villain. This is was backed up by Manta's dream of Hao being a Princess who needs to be "freed".
At the end of the 2001 anime series, he keeps the Spirit of Fire and has it to devour a large piece of the Great Spirit to gain a power boost. But instead of winning the tournament while he had the Great Spirit like in the manga series, Hao was ultimately killed by Yoh who had received helping power from shamans around the world, by forming a new Giant O.S. with which, Yoh would cut both Hao and the Spirit of Fire in half in the end.
- His name translates to "Leaf King". The kanji that makes up the "Ha" portion of his name is also the same kanji that made up of Yoh's name, and the "o" portion is a Japanese honorific, usually indicating that the person is of very high status.
- Hao's personality was also partially based on Michael Jackson according to Mantarite.
- According to Marco Lasso, over 80% of the contestants in the Shaman Tournament are related to Hao in some way.
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 251; Page 12
- Shaman King Manga - Zero Chapter 5
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 144; Page 08
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 140
- Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang - Volume 27; Chapter 299
- Derived from the "Taizan Fukun", the ancient Chinese name for the King of Hell who judges the dead and decides their fate.
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 143
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 263
- Shaman King Manga - Mappa Douji; Page 25
- Shaman King Manga - Zero Chapter 7
- Shaman King Manga - Kang Zeng Bang Volume 16 Extras; Shaman File 209
- Shaman King Manga - Chapters 142-143
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 61; Page 13
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 78
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 297
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 300
- Onmyōji - A Wikipedia article about Asakura Hao's occupation during his first life
- Abe no Seimei - A Wikipedia article about the historical person Hao is based off.