Some spoilers for Mirage of Blaze
Character Profile: Kagetora
My sensei has mentioned that the root cause of our anger is feeling our sense of self-worth/identity attacked. From this perspective, Kagetora exemplifies this universal human problem of an insecure sense of self-worth. His problem can be described in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy. Though he is a highly developed person in many ways, he is fundamentally insecure. His security need has never been met. (As with Kuukai’s stages of enlightenment, Kagetora is in several places in Maslow’s hierarchy simultaneously: very conscientious and high achieving, but much like a young child in his security needs.)
Kagetora’s problems stem from disrupted attachment to father and older brother figures. His biological father gave him away to the Takeda as a hostage when he was seven. He stayed with the Takeda seven years and then was given back to his birth family, but his father did not take him back. Instead, he was adopted by his great-uncle. Shortly thereafter, his family gave him as a hostage to Kenshin. Kenshin adopted him and made him his heir. But after Kenshin’s death, a rumor surfaced that Kenshin changed his mind and named Kagekatsu his heir, hence the civil war. Being reunited with Kenshin after death, he asked him which son Kenshin chose, and Kenshin never answered. His oldest brother, Ujimasa, never liked regarded him as an evil omen because his birth closely attended the original oldest son’s death. His trusted tutor raped him. Basically, throughout his formative years, he felt abandoned or betrayed (mostly abandoned) by the men who were supposed to protect and guide him.
Kagetora seems to have been treated well, by and large, by mothers; he doesn’t seem to have particular “issues” about mothers. His compassion and decency probably speak to his having been well mothered. However, I think he regards mothers as fairly powerless and unable to protect, which accords with his Sengoku experience. It may also explain why Takaya is so phenomenally forgiving of his own mother abandoning him and his sister. Despite his having decent mother figures (bar Takaya’s), a mother cannot fill his security needs.
Kagetora’s insecurity takes the form of an overriding fear that he keeps being abandoned because he is not “good enough” to please his father figures. Thus, he has to perform to near perfection to stave off abandonment. This leads to his overextending his spirit’s capacity to serve Kenshin, but more crucially it underlies his dynamic with Naoe. ( Read more… )